Children cannot read the Bible on their own! They need to just go to Sunday School and learn at church. Parents can’t teach them!
That is the way too many parents have thought in the last fifty years. Generations have not passed down to children how to have devotions or spend time in God’s word on a regular basis. Consequently, people go to church and are intimidated when a pastor teaches from the Bible. They would rather have stories about God and the Bible and just feel good about life. That is not God’s plan.
God wants spiritual children to learn how to have devotions. It is the primary way they will develop spiritually, so they can learn to feed themselves and develop discernment (Heb. 5:12-14). Spiritual parents are responsible to help spiritual children have devotions. How should that be done? Even spiritual infants must learn the importance of having devotions on a regular basis. What does a spiritual child need to learn about having devotions?
Devotions are a portion of the day, when a person takes time to read God’s Word in order to learn how to devote his life to God’s will and person. He commits a portion of his day, starting out with only ten minutes a day, in order to grow in his relationship with the God of the universe. See the first set of principles on what a spiritual infant must learn about devotions first, if you have not read them. Consider the following principles for spiritual children.
First, a spiritual child must learn to meditate on specific passages. Some people will haphazardly open the Bible and drop a finger on a text, but that is pretty “willy nilly.” There are much better ways to learn consistency and intentionality through good Bible resources. Consider the importance of these two passages. David wrote,
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (Ps. 1:1-2 NKJ)
He also wrote,
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. (Ps. 19:7-11 NKJ)
Meditation is taking a passage of Scripture, slowly reading it and then concentrating on what it means, especially regarding the character of God and personal application. Meditation is actually a challenge for a spiritual child, because, like children, “being still” is not easy.
Secondly, a spiritual child must learn to read through Scripture. One of the best ways to learn about Scripture is to read through it. There are many tools and Bible resources that can help in giving an overview of the flow of Scripture, but one of the best ways to learn Scripture is just to read it. Paul wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15 NKJ) The Psalmist wrote,
How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! (Ps. 119:9-11 NKJ)
A child needs to learn to be diligent when it comes to the things of God. A child is too often distracted by the things of this world (1 John 2:15-17). He also needs to realize that reading Scripture is a great way to hide God’s story in his heart, so that he’ll begin to develop a framework of where things are in Scripture.
Thirdly, a spiritual child needs to grow in his prayer life related to Scripture. The more a child can incorporate Scripture into his prayer the more he will pray according to God’s will. Daniel wrote,
Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. (Dan 10:12-13 NKJ)
Luke recorded the parable Jesus told of dependence on God for help,
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 “Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, `Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 “And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, `Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 `yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8 NKJ)
There are over 350 prayers in Scripture. Spiritual devotions are a great way to learn those prayers and develop prayer in devotions. After reading or meditating on Scripture, a spiritual child will learn to pray to the Lord in praise, on his own behalf and on behalf of others.
Fourthly, a spiritual child must learn to be thankful for God’s Word and His goodness. The first attack in Scripture was the devil’s attack on the character of God and His Word (Gen. 3:1-3). Devotions are a great way of learning to be thankful for God’s Word and His goodness. The psalmist wrote,
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; 2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night, 3 On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, And on the harp, With harmonious sound. 4 For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. 5 O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. (Ps. 92:1-5 NKJ)
Additionally, the psalmist wrote,
Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! 2 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! (Ps. 105:1-2 NKJ)
Fifthly, a spiritual child learns to examine his own actions in devotions. Devotions are like looking into a mirror and seeing dirt on your face. When there is dirt, then you wash it off and move on. You do not look at it, ignore it and move on. That is foolishness. James wrote,
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (Jam 1:22-25 NKJ)
What does that look like? Practice what John wrote, in humility before the Lord, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJ) Then make changes according to Scripture,
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NKJ)
A spiritual child can learn to examine his own actions. If he does not, he will not successfully learn to become a spiritual young adult.
Sixthly, a spiritual child must learn to live so that he will not have shame in his life. That means to humbly obey what Paul wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15 NKJ) There is shame from making foolish and sinful choices. But there is a greater shame for not being diligent to know and live out God’s Word.
Devotions are a key spiritual discipline for a spiritual child. They help the spiritual child develop the self-control to deny his flesh and follow Jesus. They are a major ingredient for personal growth to the next level of being a spiritual young adult. Whether you are 12 or 62, you need to practice these principles to grow spiritually to the next spiritual level.