December 17, 2017

A Child Can Walk with God

Thomas Overmiller

Perhaps we underestimate the potential for a child’s walk with God.

A child can be born again (Matt. 18:3). (I was born again at 2 years old.) A child can choose to be baptized. And any such child can walk with God.

He can develop a meaningful, genuine, vibrant relationship with God. He can read the Bible, gain insights and obey what he learns. He can worship God. He can pray and receive answers. He can know the will of God and do it. And he can serve others.

How can we encourage our children to pursue a walk with God?

Surround Them with Scripture Early

Timothy experienced this. His grandmother and mother surrounded him with Scripture from his earliest stages of childhood (1 Tim. 3:14-15, cf. 2 Tim. 1:5). The word child in 1 Tim. 3:15 means “as young as an infant.” And though he had a dysfunctional father and lived in a pagan community, the influence of Scripture saved him. Do whatever you can to get Scripture into the ears and hearts of your child. Scripture songs, like these, are an excellent method!

Pray for Them Fervently

Are you a parent? Do you pray for your children fervently, like Hannah prayed for Samuel (1 Sam. 1:9-16)? Perhaps our children frequently fall short of a vibrant, personal walk with God because we do not pray for them faithfully and fervently (Jam. 4:2)? One man has observed that we only pray for our young people after they’re wandering. May it not be so.

Love God and Talk about Him Frequently

If you are pursuing your own personal walk with God, then you should let this relationship spill over to your children by talking to them about God and Scripture frequently (Deut. 6:4-9). Of course, if you don’t have a vibrant walk with God of your own, you won’t have much to say to your children about this. But if you are loving God with all of your heart, then you will have a lot of things to say (Luke 6:45). And these conversations will not be forced or mechanical. Speak to your children about God and Scripture in the morning, in the evening, when you’re busy and when you’re not busy. That’s what Deuteronomy 6:7 teaches.

Speak to your children about God and Scripture in the morning, in the evening, when you’re busy and when you’re not busy.

Teach Them to Have a Daily Time with God

Set aside time in the morning for your child to spend time with God, alone. If she is too young to spend time alone, do it with her. Read the Bible with her. Pray with her. Let her use a picture Bible. But as a child learns to read and write, give her a verse or a passage of Scripture to read for herself. Have her write in a journal something that she learned. She can even draw a picture about it! Then pray about it together with her, and ask God to help her obey.

Point Out Moments When They Encounter God

Samuel encountered God as a young boy, but he didn’t realize it. Eventually, Eli – his spiritual mentor – recognized this and pointed it out (1 Sam. 3:8-9). When your child says something or does something spiritually significant, take notice. Point out to her that she just responded to God.

When your child says something or does something that is significant spiritually, take notice. Point out to her that she just responded to God.

For instance, your girl might say, “Mommy, can I write a letter to Mrs. Jenkins, the widow lady in our church?” How should you respond?

  • You could simply say yes.
  • Or you could say, “Yes, that’s a wonderful idea!”
  • Or better yet, you could say, “Yes, that’s a wonderful idea! It sounds like God just put that on your heart!”

Or your boy might pray aloud in your family devotions before bedtime, asking for God to help him do well on a test in school the next day. When he tells you the next evening that the teacher gave him an A, what will you say?

  • You could say, “Good job!”
  • Or you could say, “Good job! You worked hard for that!”
  • Or you could say, “Good job! You worked hard for that! And you know what? God answered your prayer!”

Include Them in Corporate Worship at Church

Children need to participate in church worship alongside adults (Eph. 6:1-3, Col. 3:20, 1 John 2:12-13). They can sing. They can pray. They can give. They can serve. They can listen. They can take notes. They can make key decisions like the rest of us. And we should teach them so.

Yes, a child can have a personal walk with God. Perhaps we discourage this by not teaching them how. Or perhaps we discourage this because we as adults to not have a close personal walk with God. Whatever the case, may we take steps towards encouraging our children to love and obey God in a daily, personal way.

Thomas Overmiller serves as pastor for Faith Baptist Church in Corona, NY and blogs at Shepherd Thoughts. This article first appeared at Shepherd Thoughts and is used with permission.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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