Children Have Spiritual Needs That Parents Should Not Overlook

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

The date was June 24, 1962. I was nine years-old and had just walked down the aisle of First Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to profess my faith in Christ. After Sunday dinner that afternoon, a friend of my family gave me a Bible with an inscription that read, “To my little friend, Mike Ruffin: Today, June 24, 1962, you have opened your heart and Jesus has come in. Now you can plug in and live for Him.”

That Bible means the world to me. More importantly, my family did not discourage me from walking down the aisle that day. They may have wondered whether the call was real, but they didn’t let their earthly doubts stand in the way of what heaven might be doing in my life. I’m sure glad they let me take those first steps in faith.

I thought about that experience when my wife told me about an exchange that a friend of ours recently had with her nine-year old son. Like many young adults, the distractions of life have kept them from regular church attendance. Their son often attends church with his grandparents and seems to enjoy the services. I’ve personally watched him over the years and have been impressed with how attentive he is. Unlike me at that age, he actually listens to the sermons.

Recently, he asked his mom if they could start going to church again. He told her that he wanted the three of them to go and even mentioned that he would like to attend Sunday school, too.

Like my family, they took his request seriously and have resumed going to church. I told my wife that I believe God has an early call on this child’s life. I don’t know where it will take him, but I know he is headed in the right direction.

There is a message in this story for all of us. In my case, I believe I am the Christian I am today because of the childhood that I was privileged to have lived. Much of my life was spent around godly people and many of their habits are my habits today. Indeed, “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. (Proverbs 22:6)

Jesus told us very clearly what he thought about such matters. “Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them”, he once said. “For of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

When our children take the time to confide in us about a spiritual need, we must be careful to remember that age and maturity have nothing to do with the condition of the soul. As parents, or grandparents, God is providing us with a wonderful opportunity help our children with the spiritual needs they have. If we act upon it, the fruit we see in the lives of those children will bless in ways we could never imagine.

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