Dear Vonnie - "Even a Child..."

Each Thursday, I will do my best to answer your questions. I don't pretend to be an expert, but I know it's not easy being a wife and mother. It can be frustrating and discouraging, yet very rewarding. I'd be glad to listen to you, pray for you, and share some of my thoughts with you.

So, ask me something... anything...

Dear Vonnie,

How can I know that my child has been saved? I don't want to assume they are if they don't really understand things.

Still Praying

The wonderful truth about God's gift of salvation is that it is received by simple trust.
A child naturally trusts.

Many people have accepted the Lord at an early age, as young as three or four years old. There are some that would argue that a young child couldn’t understand salvation. Of course, they don’t understand sanctification or atonement (most adults don’t); but a child can know that they have sinned or done naughty things and that God hates sin. He can know that Jesus loves him so much that He died to take away the sin, so he can go to heaven.

After all, Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” A child is willing to believe. He isn’t hindered by doubts and philosophical questions. In fact, it isn’t wise to plead with a child to be saved. A little boy or girl is so eager to please someone he loves, he may say he loves Jesus, even repeat a prayer, but it may not be real. He’ll come when he is ready and you will see the fruit of a changed life. Yes, a rebellious tot can become tender and gentle. Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Each evening, I would pray with my three year old before she went to bed, and usually I would include in my prayer that she would ask Jesus into her heart. Interrupting me one night, my little girl said, “I asked Jesus into my heart, but I didn’t hear Him come in.” With joy, I explained about God being a spirit and how He can live in us. The next day she set all her dolls around her, the nearest friends she knew, and told them how to ask Jesus into their hearts.

One of my sons was a very demanding toddler, throwing temper tantrums and testing my patience constantly. When he was five years old, he asked the Lord to forgive him, and he was a completely different child. He was tender toward the things of the Bible and sensitive to sin and considerate toward others.

Sometimes, you don't see a big change in a child. Maybe he already has a mild temperament. Look for signs of a tender conscience or a desire to share God with others. Look for a forgiving heart or a thirst for God's Word.

It can be as detrimental to a child's spiritual life to assume he is NOT saved as it is to assume he IS saved. Let God be the judge. Continue praying for him and provide many opportunities for him to get solid Bible teaching. Sometimes hearing from someone else puts it in a different light and lets the child understand it better.

God can use young children to lead others to Himself. I've seen several five and six year olds lead grandparents, siblings, or friends to the Lord. Here's one story I just received from a friend:
(names are changed)

Andy, being the loving kid he is, absolutely wants to be friends with every kid. Well, there is a boy in his class, Billy, who does NOT want to be his friend. Not sure why (he appears to be something of a troublemaker - maybe Andy's autism isn't "cool" to him). Anyhow, Andy and I have been talking about Billy a bit - mostly Andy being disappointed that Billy doesn't want to be his friend or talk to him, etc. I just encouraged him to be nice, but that it was okay not to be friends with everyone.

The other day, while we were driving home from school, Andy said to me that he thinks Billy needs to go to church, and that maybe he could invite him to Olympians. I sorta went along - didn't really encourage or discourage, because I knew how Billy felt about him.

Well, Tuesday afternoon right as the kids were getting into cars, Billy apparently kicked Andy(maybe purposefully, maybe accidentally. Not sure. Anyhow, Wednesday morning both kids went into the assistant principal's office to talk it out with Mrs. Swanson. Once the discipline part was done, a conversation pretty much like this went on:

"Billy, do you go to church?"

"No, I don't."

"Maybe you could come with me
and my family some time!"

Billy's mouth drops open.
"My parents won't really let me go over to anyone's house ever."

"Well maybe you and your family could go.
I go to First Baptist Church, and it goes from 9:45 to 12:00."

"I'm a very heavy sleeper."

"I think you could get up by 9:45!"

(There was probably more, but that's the summary I got from Mrs Swanson.)

Keep praying for your children. God can do mighty things through a willing child. Teaching your child about God is the most important thing you will ever do for him, because it is going to affect him forever. Other things only last for this life, but God’s gift is eternal.

1 comment:

Joanne Sher said...

Praying "either way." That really is the key, isn't it? thanks for this, Vonnie


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