Recently while reading through an old journal, I read some memories of when my girls were little. I read stories like :
- the funny account of the day one of my girls told me my dresser had a rash…she was looking at the dust on its surface!
- The day she emptied a jar of face cream and spread it all over my bedspread and herself.
- Both my girls loved helping in the kitchen when I was baking. What fun we shared as they helped stir in ingredients for cookies, or roll a little pie for their daddy.
- Feeling frustrated at discipline – trying to figure out how to reach the child without breaking her spirit.
Parenting is full of fun days, hard days and days when you have NO IDEA what to do. It’s for that reason that I’ve chosen parenting as the next topic in my summer series.
What a joy it is to have children given to us by God to raise for His glory – and what a huge responsibility it is! As Christians, it must be our daily goal to point those little ones to Christ in everyday ways, in intentional ways and in ways that will prepare them to trust Him as their Savior as soon as they can understand. But that’s where we get hung up – we wonder how much do they need to understand to make a real decision to be saved? I’ve written several posts about that and I’m going to repost those this week, because it’s just a burden on my heart. The bottom line is this – Jesus said to suffer the little children to come to him and forbid them not. If a child is saying they want to trust Christ, who are we to say they don’t know enough? Jesus loves them. So, let’s start in, shall we?
Trusting Christ as a little girl has created in me a love for talking to children about God’s gift of salvation. I can relate to them because I remember how it was for me all those years ago when I knew I needed to receive God’s gift of salvation for my own!
Here’s what I remember about myself at that time (I’ve added the verses that teach us these truths, though at the time I didn’t necessarily know where to find them) ~
- I was a sinner. Romans 3:23 Oh, I was a “good girl.” You see I wanted to please and obey my parents and others in authority. But even at seven, I remembered lying, disobeying, being sassy or disrespectful. All that was sin, and I knew I was guilty.
- I knew I wasn’t going to go to heaven because of my sinful heart. Isaiah 59:2 It had separated me from God.
- I knew Jesus loved me so much that He took my punishment on the cross, and that what He did made it possible for me to be forgiven by God. I Peter 3:18
- I knew that all I had to do was receive God’s free gift of eternal life by calling on Him to save me. Romans 10:9
That’s pretty much it. There was a TON I didn’t know. But I knew enough about salvation to do the calling. Along with my love for telling children about Christ, I’m also passionate about us as adults not making it hard for a child to be saved. It’s as though we feel they have to be on an adult level of understanding before they can really trust the Lord. I heard a preacher say recently something like this,
Often when a child talks to us about salvation, we ask adult questions they cannot answer,
and we say they’re not ready to be saved.
Then when an adult needs to come to Christ we tell them to just have
There was so very much I DIDN’T know about the Lord, His Word or my eternal destiny. But you know what? That didn’t change my decision to receive Christ that day!
I hear many adults wonder about their child and say, “What if they’re not ready?” Then don’t push them, but if they’re asking you questions, just lead them to Jesus! Will you regret that they came too soon, or that they needed to make it sure later on? No! Bring them to Him! Then continue to guide them and teach them. Make it easy for them to find Christ! Don’t put them off because you wonder if they are really ready.
Another question is, “What if they don’t really understand?” I ask a child questions. Here’s what I may ask:
- Why did you raise your hand in class? Even if the invitation was so very clear – “Come see me if you want to know how to have Jesus as your Savior and have your sins forgiven.” Sometimes a child will shrug their shoulders and not have a clue. Maybe they came because a friend came up. I’ll just pat them on the shoulder and say, “That’s okay. Thanks for coming to see me!” End of discussion.
If they say, “I want to talk about Jesus…” then we go forward.
If your child is talking to you and others about needing to be saved, then it’s obvious the Holy Spirit is working in their heart. You might ask them, “Why do you think you need to be saved? When should a person ask Jesus to save them?” As a parent, use every discipline time as another reminder of their sinful nature and their need for Christ.
- Have you ever sinned? If they say, “yes.” I’ll ask what sin is and why is it a problem. If they say, “No!!!!” It’s usually also the end of the discussion.
- What did God do for us because we have sinned and we cannot enter heaven with sinful hearts? I have them read with me John 3:16 and Romans 6:23.
- What do we have to do to receive a gift? What do we do to receive God’s gift of eternal life?
- Are you ready to pray and receive God’s gift of salvation?
- I have them pray out loud – not so I can grade their prayer, but to make sure they’re not praying for their Papa’s surgery or their gold fish that died. (Trust me, it can go there if the child isn’t really serious about salvation at this point.)
If you can keep a child on point through those brief questions, that in itself is also a good indicator that they’re really thinking about their need for Jesus. Once I had a child respond at an invitation and when I started asking them questions they went off on conversations about their toys, their dog and vacation time. It was obvious to me they didn’t come because they were wanting to receive Christ.
If, however, the child prayed and admitted they were a sinner and asked Jesus to come in their life, then rejoice with them and remind them that the angels in heaven are also rejoicing!!!
It grieves my heart to hear a parent say to me that their child has been asking to be saved, but “We don’t feel he’s ready.” To me, that’s a scary place to be. Don’t stand in front of the cross and hinder them; move aside and join them on your knees as they, in their childlike faith pray to be saved!
My girls were saved at a very young age, and both have said they never doubted their salvation. Neither have I. I knew God would keep His promise when He told me I would have eternal life! I believe that’s the very essence of child-like faith!
How about you? Do you have a certainty that you will go to heaven when you die? This is an excellent video (left side of screen, click to enlarge) about how you can have a relationship with God and eternal life with Him.
Because Jesus loves the little children,
P.S. I got saved while attending Sunday School. You might like to read this post about the value of Sunday School and what it did for me!