From the moment they are born, children display a personality and gifting that is all their own! It takes time for them to grow into their own person, but each child is uniquely born with gifts from the Lord. Those gifts are meant to play a part in the Kingdom of God. They are called to play a part in ministry as well – no matter their age! Children can know God, walk with God and serve God.
In Luke 18:16-17 Jesus calls the children to Him and says that we should all have the faith of child. This scripture clearly states that children are valuable in God’s Kingdom.
But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
As parents our role is to disciple our children and provide them with a solid foundation for their faith. Often we forget that the fullness of the gospel is available to all who believe in the name of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit is present in all those who believe – including children!
When our oldest son was old enough to communicate with us, we noticed quickly – even at his young age – that he was a giver. He understood love through giving and sharing things that mattered to him. We would often run around behind him on the playground or at school trying to keep him from giving away all of the things that mattered most to him. One day, we realized this was a part of who God created him to be and we needed to find ways to help guide him in those gifts. This doesn’t mean we could let him give away all of toys and presents he’d been given, but we could help him foster than inclination to give. As he grows, we aim to help him understand his giving nature and how he can do that in ways that bless the Lord.
So what are some basic principles to outline how we as parents can come alongside our children and help them foster this part of who God created them to be? Here are a few steps to begin the process.
1. Pray Diligently For Their Salvation
Our children can’t fully understand who God created them to be until they have had an encounter with their own spiritual depravity and have come to know that Jesus died specifically for them. This life-changing moment requires that we as parents make certain that they have access to God in a way that they can believe and understand.
2. Teach Them About The Spirit
Once they have placed their faith in God, we must emphasize the importance of their own personal relationship with Him. Helping our kids understand that God is a relational God and that He desires to have a relationship with them is an important principle for their faith. It will be easier for them to grasp that God has uniquely gifted them in ways that no one else is when they have an intimate relationship with Him.
3. Help Them Discover Their Spiritual Gifts
As you begin walking with your child early on in their faith journey, pray for the Spirit to make evident the unique gifts they’ve been given. By knowing and sharing our own personal gifting’s we provide an example to them of how God created us each to fit into the body of Christ. Look for the things that light them up and how are they bent towards showing love to others. Let’s remember that we should never push our children towards their individual gifts. It is the role of the Spirit to draw them towards who God created them to be. We can help cultivate these gifts by watching closely for what seems to be emerging from their little hearts and guiding them towards practical ways they can use those gifts for the Kingdom. Remember, it’s ok for your children’s gifts to be different from your own! In fact, that’s how we are created – so that we each play a part that only we can play in a much bigger story which ultimately brings glory to God.
4. Encourage Them!
Just as we would encourage our kids on the soccer field or at a piano recital, it’s imperative that we affirm them when they are actively using their gifts from the Spirit. Our assurance that we believe in them and that we know God created them to play a role in His Kingdom will give them the affirmation they need to feel confident in who He created them to be! What a blessing to cheer our children on as we watch them unwrap the gifts of the Spirit and then grow into men and women who have a passionate, unwavering faith in God.
5. Open The Door …
Jesus called the children to Him because He knew that the faith of a child was uninhibited and thus a valuable asset to building His Kingdom. Connecting our children with opportunities to use those gifts and display their faith leads them to holy ground where they play an active part in a sharing the love of God with a world full of hurting people desperate to know there is a Savior.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child up a child in the way he should go … Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Soon enough these blessings we’ve been given will grow up and be gone from the safety of the homes we’ve built for them. These are the days we’ve been given to teach them about the things that matter. These are the moments we have to give them the tools they need for building a faith that can be handed down for generations to come.