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3rd Grade: God is Light

 

Blueprint Big Idea

Teaching your child that God is light will be illuminating! I John 1:5 (NIV) says, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness.” This verse is emphatic in its declaration of God’s nature. His first act in the creation account was to create light, which helped to illuminate all the creation that would follow. If there was any hint of darkness in God, He could not be called Holy. God doesn’t just produce light, He is light, and His light dispels all darkness! Light takes away any doubt of what is present because you can see what is going on around you. God is fully light-filled in all His ways and His motives are not hidden or dark - isn’t that great news? So, whatever is going on in our life, we can know His desires and plans for us are always loving, always truthful and for our good. God is going to make every effort to bring your child into the light in every area of their life, which will include revealing their sin. Children are naturally drawn to light, and in fact, they are often afraid of the darkness so teaching them about their Heavenly Father and His Kingdom of Light will help them immensely!

 
 
 

Your child’s relationships

At this age, you might find your child is gaining new friends and seems to be on the “A” list for parties! Birthday parties and sleepovers have become very popular, even for young kids. This is why I always have a gift closet stocked! I was also a professional party planner for many years and while I am a big fan of birthday parties, and believe being pro-life means we celebrate every birthday in some way, I discourage sleepovers at this age. The only exception is when you know the family fairly well. In our family we set boundaries on sleepovers that applied even as our kids grew older and even then, our young teens were not allowed to spend the night unless we knew the parents. Because we are relational people, when our kids were older we attempted to get to know parents in certain circumstances by setting up coffee dates because our kids just “had to spend the night!” If it wasn’t possible to get to know the parents, (some of our attempts were actually pretty funny) then we would let them stay late at the party and pick them up right before bed-time. At every age, the main purpose was our child’s protection, and yes, there was push back. A lot of strange conversations and potential abuse or misuse of sexual material happens late at night in these settings, although most situations are perfectly safe. As our kids got older though, they didn’t seem to mind not staying over. To be transparent, our other motives for saying no to sleepovers was because of the results of a so-called sleep-over: tired, grumpy, sick kids, never seemed like a good party favor to me!

 
Blueprint Truth #1
 

GOD IS LIGHT, AND THERE IS NO DARKNESS IN HIM

And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

- John 1:5

Biblical Background

In Genesis 1:2, we see the earth is formless and void and darkness covered the surface of the deep. In Genesis 1:3, “God said, ‘Let there be light‘, and there was light.” This first act of creation shows God creating light, and separating light from darkness, depicting a common theme played out throughout Scripture: God who is light, overtaking the darkness. The contrast of light and darkness is common throughout the Bible. Light depicts good and darkness evil. However, light and darkness are not equal. God is the absolute Sovereign who rules over the darkness and the powers of evil. I John 1:5 says, “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Light represents God in His holiness. I Tim. 6:16 says, “Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light.” God is the source of light, the creator of light (Genesis 1:3) and the Father of light (James 1:17). The great revelation of God’s light is in His son, Jesus Christ and Jesus, speaking in John 8:12 says, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” He goes on to say in John 12:46, “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness.” In the beginning God entered into darkness, and brought light and ultimately life. In our lives, He enters into the darkness of our sin, and brings light that we might have life!

 

Application

We all need light to thrive and something powerful happens when even a house plant doesn’t get light… it dies. We need light to live well and your child needs a steady diet of light, which is truth, beginning with the Bible. Providing them with a children’s Bible is a great place to start and even audio Bible stories will have a powerful influence in your child’s life. Your child also needs you to give them light by highlighting what is true in life on a day to day basis. Shining the light of truth in real life situations helps your child understand how God “sees” things. For instance, if you see a movie or TV show and see something that isn’t true (darkness), it helps to tell your child, “Honey, what you saw is not true. Here are the real facts.” Or, “This is what the Bible says about that situation.” Truth acts as a flashlight in a dark room and it doesn’t have to be loud and “in your face” to be illuminating. In fact, I don’t really want a light shined right in my eyes, but a carefully placed light brings needed illumination with grace doesn’t it? We all need light to walk around without stumbling so when you share truth, be gracious. As an avid truth lover, I can tend to be black and white so God continues to help me learn to pass on truth in ways people can receive it because being right is not the goal, sharing truth is! Of course we all know not all truth is appropriate for kids to hear, such as adult business, people’s personal information, gossip, etc. so just remember to be a light! Doesn’t it make you want to sing, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine?”

 
 
Blueprint Truth #2
 

THERE IS A KINGDOM OF LIGHT AND A KINGDOM OF DARKNESS

For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son.  

- Colossians 1:13

Biblical Background

Darkness and light are often contrasted in Scripture and darkness depicts evil and anything that is anti-God, wicked or chaotic. Light, on the other hand, depicts good, that which is divine, and metaphorically, light represents life, salvation and the presence of God. God has a plan to build His Kingdom of light, life and love. Satan, the evil prince, also has a plan to build his own kingdom. Before trusting in Jesus Christ for our salvation, the Bible says we were all in the kingdom of darkness. Ephesians 2:1-2 says, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” We were actually under the power of Satan and the dominion of darkness and were slaves to sin! Rom. 6:16 says, “You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness.” We were born into this kingdom of sin, slavery and death because of the fall of man (Gen 3). Satan will try to disguise himself as an “angel of light” to lull us into thinking he is harmless, and that we do not need to be set free from his kingdom. However, it is by God’s loving grace and the atoning work of Jesus Christ that we have been set free. Romans 6:18 says, “And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” We have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness! Col 1:13 says, “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”

 

Application

Teaching your child about these two kingdoms may seem like a Lord of the Rings movie, oh wait it is! The reality is the Bible says they do exist so we want to teach age appropriately about good and evil, light and darkness. I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating, parenting is an “outside in” job. You can also teach spiritual truth this way. You can say, “How does light make your body feel? Warm. How does dark make you feel? Cold.” We can teach about darkness by using examples of dark and cold without scaring kids. In fact, I do not recommend movies that are too old for them, or seeing images in any movie depicting evil characters that can cement gory pictures or images in their mind at a young age. I remember as a teen people insisting I see the movie Carrie (yes, we have the same name) or Halloween, and I refused. I didn’t want the enemy to use it against me when I was alone and I believe protecting our kids is important in this way. You don’t have to violate kids to teach truth, in fact the opposite is true. Officials who specialize in catching counterfeit money laundering rings spend a lot of time learning what real money looks and feels like, so they can quickly spot the false. So, in teaching your son or daughter about the reality of the Kingdom of Light, it is quite simple to help them understand by using the good feelings that come with light. Examples of light to illustrate this point are sunshine, candles, fire light, etc. When they do something good, remind them they are walking in the light. When they see stars in the sky, fireworks, pretty lights at Christmas, remind them that God is Light! One of our kids loved the moon as a child. His favorite book was Goodnight Moon. One night he came out on our porch crying and said, “Mommy, moon broke!” It took me a moment, and then I realized it was a half-moon that night. I couldn’t help but smile and quickly comforted him and told him part of the moon was just hiding. The light from the moon was comforting to our son. You know the moon has no light of its own, it merely reflects the light of the sun! A good example for all of us!

 

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Blueprint Truth #3
 

WE ARE CALLED TO WALK IN THE LIGHT

And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.  

- Ephesians 5:11

Biblical Background

The true Christian life is a life of light. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.” Ephesians 5:8-9 tells us, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light. For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” How can we know if something is dark or light? We ask, is it good? Is it righteous? Is it truth? Ephesians 5:11 says, “And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” We were created to be life-giving, fruitful people. Darkness does not produce life, only death. I John 1:6 says, “If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” In our behavior or thoughts, we expand the Kingdom of Light or the kingdom of darkness. The Kingdom of God is not just a heavenly place, but a spiritual realm of influence. God’s Kingdom is expanded by the behavior and submission of our hearts. Similarly, the kingdom of darkness may be expanded by our thoughts and actions. What we do, say or think should “reflect” God and have an aspect of light to it. We must be careful as we walk out our faith. John 12:35 says, “For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.”

 

Application

Mom and Dad, your little one is naturally drawn to light. However, you may find them drawn to the darkness as well. Secrets are a sign of our fallen nature, as are lies. There is no greater harm to your child than to begin a life of lying. So now is the time to deal with lying, misinformation, half-truths, etc., because in reality, these are all lies. John 8:44 speaks about Satan as the father of lies and calls him a murderer from the beginning. Lying is a sin, and when any sin conceives it brings forth death (James 1:15) so it’s important to take this seriously. Satan speaks in his native tongue, lies. You do not want your child, who is made in the image of his Heavenly Father to speak in the native tongue of the evil prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), because it gives the enemy a foothold in his life. Lying demands a swift response from you. In our home lying was always dealt with seriously. Some parents are worried if they make this particular sin too big, their child won’t come to them later in life when they sin. I would say it is your response rather than the sin that makes you approachable or not. Principled parenting requires us to deal with today’s sin. Don’t compromise their training now because of fear of the future, in fact that is what the enemy wants you to do. If your little one lies today with his or her mouth, it will be easier to “lie” with his body later in sexual sin, perversion or confusion. We want them speaking truth in all parts of their body so placing truth telling as a priority will help them continue to walk in the light.

 
 
Blueprint Truth #4
 

WE ARE TO BE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF LIGHT

For you were formally darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.  

- Ephesians 5:8

Biblical Background

It is God’s will that all of mankind would be part of His family and come in to the Kingdom of Light. However, each person must make this decision for themselves. Sadly, not everyone will choose to walk in the light. John 3:18-19 says, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the Light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil.” Jesus says in John 12:36, “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, in order that you may become sons of light.” One way we can learn to be sons and daughters of light is to read the word of God. Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” We are to grow as sons and daughters of light so that others might know the source of all light, God Himself! Philippians 2:15 says, “That you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.”

 

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Application

I love simple, yet profound truth. Plant a seed, then tend it and watch it grow! It’s miraculous to see the life God placed in the seed become what He intended. Plant God’s word in your son or daughter and you will see them become who God intended! Light in any form changes the environment around it. When children are young, they love to listen to stories or music about the Bible as well as Bible truths or principles taught in great stories about inspiring people. Making this kind of learning available creates an atmosphere of fun, and you will see surprising results. One Abbott child said that her Bible class in college was easy because of the Adventures in Odyssey tapes and other stories she used to listen to. She went on to say that knowing the books of the Bible also came easy for her in High School because our family learned them in a song! I am not gifted musically, but I love music and have it playing often. One caution, music is so powerful that you will want to help guard your child’s heart and mind by not letting them listen to bad music. The lyrics and beat cement the intended message in their mind and some of the messages are evil. Even overly romantic music can awaken a young girl to romance too early so play age appropriate music that helps them live in agreement with their design and music that glorifies God, whatever genre it is! We recently went to a Christian music festival where I was speaking and had the privilege of meeting a lot of contemporary Christian music artists. Listening to their different styles of music was so helpful in realizing that kids can listen to fun, music if the lyrics are godly and help them walk in the light. Your choice of music for your family is up to you, but I encourage you to find music that your kids will feel is fun and even cool enough for their pre-Christian friends to listen to. They won’t forget the words because it will keep playing in their heads!

 

 
 
Blueprint Truth #5
 

TRUE FRIENDSHIPS ARE BUILT IN THE LIGHT

 

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 

- I John 1:6

 

Biblical Background

For professing Christians, we are people of light and our relationships should reflect Christ, who is the Light of the world! I John 1:6-7 says, “If we say we have fellowship with Him, and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Those who are followers of Christ are united in the Spirit, through the Son, to the Father. This new covenant allows man to relate to God and to each other in a new spiritual dimension. Part of walking in the light, is having relationships that are in the light. This means we treat all people in a loving manner, but we “fellowship” or become bound or tied to those who are walking with Christ. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” In all of our relationships we are all called to be witnesses for Christ, and our witness is affected by how we walk out our friendships. We must choose to live in the light by doing those things that are good, right and true and we do not put our fellowship with God at risk by taking part in the deeds of darkness. This reality is for both adults and kids. You never reach an age of maturity where dark deeds don’t affect you.

 

Application

The people your children spend time with matters, so how do we discern who should be their friends? First, as Christians, we are called to be friends to all and you will want to teach this important truth to your kids at every age. However, close friends require more time and bonding so if they have a friend who is not walking in the light, they can still be kind to that friend, but they cannot be “tied” to them. This doesn’t mean cutting off the friendship, but rather bringing them close on your terms. Have this child in your home. You pick the movies. You set the ground rules for speech and behavior and I encourage you to love this child in to the Kingdom! Your child’s friends will impact their choices. If this particular friend still doesn’t change their behavior, you will need to limit the time they have with your child in a gracious, nonjudgmental way. I have always felt it my privilege to train any child who comes to my home. For example: When they were small, I would make sure I could hear our kids and friends conversations. If I heard something that was inappropriate, I would walk in the room and say, “In the Abbott house, we don’t talk bad about others, or we don’t say those words. Does everyone understand?” Little heads would nod, including my children. I believe all adults should teach kids with grace and love. We have always had a house full of kids, and those same kids who get my “little instructions” also get my cookies and hugs. Now, years later many of these little ones are in college or older and are still asking for input. Don’t be afraid to be the adult!

 
 

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