What gets in the way of a life with God?
I asked the 1st-4th grade class this question this past Wednesday night, and we discussed both what a life with God looks like and what threatens to get in the way.
When Moses came to Pharaoh with a message from God to let His people go, Pharaoh’s heart was hard. He did not follow God, and even when faced with the evidence, he did not trust him and was unwilling to follow him.
The Israelites likewise struggled to follow God even as His chosen people. They were afraid and prone to complaining. They quickly turned away from God to idolatry again and again and did not trust Him, and as a result they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years with all of the men except Caleb and Joshua dying off before the people were permitted to enter the land of God’s promise.
What got in the way of Pharaoh and the Israelites’ life with God is not very different from what can get in the way of our life with God.
- We are afraid of what we cannot see and are not sure if we can really trust God in every moment.
- We fill our lives with food, social media, television, and activities meant to numb pain and keep us from serious contemplation.
- We spend our days rushing anxiously about with tasks we believe we must accomplish without looking to the one who will supply our every need.
God offers us a better way – the way of life full of trust, hope, love, peace, and purpose with Him, but this road is not the widely walked one. It is the narrow road of following Jesus.
I challenged the kids this week to think about things that keep them from spending time with God in prayer, in silence, in worship, and in His word. We prayed and asked God to help us clear the way for us to follow Him, unobstructed by obstacles that keep us from a life full of Him.
Parents, you have a wonderful opportunity to help your children develop holy habits by saying no to some good (as well as bad) activities in order to create space for children to intentionally meet with God not only here at SPL but also in your homes.
There are many ways you can do this, but here are a few examples:
- Have a technology-free night once a week or once a month where you spend time together sharing a meal, praying together, reading the scriptures, and spending time enjoying each other’s company
- Schedule some service activities to do as a family such as: Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing, making Blessing Bags for the homeless, shopping for someone from our Angel Tree, participating in our Feed My Starving Children mobile packs, bringing cookies to the police station and fire station, visiting nursing homes, making cards to send to troops, etc.
- Take a walk together and talk about the world God has made
- Made morning or evening prayers or devotions a daily habit in your home
- Spend a year going through Imaginative Prayer by Jared Patrick Boyd as a family (I have copies of this book if anyone would like to have one)
- Make family worship a weekly part of your family’s routine (Research shows there is great benefit to families worshiping together, and here at SPL our contemporary worship structure allows families to worship together for the first half of the service and then move into age-appropriate learning environments for the second half)
- When you feel anxiety, fear, or stress creeping into your family, stop and pray together, remembering God is with you and resting in His good provision
There is much that threatens to keep us from living the full life with God. By setting good examples in our family structures of how to live a life of surrender, trust, and discipline, our children can learn a way of life saturated with the Spirit.
May God in His mercy equip us to train up our children in His ways of grace. Let us not wander in the wilderness, but let us walk in the path He has given us.