What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.A. W. Tozer
What we think about God reveals a lot about what we believe God is and is not. Lewis had a different take. He said what God thinks about us is the most important thing about us.
I read in a periodical the other day that the fundamental thing is how we think of God.C. S. Lewis
By God Himself, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except in so far as it is related to how He thinks of us.
I side with Tozer on this one. For the reason that how we have formed God in our minds reveals how he has revealed himself to us. We can only see him if he opens our eyes to see him. In all honesty, this is a false chose both are the most important but each one tells us something different. What God thinks about us reveals the ground of our salvation. What we think about God shows the fruit of our salvation.
A few nights ago I was putting my youngest daughter to bed and she asked me if closing your eyes and thinking about God was bad. She said this because we discourage the spiritual practices of yoga with our kids. I told her closing your eyes and thinking about God and his word were not bad at all, in fact, its something we should do. She responded by saying “ok, good.” So I asked her “Baby, what do you think about when you think about God?” I was nearly moved to tears, her reply both convicted and moved me. She said “I think about how good He has been to me. I think about how even if we don’t have bread he can make it rain from the sky.”
“I think about how good he has been to me.” God used my six-year-old to preach the gospel to me.
I said what else do you think about when you think about God? She then said, “Dad you know about Clifford the Big Red Dog?” I said “Yes” she laughed sweetly and said, “I asked God for more episodes because I have watched them all. And he heard me they made a new Clifford.” I knew she disliked the new one because Emily and Clifford talk to each other. I said, “But the new one isn’t good is it?” She said, “No daddy, I don’t like the new one.” I told her I was sorry. “It’s ok,” she replied. “God told me that I need to be thankful for what I have.”
My daughter in a two-minute conversation just preached me the essence of a Gospel-centered life. A life marked by the gospel will produce humble gratitude.
This is why I love my church. They are more concerned with kids loving Jesus than kids loving church.
If my daughter by God’s grace continues to think about those things when she thinks about God she will never lose her passion for the church. In our desire for relevance and for pragmatic effectiveness, I think we are missing what matters most. We rightly want our kids to love the church. Yet I think our desires are misguided. What I have found to be the case in my life and in the lives of those who have come through our church over the years When we teach our kids to love Jesus they will love the church. Discipleship isn’t a word we talk enough about in kids and youth ministry. That needs to change. Rather than trying to attract lots of kids each week lets ask a different question. Let’s ask “How can we help our kids see what God has done for them in Christ this week?”
How do we disciple kids in such a way that they love Jesus more as a result?
- Point every story back to Jesus. – Don’t be a weirdo and force Jesus where he doesn’t belong but be sure to point them to the larger story that the Bible is telling about what God is like.
- Remind them of what God has done for them in Christ. – Don’t just talk about the sin and the cross once a year remind them of the saving life-transforming work of Jesus every week.
- Tell them stories of missionaries who gave everything for the gospel. Pray for missionaries who are in harm’s way because of what they believe. We do this daily with our kids.
- Ask them when they think of God what do they think about – This one is scary because it is probably one of the more immediate indications of your discipleship of your children. Who have you told your kids God is. Who have you shown your kids through your actions is worthy of your trust.
When you think about God what do you think about? It may not be the most important question but I can think of no better gospel diagnostic. Ask your kids this question often but first, ask yourself. “What do I think about when I think about God?”