Pennsylvania Mountains and the Glory of God


 We’ve talked about teaching kids that sin is disobedience to God.

We’ve talked about teaching kids that disobedience has consequences.

We’ve talked about everyone being disobedient (no exceptions). Only the Lord Jesus Christ is perfect because He is God in the flesh.

As it says in Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 Ok. I was thinking about this verse because often teachers/parents handle the first part of the verse well, but then jump over the last part.

We teach that all have disobeyed God. We even make lists and ask kids if those on the lists disobey God: “Your brother? Dad? Mom” Grandma? Barista at the coffee shop? The pastor? The mayor?” This kind of interactive teaching is great because we emphasize the all of the verse.

But then we often go from that discussion right over to Romans 6:23 and talk about how the Lord Jesus is perfect and so He died for our disobedience because of His mercy and grace.

All this is true.  All this should be taught to kids.

But what happened to fall short of the glory of God?  Those words are there. We encourage kids to memorize the words. We repeat the words.

But what is the glory of God?

What exactly are we falling short of? (Ok, poor grammar, but you know what I mean.)

How do we define it?

Well, the definition can be elusive and difficult to clarify.

Difficult like defining Pennsylvania mountains.

When our kids were preschoolers, Ken and I planned a family road trip back East to see his family. As we drove, Ken told the kids that Grandpa and Grandma lived in the mountains. But as children of the Prairie State, they had no idea what “lived in the mountains” meant.

“What’s a mountain?” the three-year-old asked, puzzled.

“A mountain is …” For the next several minutes I was entertained listening to Ken attempt to explain a mountain to two preschoolers who had no context. (All the time realizing I couldn’t have done it with any more clarity.) In fact, Ken describing the mountain was so funny, that the incident became a catchphrase in our family. Whenever we couldn’t find the words to explain something, we would say, “like explaining a Pennsylvania mountain to a preschooler.” Ken even used it in his messages at times.

How would you do that? How would you explain a mountain (without using pictures) to someone who has no context?

I kind of think defining the glory of God is like that. We know what it means, but it is difficult to put that knowing into words especially on the level of a child who has no context.

So I studied. I wrote down some thoughts.

And I asked others what they thought.  On Wednesday, I’ll post their answers – from across the US (and even Russia).  Check back!

Meanwhile …

How would you define the glory of God? I invite you to comment with your definitions.


All three posts this week are on defining “the glory of God,” as in Romans 3:23:       For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Please stay with me! I will not be linking all three posts to Facebook, but you can check back or subscribe to the blog by clicking on the “follow” button below. 







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