Less than half of American adults believe Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth, according to the Barna Group.
Only two-thirds of those who claim to be "born again" strongly believe Jesus was sinless. More than ever, parents need to teach their children who Jesus is and what His life has to do with theirs.
Contrary to what many believe, Jesus was not an imperfect man who simply offered good moral teachings. He is Lord of the universe, and He wants to be Lord of our lives.
Our children may hear the phrase "Christ is Lord" on a regular basis. But do they understand the meaning of those words?
First, the word Christ means "messiah." Simply put, Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. He came in human form, lived a sinless life, and allowed himself to be sacrificed to save us from sin and death (John 1:14,29; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; 1 John 3:4-5).
Second, the word Lord means "ruler." Christianity teaches that we have been purchased at the high price of Christ's sacrificed. Our lives no longer belong to us, but to God. As the Bible explains, "You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:20, NKJV). So we proclaim "Christ is Lord" to acknowledge that we willingly submit to Jesus as the rightful ruler of our lives.
The Scriptures describe Jesus Christ as Lord over everything: "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!" (Romans 11:36). But we need to guide our children from mere verbal affirmation and head knowledge to a true heart connection.
In the following age-appropriate activities, you will find the tools you need to engage both the mind and heart of your children. No matter their age or stage, you can help your children understand that Christ wants to be much more than a distant ruler over the universe; He wants to be the Lord of their lives.
Family Memory Verse
"There is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."
—1 Corinthians 8:6
While buckling children into their car seats, explain to them where you're headed. Then crawl into the seat beside them or into the front passenger seat. Ask the questions, "Why aren't we moving? Why aren't we going to [destination]?" Most likely, children will identify a driver is needed, or they'll say something about the need for the key to make the car go. Ask your children why a driver is necessary.
Explain that Jesus wants to be the driver in our lives. He wants to give us direction and take us where He wants us to go. When we allow Jesus to be the driver, we agree to obey Him because we believe in Him and love Him. Then Jesus becomes not only our driver but also our Lord.
Choose one chair in your home to be a "throne." If you like, decorate it with ribbons, streamers or special fabric. Have your children take turns sitting on the throne. Pretend that the person who sits on the throne is a king or queen. He or she can direct the other family members to jump up and down or sing a funny song. Let children be creative and have fun dreaming up ideas.
Repeat this activity until everyone has had at least one turn. Then gather the family for a brief discussion.
- A king or queen sits on a worldly throne. Who sits on the throne of heaven?
- If your heart has a throne and God is the king, what does that mean for your life?
- What does it feel like to let someone else be in charge of you?
Explain: When we love Jesus, we take ourselves off the throne and let Jesus be in charge of our lives. By letting Jesus take charge, we are saying He is Lord, the king of our lives. He is a good king, and we can trust Him to direct us and the world around us.
—Susan Martins Miller
Mealtime Moment for Tweens
Share this scenario with your tween:
Caleb came home upset. He had learned from friends at school that his favorite baseball player had been caught using drugs.
"Oh, Caleb," Dad said when he heard the news. "I'm very sorry."
Tears welled up in Caleb's eyes. "I believed in him. How could he do that?!"
Dad nodded. "It's always hard when someone we trust chooses to do something wrong."
Ask your child: Have other people disappointed you? Do you have a friend who has made a poor decision? Can you tell me about it?
Take a moment to listen and empathize with the sadness your child feels. Follow up by asking: Can you think of someone who always acts in wise and good ways?
Talk about Philippians 2:5-11. How did Jesus act? Why is He worthy of our trust and respect? Why did God the Father lift Him to the highest place? How can we show that we believe Jesus Christ is Lord?
Read Psalm 103:1-19. Make a list of some ways the Lord of the universe is trustworthy.
Talk With Your Teen
Your teen may not understand what it means for someone to be a monarch, let alone the code of conduct that subjects follow to show reverence and respect to a sovereign. The closest our culture has to this position of power is perhaps our movie stars, musicians and athletes who are exalted as worldly icons of individualism and symbols of independence. To teach your teen about God's sovereignty and lordship, begin with a discussion about priorities and decisions.
- [Read Colossians 1:18 together. Note that the King James Version uses the word preeminence — or "first-place" status — to describe Jesus' authority.] What has first place in our family? What has first place in your life?
- What's the difference between the words savior and lord?
- What is your salvation story? Would you like to hear mine?
- Why does Christ deserve the place of lordship in your life?
- To make Jesus Lord in your life, what priorities would need to change? Which of your friends might help you make these changes?
- How can I pray for you?
Consider spending a weekend charting what both you and your teen do with your time. Review the two lists side by side to see where you and your teen intersect through shared time and where you each place your priorities. Based on your findings, discuss where Christ ranks as a priority in everyday pursuits. From this discussion, explore ways to make changes to be more Christ-centered, both in your teen's life and within your family.