Teaching Tip # 3

Relationship! Relationship! Relationship! From the Garden to the final judgment, God is all about relationship.Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in perfect relationship. When God walked in the evenings with Adam and Eve in the Garden, He didn’t come to check up on His creation, He came with a desire to fellowship with the only aspect of His creation made in His image.

As parents and teachers, we need to start as early as possible teaching our children to have a personal relationship with their Father God. It is too easy to teach children what they should and should not do as though they can do something to impress God. Or even worse, teach them that they can do things that disappoint God. We may not please God with our actions, but we cannot disappoint Him. 

Salvation can’t be bought by our good works. It is a free gift from God. Without Jesus we can do nothing. Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” John 14:15 The Net Bible. Love for Him is meant to produce obedience not the other way around.

 The Apostle Pauls said that the Love of Christ compeled him… and so it will comple us to share the good news, to seek God’s ways, to Know Him better and deeper and more intimately day by day by day. It is not enough to white wash the outside, the Gospel message is that our righteousness is as filthy rags and that we need Jesus’ righteousness to be saved. We need a good root if we want good fruit.

There is nothing that God needs us to do to impress Him. It is not our works that He wants, it is our hearts. When He has our hearts in deep relationship with Him, then and only then is the Spirit in us free to do the works that He prepared beforehand for us. Work becomes a joyous experience of knowing God more intimately at work in us, through us, and for us..

Too many Sunday School Children grow up to reject a faith we thought they embraced as a child. Why? I believe it is because they haven’t been taught how to cultivate a growing relationship with Jesus. It is not enough to  go to church, pray, and to read our Bible every day, as a means to be good. We need to be doing these in earnest soul-searching desire to know God a little better today than yesterday.

Teaching God’s Word should not primarily be a lesson of right verses wrong, the do’s and don’ts of Christianity? If that is all we are doing, we are teaching our children how to be good little pharisees. It won’t endure the tests of time.

Our children need a vision of how the people of the Bible went looking for and found their Creator, a Glorious Father Creator who welcomed them and spoke truth to them? We need to help them see the Judge of the OT as a loving caring Father to Israel, who time after time cried out for repentance and then, as a faithful father will do, disciplined His children in order to save a remnant to carry on a good and right relationship with Him.

Salvation is not just about being saved from Hell. Salvation is about a restoration of right relationship with our Creator. Relationships take work. How well are we training our children to never settle for less than a vital growing intimate relationship with the God Who loves us so much that He chose to make His home in our hearts?

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named. I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love,  you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think,  to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 (NET Bible)

Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."