From serving in children's ministry for the last 8 years at my brilliant church and also being a Christian mum of 5 children, I see how hard it is for our younger generations to sometimes have the confidence to share their faith. I'm so blessed that my eldest two boys love Jesus and are proud to share it...if you read an earlier post, this has caused a whole host of problems for my biggest boy Josh at times...bullying, name calling, telling off from a teacher to name but a few....but through it all he never lost his faith or doubted it. He stood strong in his beliefs.
Whilst many people overlook children in this world, when many people don't believe children can possibly connect with God or are too young to have a living relationship with Jesus, I stand firm on what the bible tells me...let's have a look at a particular passage taken from the NLT version of the bible:
I love this snippet from the new testament. Jesus clearly loved children. No matter how busy or tired he was, he liked to have children in His presence, by His side.
He valued them as people, He even taught as we read in verse 14, that adults should become like children in their Faith.
Well simply, as children trust and depend on their parents, we should trust God and depend on Him for our needs. We need to strive to remain pure in our thoughts and motives, as many children do. Children are usually pretty quick to forgive a grudge...squabbling followed instantly by displays of brotherly love are a constant scene in my home.
As the parents in this passage were so excited to have their children meet Jesus and want for Him to bless them, we too, should daily be bringing our children to God. Seeking His guidance as parents, His patience, compassion, wisdom and love towards them. Lifting them in prayer for success, right decisions, to be good examples in the communities they mix in....we shouldn't be like the disciples in this chapter and be quick to dismiss the time Jesus wants to spend with our children or His love for them!
I started my journey with God at the age of 16...and whilst I know this was His plan and I'm secure in who He has made me to be in His timing, I have to be honest and say, I often wished as a new believer, that I'd had the foundations of Gods love for me poured into me as a young child...I believe it would have saved me from alot of hurt and nastiness...whilst I can't be sure of that and whilst I know many children who attend church at a young age can move on from it, one thing I truly believe is once you've experienced the true amazing-ness of our God, you never fully turn from it. Once He has pierced your heart with His love, you have it there, even if your not actively living it.
It is SO important for us to recognise what God CAN and WANTS to do in the lives of the children around us. We don't have to wait until they become teenagers to disciple to them (teach them). Why wait, when the youngest, purest heart is there...ready...willing! Children love to learn, children love to share....Jesus loves to use them to do amazing things...in their schools, in their activity clubs, in their families...as Jesus wasn't too busy and corrected His disciples attitudes that day, we too must learn from His actions and humble ourselves to ensure our children are on the right path...His path. And I have seen so many children experience the power of God in their lives, answers to prayers, families reconciled, parents who had divorced...remarried and happy, bullying stopped and complete favour over friendships, children baptised and praying for their peers...amazing! Truly amazing :)
Whilst I totally appreciate not everyone will agree with my post, I pray for hearts to be softened towards our precious children...who one day may be parents themselves...that we would open our eyes, ears and hearts to them and be there to love them, guide them and re-assure them.
It's not a coincidence we are alongside the children we have in our lives...it's a calling, a deeper purpose than just making them 3 meals a day...yes, that's important of course, but I consider their eternal destinies at the top of my list!
And to encourage you further...take a look at your faith. Have you made it complicated and messy? Are you making your walk with Jesus harder than it should be by trying to have all the answers, the conclusions, the perfect plan you want your life to have?
Or is it like a childs...pure...easy...quick to forgive...ready to learn...not shy to share?
I'm challenged by that too. I know the times I make it complex, but I continuously strive to be more child like and accept Gods ways and plans...we can learn much from the younger generations around us, this I know!
Jesus, THANK YOU that you have a deep rooted love for children. Thank you for your example in the bible verses above, that when your friends were quick to overlook the children around you that day, you hushed them and spent time blessing them. Thank you that your word is alive today, that when you look at our children and the children around us, that you have great plans for them, that no life is an accident but that you have ordained their days...you have great plans for them. Help us to recognise the responsibility and role we have in their lives and help us to seek that child like faith you taught of for ourselves, help us Lord keep it simple and about you. In your holy name, Amen!
Be Blessed :-)