Once we choose to follow Jesus, spiritual disciplines help our spirits to grow in wisdom, maturity, and bring us closer to God. When we spend consistent time getting to know God we are exercising our spiritual muscles, growing into the person God created us to be, and preparing ourselves to be able to hear God and teach others.
As parents, we’re always teaching our children. As noted previously, children learn what they live – parents and caregivers influence their children all the time. Kids are watching us, listening to us, and they’re following our lead. When we employ spiritual practices into our daily lives – and teach our children to do the same – we’re influencing them for Christ and giving them important tools that they will need in life.
Growing Spiritual Fruit
Galatians 5:22-23 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (emphasis mine). As believers in Jesus, Christians are given the Holy Spirit to lead and empower them. The result of the work of the Holy Spirit in us helps us bear this spiritual fruit. We are essentially becoming more like Jesus.
Spiritual fruit is evident in our lives as a change in our character and outlook. As we spend more time in God’s Word and practicing other spiritual disciplines, we get to know Jesus better. Earl Waggoner, author and dean of Biblical Studies & Theology at Colorado Christian University says, “At work in the lives of believers, then, is a delicate balance between the Spirit’s fruit yield and the Christian’s yielded — yet — active life response.” So we have a responsibility here to act on, use, and develop the spiritual fruit in our lives. The cool thing about this is that as we grow spiritually, we will want to do this!
Spiritual Disciplines for Kids
Think of spiritual disciplines as training, instruction, and teaching, which is our parental responsibility. We teach our kids how to tie shoes, use manners, brush their teeth, have healthy habits – the list goes on and on (and on). Instructing them about how to grow spiritually needs to be a top priority and there are a few practices that we can help our kids to develop that will support this.
Andrew M. Davis, in An Infinite Journey: Growing Toward Christlikeness, writes of three spiritual disciplines essential for a Christian to develop in maturity:
- Bible reading
- Meditation and memorization of scripture
- Personal prayer
“For a child, these disciplines are plenty to practice on a daily basis. Practicing all three will create habits that can last a lifetime.” As parents, we are the primary nurturers of spirituality in our children. We need to involve them in creating family rituals and habits that promote family values which, if repeatedly done, have lasting positive effects on their lives.
“What if I’m a new Christian?”
Parents who are new Christians, may feel a bit inadequate when it comes to their own understanding of God, or His Word, or their ability to teach it to your children. The good new is we have God on our side! Set your mind on the promises of God and His ability instead of feeling discouraged, worried, or uneasy by your inability.
Community Congregational Church is here to support you! Checkout our weekly Tuesday Bible study, Wednesday Hour of Prayer, children’s spiritual formation classes, and know that you can always connect with Pastor Dan for further development.
Please check out this resource 3 Spiritual Disciplines for Everyone. It includes information about The Prayer Course and other resources to help establish or enhance your spiritual fruit-growing practices.
People tell silly stories that don’t agree with God’s truth.
Don’t follow what these stories teach. But teach yourself to be devoted to God.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ERV)
Family Ministry Director