Today, we had some more discipline battles with our two oldest boys. Both parents were finding their patience sorely exhausted. Finally, I had a conversation with Will where we talked about the need to obey God, consequences when we disobey and are naughty, etc… Will has heard enough Bible stories that by now, he understands that there is punishment for sin. He kept asking me questions about sin and punishment. He got very serious and wanted to know if he was going to “that bad place.” I said that everyone goes there — yes, him too — if he doesn’t believe in Jesus. I told him that God doesn’t want anyone to go there and that is why Jesus died. It is our sin that brings the punishment. It is God’s love that brings salvation.
We explain the similar parallel to this when he disobeys, fights, lies, etc… that he chooses to be punished/corrected. When he obeys, he chooses rewards and happiness. When he chooses to do wrong, he makes the choice to be corrected in some way. So when we sin, we choose sin’s punishment. God in his love and mercy chose to send Jesus so that we can be saved from that punishment. God’s justice and God’s grace/love/mercy were perfectly fulfilled on the cross. Jesus was punished in our place!
I then told Will that he needed to pray. We had talked earlier about him praying and asking God to help him obey. At that point, Will was not ready to pray. But at this point, he was ready to pray. He prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for being my Savior. Thank you I’m your child!” This was his three-year-old way of praying that he was trusting Jesus as his Savior and wanting to be God’s child. (Sometimes, he gets his tenses confused.) I know how Will talks so I know this is what he meant. Whether he truly understood everything, only God knows; but I know that he understood as much as he can at age three 1/2. We then talked about how as God’s children, we need to obey God and do what is right. At this, he finally laid his head down in sweet submission on his pillow and promptly went to sleep! Hallelujah!!! What a job to know that God’s Spirit is at work in Will’s heart and that a heart change did occur!