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6th Grade: God is Holy

 

Blueprint Big Idea

As people made in God’s image (Gen 1:27) we are designed to reflect God. The Bible says He is Holy, and He intentionally designed us for holiness! (I Peter 1:15-16) The word holy often sounds beyond reach, but in reality, it is part of God’s plan for our design and our relationships. Holy means freedom from evil, sacred, sanctified and it also means whole. When we look at God’s intent for us in scripture as His people, we see this emphasis over and over again. We are God’s handiwork and His most precious creation so He intends for us to live with the dignity, beauty and purity that a child of the King should express. Too often we settle for less because we cannot imagine what living holy really looks like. At this age, your child is able to learn about holiness and at the same time, apply biblical principles for holiness to their real life relationships. The five blueprints below will help you teach them what scripture has to say about this important topic!

 

Your child’s relationships

Your son or daughter is at a unique crossroads in their life. They are in one sense, leaving childhood and in another, looking over a bridge at their future adolescence. They want to be treated older than they are, yet they still need protection and guidance. At this age the interest in having a boyfriend or girlfriend is definitely heightened. Maybe it’s that glance over the bridge to the older teens that brings this interest along with the natural attraction to the opposite sex. It is good to let them know they do not need a boyfriend or girlfriend, but encourage healthy friendships with friends of both sexes. Here is a sample conversation I have with 6th graders: I ask: “So, what is dating for? (answer: Finding a spouse.) And how old are you? (11-12) So, what are the chances you will marry? (Slim to none) So, what are the chances you will break up? (Likely 100%) So, if God wants you whole, healthy and able to love others with a pure heart, isn’t it better to stay friends?” Now, you are expecting groaning... but my experience is, they usually feel relief. You will find pre-teens have feelings for the opposite sex that are real and to them and powerful. You can validate the feelings and let them know you are not blessing a dating or romantic relationship, but these normal attractions are helping them learn about the kind of person they will one day want to date. Friendships should be encouraged, but premature dating and ensuing breakups won’t help them in their quest for holiness and being set apart.

 
 
Blueprint Truth #1
 

GOD IS HOLY AND WANTS US TO BE HOLY

But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy for I am holy.

- I Peter 1:15-16

Biblical Background

Isaiah 6:3 says, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” Habakkuk 2:20 says, “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.” God, the creator and sustainer of the universe and all that exists in it, is unlike any created being. He alone is holy. The word holy describes the majesty of God and the purity and moral perfection of His nature. God’s holiness is perfect freedom from evil. This is hard to fathom, and yet God expects His children to be holy. I Peter 1:15-16 (NIV) says, “But just as He who called you is Holy so be holy in all you do; for it is written ‘Be Holy, because I am Holy.’” We are not God, but because we are made in His image and likeness, He knows we can become “like” Him. We can strive by our will and choices to be holy, but any real attempt at holiness would be futile without the work of Jesus Christ. Col. 1:22 says, “He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body; through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.” We were created for Him, and our choice to be holy is out of obedience and love and our choice to be holy also impacts other people. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) says, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” The purpose of being created male or female is to reflect Him, and when we choose holiness, we enhance the reflection, instead of marring it.

 

Application

Holy is used more than 600 times in Scripture, so you know it is important! Holiness is attained by the work of God in our lives, through a process called sanctification. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” Sanctification is the process of God changing us through the power of the Holy Spirit and by His grace and this is the expected journey of every Christian. Your decision to follow Christ “set you apart” to be His child, and the proof of your sanctification is noticeable to others. If someone is living holy, you can see it. If someone has a sense of the holiness of God and a sensible, authentic fear of God because of His immense, unfathomable holiness, you know they are being sanctified. Those who imply holiness is legalistic, often are looking for a license to do what they want. Here is the key, when you are being sanctified, your “want” becomes what God wants. You care what He cares about, and begin to love what He loves. If you are “set apart” then you sense it and other people recognize it. Look at world-class athletes as an example. Do they eat, sleep or live like you? No. They are set apart for a purpose and live with that purpose in mind. At this age your son or daughter can submit to the King of the Universe and pledge their allegiance to Him and you can help your son or daughter continue to be “set apart” and submit to God, so He can sanctify them. Some church settings are more casual than they used to be, but I recommend you help your child understand submitting to the King of the Universe is not casual. Find ways to elevate spiritual truth and training. Speak highly of godly leaders and teachers. Treat Sunday morning worship as a holy experience and not just a casual meeting of friends with coffee. How we approach spiritual truth makes a big difference. I met my husband in Europe at Bible School. First we studied in Sweden, then England. What an amazing experience it was and as students we all lived in a castle in England. I must admit, the surroundings made the theological education that much better. I loved seeing the cathedrals in London and realized my desire for the transcendent was enhanced by seeing structures that elevated my picture of God. I long to see God bigger! Your son or daughter needs to sense how awesome God is and since we cannot see Him, even taking them to see a mountain so they can learn He is majestic and holy will help them. How we address our Heavenly Father in prayer teaches them reverence as well so I recommend teaching them the Lord’s Prayer!

 
 
Blueprint Truth #2
 

TO LIVE HOLY MEANS TO BE PURE

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 

- I Timothy 4:12

Biblical Background

I Thessalonians 4:7 (NIV) says, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” Walking out our male and female nature successfully in our relationships requires that we choose to be holy. James 1:27 says, “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained (without moral blemish) by the world.” Purity is not just about maintaining physical innocence, but it is a decision reflecting the condition of your heart. Psalms 24:3- 4 says, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully.” Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The term heart is used over 1,000 times in scripture, making it the most common anthropological term. It refers to man’s center of hidden emotional, intellectual and moral activities. The heart is the central driver of man’s thoughts and behaviors, and must be pure for God. The greatest commandment according to Jesus is found in Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart.” This requires more than our emotions and should include a conscious commitment that leads to behavior change. Our belief about God should result in behavior that “proves” we are His. I Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” Additionally, when we sin, it is our heart that must change. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

 

Application

The heart of the matter is this, as a parent you want your son or daughter to have a life story and a love story that are beautiful, powerful and full of joy! First, let’s agree there are no formulas that guarantee success when training another person because we all have free will. Look at Adam and Eve who chose to sin in the Garden of Eden, and they had the best parent! Yet, I submit to you that a heart after God gives your child the absolute best shot at having a wonderful story. God is after their heart, because it is the center of who they are. At this age, your son or daughter needs to learn the importance of giving God their heart and letting you, as their parent, protect their heart. Why? So one day, they will be able to give their heart to another person that you approve of, and who God brings them as a spouse! At this age they can learn that submitting to your protection is wisdom and guarding their heart is their job as they put on the full armor of God. I recommend you use the passage in Ephesians Chapter 6 as your blueprint for family relations, and included there is the description of the armor of God. Interestingly, the armor of God is tied to family relations, a place the enemy loves to attack and destroy. In this passage you can also see the power of prayer, so Mom and Dad, you can pray today that God will draw your son or daughter to His heart. When our son Tim was 12, he ended up in the hospital with viral meningitis, and he also had a broken ankle. Tim was sick for over 500 days, missing school for a year and a half (I had the privilege of home schooling again). He endured months of chronic headaches and fatigue, he was unable to go outside without getting extremely tired, he missed church because it was too loud, he had constant pain and much more. Tim had suffered from a previous illness months earlier, and during that time, my husband Greg and I were both praying for him in separate places but on the same day, and were asking God to heal him. What parent wouldn’t? We decided Tim had had enough. God spoke to both of us and told us to stop asking Him to heal Tim, because He was using the illness to change Tim’s heart to give him a heart of compassion. Compassion means to suffer alongside someone, and it helps to have suffered! Tim finally grew strong and has come through other challenging experiences including a broken back later in High school. God took care of Tim’s body but changed his heart. Tim graduated, attended Liberty University and was on the track team and was recently married. Tim is a strong, 6’ 5” godly man and those who know Tim see in his behavior he has a heart after God and a heart of compassion. Parents, do all you can to keep harm away from your child, but pay attention to God and allow Him to use all circumstances, including pain, to draw your child’s heart to Him. Indeed, we can all use that lesson and this also helps us validate that God uses even our pain for His glory and our good!

 

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Blueprint Truth #3
 

OUR BODIES ARE A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 

- I Corinthians 6:19-20

Biblical Background

Throughout Scripture, temples symbolize the presence of God. In fact, regardless of the temple, the instruments or the rituals, the focus was coming into the presence of a holy God. In the gospel of John, we see Jesus overthrowing the money changer’s tables in the temple, showing His reverence for the temple. He then refers to His own body as a temple in John 2:19 where he says, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we see the Apostle Paul saying, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” Ephesians 1:13-14 reveals, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him, with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” Jesus explains the role of the Spirit in John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” So, this means once we are redeemed by Christ, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then resides in our spirit. The Bible says we are born again and are a new creation. What an amazing truth to grasp!

 

Application

The work of the Holy Spirit, (which is also addressed in 2nd grade) is so important for kids to understand. Their sanctification (the process of becoming holy) is actually guided by the Holy Spirit. At this age, your son or daughter can learn they must protect and keep the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit “clean”, which is their body! It wouldn’t make sense to put garbage around the altar at church, even if that garbage wasn’t “that bad”, a common phrase for so called little sins. “Oh Mom, it’s not that big of a deal.” Don’t you think piles of garbage would have a negative impact on our ability to worship? Actually, I think doing this on a Sunday would be a very good teachable moment! Allowing garbage in to our lives through our eyes or ears affects our ability to hear and sense the Holy Spirit. Your son or daughter should learn how to protect all the “gates” in their own life including their eye gate and ear gate. Imagine a castle that is fortified, the walls are strong and the gates are effective. This is a lot like a good home with rules, protections, internet blocking software, TV and movie rules, etc. Still, a catapult from the enemy can launch garbage over the wall when you are least expecting it so remind them to tell you if this happens on their computer, TV or movie. Unfortunately in our world, we all know immoral images are assaulting our kid’s childhood innocence. Research shows 9 out of 10 kids ages 8-16 have unintentionally viewed pornography so don’t let your guard down on this issue because pornography has long-lasting negative effects. Along with learning about protecting themselves and making good choices, your son or daughter needs to learn that God forgives! God forgives all sin when we come to Him, so teach your children how to practice this by learning to come to you. My grown children tell my husband and I that coming to us when they sinned was not easy, because they didn’t want to disappoint us, or for that matter have the consequences of sin. I know we tried to be approachable, but I think we could have been even better at this, so do what you can to make coming to you ‘safe’ for your kids so you can help them practice this posture with God. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God forgives all sin, but the kind of sin involving sexual images or experiences impacts your child to their core, and can affect their identity for a lifetime. Not everything that happens to our kids is their fault, but it “misses the mark” for what God intended for them. You as the parent cannot control everything that happens in your child’s life, but do the best you can and then trust our loving God with all the outcomes.

 
 
Blueprint Truth #4
 

WE MUST BE TRANSFORMED TO BE HOLY

I urge you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not beconformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 

- Romans 12:1-2

Biblical Background

As a person, we are body, soul and spirit. Our bodies are an important part of “walking out” our faith, in holiness. Romans 12:1-2 says, “I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Our mind is a key part of us, and what a person thinks about and dwells on, impacts their behavior. In other words, we walk out our thoughts and beliefs and this is why being transformed in our mind is necessary for holiness. Philippians 4:8 tells us what our mind should dwell on, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” So, in order to be holy, we must first dwell on the Word of God because it is all of the above and more. Psalm 119:9-11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. With all my heart I have sought Thee; do not let me wander from thy commandments. Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.” This verse shows us that our mind and heart function together, and the combination is key to being transformed.

 

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Application

The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” The book of Timothy contrasts those who know the Word of God with those who don’t. 2 Timothy 3:2-4 says, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” Wow, that is a list! How would you like someone to describe your child that way? Clearly not. Then, Paul reminds Timothy of the prescription against these in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 when he says, “You however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man (or woman) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” I encourage you to make sure you have a Bible at home that your kids can relate to. They are not too young to understand the Word of God on their own if they have given their heart to Christ and have the Holy Spirit living inside of them to guide them. In fact, at this age they are great at memorizing Scripture—so begin that today! If you are going to give your kids allowance (not everyone does), give them perks for learning Scripture. When I was home schooling, I used to give the kids mommy money and daddy dollars which they could exchange for toys or time with mom and dad. Our kids also did other Bible memory programs helped them hide God’s word in their hearts and minds. Any plan for scripture memory and learning like this helps and of course Bible truths put to music are always a hit!

 

 
 
Blueprint Truth #5
 

WE MUST WALK IN THE LIGHT TO BE HOLY

 

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. 

- Philippians 2:15

 

Biblical Background

To be successful in learning to be holy and set apart, we need to live in the light (we addressed light in 3rd grade as well). Ephesians 5:7-9 says, “Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formally in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light for the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Living in the light means doing those things that result in good fruit, good reputations, right thinking, right behavior and building our understanding of what is true. Walking in the light, like all of God’s principles, results in proof that we can see. I John 2:9-10 says, “The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” How we treat people continues to be the proof of God’s truth in our lives and the fruit He desires!

 

Application

Can you sense when something is spiritually dark? Do you “reason” away cautions such as PG-13 or even “R” ratings? Your son or daughter is too young to see and even understand certain adult ideas, images and experiences. I am often surprised when I hear some parents qualifying letting their child sit in front of movie or TV content that a total stranger in Hollywood deemed inappropriate for them. Why do we do this? When we allow our children to see adult content, we are taking them on a walk in darkness and letting evil, sexual and/or violent images sear into their brain. Neurologists have confirmed that graphic images go into the eye gate and in 3/10th of a second, we literally grow new brain. The images we see become part of us. Wow! Raising five kids gave us years of our own kids pressuring us, and even other parent’s pressure when it came to movies, but we got over it pretty quickly because we did not want our child’s brain altered to include garbage. An equally important question is, “What am I watching?” Some adults reason that they can “handle it.” So, my question is always, “How old is the Holy Spirit?” He is older than all of us and the Bible tells us that He cannot “handle it” (the “it” being sin). He wants nothing to do with it! So, my encouragement to you is not to become the neighborhood movie police, but manage with God’s grace your own family’s viewing. Here are a few tips: 1) The rating helps, but watch the movie yourself first, even if the rating matches your child’s age. Your sense for your child is best! 2) When your child is at someone else’s house, they should call and get permission to watch a movie. If you don’t want them to see it, the answer is no. I know weeping and gnashing of teeth will occur, but only the first few times. 3) Stick to rules 1 & 2! Your kids will soon learn they can’t catch you off guard and should give you time to process their movie request and find a website with good info to look at. We became the movie decision house when our kids were with friends but we didn’t mind, because we care about all kids viewing. 4) A diet of bad movies creates a “taste” for bad movies, so go on a cleansing fast if you need to. Lastly, what our kids see and hear affects their behavior. In a movie or TV show merely a conversation about sexual content or sexual innuendo has the negative outcome of higher incidents of sexual initiation. The next time they say, “I can handle it!” You say, “No, you can’t, and neither can I”, and turn the channel. Even now as adults we still get surprised by an unnecessary scene in a movie so remember, grace and truth for everyone!

 
 

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