The Holy Spirit for Children
by: Anita Schoppe
The glory and wonder of Pentecost is that God, manifested as the Holy Spirit, desires to dwell within individual believers. The Holy Spirit is God. ”God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). ”There is … one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4). His indwelling brings power, purpose, joy, comfort, and guidance to the life of the believer.
God’s design is for every believer to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. To become a part of the kingdom of God, Jesus said a person must be “born again” or “born of the water and of the Spirit” (John 3:3-5). The apostle Peter understood this truth as he preached the first sermon at the birth of the church, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). This gift was given to the Jews (Acts 2), the Samaritans (Acts 8), and the Gentiles (Acts 10), showing that it was meant for all people. God wants to give this magnificent gift to every believer including children. According to Peter “the promise of the Holy Spirit is for you and your children and to all who are far off, for whomsoever the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). This gift is for every person who desires God, not just the apostles, not just the super spiritual, but ALL regardless of age.
Children need the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the same reasons adults need the experience. The new birth, consisting of water and Spirit, was never set forth as being optional for any Christian. ”Ye must be born again” are the words of Jesus. Until a person is born of the Spirit he cannot enter or even see the kingdom of God (John 3:1-7).
There are two evidences of the baptisms of the Holy Spirit. The first, outward evidence, is speaking with tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance, which means speaking miraculously in languages the speaker does not know (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 11:15-16; 19:5). Further evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit: love joy peace long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).
Because of this, we need to teach our children these ten truths about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God
- The Holy Spirit wants to live in us to bring us power: to conquer sin, to help us witness, and to resurrect us. He also wants to bring love, joy, and peace to make our lives better.
- The Holy Spirit is only for those who have repented, those who are sorry for their sins and desire to please God with their lives.
- You do not have to earn the Holy Spirit. You only have to love God and ask. It is a gift available to everyone who wants it.
- A person knows the Holy Spirit has baptized them and filled them when they begin to speak in a language, one they have not learned, by the power of God.
- Not everyone cries when God touches them in this way, but many people do being to cry when God’s power begins to move in their heart, and that’s OK.
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not scary, even though how someone can speak in an unlearned language is hard to understand. God loves them very much, and he will not force them to do anything, including speaking in a language they have not learned. However, if they want the Holy Spirit, God will very gently give them the unknown language as He fills them.
- They need to know that they will need to use their voice to ask God to fill them, and to worship and praise God out loud.
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of an ongoing relationship. A believer needs to allow the Holy Spirit to consistently fill and refill his life. Encourage them to let the Holy Spirit pray through them in tongues every day. This will help them to grow as a Christian (1 Corinthians 14:4). Then their life will show growing evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their attitudes and behaviors.
- Celebrate when a child receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Tell others and encourage the child to tell others as well.
Children learn best through example. It is important to teach about the Holy Spirit. However, it is also important that the children see the Holy Spirit at work in your life. You must model the Spirit filled life. Both the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit should be seen in your life. You need to exhibit love, joy, patience, gentleness, and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit in your life. They need to hear you worship and praise God, both in English and in tongues. You should be an example in boldness and excitement for God in you words and actions. Children are looking for examples, and we need to give them an example of a Spirit filled Christian life.
Anita Schoppe is the pastor’s wife at New Life Church in Hardin Montana. She has been married to Pastor Randy Schoppe for over 30 years and together they started pastoring New Life Church in 1996. She has been involved in a variety of children’s ministries including Sunday School and travelling with her family as children’s evangelists.