Whitefield Academy Blog
Teaching the Gospel in a Culture of Self
We live in a culture of self. Scroll through social media and you’ll quickly see memes encouraging you to “Never let the light dim from within!” or “Always wear an invisible crown!” The message of our culture is that we should be self-reliant and find self-defined happiness through self-expression and self-made success. As in 2 Timothy 3:2, we have become lovers of ourselves.
Because of this cultural context, it’s easy for kids to hear the gospel in a way that makes it also about self: Jesus helps me not get be trouble and helps me become a better person.
As Christian parents, we don’t want our kids growing up thinking about how great they are but how great their God is! So how do we teach our kids the gospel in this culture of self? Point kids to the character of God.
It’s important that we teach kids not only what God has done but also who He is, because by understanding character of God we come to understand our identity and purpose. Our identity is people made in God’s image and our purpose is worship and reflect the God in whose image we are made.
Paul David Tripp in his book Parenting said, “The chief reason God put parents in children’s lives is so they would know Him.” So let’s teach our kids who God is!
Four practical suggestions:
- Teach kids God’s attributes. In addition to teaching kids what God has done, it’s important to specifically teach them what God is like. Kids are curious and we should answer their curiosity with deep truths about the character of God. How is God different than us? How are we to reflect God? Their hearts are soft soil and their small souls are craving to know the God who made them.
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. – A.W. Tozer
- Encourage kids to read the Bible looking for “clues” about who God is. Teach them that the purpose of reading the Bible is to get to know God. Once they’ve learned the attributes of God, help them look for those attributes in each story or lesson you read.
Help kids understand that the Bible not only teaches us how to live, but through His Word, both written and incarnate, God has told us about Himself! God has revealed to us who He is and what He is like and we have the privilege of getting to know Him through the Bible.
- Teach kids what the cross leads them to; reconciliation and communion with God. The cross is so much more than a way to avoid eternal punishment or a source of moral empowerment. Jesus is the only reason we can someday see God in the full glory of who He is. The cross is the reason finite sinners can ever stand accepted and loved before the face of a holy God. Jesus not only forgives our sins and make us new, he brings us before the throne of God to live forever in the fullness of all that He is!
John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (ESV)
- Teach kids to praise God when they pray. So often kids learn to pray by asking God for what they want and thanking God for what He gives. Praise and adoration is easy to leave out, perhaps in part because our kids haven’t yet learned what to praise Him for. When kids learn the character of God, they can learn to thank God for more than just His gifts; they can praise Him for who He is!
The important role we play:
Holocaust survivor and activist, Corrie Ten Boom famously said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”
It’s easy to become distressed as we look at our self-focused world, and many become depressed looking within for strength and purpose. As parents, we have the opportunity to point the hearts of our kids away from this culture of self, to the gospel, and to the incredible character of God himself!
Looking for other great books to share the gospel with your kids? Watch our Pre-K teacher, Mrs. Metcalf, read The Garden, The Curtain, and The Cross.
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