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2nd Grade: God is Spirit

 

Blueprint Big Idea

For most of us, believing in something we cannot see is difficult. A child is also challenged by this fact, but has a “simple faith” that can be taught. Every child made in God’s image can learn that although we cannot see God, He is very real and we can know Him and sense Him through His Holy Spirit. Hebrews tell us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1). In Matthew 18:3-4, Jesus tells us the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven are those who become like children in their faith so this proves a child can learn to know God, even though he cannot physically see Him. In Matthew when Jesus is speaking about protecting little ones, He says something profound in verse 18:10, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.” How exciting for children to learn that there is truly a spiritual realm and a place called heaven! Children need to learn early that God’s Kingdom is real and God’s influence in their lives can be a reality starting now! The five blueprints that follow will help you explain these foundational truths.

 

Your child’s relationships

Your child’s relationships will thrive in life if you create an atmosphere conducive to strengthening their spirit. Becoming a Christian is ultimately necessary for their spirit to come alive and understand the things of God. In addition, creating a home atmosphere of life, light and love makes all the difference in their connecting to God. Some simple ways I chose to create this atmosphere to help my kids were: 1) Light a candle in a prominent place. 2) Make goodies at least once a week. 3) Have good music playing in the background. This means music that helps their spirit say “yes” to God. 4) Play together as a family. 5) Read the Bible. 6) Have them listen to Bible stories or stories of kids learning things that are true, right, beautiful and just. Philippians 4:8 gives us a great prescription to help you know if an activity, movie, music or book is good for strengthening your child’s spirit. It says, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good reputation, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things”. Use this prescription and eventually teach your kids to self-govern their choices with the same scriptural prescription for spiritual health.

 
 
Blueprint Truth #1
 

GOD IS SPIRIT

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

- John 4:24

Biblical Background

In the beginning of time when the earth was formless and void, Genesis tells us that “The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Then God spoke and material things came into being. God creates tangible pictures in creation that we can see and sense that teach us about Him (Romans 1). Scripture also tells us that no man has seen God at any time (John 1:18). John 4:24 says, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” God is spirit, and in order to “know Him”, we must know Him on His terms. John 3:3 says “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” And in John 3:5 Jesus continues, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”

 

Application

We cannot see wind, but we can see its results. Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is invisible, immaterial and powerful. One way to make God seem more real to your child is for you to point out the wind when you see it moving something and liken it to how God works. It might be a good time to get a wind chime and hang it in a prominent place so your kids can hear the wind’s affect. You may choose to take a trip to a special destination where wind has a big impact, such as the ocean. Another way to teach about the Spirit’s influence is to share your own experiences of putting your trust in God, and then share the results that strengthened your faith. Faith requires a “step” so your child is going to be greatly impacted by your personal faith journey. Have fun sharing with them how God’s Spirit led you or guided you and if you happen to be in a new faith journey yourself, that is terrific! Your honesty in your journey is powerful to share with your child and precious to God!

 
 
Blueprint Truth #2
 

GOD SENT HIS SON IN THE FLESH, FOR A PURPOSE

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

- John 1:14

Biblical Background

All mankind is flesh, referring to the physical matter as well as our body and our humanity. Old Testament anthropological thought holds that a human being is a body, rather than just having a body. The Bible does not teach that the body is evil, but because of sin, the flesh (the body, mind, will and emotions) is easily tempted to engage in evil behavior. All mankind is born with a sin nature, inherited from the father and mother of the human race (Adam and Eve). Therefore, we needed a remedy that only God could provide so that our relationship with Him can be restored. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Adam and Eve sinned with their bodies, so the Savior, Jesus Christ needed to come in the form of man, with a body. Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” I Cor. 15:21-22 says, “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.” Our bodies are an important part of our humanity and when Christ returns He will actually provide us with glorified bodies! I’m excited about that!

 

Application

One important task for you as a parent is to teach your kids that they are a whole person - including their body. Often in the church we treat the body as a house to the “real” us. We don’t have a body, we are a body, soul and spirit. Theology and science compel us to live completely integrated in all parts of our being and this integrated or wholeness is an idea you will continue to expand as your kids get older and learn about sexual integrity (living in agreement with your male or female design in all five aspects of your being). When your children begin to get “body curious”, remind them that their whole body is good, and each part has a purpose. You do not have to go in to any great detail but highlighting interesting facts about different parts, such as the eyes actually having cells that are motion detectors makes the body story more powerful! To answer the #1 question about body part names, yes, you should tell them the specific and accurate names of all their body parts, rather than nick names. One caution, I have seen proud parents allow little Johnny free reign of the airwaves at a dinner party only to surprise people with his “knowledge.” Teach your child that all parts of our bodies have power, purpose and proper names. You will want to get a book that shows the entire body including the inside body parts as well such as the organs, bones etc. so they begin to see the wonder of the whole human body that God created. You should also teach them that some conversations about body parts are not for every setting. The parts of us that are private, or covered are also the same parts we only mention in private to our parents or loved ones. All “special” information about us is reserved for those who know us best. In this way, you are already teaching modesty.

 

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Blueprint Truth #3
 

WE WERE MADE BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

- I Thessalonians 5:23

Biblical Background

The Bible speaks of man as a unique integrated being; body, soul and spirit. I Thessalonians 5:23 says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” All three parts of us are intended to reflect the nature of God. Due to the fall of man and sin, not only do we need to be completely redeemed, but we need to bring the flesh and its desires under control. The flesh is the soul with its mind, will and emotions and the body represents physical desires. Both the body and the soul are good, and God designed each with purpose in mind. But, both the mind and the body can cause an individual great trouble in their quest for holiness, wholeness and righteousness. God made us in His image and likeness and we have the task of bearing His image correctly and learning to be like Him. The goal of every Christian is to work out their sanctification (the process of becoming like Christ) with the Holy Spirit guiding their spirit to rule over their body and soul. Most believers recognize they have a body and a soul, but some may not realize they have a spirit. Our spirit is how we commune with God. In fact, it has three main functions: conscience, intuition and communion. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” God cannot be known by mere intellect or feelings. It is in our spirit where we know Him and where once regenerated, the Holy Spirit leads us into all righteousness.

 

Application

Our spirit is dead in sin until we become a follower of Christ. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Once your child has done this, the Holy Spirit comes to live in them and their spirit comes alive, or is born again! Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” They are now able to communicate with God and understand the truths of the Kingdom of Heaven! Without the Holy Spirit, spiritual truth is hard to understand because we rely on our minds and emotions. God can hear our prayers, but we have trouble hearing Him! A simple way to communicate this to your child is telling them that just like a cell phone is made to communicate, so is their spirit. If the battery is dead, a new one is needed for the spirit or phone to work in order to communicate with God. Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.” What an opportunity you have to lead your child to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit!

 
 
Blueprint Truth #4
 

I AM TO WALK BY THE SPIRIT

Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 

- Galatians 5:16

Biblical Background

Scripture tells us in Galatians 5:16-17, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another.” While we are to experience life with our complete “self” (body, soul and spirit), it is the spirit that needs strengthening if we are to walk in righteousness, because the other two areas of self are already strong. The spirit needs to lead the body and soul so a review of our spirit’s role will help to do this. Our conscience plays the discerning role, distinguishing right from wrong mainly through knowledge, and reason confirms conscience. Conscience is a direct judgment and does not bend to outside opinions. So, teaching your kids what is right and wrong is important and don’t assume they will just pick it up. The Holy Spirit will do this their whole life, but it helps for you to spell it out for them when they are young. Intuition is the sensing part of the human spirit. We “just know” through our intuition. The revelations of God and the movements of the Holy Spirit are known to the believer through intuition. Communion is worshipping God. Our worship of God and His communication with us directly affects our spirit so to strengthen our ability to walk by the spirit, we must strengthen our spirit by taking in spiritual food (the Bible, worship, truth, etc.). We can all practice listening to the Holy Spirit through our spirit to learn by faith that God is indeed speaking to us. Obedience to His voice is key in this whole process!

 

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Application

Teaching your child to “sense” God talking to them through the spirit is key to growing as a Christian. One way to do this is the next time they do something good or righteous; ask them, “How do you feel in your heart? Do you sense God’s peace or just a good calm feeling?” When they do something wrong, in the process of repentance and forgiveness, ask them how they felt when they lied, or cheated? Did they have a moment where they sensed they shouldn’t do it? Did they get a “yucky” feeling when they sinned? Children need to learn to listen to their spirit. When I was speaking at a University, I was talking with a friend’s daughter, who told me every time she went out with a guy she felt sick to her stomach. Knowing the spiritual sensitivity of this young lady, I told her that I believed the Holy Spirit was trying to let her know these were all the wrong guys. (She was a catch, by the way!) This might seem strange, but I can sense in my spirit the same kinds of things and feel sick at times in certain situations. I told her that when the right man came along, she would not feel this way. Guess what? Mr. Right did come along, and they are happily married, have children and are in full time ministry and no, she didn’t get the yucky feeling. Sensing what God’s will is for us does not mean something is necessarily bad, but it may not be for us. God’s will is unique for each of us and listening to His voice brings great peace and joy.

 

 
 
Blueprint Truth #5
 

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT CAN BE SEEN IN MY LIFE.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

- Galatians 5:22

 

Biblical Background

Romans 8:1-2 are favorite verses for many of us, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Good news indeed! The verses that follow are helpful as well, vs 5-8, “For those who are according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God for it is not even able to do so and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Simply put, until we have the spirit leading us, our attempts at righteousness fall short. Your child needs the help of the Holy Spirit just like you do! The negative deeds of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 and include immorality, idolatry, factions, strife, jealousy, etc. The end of verse 21 says, “Those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” This is why we need the Spirit of God because we are made to love God, reflect His nature, expand His Kingdom and live with Him eternally. By the Spirit’s leading, we can do this and live fruitful lives. When God designed Adam and Eve, He blessed them and told them to be fruitful (Gen 1:28) and that is His intention for all of us as well. In Galatians 5:22, it tells us what the fruit of letting the Holy Spirit lead our lives looks like: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Here is another great pattern or prescription for relationships you can teach your kids!

 

Application

One of the reasons I am such a fan of children’s ministry in churches is because the emphasis to reach kids young with the message of Jesus is the same message Jesus emphasized, “Let the little ones come to Me!” (Mark 10:14).” Your children cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit on their own. Even though they may be adorable, they are still sinners who need redemption, just like you and me. One very quick way to make your parenting easier is to bring them directly to their heavenly Father. Raising five small children while home schooling and being active in ministry was a challenge for my husband and I to say the least! One saving grace was the fact that I could remind my children that I was parenting them on behalf of their Heavenly Father, and I was as obliged to be obedient as they were! I had to follow the rules in life like they did and I needed the Spirit’s help too because we were in the journey together. Seeing fruit early in the life of your child is a treasure and better than any vacation or medication to ease the stress of life! Have you introduced your child to their Heavenly Father? You will know if a real transaction took place because there will be proof in their life!

 
 

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