If you have been following the twelve month plan for Teaching Children to Live More Like Jesus, you have been busy working with your children on quite a few practical Christian habits and attributes. This month is probably the toughest, perhaps because I am still working through the subject myself in some ways.
One of the qualities Jesus displayed time and time again was that he went where God led him. Sometimes it was to dinner at someone’s house, sometimes it was to heal people. In the end, God’s Will led Jesus to die a painful death on the Cross. Jesus was obviously not thrilled about the idea of a painful death and separation from God even for a time, but ultimately Jesus went where God had led him.
If you read the book of Acts, you see the stories of some of the Apostles and early Christians doing the same thing. We know that for many of these people, it meant traveling long distances to countries very different from their own. They preached to who knows how many people with success in many cases. Some wrote letters to early Christians we still read for guidance today. Others followed God, but what they did remains hidden in history. Many spent time in jail or were tortured or killed for going where God led them.
Hopefully, we are following where God leads us and are training our children to do the same. The question becomes, “How do we know for sure where God is trying to lead us?” I can’t pretend to know all of the answers, but after years of study and experience, I have noticed some patterns in my life that may answer some of your questions.
1. God will never lead you somewhere that doesn’t match His Will as described in the Bible. God will never encourage you to murder someone, cheat or lie. He will not lead you to seek fame, fortune and riches above all else. He may bless you with those at some point, but He would not encourage you to put the pursuit of worldly things above the pursuit of following Him. If you or your children think God is leading you to something expressly condemned in the Bible, you are misunderstanding who is leading you.
2. Pray, pray, pray. Then get other Christians to pray for you. Spend time in quiet places after prayer and then pray some more. Watch and listen carefully for God’s answers.
3. I still don’t understand completely how the Holy Spirit leads us to where God wants us to be. I do know that I have seen circumstances, godly people and the thoughts in my head work together to lead me to a place I probably would not have sought on my own. When I get there, I have always found things to do for God. Could God have accomplished those things without me? Absolutely. Can God use me where ever I am if I am willing to serve Him? Definitely. Teach your children to notice when things start moving in a certain direction and everything they see and hear leads them to a godly task. It may very well be that the task was meant for them.
4. Teach your children to not wait for a “special assignment”. I don’t know exactly how God’s plans for our good works are set. Do we each have a certain number? Do some have more than others? I do know though, that God has certain things He wants all Christians to do. Having a personal relationship with God, sharing our Faith, showing others God’s love by serving them, living out I Corinthians 13 and the Fruit of the Spirit come to mind. If we train our children to follow God’s commands, when and if He presents them with a “special assignment”, they will be more likely to follow that too.
5. This last one is the toughest for Moms I think. If God is leading our children to the mission field, we need to get out of the way! I have heard many mothers bemoan the absence of children who are far away serving God. Many sound like a walking guilt trip and I can only imagine what they say to their children! I will be the first to admit, I would miss my daughter horribly if I could only see her once every few years because of distance and expense. I need to remember though, that God’s mission for me may just be to support her in her work on the mission field. (Should she end up there in the future.)
How are you teaching your children to follow where God leads them? I would love for you to share your thoughts in a comment.