Raise Your Little Ones in the Holy Spirit
Story time happens with my five and a half year old, Norah, as she settles into bed; we read a Bible story each night. One night, the story was about the Holy Spirit. Her inquisitive little mind stopped me; she wanted to receive Jesus into her heart. I hesitantly entertained the conversation with her, but to my surprise, she reciprocated the gospel with precision and clarity insisting on trusting in Jesus. I affirmed her confession and prayed for God to nurture her belief. Parents need to thoughtfully process salvation and the Christian life with their children. Here are four suggestions on nurturing faith in your child.
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO SUBMIT TO THE LORD
When is the best time to affirm your child’s confession of faith? Perhaps you wonder if they are old enough or if their faith is sincere. Scripture says that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rms. 10:13). More specifically, it says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rms. 10:9). Comprehending and explaining the gospel is certainly necessary, but submission to Jesus as Lord is essential. When your child calls on the name of the Lord, they must trust in the gospel and submit to Jesus. Affirm and nurture your child’s confession by challenging them to remain faithful to the Lord. Authentic faith is proven over time by a lasting faithfulness to Christ because “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (Jms. 2:17). Therefore, evidence of an authentic faith and salvation experience is the perseverance of a believer in faith.
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO DEPEND ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
A confession of faith is not once and done, rather parents must stride alongside their children as they work out their salvation. Norah conversion was more than a year ago, but she continues to show maturity and spiritual sensitivity. Paul says, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). Children may be tiny and young but are filled with the fullness of the same Holy Spirit. Just as a small heart does not intend a small faith, a small frame does not intend a small Spirit. While your child will continue to struggle with sinfulness, guide him/her in spiritual formation. Teach them to walk with Jesus by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:25), and they will be spiritually transformed.
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO DISCERN THEIR SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Children receive, not only, the same Spirit, but “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). A while back, our family ran a garage sale. Norah, my little evangelist, prepared special cards for each guest decorated with a cross. One young lady got quite a bargain when my daughter shared the gospel with her. Norah’s generosity is pure and will serve the kingdom in a mighty way if properly channeled. Help your children discern how God has gifted them for the work of His Kingdom and turn them loose.
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO GROW THEIR GIFTS
Once your child knows their gifts, they can grow them. Paul encourages Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Tim. 1:6). It is important to exercise the gifts given so that they can grow. Sit down with your child and brainstorm ways they can excercise their gifts. Find space for them to use them in the church. Lead your child by helping them fan into flame their gifts using them for the work of God’s kingdom.