My husband and I have a three-year-old. For some reason this is an intense age. Since she is very strong willed, we but heads daily on who’s will is going to win. I am not one who believes a strong will is bad. As long as your will can be brought into submission to His will, this can be good! (We are still working on the submission part with my daughter.)
We often have “girls” devotion time while her dad is at work and her brother is in school. During this time, I try to help her see a principle that is evident and repeated in scripture. Each time I walk through a story with her, we discuss the same three questions at the end. “Who did we talk about in this story?”, “What did they do?” and “Did they follow God’s directions?”.
Turn over to Judges 2:1-5, CSB,
“1 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, “I brought you out of Egypt and led you into the land I had promised to your fathers. I also said: I will never break my covenant with you. 2 You are not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of this land. You are to tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed me. What is this you have done? 3 Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap for you.” 4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these words to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly. 5 So they named that place Bochim and offered sacrifices there to the Lord.”
Up to this point, God had told His people a number of times that they needed to follow His directions. Here he is telling them that they will be punished through the Canaanites for disobeying. This is the principle I want my daughter to learn early. Let’s compare.
Flip over to Genesis 6:22, CSB,
“22 And Noah did this. He did everything that God had commanded him.”
In Genesis 6 we learn about the instructions that God gave Noah about the ark. We see at the end of the chapter that Noah did follow His directions. Then the rain came, and everything that breathed air died. After the storm, we see what happens when we obey God.
Head over to Genesis 8:1-4, CSB,
“1 God remembered Noah, as well as all the wildlife and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water began to subside. 2 The sources of the watery depths and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky stopped. 3 The water steadily receded from the earth, and by the end of 150 days the water had decreased significantly. 4 The ark came to rest in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.”
Because Noah did “everything God commanded”, “God remembered Noah” by saving him from the flood! The juxtaposition of these two stories shows us the principle I’m praying she learns (soon). On the other side of our obedience are the blessings of a just and loving God.
What this shows me, is that teaching my children to follow my directions is more important that just having well mannered children. Teaching my children to follow directions (or obey), is preparing them for life in the Kingdom of God! If we want good Kingdom citizens for children, we need to broaden our thinking in these areas. They need to know that the best way to live joyfully in the Kingdom, is to walk in obedience to the will of the One and Only King of Kings and Lord of Lords…. Jesus!!
“23 However, I did give them this command: ‘Obey me, and then I will be your God, and you will be my people. Follow every way I command you so that it may go well with you.’”, Jeremiah 7:23, CSB
“22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works — this person will be blessed in what he does.”, James 1:22-25, CSB
Before I could put a title to my desire to be a disciple maker in my home to my children, one thing I knew was that I wanted them to truly understand the importance of Christmas and Easter. I wanted to make sure they knew it wasn’t about a jolly old elf who could slide up and down chimneys bestowing gifts upon “good” little kids or about huge bunnies that lay plastic candy-filled eggs in your yard. I wanted them to know that these holidays were supposed to direct their attention and intentions to the God who loves them more than even I could. As my children have grown older, I find this even harder than it used to be simply because misconceptions are in the air around them.
In my attempt to make sure they remain focused; I have come up with a few things to hopefully keep them (and their parents) focused on the Lover of our souls. If we think about who Jesus was while He was here on earth in the flesh, one word that comes to mind is servant. So what better way to remind ourselves of Him than to be servants?!
Flip over to Luke 22:27,
“27 For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves.”
Keep in mind that you’ll want to do as much of these as you can as a family. Try to avoid doing all (or most) of the preparations alone. Also, these are all things that can be done throughout the year. We don’t have to wait for the Christmas season to find a way to serve the world around us.
So here’s the list. Feel free to lump some of these together. Feel free to invite friends or family into the serving action with you.
Perhaps you’ll do one or more of these things. If you do take a picture and let us know how it went. That would be great!! Just know God honors us when we try to keep His children focused on Him. Make every effort to keep Jesus at the center of the holiday. Stand strong! Be firm! You can do this!!