I remember one of the early devotions Jim and I did with our first child, Daniel, was memorizing the “I am” statements of Jesus in the gospel of John.
|Daniel "Pwaying", age 2 1/2|
Daniel and I looked through magazines for pictures to represent the different statements
- I am the Bread of Life he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
- I am the Light of the world whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
- Truly, truly, I say to you I am the Door of the sheep. (John 10:7)
- I am the Good Shepherd the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
- I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies. (John 11:25)
- I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
- I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Most of the things weren’t too hard to find. I think I ended up drawing a shepherd and a vine. I may have used a butterfly to represent the resurrection, or tried to draw an empty tomb. Then we glued the pictures to a piece of poster board which we hung on the kitchen door where we would see it often.
Daniel was old enough to be able to say the words and understand the natural meanings, if not the spiritual meanings of the verses, but he couldn’t read. We would point to a picture and talk about the verse that went along with it and explain as much of the meaning as he could understand and then repeat the verse over and over until he had it memorized.
We might have added a new verse every few days or maybe just once a week if we didn’t have a lot of review time.
After meals we would go over the verses. Sometimes we would point to the pictures and Daniel would say the verses and sometimes he would point and we would say the verses. He was sure to correct us if we got them wrong!
Long after we had finished these verses as our devotions, we left the poster up and reviewed them with him from time to time. It is amazing how much a young, uncluttered mind can remember!
But after I had all the verses written on the poster, I noticed how many times Jesus spoke of being the life: the Bread of life, the Light of life, the Resurrection and the Life, and the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I spent some time thinking about that.
He’s the Author of life and the first born from the dead—the only one to raise Himself from the dead! And He gives that life to us, to me. I found that something worth meditating on.
I learned another valuable lesson through those devotions: even the simplest tool to teach children God’s Word and God’s truths can impact us if we are open to the work of His Spirit.