School is out – vacation season is upon us – summer has finally arrived! Families love summertime. Longer days mean more quality time sharing exciting activities with our kids!
Summer also provides us with many fun ways to grow spiritually. Whether we send our kids to Vacation Bible School, join a summer Bible study, or participate in Serve Day as a family, there are always plenty of opportunities for us and our kids to grow in our capacity to live and love like Jesus.
In 1 Thessalonians 3:12, the Apostle Paul writes:
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
This is my prayer for your family and ours!
One of the best ways we can teach our children to share the love of Jesus and reflect His light in their lives is to help them to understand just how much Jesus loves them and to embrace that truth in every fiber of their being!
Of course, that doesn’t happen overnight or by accident.
Perhaps that’s why one of the first Christian songs we teach our kids – whether it’s at home, church, or Vacation Bible School – is the beloved hymn Jesus Loves Me. The song, written in 1860 by Anna Warner as part of a novel and later set to music by William Bradbury, begins like this:
Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
Children and adults alike feel great joy and comfort as we bask in the simple truths conveyed by this song. Once these words settle in our souls, we then carry their message in our hearts for the rest of our lives!
Over the years, there have been many secular books written about how to raise our children, but let’s see what we can learn about loving children from Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!
These key Bible verses offer insight into why Jesus’ relationship with children was so special and provide practical steps we can take to help our children experience God’s love!
Jesus made children a priority.
Even in the midst of His busy ministry schedule, He recognized, acknowledged and valued children as individuals and recognized the important role He played in their lives. No one had a more important mission to accomplish in life than Jesus – yet, He always made time to care for children!
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to Him. – Luke 18:15-17
Jesus blessed the little children.
He received them. He publically praised them. He consecrated them. He never let others diminish their worth.
He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. – Mark 10:13-16
Jesus prayed for children.
He was personally involved in their lives! He assessed their spiritual needs, placed His hands upon them, and prayed for them individually. He never allowed anyone to stand in the way of a child having a personal relationship with Him!
Then people brought little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. – Matthew 19:13-14
Jesus reached out to children in all types of situations.
So should we! We can share the love of Jesus with others – and in the process show our children how to relate to others – by embracing children who are different than we are, who have special needs, who are bullied or marginalized. We can reach out to children in need and help them feel welcome in our homes and accepted for who they are, just as Jesus teaches us in Luke 9:47-48:
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had Him stand beside Him. Then He said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” – Luke 9:47-48
Songs and stories are a wonderful way to plant the seeds of God’s love in our children’s hearts – and the Jesus Loves Me! A Sing-Along Book is sure to become a family favorite this season! Your kids will love reading and singing the words to their favorite song and pouring over the delightful animal illustrations!
This summer, as I share the love of Jesus with the children that God has placed in my life, and reflect on the timeless wisdom in Anna Warner’s song, I’ll also be reflecting on 1 John 4:19:
We love because He first loved us.
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How do you make the love of Jesus real to your children? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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