As followers of Christ, we have a high calling to shepherd the hearts of the children that God has entrusted to us. However, if we’re honest, there are weary moments when we just want them to behave! In the flurry of lunch packing, carpool driving, and homework helping, exists a great temptation to value behavior change over heart change. Respect is more than just following the rules. Respect is HONORING WHAT GOD SAYS IS TRUE ABOUT HIMSELF, OTHERS AND ME. Jesus provides us with the best example of respect. Jesus knew that he could respect God the Father because His way is always best.
MEMORY VERSE: “Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the King.” 1 Peter 2:17
Jesus was not surprised when he was arrested and sent to the cross. In fact, that was the very reason He came to earth in the first place! We can read what Jesus went through the very night it happened in Mark 14:32-36. He knew what was going to happen and he confessed to God the Father how He was feeling. He asked His Father for another way but He closed His prayer this way: “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Jesus was able to respect the will of his Father because He knew that God is holy, just, loving and faithful. The best part of this story is that because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, He offers all of us the amazing gift of grace and salvation!
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All elementary kids went home with a page of truths that God says about Himself in His Word. Read through this list of truths with your kids and ask them some questions about it. What are some of your favorite things God says about Himself? Are there any that are harder for you to believe? Why? Can you think of any more things God says is true about Himself? When we know and believe what God says about Himself is true we can respect Him and trust that His way is always best.
When you’re driving with your kids this week ask them what they think their futures will be like. What will they do and where will they be? Ask them how they would feel if God had different plans for them. Why? Think back to a time in your own life when God’s plans were different from yours and you learned that His way was best. Share that story with your kids. Remind them that God is good and loving no matter what, even if His plans are different than what we want.
Every night this week, pick one of the truths from the God Always Says page and thank God for it. Ask Him to give you the courage and strength to honor Him and follow His way, even when it’s tough. Thank Him for being in control of all things and, most of all, for Jesus and what He did on the cross for us.
As you are getting your family ready for the day, work on this week’s memory verse together, 1 Peter 2:17. Remind them that no matter what, God loves and cares for them and they can show their love back to Him by respecting that His way is always best.
Ask God to give you the courage, strength and fortitude to surrender to His will, especially during the most difficult times. Pray the same thing for the children in your small group, that together you might grow in your conviction that God’s way is always best.
Next week we will continue in this month's character trait, RESPECT!