Teaching Children 

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  • **Many children begin school this week.  As we return to the classroom, Elisabeth encourages us with her godly wisdom in teaching our children to live for Jesus Christ and His purposes.

    How many times between the ages of three and ten do children have to answer the only two questions adults can think of to ask them: How old are you? and What are you going to be when you grow up? 

    The second question may seem innocuous, but is it? In the first place, many children may be distressed at being required to make a choice which is far beyond them. In the second place, it implies that the choice is theirs. This can lead to great confusion later on. The child will grow up physically, but spiritually he will not have begun until he learns that Jesus died not only to save him from sin but in order that he should live not for himself but for Him who died (see 2 Corinthians 5:15 and 1 John 3:16). If a young person has been taught from childhood that he ought to “be something” without at the same time being shown that nothing is better than being God’s servant, he may be preoccupied with ambitions and ideals he has gotten solely from the world. If his conception of “where it’s at” has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God, he is in for trouble when it comes time to discern the Will of God. He will be setting limits to his obedience, defining the terms of his service. “For My sake” is a concept children can grasp much earlier than we generally suppose. A little boy wrote to me that he was learning to lay down his life for others. To him this meant that sometimes when he would rather play he lay down beside his little sister to help her go to sleep. 

    Pray that God will show you how to teach your children that life is meant to be lived for God. “You are not the owner of your own body. You have been bought, and at a price! Therefore bring glory to God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20; JBP). Help your child to understand that the Lord is his Shepherd, and he is a little lamb. The Shepherd will gladly show him the right pathway if he is willing to follow.

    **Excerpt originally published in the May/June 1986 Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter.