Helping Children Apply Truth

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I love this quote from Lou Priolo:

For the Christian, learning is not facts to be learned but truth to lived.

 (Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training, copyright©2000, page 21)

In her seminar, “Reaching the Heart”, Sally Michael expands on this thought:

Teaching that aims only at informing the intellect falls short of the potential we have to mold young hearts in response to God’s truth. Though knowledge of the truth is extremely important for faith to be born and to grow (Romans 10:17), children must act on the truth, appropriating it into their lives and walking in the truth.

Our parenting and classroom teaching should continually emphasize this goal → heart & life transformation. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, this will not happen. No matter how good our parenting or teaching, we are dependent on the sovereign grace of God. But God also works through means. As parents and teachers, we have a great responsibility and privilege to guide, encourage, and challenge young hearts in a right heart response to biblical truths.

This is why we include an “Application” section in each CDG curriculum—to give teachers tools to assist in this process. Basically, if you can get these 3 questions down, you can do application:

What does this say about God?

What does this say about me?

What does this say I should do? Be? Think?

And here is one example from Sally as to how you could flesh this out using the biblical truth “God will be with you” (Joshua 1:9 and Matthew 28:20):

Ask children to reflect on real life personal experience.

Can you think of a time when it was a help to you that someone was with you—that you were not alone?

Examples of responses:

  • When I had to get a shot, I was glad my mother was with me. I don’t like shots.
  • My sister went with me to get something in the basement.

Can your mother or your sister be with you all the time? Why not?

Why can God be with you all the time?

Why is it so good that God is everywhere all the time?

  •  Because He can help us whenever we need Him.
  • He takes care of us everywhere, not just at home.

Can you think of some times in the Bible when God was with His people? What did He do?

  • He helped Daniel in the lion’s den.
  • He opened the Red Sea.
  • He helped David kill Goliath!

Did God just sit back and watch Daniel in the lion’s den…Did he just watch what happened?

  • No, he kept the lions from eating Daniel.

Right. God works for His people. He helps His children. He takes care of them. He shows them what is right to do. Where will God be with you this week?

  • in school,
  • in my piano lesson
  • at the dentist’s office this week…

God will be with you in all those places. So all week long you can talk to Him. You can ask Him for help. You can tell Him you are happy…or scared…or sad. You can tell Him when you do something wrong.

  • I can ask Him to help me when I go to the dentist! I don’t like going to the dentist.

 (Zero in on a child’s statement and follow it through to personal application.)

Will you go to the dentist alone?

  • My mother will bring me.

God is good to give us mothers. Mothers are good helpers. Who else will be with you?

  • God.

Yes, God is with us everywhere, all the time. He is the very best Helper of all! When you go to the dentist this week, tell Jesus that you are a little scared. Ask Him to help you. Ask Him to make you brave and strong.

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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