“For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
Children speak from the honesty of their hearts, even when it reflects their sinful nature.
While finishing eating our cupcakes for Julia’s 4th birthday, Julia surprised me with these words, “Nana, sometimes I do mean things.” Prior to our little party, Julia had been in our backyard running water from the hose, making a puddle to jump in with her sparkly new shoes. Her mom caught her and gave her a little talking to about her misbehavior. No spanking though, since it was her birthday. I later gave her four affectionate old-fashioned birthday spankings and a pinch to grow on…fondly recalling my childhood memories.
Now back to Julia’s concern over her naughtiness. I asked her, “Why do you think you do mean things?” She quietly answered, “I don’t know, I just do.” Okay, got it! Julia’s sinful nature is becoming evident to her and to others. Because Julia has received the primary teaching of sin from her parents, and by the faithful conviction of God’s Holy Spirit, Julia is clearly beginning to recognize the reality of her inherited bent toward sin.
With her pretty blue eyes focused upon mine, I responded to Julia this way. “I know that you really don’t want to do mean things, but the only way that you will be able to stop doing them, is to ask Jesus to help you.” As she seemed to experience a small sense of relief, I told her I would be praying for Jesus to help her.
My prayer for Julia is the same one that I pray for all my grandchildren: That they will come to know Jesus at a young age, to love Him fully, to obey His Word, and to serve Him faithfully all the days of their lives.
I believe that teaching children who God and Jesus are comes more naturally for most parents/grandparents, than it does to teach them about the third person in the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
While recently watching the made for T.V. miniseries, A.D. The Bible Continues, my spirit was revitalized by the dramatization of the Acts of the Apostles being infilled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
This same Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) that was poured out upon those early believers is the same Holy Spirit who desires to infill every Christ-follower today.
We need to teach our children the only way to work out the “meanness” in our lives, is to receive Jesus as our personal Savior…to repent of our sins, and allow the Holy Spirit to begin His cleansing work in our lives.
Somewhere along their spiritual journey, new believers sense an internal struggle–the “desire” to sin. This desire comes from the original sin nature, (inherited sin of Adam). The only remedy for the sinful nature is heart cleansing by the infilling (or baptism) of the Holy Spirit.
Teaching our children to understand the difference between original sin (nature) and personal acts of sin is a vital part of training in Christian holiness (perfect love).
Pray for your children to be sanctified (or set apart for God’s holy purpose). See Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonica Church:
1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 (NIV)
22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
It is true, God is faithful to cleanse (purify) the heart from original sin as we consecrate or surrender ourselves fully to Him. He promises to replace the inbred “desire to sin” with an abiding holy-heart desire to please our Heavenly Father above all other. Of course, we will continue to be tempted to sin, but with a cleansed heart, have the power NOT to sin.
The greatest joy of Christian parents is realizing the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of their children. Sanctification empowers every believer to serve Christ with a joyful heart.
The proof of spiritual maturity is not how “pure” you are but awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to grace. —Philip Yancey
When David sinned against God, he acknowledged that he was “born a sinner.” And when David repented of his personal sin against God, he sought to be fully cleansed, or purified.
Psalm 51: A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.[a] 5 For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the womb,[b] teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. 9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. 14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. 15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.
16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. 18 Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.
Living in the Light (1 John 1:5-7)
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
Resources for teaching children the basic beliefs of Christianity and the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene.
My Faith: A Nazarene Catechism for Kids is a concise introduction to the basic beliefs of Christianity and of the Church of the Nazarene. It is designed to give 6th graders a solid theological foundation for their lives. My Faith is available as an 8 week course and a 12 week course. http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/waol/innerpage.jsp?c=WAOL&cs=CHILD&sc=MYFAI&ss=NA
Beliefs About the Triune God, Part 1: The Father
Beliefs About the Triune God, Part 2: Jesus Christ
Beliefs About the Triune God, Part 3: The Holy Spirit
Beliefs About the Bible, God s Holy Word
Beliefs About the Human Race and Sin
Beliefs About Salvation, Part 1
Beliefs About Salvation, Part 2
Beliefs About Entire Sanctification
Beliefs About the Church
Beliefs About the Christian Life
Beliefs About the Sacraments and Divine Healing
Beliefs About Things to Come
Important Need to Knows
The Apostle’s Creed
The Nicene Creed
The Ten Commandments
The Lords Prayer
Agreed Statement of Belief
Articles of Faith
The Covenant of Christian Character
My Faith: Certificate of Completion