As I mentioned before, our family loves to incorporate God's word in everything we do. We teach the children from an early age to pray and to ask God for all they need. We believe that the children can learn and understand God's word the more they hear us using it and sharing it with them. We have seen this with our four youngest...who are 4, 3, 28 months and 18 months. We use DVD's that teach bible verses, songs about Jesus, songs about the bible and movies that tell them specific stories from the bible. We read many books to them that also incorporate the word of God. Some of their favorites are:
- My ABC Bible Verses(which tells a story about this verse and how important it is to honor your parents)
- Jesus A to Z
- Five Minute Devotions for Children
- More Five Minute Devotions for Children
- The Jesus Storybook Bible
They are learning that with Christ all things are possible. In our home that means living a godly life is 100% possible. It means that we are empowered by Jesus and the Holy Spirit to live a sinless life. When we are walking by faith and in the Spirit - fully abiding in God it is impossible for us to choose self and sin. Sin is an attitude before we act and it is a choice. It is only a choice to the believer. When a person is not saved - they are held bondage to their sins and it is impossible for them to truly choose anything but to be ruled by the flesh. As a child of God or being raised to grow up in the grace and knowledge of Jesus - we can all choose to abide in Him or ourselves. We have been set free and sin no longer rules us.
Thus applying this verse to our children's daily lives. In themselves they can NOT do all things. It is impossible to be loving, gentle, kind, patient, joyful, peaceful, faithful, and display self-control when depending our own resources 24/7. However, when we humble ourselves and learn to fully depend upon God to empower us by His Spirit nothing is impossible.
As parents we teach our children how to speak, eat, drink, sit, stand and walk. As they get a little older we teach them to go potty, to read, to write, to add/subtract and list goes on and on. We teach them eventually they can do all of these things without our help. We even teach children in our society to learn how to fix problems on their own - like sharing, how to handle a disagreement with a sibling or friend, etc.
We humans make the mistake in believing we can do all things alone and don't need anyone's help let alone seek God for His help to do the little things in life! And this gets taught from a very young age in our society.
We praise our children for every achievement they accomplish on their own. We praise our children when they study for a test and get a good grade. We praise them when they do their best during a sports event - win or lose. We praise them for all the things they can do without our help.
Imagine what our children would feel like if they were all taught to seek God first before doing anything - from learning their alphabet, to a new skill, to what sport to try, that nothing begins or ends without prayer. Imagine what kind of Kingdom warriors we would all raise if they learned first and foremost to lean on God to supply all things and that through Him anything according to His will is possible in their lives. That because of Him they can do all the things He wants them to do. Because He will supply them with all things for godliness and contentment for whatever path He has for them! All glory being given to God and not them!
It begins with teaching them at a young age that they need the fruits of the Spirit to do anything in this life to give God the glory. Sure they can walk, talk, eat, etc all without His help. But to walk, talk and eat the food which God is offering is a life worth living!
It is a life full of promise and hope!
It is a life that is not held down by fear of failure or the worry of success.
It is a life where the child knows the first place to go for wisdom is God.
Learning to live this way produces peace, joy and comfort knowing that God will supply all of their needs to do His will. It is a life that through proper training they will always know where to turn when the road ahead is uncertain. It is a life that has already been laid down and knows to never rely on themselves.
We have begun teaching our 18 month old daughter and our 28 month old son who struggle with self-control to stop what they are doing and if they can't get control of themselves immediately (ie. not about to bite one another or hit); they must pray ask God to help them gain control of themselves. You can watch them wanting to resist doing what we are asking and then see the peace come over them within seconds of their submission to bowing down and asking God for help. We have no idea what or if they are really praying. We just know that it has become second nature to them when prompted to go directly to God and ask for His help. Our older children are watching this and learning to do the same thing for themselves without the prompting.
This is a great verse to practice with every day - begin the day asking God to help them in an area you are working on together - whether it be patience, kindness, self-control, etc. Have them repeat the verse with you - then throughout the day when they begin to struggle - ask them to pray to God: "Lord, I am unable to be a good listener on my own, but You say that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Please Father, strengthen me to be a good listener for Mommy so I can do Your will. AMEN!"
Have them sing the song and practice learning the verse on their own. Soon they will have this verse deeply hidden in their hearts and the fruit they will bear will not be their own!