You might already know that 2 Corinthians 6 addresses deep spiritual topics such as perseverance in faith under trial, the prohibition on being "unequally yoked," separation from worldly influence and the fatherhood of God. Such issues can seem dauntingly age-inappropriate for young children. However, if you simplify them into preschool language, you can introduce the concepts of standing up for your beliefs, choosing friends carefully, resisting temptation and peer pressure, the love of God and the importance of children to Him on a level that young minds can grasp and understand. Turning the lesson into games and crafts can hold your child's attention while you feed his mind and heart with spiritual truth to grow his faith.
Faith that Stands
The New Testament is full of stories about the difficulties the apostles faced in sharing their faith. Paul refers to this in 2 Corinthians 6:4-7. Read the simplified versions of the persecution and opposition that Peter, Paul and the other church leaders faced in the book of Acts while standing strong for God to your little ones. Encourage them to act out some of these stories, letting them take turns playing the various parts. Explain that Jesus told a related story in Matthew 13:1-23 and read the parable of the seeds and the sower, pointing out that God warned His followers that mean people would try to discourage their faith and get them to give it up. Explain that Jesus wants His people to stand up for Him and grow strong in faith. Make a garden collage and help your tots label their picture with a caption like, "I Live for Jesus" or "I Choose Jesus."
A traditional interpretation of 2 Corinthians 6:14 is that it warns against marriage between believers and unbelievers -- a topic that is hardly relevant to preschoolers. However, in a larger sense, Paul is warning against letting any kind of worldly companions have too much influence over your life, which allows you to translate the lesson into the importance of choosing godly friends that will help and not hinder you from following God fully. Let your little one color a dark and solid pencil scribble and rub her finger on the resulting smudge to discover that the pencil lead comes off and leaves a mark on the skin. Ask her what would happen if she carried that scribble around with her all day, explaining that the smudge would likely rub off on others. Explain that you tend to imitate the people with whom you spend a lot of time. Therefore, it is important to choose friends whose behavior and choices encourage you to act in ways that please God and not make Him sad.
Resisting Peer Pressure
2 Corinthians 6:17 reiterates the importance of living differently from people who do not follow God -- and saying no to temptation and sin. Explain to your preschooler that he doesn't need to copy what another child is doing if he knows it is wrong. Emphasize that even if many friends are doing something, it doesn't make it OK to do it, too. Go on to explain that having friends who want to make God happy can help him resist the temptation to go along with the crowd. In a group of children, choose one to be the tempter and another for him to tempt. The rest of the group should surround the tempted in a circle of protection, joining hands or locking arms. The friends' job is to protect the tempted by preventing the tempter from tagging him by reaching through them. Explain that when you do something just because someone else is doing it, it is just like being a puppet, allowing another person to control your actions. Tell your child that God wants us to give only Him control. Make stick or paper bag puppets and suggest tempting situations such as, "You are playing at a friend's house and he asks you to steal some cookies from the kitchen for the both of you." Then use the puppets to role play the situation, using a godly response to resist the temptation.
A basic question in the spiritual growth of a young child is whether he matters to God. She needs to hear, "You are important to God. He is with you always to help you. He loves you just like a dad loves his children." Set the tone for thinking about what fathers are like with a game of father dress-up. While your child is trying on suits and ties, jeans and T-shirts, tell a story about a parent who sacrifices what he wants to do for something his child enjoys. Explain that God loves your child so much He gave up his only Son, Jesus, so that she could be His child, too. Explain that because God loves your preschooler so much, He will always be with her and help her if she asks when she is happy, sad, mad, confused, frustrated, tired, hungry or scared. Explain that if she hugs Him tight with her heart, just as a child hugs her earthly dad with her arms, God will protect her like good fathers protect their children.
- Bible Gateway: 2 Corinthians 6
- Children's Ministry Magazine: Bible Activities: Ten Active Indoor Games
- Children's Ministry Magazine: Peer Pressure: Ages 4 to 5
- Kids' Sunday School Place: Friends Rub Off
- Kids' Sunday School Place: Rise and Live for Jesus
- Kids' Sunday School Place: Battling Sin
- Creative Youth Ideas: God is My Father
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