Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How to Teach Your Kids Jesus Is Real

A family member recently asked me the sweetest question. She has two young boys, and she asked me, “How can you help your children understand that even though they can’t see Jesus or literally hear Him, He is still there?” I think that is a great question for any age—kids and adults. Who is Jesus? That is a great question.

We have all lost loved ones, and we keep their memory alive when we talk about them. But generally, the loved ones who lived in our lifetime are the ones we talk about. We talk about my mom, who passed away. I talk about what I miss about her and what I see in my kids that reminds me of her. I talk about my memories of experiences I shared with her. I lost my grand mom. I talk about attributes of my grandparents. I even had a great-grandma. I remember her faith, so I talk about her faith. Beyond that, I don’t have any memories. 

The further back they are in my genealogy, the less frequently I talk about them. The closer my family member was to me, the more I talk about her or him. I talk about my mom the most. My grandparents are next. After them, I can talk about my great-grandma. I don’t have any history beyond her. I don’t know my more distant ancestors, and I don’t have pictures of them. Nothing. But it doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. 

I know somewhere in my stepdad’s family line, they are related to Susan B. Anthony. I know this because they have talked about it and are truly into understanding their family tree, where they came from, and where they belong.

When we talk about Jesus, we need to realize that we have been in His bloodline since creation. But He lived two thousand years ago, so it’s kind of like finding an old family member. Jesus was born a man. He was born like you and I were. He lived thirty-three years on this earth, and then He passed away. The only way to explain this to a child is to teach them about the people who went before them. 

Also teach them that Jesus was born special. He is God, and He was born from the seat of God. He was born to break a curse over man. He was born to restore a relationship—man to God—and return a blessing. There was a blessing originally between Abraham and God. Jesus came to restore the blessing. 

So, how do you teach your kids that Jesus is real? You teach about Him as you would about a family member who passed away. You are reminding your kids of Him. The Bible says in John 1:12-13 that when you are in Christ, you become a child of God. You are no longer a product of your parents’ decision. You are a child of God. This truth puts us all in this one great big giant family.

One thing I loved about my Grandma Bonnie’s was that Christmases were so awesome. We have this giant family. We would play football sometimes. We would gather in this small living room and crowd the place out. There’d be thirty-some of us. I loved being a part of that huge, fun family. It was loud and chaotic. There was laughter. We all stayed at Grandma’s house, and we ate. We were close. I loved that. I think that’s what the family of God is like.

If you can introduce your kids to the man of Jesus and the idea of being a part of His family tree, then you can talk about who He is, what happened to Him, and how He was born. You can tell the story of His life.

God has left a hole in them to want to know Him. They will search for success, and they will search for people. They will search for anything that will help them feel fully known and fully loved.

One of the great tools, besides keeping Jesus a part of your family and talking about Him, is the children’s story Bibles. Oh my goodness—they are fabulous!

Chandler Kate is the biggest Bible reader out of my three kids. She read through so many Bibles. She read through the children’s Bible over and over again. When a sitter came over, Chandler would ask the sitter if she would sit down and read the Bible from front to back. I mean, she was the first one to finish the entire Bible by herself. She finished the New Testament by herself. She loved the stories. Jesus was a real man, and you can read stories about His life in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Spencer’s favorites were the parables when Jesus told the stories. She would sit down like you and I would, and she would tell a story: “One day there was a man, and he planted in a field.…” Those stories are amazing. There are also stories like Samson and Jonah.

When you read those stories to kids, they start to wonder and be in awe of who God is and who you can be in Christ. They become captivated because, honestly, every child was created by God in abundant life and with an amazing destination. God wants to do more than they can even imagine for them in their lives. We have to turn on their imagination and help them realize that there are great things for them. Everyone is born with an innate desire to be a kingdom-changer, a world-changer. We are called to influence kingdoms—whole kingdoms and whole nations.

I think children’s Bibles are a big deal. Read their Bible to them. Our favorites were the ones with great pictures. Some children are auditory learners; they learn by listening. Others, when they are listening and they see a picture, it helps them hold on to the memory because they have a visual recollection of it. One of my daughters is kinesthetic and artsy. If you are reading to her while she is drawing, she can remember what you said when she drew this piece of hair. She is auditory, and she puts it together with what she is drawing. It’s amazing.

I think reading those scriptures over and over again and watching videos about who Jesus is and what He was like during His life are excellent ways to bring Him to life for our children. It’s like how watching home videos of your family members before they passed brings them to life for your kids.

I want to encourage you to do these things with your kids. Continue to pray over them. Continue to love them like Christ loves us. 

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