photo by DrGBB
God is not a genie. He doesn’t do magic tricks by waving a wand and granting our wishes for peace, joy, strength or wisdom. Or a new car or the perfect spouse or that next promotion, for that matter.
God calls us to obedience, and then He promises blessing. This is a crucial understanding for our spiritual walk. If you want to see your faith explode, get a grip on this concept and watch what happens.
Then teach it to your children. A great way of doing this is to do a study of the Book of Matthew using two different colored ink pens. Kids, especially girls, love using different colored pens, the wilder the better. Feel free to indulge a little bit and buy pens with green, purple or pink ink. Or you can be boring like me and just use red and blue.
On the first page of the Book of Matthew, have your child write the word ‘commandments’ in one color and the word ‘promises’ in another. This will be their legend for interpreting the different colored underlines they’ll be making. It will also help them remember which color they chose for which concept. They can also draw a line, large dot or square next to each word in its respective color.
As you read through a chapter a day from the Book of Matthew, your child will underline any commandments he comes across in its color pen, and any promises in its color. You really won’t run into something to underline until you get to chapter 4 where Jesus is tempted by the devil during his forty days and nights of fasting.
Some chapters will have more to underline than others. For instance, be prepared to do a lot of inking in chapters five, six and seven where Jesus is teaching from the mountainside. Then chapters eight and nine dry up a little (not totally), and then it picks back up again in chapter ten.
Does your child pick up on any pattern as he makes his way through Matthew? Quite often any promise he finds is preceded by a commandment. Here’s an example from Matthew 5:43-45:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.Sometimes the promise is written before the commandment, but the commandment is always the most important part. Sometimes the commandment is kind of buried within the promise, which is nothing more than literary style, but I usually both underline it and put brackets around the words just to make sure I’m able to pick it out later.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine [and puts them into practice] is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 (the promise, or blessing, is wisdom).Watch a light come on with your child as you pick through God’s Word and discover His wonderful plan for our lives. As you read, discuss it, pray on it, and spend the week finding ways to live it out. I bet this study will have a profound impact on your family’s faith.
For children of reading age on up.