I hope you are continuing to use The Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for your own prayers. And, of course, that you are also teaching your children or grandchildren how to pray like that as well. It is so much more than just helping them to memorize it, but that is a starting point. Go to Categories on the side bar and click The Lord’s Prayer if you need a review or if you missed the whole study. You must scroll down to the first lesson since the last lesson pops up first.
I suggest that great error in interpretation can occur if today’s habit of fragmented thinking causes us to miss the whole picture of the Bible or even a passage. (Psychologists are in agreement that the use of I-pads, computers, I-phones have led to a decrease in attention span resulting in fragmented thinking skills. Details can drown us. Detailed reading skills are good to a point, but we all must be able to read to pick up themes and main points.) We must start with the big picture. That is why I so endorse Sally Lloyd-Jones’ The Jesus Storybook Bible for pre-school through lower elementary children. The gospel is the central theme of the whole Bible and if you miss that by focusing on the children of Israel or Paul’s missionary trips or some word meaning study, then you will misinterpret the meaning of whatever passage you are reading.
This is all to say that I want us to teach our children and grandchildren the big pictures of Christianity—the gospel, the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments. So today we begin a new study on the Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. My teachers will again be Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Thomas Watson. Please stop here if you can and reread Matthew 5.
BLESSED ARE THE……
The big picture here is that these traits describe the Christian. It is what a person is like when he comes face to face with God, aware of his total dependence on Him. The person who has these traits is blessed, and happy and peaceful because of it. There evidently were a lot of people listening to Jesus that day, but he made eye contact with those who were publically following Him, not just dropping by for the day, signaling that these words were directed to disciples. Thus, those who say they are his followers are to take these words to heart. This is a description of them. He wants them to let their light shine so others will see what Christians are like.
Each of the Beatitudes are connected. We must take them as a complete whole. This is not a list of ethics. They are not natural temperament traits either. You don’t get poor in spirit through your DNA. Instead, Christian character is received by grace through the Holy Spirit. It is not a matter of teaching your children to be meek or humble! It is not a matter of breaking their will so they will be poor in spirit. It is not turning your back on riches and enduring a voluntary poverty. It is not a matter of suppressing your natural temperament and trying to be something you are not. Instead, this is a gift to them just as faith is a gift that becomes evident when they repent and turn to Christ Jesus as their Savior and Lord and then is repeated throughout their life. Of course, we all may grow in grace and can become more meek, more poor in spirit, more prone to mourn….
Start by having the children memorize the Beatitudes. You will be able to explain the meaning later and instruct them how to comfort themselves with a right application of them. You can show them the difference between the Christian and the non-Christian. Later, you can teach them to look within themselves for this character for their own assurance when they ask or think, “Am I really a Christian?” That is why we should teach these Beatitudes.
Of course, you can also use the Beatitudes this way for yourself. Do you see these traits in yourself? How do you see yourself when in the presence of God? Do your mourn your sins and those of your culture? Are you serious, sober-minded? Yet, at the same time, happy and peaceful?