Raising godly kids in a world that’s growing increasingly contrary to biblical standards feels harder by the day. And honestly, I’m exhausted just thinking about the weight of responsibility it is to keep my kids right-side-up in this upside-down world.
But teaching my kids right from wrong isn’t as hard as it may seem when I stop to consider what’s truly important. No, I can’t follow them around everywhere they go play acting as their personal Holy Spirit. (Besides, that would be embarrassing and they’d get tired of me.) But I can absolutely give them a truthful grid to filter life through by teaching them a few basic essentials. In particular, consider these ten biblical principles kids need to know.
1. There is only one God and He is the creator of heaven and earth.
I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides me there is no God . . . I made the earth and created man on it. (Isa. 45:5, 12)
Monotheism (one god) is one of the first things the Israelites taught their children and it should be one of the first things our kids know as well. His name is the LORD God Almighty. He created all things, and all things hold together in Him. There is no one like God and God alone deserves the glory.
2. Jesus is God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:1, 14)
God is one, existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We don’t have to fully understand it, but we do need to fully accept it. Jesus is God’s Son, but Jesus is also fully God. “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:16). “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3). To know Jesus is to know God. And to deny Jesus is to deny God.
3. The Bible is the Word of God, and God’s Word is truth.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Apart from knowing the Bible, we will not know truth. Spending time in God’s Word is essential if we’re to correctly decipher what’s true and what’s not. If something goes against God’s Word then it’s wrong. The Bible is not out-of-date. It is forever relevant, real, and right no matter what the world says. Blessed are those who love God’s Word and seek Him with their whole heart (see Ps. 119:2).
4. God is holy, supreme, and sovereign.
I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. (Isa. 43:15)
God is perfectly righteous. He alone is holy and set apart, transcendent, above all things. God knows all things, making Him omniscient. God’s power has no limit, making Him omnipotent. And God is everywhere at the same time, making Him omnipresent. No one will ever compare to God. He is more awesome than we can ever know, and He alone is worthy of our allegiance, even when it’s hard.
5. All people are sinners.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)
All people are separated from God by sin. No one is exempt. Idolatry, slander, obscene talk, misusing the Lord’s name, disrespect, coveting, lying, gossip, etc. . . . it’s all sin. Even tantrums are sin. Any act of defiance against God is sin, and the penalty for sin is death. All of us are destined to die and after that we will face judgment. Heaven and hell are real places. Those who are saved by faith in Christ are forgiven of their sins and gifted with eternity in heaven. Those who die apart from receiving salvation will spend eternity in hell because sin condemns us. God is not mean. God is just and kind and has gifted us with a way out.
6. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.
Jesus said to them, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
There is no other way to be saved except by the blood of Jesus. We can’t earn our way to heaven. It’s impossible to ever be good enough for God. But God, who is rich in mercy, is willing to forgive us when we repent and believe that Christ died for our sins and on the third day rose again, and is today seated in heaven as Lord and King. Only then are we declared righteous and holy and a beloved child of God.
7. A relationship with God is better than anything else.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Ps. 16:11)
There is no greater reward than God himself. Nothing this world has to offer compares with God. Joy is being in God’s presence, and with Him is where pleasure dwells. The world may look enticing but knowing God, and being with God, is better than anything else we could ever desire.
8. God is faithful.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb. 10:23)
Circumstances do not determine God’s character. God is faithful no matter what we experience. Hard times do not imply the absence of God, but are an opportunity to grow in faith, and experience the faithfulness of God for ourselves as we endure with God’s promises as our secure hope.
9. Spiritual forces of evil are real.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12)
The devil is not a fictitious character. He is real and would love nothing more than to destroy our faith and distract us from God, tempting us to seek satisfaction in anything but God. This life we live is foremost a spiritual battle. But we can be victorious by living life in the power of the Holy Spirit, with a steadfast faith, and a solid commitment to prayer.
10. Our salvation has a purpose.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)
God hasn’t saved us by grace so we can live however we want and still go to heaven. God has saved us so we can be free to worship and glorify Him! God has put His Spirit within us so we can live righteously even now in a sinful world. Our love for God becomes evident as we obey Him. The choices we make today have eternal significance, and righteous living matters.
There is no greater accomplishment than to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). Whatever you do, choose God. Wherever you go, seek God. No matter what you encounter or who you come up against, remember God.
These are the things I will teach my children, that they may live right-side-up in an upside-down world. Will you join me?