Last Monday, I got to go to the Hillsong concert. A friend of mine had an extra ticket and offered it to me. I loved the music and the atmosphere of worship. But of all the songs we sang, my favorite was "Jesus Loves Me." As we were singing those simple words:
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so,
I was struck by their simplicity -- and their truth.
The Bible is a big book. It's made up of 66 books. It's well over 1,000 pages long. It has been studied, dissected, parsed and interpreted more than any other book in history.
Yet, its message is simple. Jesus loves you. That's it. The over-arching message of the Bible is those three simple words. Jesus loves you.
The Bible is a great teaching tool to use with your kids. It contains all sorts of instruction on how to live our lives. It covers instruction for everything from our speech to how to treat others to how to please God.
All those instructions, though, are wrapped around one big theme: Jesus loves you. 1 John 3:16 sums it up, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us."
Sometimes, we get so caught up in teaching our kids all the instructions found in the Bible that we miss teaching them the thing that makes all those instructions worth following. Jesus loves you.
When we teach our kids that one simple thing, it makes the Bible come alive in a different way. It becomes not just a book of rules, not just another religious book, not just something they carry to church on Sunday mornings. It becomes a love letter from God to them. It becomes a book of words worthy of soaking up.
So, when you're using the Bible to instruct your kids, when you're reading the Bible to them, when you're helping them memorize verses, focus on the fact that Jesus loves them. Make sure your kids know that the instructions in the Bible are given out of love. Help them see that all of the Old Testament points toward the arrival of Jesus, who would make a great sacrifice out of love for them.
Don't let the Bible become just a book for your kids. Don't let them think of it as just a book of rules. Focus on the message that matters: Jesus loves you.