When a child receives the Holy Spirit they don’t get a junior Holy Spirit.
They get the same Holy Spirit that you and I get.
It’s is critical that we not just talk about the Holy Spirit, but that we teach kids how to actually hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
I teach kids that the Holy Spirit speaks in three ways.
1) The Bible.
The primary way that God talks to us is through the Bible. Sometimes you are reading the Bible and a certain verse will stand out to you. When this happens it’s critical that we do whatever the Holy Spirit is telling us to do. It is also important that we teach kids that the Holy Spirit will never contradict the Bible.
2) The Inward Witness
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Romans 8:16
The second way that God leads us is when the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit
The inward witness is a inner feeling that you have in your gut. It’s a red light or a green light. You may be watching a TV show and you get a yucky feeling on the inside. That’s the red light, the inward witness, telling you to turn it off or change the channel.
This is how I teach kids about the Inward Witness.
I ask my kids to close their eyes and be quiet for about 30 seconds and then tell a story. While they have their eyes closed I tell the following story:
Imagine that you in the cafeteria and eating your lunch. Your friend doesn’t have any desert and you think “I’m going to share my desert with my friend.” When you think about that thought what does it feel like inside? Let the kids respond. Most will say.
“It felt good.”
Then I ask them to close their eyes again and I tell a different story.
You are at the grocery store with your Mom and when you see the candy bars at the check out counter you are tempted to just stick one in your pocket. Think about that thought for a minute. What does it feel like? Allow the kids to respond.
Most will say something like. “A yucky feeling.”
At that point I ask a question.
“Do you need to ask your parents if it’s wrong to steal the candy bar?”
They always say, “No.”
“We know on the inside that it’s wrong to steal.”
“See, that’s the inward witness. You have the inward witness on the inside of you. You don’t have to wait until you grow up to get the inward witness. This is how the Holy Spirit leads you. You can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit right now.”
I want to give them confidence that they can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
3) The third way that the Holy Spirit speaks to us is through our conscience.
“…Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!” Acts 23:1 NLT
Your conscience is an inner voice that is different from the inward witness in that you actually hear words on the inside. Your conscience is a still small voice.
I’ve taught kids to listen to their conscience by putting them in real-life situations.
“How many of you have ever walked past your bedroom and you heard a voice say, ‘Remember, Mom told you to clean up your room'”?
That still small voice is your conscience and it is one way that the Holy Spirit leads you.
To teach children about the still small voice ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes.
“Listen to your heart.”
Wait about 60 seconds and just listen.
“Did anybody hear anything?”
As children raise their hand, have them come forward and tell what they heard. I do this to give confidence to kids that they can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. It’s amazing some of the profound things that kids will say. When one of them says something that’s really cool I make a big deal about it.
How do you teach kids about the Holy Spirit?
Not only has Mark served in the local church as pastor, associate pastor, and family ministry pastor but he is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team.