We don’t talk about this much in Church and I don’t think I have ever heard it discussed in a child’s Bible class, but we were created in the image of God. This means, just like Queen Elizabeth wants the coins and stamps to reflect her image and not that of Putin or even Prince Charles, God wants us (and our kids) to be an accurate reflection of Him.
Teaching your kids to accurately reflect God’s image has two important advantages. First you are training them to be more godly. You are also teaching them how to attract others to God, by being the type of person who almost glows reflecting God. People will be drawn to that light and want to know more about the God whom it reflects and how they too can worship and obey Him.
You may wonder not only how to teach your children to reflect God’s image, but also what qualities it actually includes. I am sure if you asked ten Christians, you would get ten slightly different answers, but here is my list to get you started. To train your children to accurately reflect God, you will need to teach them how to reflect God’s:
- Wisdom – The fancy Church word for this is omniscient. It makes sense that because God created the world and us, He also has all knowledge and wisdom. We need to emphasize over and over again how important it is for our children to take advantage of God’s wisdom. Rejecting God’s wisdom is refusing to read a book that gives you all of the answers you need for the important things in life. The Bible is not outdated by technology or customs. Your child needs to thoroughly study and apply God’s knowledge (the Bible) and be able to easily share God’s wisdom with the people they meet.
- Power – We need to teach our children to tap into God’s power through prayer. We also need to show them God’s power by teaching them how God works and by reinforcing that the power they see in nature is from God. They can reflect God’s better better to others when they know how to show people where God is working and can teach them to pray. We can also teach our children to reflect God’s power by acting in positive, loving, power sharing ways whenever they have an opportunity to lead others.
- Dependability/Faithfulness – God never changes. We can be sure He will keep His promises. We know He will not change His principles. God is not capricious. We can teach our children to reflect this characteristic of God by teaching them to keep their promises. They also need to understand they are never in a position to “vote” on which of God’s commands they want to keep. I John chapter 5 tells us that a true reflection and appreciation of the grace we receive from God means we will obey His commands. Our children need to understand the concept of obedience and practice it regularly!
- Kingship – God rules everything. In order for our children to accurately reflect God’s kingship, they need to show others they respect God as their king. This means learning to make decisions from a biblical world view. Every decision your child makes should be considered from the viewpoint of what their ruler and king (God) would want them to do. In order to do this will, your children need to be very familiar with not only God’s commands, but also His principles.
- Light – God is often depicted as light in the Bible. The light of God is associated with God’s goodness, mercy and purity. We can only truly reflect these qualities by becoming Christians and being cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Your children need to grasp the absolute necessity of being baptized into Christ and living an active Christian life. When they do this, they will live a life serving, loving and sharing their faith with others. They will be the light of the world Jesus asked Christians to be.
- Jealousy – God does not tolerate idols. This doesn’t just mean a golden calf set up in your den. Our idols are more likely to be education, sports, electronics, money – really anything we put above God with our priorities, time and money. Teach your children to carefully avoid all idols and to be very cautious about the things they love to make sure they don’t gradually put them above God.
- Truthfulness – The Bible states multiple times that God hates lies. To accurately reflect God’s image, our children need to not only be truthful all of the time, but also value hearing the truth from others. They need to be known as someone who is consistently truthful – no matter the consequences. (See previous posts under “Truth” for more tips on teaching kids about honesty.)
- Creativity – We rarely hear this in Church, but God is not only the Creator, but also very creative. If you don’t believe me, go to an aquarium and see all of the different varieties of fish. The color combinations and shapes top any of the great artists in the world. God created us to reflect His image, so it is safe to assume we were meant to be creative. Unfortunately, our educational system often stifles the natural creativity in our children. Yet when they are encouraged to relax and create, it is amazing what they can make. Encourage creativity in your child. Teach them they can be creative in any field of study or work they choose to pursue. They don’t have to be great inventors or artists, but they can be creative. They can also show others their appreciation for God’s creativity and point it out to them.
- Love – The Bible teaches us God IS love. You can’t define love without talking about God. Teach your children to love big. They should be making a conscious effort to reflect God’s love to others in everything they do.
- Patience – God is quite obviously patient. With the current state of morality (actually the lack of morality) in our world, it is amazing He hasn’t totally given up on us. Our children need to learn to reflect God’s patience with others. This means being kind when they have to wait, giving others room to grow and learn and much more. It takes a lot of practice and help from the Holy Spirit to be patient, but our children need to learn to master this if they are going to be accurate reflections of God.
Are you making a conscious effort to teach your children how to accurately reflect God’s image? Your children aren’t going to naturally learn these things without your help. In fact you might need to go back to the creation story in Genesis to teach them about the concept of man being made in the image of God. Those first few chapters in Genesis really are the basis for so many godly concepts. Teach them to your children and then help them to become great little reflections of God.