Without the gospel. We. Have. Nothing.
But sometimes once a child (or an adult) responds to the gospel, we stop talking to them about what being a Christ-follower is all about and just assume that they know all the details – concepts that have taken us years to understand from God’s Word … and we still don’t have a complete understanding.
Here are some thoughts to share with a new believer.
*Your imperfect world will not change to a perfect one.
Many of the kids in our ministries come from terrifically dysfunctional homes, homes that many of us can’t even imagine.
One night, several years ago, a child came to church extremely upset. We found out later that the police had taken his mom to jail and now he and his five siblings were being raised by a 19-year-old sister. When he responded to the gospel, we were careful to explain to him that life wouldn’t suddenly become a magical place where Mom instantly got out of jail and everything went back to normal. But we did assure him that God would be with him through all circumstances. God cared about him, loved him, and had a listening ear at all times.
* You are not perfect. (Galatians 5:16-17). Only Christ is perfect. Yet, the world is mixed up about this. You will hear people say, “I can’t believe he/she did that. I thought they were Christians!” True, we should stand out for our kindness and the way we live our lives, but that doesn’t always happen. We’re human. We fail. We still live here on a sinful earth and have that nasty, old sin nature within us. Only when we get to heaven will we get our sinless, glorified bodies
*You will still make wrong choices (Romans 7; Proverbs 2:1-4; Romans 15:4). This is similar to my last point, but sort of different. Even though you are a new Christ-follower, you will not always make right choices. We still live in a messed-up world. You will still be tempted and you will still give into temptation. Even teachers, parents, (and pastors) make wrong choices. Sometimes we get grumpy or yell at our kids or get angry with a friend. One way to make right choices is to read our Bibles, to talk to the Lord and to hang with others who desire to make right choices.
When you do make a wrong choice talk to the Lord about it. Tell Him that you know what you did was wrong, thank Him for the forgiveness provided for you by the cross, and get back on track.
*You will still have BIG questions. Trusting Christ is the beginning of understanding. You will continue to learn about the Bible throughout your life. Even parents and teachers and other adults who have been Christians for many years, are still learning.
*You won’t get everything you pray for. (I Thessalonians 5:17) Prayer is a conversation with God, not a Christmas wish list. You can talk to God about anything. You can ask Him for anything. But you also need to ask according to His will (what He wants for you). He is your Creator. He knows best.
*You will still have bad things happen to you. (Matthew 5:45) Just because you have trusted Christ as Savior does not mean that no one in your family will lose their job, get a divorce, or become ill. Nor does it mean you will get straight A’s on all your tests, suddenly have a roomful of friends, or make the soccer team.
We need to continue to talk to kids (and adults) once they’ve trusted Christ. Kids, especially those who have non-believing parents who don’t or can’t answer their questions … can quickly get confused.
A first step toward discipleship is helping kids understand their faith.