Ellie was so excited she had made the decision to accept Jesus as her Savior! She came to me right after class, the excitement showing on her face. We shared the fact of her decision with her dad when he came to pick her up after class, and he joined us in celebrating the new decision Ellie had made.
Fast forward to a few months after that decision. Our church was highlighting children’s ministry, telling the stories of how God had been working through what we did with kids. Of course, Ellie’s testimony was going to be one story that needed to be told. Happy to give her God-story, she began preparing what she would say, using the BC-cross-AD formula (my life before Christ, how I actually accepted Jesus and how my life has been different after the decision).
A couple of days before she was to share, Ellie came to me and said, “Miss Janet, I have most of my story written down to share, but I’m stuck. I have no idea how my life is different since I accepted Jesus. My parents have always taken me to church, I’ve been praying for a long time and I know the Bible stories. What should I write?”
Her question caught me by surprise for a few minutes, then I called her over. “Ellie, there are many things that are different about your life now than before you accepted Jesus, but a big one is that now you are part of God’s family! You have a place in heaven. You are his child and he is your Heavenly Father.” A big smile crossed her face and she ran to write the ending to her story.
Ellie was bold enough to ask for the answer to that question—what is different now that I have accepted Jesus? But I began to examine how we could have missed that important step of discipleship with our children that we rarely specifically share with kids the difference that it makes when they have made a decision for Christ. Spiritual change and your standing in Christ are hard for an adult to grasp and even more ethereal for a child.
What would you say to a child to explain what is different about themselves once they become a Christian? Here are some thoughts:
- You are a “new” person! You will begin to see things with a different point of view and may find your attitude and actions changing. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- You are part of God’s family. (John 1:12-13)
- Forgiveness is yours for the things you have done wrong, all because of Jesus’ death. (1 John 1:9)
- The Holy Spirit is living in you, helping you understand God and his word, bringing you correction, comfort, confidence and power to do the right thing. (Romans 8:10-11)
- Jesus has prepared a place for you in heaven when your life on earth is done. (John 14:1-3)
- God invites you to talk with him about anything, anywhere, anytime, and he will speak to you. (Philippians 4:6)
You could add more to this list, I’m sure. As parents, grandparents, teachers and close friends to kids, we can be tremendous agents of discipleship in their journey with Jesus. Like Ellie, kids are thinking deeply about their spiritual life, frequently more deeply than we adults anticipate!