Introducing Your Children to the Peace of God

If our children are at peace, our world will be at peace.

As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to live the kingdom life, and how to create harmony in their relationship with Christ leading to a victorious life. Give them the Peace of God in their lives.

Paul told the Philippians to keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you hard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4::9 NLT

Most of us have not felt the true peace God offers until we are much older, some never feel the peace. I was in my early 60’s the first time I felt the calmness, serenity, and peace. It was a moment when words cannot accurately define the experience. I was halfway through my life which caused me to think, if I experienced this ‘peace’ when I learned this scripture when I attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, or as a young adult in Bible Study, and it was explained as a reality, a state experienced in prayer, what direction would my life have taken? Granted I know there is a time and season for everything, but imagine – the experience of true peace as a youngster. Empowered with the armor and peace would end youthful fears. And, if I had experienced true peace, would my path had differed about how I maneuvered through my career because I was not rattled by the norms of daily events and decision-making? Would I have been a different wife and a different type of leader?

That was

Christians do not have to wait to become adults to feel the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). As parents, we can teach our children how to deliberately live their lives as Christians put on the Armor of God, become Christian Warriors, rest in the Word, and experience the peace that is greater than our understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Let’s teach our children what Philippians 4:7 means to them. We can give them the greatest gift ever in life, a life of greater understanding of the Word and how to apply it in their daily lives.

The previous lessons thought our children that their behavior and character should imitate Christ. They learned that the Armor of God is something they wear to protect themselves. They are beginning to understand what defines a true friend. Now we want to empower them to focus on their relationship with Christ and live a harmonious, peaceful life.

Attaining peace will be accomplished through knowing God’s purpose in their life. They will understand why they should not accept lifeless rituals and instead establish their relationship with God by hosting the Holy Spirit in their being.

We must teach our children to think about what brings peace and contentment into their lives. If they accept the character of Christ as their own character, they are well on their way to experiencing peace. The characteristics in effect serve as tools to keep them from becoming ‘followers.’ They will be less likely to succumb to bullying and question the difference between right and wrong when their friends want them to join in doing something that creates an uneasy, queasy feeling in them. Being grounded in the Word offers them peace. They will not worry or fret about what other people think. They will not be intimidated by peers. As children, they may feel some uncertainty, but they will know their moral compass always points north.

Training of this type is paramount in our children’s lives. It is easy to learn a scripture, but difficult to know how to apply the scripture as part of the daily practice of life, this requires regimen.

The way to train your children is the same method shared throughout my posts,

  1. read the scripture to them
  2. have them read or recite the scripture with you
  3. explain the scripture to them
  4. read the scripture at bedtime and share its meaning one more time
  5. the next morning ask them about the scripture and to apply the scripture at school
  6. when they come home from school discuss it with them and ask if they applied it during the day, how and what was the outcome
  7. pray that they receive the word and embrace it as a life practice

Over time it will take root in their daily activities.

Continue to discuss other Bible scriptures pointing out how people were or were not living their lives like Christ, highlighting the instances where people did behave like Christ.

The peace of God is an expected result when you imitate the characteristics of Christ. The peace is the calm you feel when you surrender to God. Surrendering to God is learning to live as the Bible commands and living a life of faith.

Adults generally subjugate children to storytelling and not bible study. They do not feel children can understand the Bible. I think that children begin school at age five. They are developmentally able to discern and learn. If children can learn subjects in school, can learn how to conduct themselves in a social setting, then they can learn what the stories in the Bible mean in their daily lives. They are smart. Do not think that they are too young to understand the Word. The most important time in their lives are the early years when they begin to define their character traits and become a person. It is important that this developmental stage of social development is concurrent with their scriptural development.

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How to Train Your Children to Embrace the Word of God

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.           Romans 12:2

family praying

Steps that empower our children to live a Christ-like life:

1. read the scripture to them
2. have them read or recite the scripture with you
3. explain the scripture to them
4. read the scripture at bedtime and share its meaning one more time
5. the next morning ask them about the scripture and to apply the scripture at school
6. when they come home from school discuss it with them and ask if they applied it during       the day, how and what was the outcome
7. pray that they receive the word and embrace it as a life practice

Over time the scripture will take root in their daily activities and they will become Young Christian Warriors.

Key – Never stop praying, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT. Never stop teaching the scriptures to your children. Never stop questioning if they are applying the Word of God in their daily lives. Always ask them to share how they applied the word in a real-life situation.

Children – Fruit of the Spirit

 

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22,23

 

 

Paul, the author of the Book of Galatians, used the concept of fruit because it created a visual image of the characteristics (or virtues) of Christ. When teaching the Fruit of the Spirit, we always see a chart or pictures of fruit. Most people can recite the nine characteristics, known as the Fruit of the Spirit, but how many look at themselves to make sure these are their (personal) characteristics acquired through their relationship with Christ? Reinforcing the characteristics of Christ, in our children, is the basis for who they will become as adults.

Definitions

LOVE (parent to child.)

Love is selfless, unconditional love. God loves us unconditionally, without thought, and we should love each other the same way. It is the way Jesus feels about us. This type of love is always giving and impossible to take or be taken. Agape love shows itself in action. (Focus on the Family, Agape Love.)

(Parent to child)  It is the way I feel about you when you behave or misbehave when you are sick or well. If you have a pet, use the pets’ relationship with your child. It is when Sam hides your ball, tears up your book, wets on the floor and when he retrieves the toy you threw, sits next to you, and sleeps on your bed. It is Sam being Sam and loving him for it.

JOY (parent to child)

Joy is a feeling of internal (inside) peace. It’s the warm feeling you get when you see Grandma, your new baby sister or, picked out your pet. It is how you feel the love God has for you and the love you have for God. It is a snuggly, warm feeling.

PEACE (parent to child)

Peace is the warm, snuggly feeling of joy and peace we feel in our hearts. Peace comes from the presence of God in our life. It lets you know God loves you by sending his only Son, to strengthen our relationship with Him. When you are using these characteristics (of Christ) in your decision-making, you will experience peace when you make your decision and will know God is with you.

PATIENCE (parent to child)

Patience is how we wait for something. For example, when you get a new pet, you have to be patient while you train him, he will not obey immediately, he has to be taught. When your little brother, sister, cousin, or neighbor is playing with you, and they do not treat your toys the way you want them to, you have to learn to wait without staying angry while they learn how to treat your toys. God wants us to learn to become patient with others, just as he is patient with us. Patience is being kind to others even when you don’t want to. Patience demonstrates how we trust God to answer our prayers while we grow to become more like Christ.

KINDNESS (parent to child)

Kindness is how we treat others, we are not rude, angry, or blaming. It is being generous. It is letting go of how a friend mistreated you and love them for who they are. It means we are concerned about others, such as when a friend gets hurt on the playground; you help them up, call an adult, and tell them everything will be okay.  Kindness helps us to become better-caring people.

GOODNESS (parent to child)

Goodness is more than kindness. Your friend got hurt, you were kind because you wanted to help him. The act of goodness is helping him. Many people want to help someone in need but do not follow through. Goodness is following through because you know that is what God wants you to do. It is having a good heart and acting on it. We saw goodness in people during Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria. Neighbors were helping each other to survive the storms. Why, because it was the right thing to do.

FAITHFULNESS (parent to child)

Faithfulness is being responsible. If I (mother) ask you to put your clothes in the hamper and you do it, it is being reliable. I can trust you to do what you say you will do. It is being able to be trusted, reliable. Being faithful is demonstrating how Christ feels about us, the is trustworthy and reliable. He is true to his word. Our goal is to become trustworthy and reliable like Christ.

GENTLENESS (parent to child)

Gentleness is not blaming a person for doing something wrong but instead helping them to do better. Gentleness does not show conceit, envy or rudeness. God’s love helps you to become gentle, caring, and kind.

SELF-CONTROL (parent to child)

Self-control is when you stop and think about what you are getting ready to do and decide not to do it because it is wrong and you know Your parent expects a better outcome. self-control is self-discipline. For example, athletes are self-disciplined, they know how they should behave and how to exercise to be their best. The Holy Spirit helps us to have self-control and to behave ourselves.

ABOUT THE PROCESS

The nine characteristics of Christ are very powerful tools. Teaching our children and teens to rely on them is important. We cannot begin the process too early in life., though it is important to keep in mind your child’s developmental stage to ensure they understand the power our Lord has given us. It can be likened to Clark Kent growing up in Smallville, Kansas. Superman learned about and how to use his powers over time, learning to apply the characteristics of Christ in our lives is much the same. It is a process.

Please be patient with the process. This lesson may take a few weeks to teach the definitions to your children and months to reinforce what they have learned. You will reinforce the virtues by asking your children about how they use them. Questions and discussions reinforce what they have learned.

Good questions to ask your children each day during dinner to help reinforce the use of the Fruit of the Spirit in their daily activities:

  • How was your day?
  • What characteristics of Christ did you use today?
  • What did you do and what was the result?
  • Is there an instance when you did not use the Fruit of the Spirit, why not, what happened?

Activating the Fruit of the Spirit in Children

All saved Christians embody the Holy Spirit. He dwells in us. Our children need to understand that they are his host. Everything Jesus represents resides in our children and needs to be activated in their being. You can compare superheroes to Christ and the hero they morph into as the Holy Spirit. The hero that lives in Clark Kent is Superman, and the hero that resides in Wonder Woman is Diana Prince. Now, this is stretching it a bit, however, the Holy Spirit resides in us and we must activate by incorporating it with our personalities to manifest the character of Christ in our own lives.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

In the previous lesson, Armor First, I spoke briefly about the Fruit of the Spirit and named each, but did not define them. How many of us read this scripture to our children but did not teach them how to become more like Christ? The question is, how do we share the power of these words with our children? We teach through defining and applying the Fruit of the Spirit in how we should live, act and think.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. – Galatians 5:22, 25, 26 NLT

When I was a Teen Bible Study teacher, I found that our kids were so vulnerable. The world so easily tries to gobble up our young people through social media, and TV exposure is pervasive. Today, peer pressure is heightened through smartphone access. The outreach and exposure through these avenues are pervasive. Our children’s friends, sometimes innocently entice our children and teens to join in ‘the fun’ which can be immoral and sinful. In a world of ‘fake truths’, it is difficult for them to know who they are and how to stand in the face of evil.

So back to Fruit of the Spirit. We need to teach our children that they belong to Jesus Christ, that they embody the Holy Spirit, and if they are going to emulate someone, it should be Christ, and not blindly following the crowd. They need to understand that if they practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, they will succeed in life. The fruit will make them stronger in the Lord, and along with the Whole Armor of God, they will ward off the tricks and traps of the evil one.

What does this mean to you and your children? To begin, teaching your children the spiritual definition of the words increases their understanding of Jesus, his Disciples and men, and women in the Bible. It provides them with a framework of what it is to be a good person and become more Christ-like. They need to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). They are the children of our Almighty God.