Johnny received Jesus as His Savior during Vacation Bible School. After his commitment to Christ there was a noticeable difference in His life. He became excited about reading his Bible and going to church. He even started memorizing Bible verses every week. However, as school started in the fall things began to change. He went to school with the intention of telling his friends about Jesus. As he mingled with his friends, he grew timid and nervous about revealing his new faith in Christ. Before he knew it, he found himself getting into trouble and trying to be ‘cool’ and accepted by his peers. As a result, he started to doubt his salvation and was very confused and troubled.
The above scenario is one that is played out often in the lives of saved children. I have personally witnessed children who not long after trusting in Christ started to struggle with sin. I also experienced this in my own life. This is a common struggle that all believers face, including adults.
It must be understood that all who come to faith in Christ must deal with two competing natures. There is the old nature that is prone to sin and there is the new nature that has a desire to please the Lord and live for Him. It is important that in the early discipleship stages, children are taught the truth concerning these two natures and how to deal with this dilemma.
The first step is share with the child scripture that helps to reassure them. 1 John 5:11-13 is a key passage dealing with eternal security. It is important to explain to the child that our salvation is not based on how we feel or even on what we do or how we behave. Our salvation is based on the promise of God’s Word that all who believe on the Lord Jesus have eternal life. Another passage to consider would be Ephesians 1:13-14. This passage speaks to the fact that the moment we trust in Jesus we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit seals us, making our salvation secure.
Once you have helped the child with the assurance of his salvation, it is important to explain to the child that when we do sin, there is forgiveness in Jesus. 1 John 1:9 is a classic scripture that can be used to show how we should confess our sins to the Lord. Encourage the child to confess his or her sins everyday and ask for God’s forgiveness. Explain how this is not for our salvation, but it is to help us to have a clean conscience and to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
Finally, it is important to give the child the necessary tools to combat sin in his or her life. Share with them verses like Psalm 119:11 and explain to them the importance of having a daily quiet time where they read the Bible, pray, and memorize scripture. Walk with them and show them how to read their Bible by asking the following questions: what does it say, what does it mean, and what is God saying to me. It is also important that you share with the child the importance of attending church and work with them and their family to make to sure the child has the opportunity to attend church regularly.
Dealing with conduct issues in a saved child is part of their ongoing discipleship. The key is to never give up on the child and continue to work with them through whatever struggles that may encounter in their walk with God.