Little Disciples #5 – Children and the Holy Spirit

We want our kids to become 3D followers of Jesus.

We want them to connect UP with God, IN with God’s people, and OUT to serve the world. This (little?) “Little Disciples” series has been all about how we help our kids to connect UP with God.

So far, we’ve explored Bible reading (Little Disciples #2), praying (Little Disciples #3) and singing (Little Disciples #4). Finally, we’re looking at how we can help our kids connect UP with God through being exposed to the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God.

God alone is God and God is not alone (Ellis Potter in 3 Theories of Everything).

God is one God in three persons. The Holy Spirit is the third one.

In Scripture, we’re not really given three nice lists like this:

  1. Here’s what God the Father does…
  2. Here’s what God the Son does…
  3. Here’s what God the Holy Spirit does…

That’s probably because all three persons are involved in almost everything that God does. In order to give just a tiny glimpse of what the Holy Spirit does, here’s a snapshot:

  • He empowers; giving life (John 3:6-7) and equipping to serve (Acts 2:1-41 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-31).
  • He purifies (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • He reveals (John 16:12-15; interestingly, this is directed to the Apostles).
  • He unifies (Philippians 2:1-2).

We’re just going to focus on how the Holy Spirit empowers.

We want our kids to be full of the Holy Spirit. Amen? We want them to live experiencing-God’s-presence lives, and not-thinking-twice-when-it-comes-to-prophecy-and-healing lives.

How do we do that?

As parents, the very best thing that we can do to make our kids live like this is to make sure that we’re living like this. That is, make it normal. Don’t speak of the Holy Spirit in spooky tones, or burst into ecstatic tongues in the middle of Sainsbury’s. Don’t do that.

We want to make all of this “naturally supernatural”. If somebody in the family gets ill, lay hands on them (in a lockdown appropriate way!) and pray for healing. Let your kids know that you pray in tongues in your devotional time (if you do). Ask God to give you something to share with your kids, and share it with them. And every time you do one of these things, explain to your kids what’s going on.

If we make all of this normal, then we underline a wonderful Bible truth. Because of Jesus, there aren’t any more “special places”. In the Bible, the temple used to be the special place where God chose to make himself most obviously present. When Jesus died in our place, the curtain that separated people from the special place in the temple was torn up (Matthew 27:51). Now, God’s presence and power in the Holy Spirit is available everywhere, including your daughter’s bedroom. It’s not limited to a tent of several thousand and unlocked when “come, Holy Spirit” has been said the right number of times and the synth pad is working overtime.

We do need wisdom, though.

Because experiencing God in a powerful way and prophesying an accurate message is exciting.

The problem is that people who don’t follow Jesus can also do those things.

This seems to be exactly what happens with the Old Testament king Saul (1 Samuel 19:23-24). Jesus warns along these lines too in Matthew 7:21-23:

‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. We do want our kids to be Spirit-filled followers of Jesus, of course we do.

But we don’t want our kids to be like so many I’ve known; thinking that they’re Christians because they’ve had a powerful experience of the Holy Spirit at some point in their lives.

The opposite of abuse is not disuse, however, but proper use.

So let’s encourage our kids to prophesy by opening themselves up to what God might be wanting to say to them. But let’s not assume (or unintentionally make them assume) that everything they say is actually from God, or that they’re genuinely saved.

And as we introduce our kids to Jesus through the Bible, and model a beautiful, experiential relationship with God through his Spirit, let’s pray that God saves them; that they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for themselves, who will keep them until the very end.

Further resources 

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