Think about the people you hold in the highest regard, those you think have lived a good life, who have served others well and done all the right things. Maybe Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. or even your grandmother came to mind. Would you consider any of these people perfect? I mean 100% absolutely perfect and sinless? No matter how hard we work or how many good things we do, God demands perfection and no one other than Jesus has ever lived a perfect life. So, what are we to do?
Abraham is a central figure to the Old Testament. Of course he wasn’t perfect, but surely he did enough good stuff to make up for his sins, right? Wrong. In Genesis 15:1-6 God made some amazing promises to Abraham, not because of anything Abraham had done, but because of God’s great love. In Romans 4:1-5, Paul retells the story of Abraham and reminds us that he was given the gift of righteousness from God, not because of anything he had done. How amazing is that! God offers this free gift to all of us when we believe and trust in Christ instead of our own works. There is no better news than that!
Find a bunch of rocks or heavy objects that would fit into your child’s backpack. Come up with a list of good things people do to try and earn righteousness (read the bible, go to church, serve others). For each work you think of, put an object into their backpack. Once it’s full, have them try to walk around with the backpack for a while. Ask them how they feel about carrying the heavy weight of works around. Do they think they could keep this up all the time? How does it feel when you finally get to take it off? Explain to them that God’s righteousness is a free gift that He gives to those who believe in Him. We can never be perfect enough to earn it. When we accept His free gift, it’s like taking off the heavy backpack. We are free to worship and serve Him without being weighted down by works.
Play a version of Simon Says with your kids. Tell them they have to do what you ask them to do perfectly or they will be out. You can get progressively harder as the game goes on and more specific with what you ask them to do. For example, you ask them to do jumping jacks, they may be out if their arms aren’t straight or if they don’t jump high enough. If they are to recite a memory verse, they may be out if they pause or get just one word wrong. When they say you are being to harsh remind them that God is holy and He requires perfection to be with Him. Talk about the amazing gift of salvation He offers to us because we’re not perfect and can never work hard enough to earn it.
Take time this week to work on memorizing this month’s verse, Romans 4:5, with your whole family. Looking for some new ways to practice the verse? Check out these Memory Verse Games from Bethlehem Baptist Church to help your kids discover that memorizing scripture can actually be fun!
Thank God for His amazing gift of righteousness that He offers to us. Thank Him that He requires nothing from us because we can’t ever work hard enough to earn righteousness. Ask Him to help you trust Him and rely on Him and not yourself or your own works. Thank Him for the good works He has planned for you when you trust in Him and want to serve Him.
Next week we will be looking at the story of the rich young ruler. Seeing his interaction with Jesus we will learn that trying to make it by the law is flawed. For a sneak peek at the story, read Mark 10:17-31.
Did you join us on January 31 for Watermark Kids Live? What did you like best about the night? How can we make our next Watermark Kids Live even better next time? Share your stories from the night with us here or on Facebook & Twitter via @WatermarkKids.