Clap, Dance & Sing for Jesus: Teaching Children How to Act Christian

Matthew 27

And they bound Him
Led Him away
Delivered Him over
Accused by the chief priests and elders
Testified against Him
Out of envy they delivered Him up
Delivered to be crucified
Spit on

My children were born. I have four of them. I did what good Christians mom’s do and took them to church every Sunday. It’s a requirement if you live in our home.

We dressed up in nice clothes, and went and did what we were supposed to do. When they were little they would go to Sunday School, Sunday morning service and participate in children’s programs.

We were so proud when they repeated verses, lines in a play, dressed up, and sang songs. They rarely wanted to participate, but did it because it was expected.

What were we teaching them? Were we trying to teach them?

Were we teaching them that Christianity is cute. It’s about clapping your hands and smiling for Jesus. Were we teaching them that if we are cute for Jesus and participate in plays that your soul is well?

Were we teaching them that if they sing for Jesus and feel happy about Jesus then they are assured eternal life?

We might say we did that as a way to teach children about Jesus, and in hopes that the Scriptures would penetrate their hearts, and they would embrace Him as their savior.  Right?

I spent the first 18 years of my life clapping, dancing and singing for Jesus. Then I spent the next ten years clapping, dancing and singing for me. It didn’t take.

When I finally did encounter Jesus, and start a relationship with Him it was the most joyous moment of my life, but the reality of life with Jesus is often far from the good feelings I was taught to have as a child.

When my husband said he wanted a divorce not long after I was saved all the clapping, dancing and singing couldn’t relieve the pain and grief I felt.

When he came back and we lived through hell trying to repair our relationship I just couldn’t find those feelings. Living for Jesus just didn’t add up to dressing up like Mary at the Christmas play at church.

Children are unbelievers. What are we teaching unbelievers about Jesus by taking them to church, teaching them to feel good about Jesus as we clap, dance and sing for Him?

Sure those are good things, but what happens when those children grow up, are confronted with a faith that is hard, full of strife, and trial. Those good feelings disappear and there is often no foundation to keep them grounded.

The reality is I have had the most amazing communion with our Lord. When my husband left I was broken. I woke up each morning and crawled to my prayer spot and cried. There were no words to express my grief and despair, yet during that time of my life I also experienced the most amazing joy and peace.

It grew as I relied more upon God, read His Word and sought Him through prayer. It was much more than anything anyone could have ever shown me.

The Jesus that we want our children to follow suffered much, and He promises that we will too. Eternity is on the line. Let’s ensure that we are teaching our unbelieving children why they need Jesus in the first place, how they come to saving faith, what they do when they are saved, and how they can in turn make disciples for Christ.

And when they come to know Christ, may we then, clap, dance, and sing for Jesus!

Marcy Pedersen

*thoughts and musings as my children leave home.

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