We live in a manufactured home — the kind that comes with built-in wallpaper — ugly wallpaper. We’ve lived in this house for 17 years now, and it was the day before Thanksgiving (What a day to decide to paint the kitchen! What was I thinking?) four years ago before I finally got brave enough to paint over that ugly wallpaper. I had visions of the paint sliding right off the paper, or of it chipping off every time one of us bumped anything into the walls.
The trick, I had finally learned, was to paint the walls first with an oil-based primer. With a coat of that primer on the wallpaper, the paint stuck fast, covering the worn and unattractive paper with a warm, welcoming golden yellow. I’ve suffered through the fumes of that primer many times since those first kitchen walls were transformed. The only wallpaper in the house that is left uncovered cowers behind the clothes in a couple closets.
So my walls came to mind immediately when the pastor said we need to be “coated” with the Holy Spirit if the Word of God is going to “stick” when we hear it. I pictured rolling the primer onto our walls, and I remembered my relief and delight when the paint actually stayed put.
God’s Word is a powerful, life-changing Word. We cannot understand it in our own wisdom, but must humbly rely on the Holy Spirit to give us understanding. The Holy Spirit stirs in our hearts and the hearts of our children, piercing us with the Word, transforming us with its power.
Much like paint that will slip off of our walls if we neglect to prime them first, God’s Word spoken to our children without the softening work of the Spirit in their hearts, will slide off them without sticking. It is easy, even while we faithfully point our children to God’s Word as the source of all truth, to become proud and self-reliant, trusting in our knowledge, our books, our works, our consistency, and forgetting that it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that the Word will accomplish its purpose.
Praying for His work in their hearts acknowledges our helplessness and our utter dependence on God to bring any fruit from our labor.
- Let’s pray for our children to be “coated” by the Holy Spirit, primed and ready for truth to “stick”.
- Let’s start each day praying for God to prepare our hearts and the hearts of our children for all that He will certainly teach us.
- Let’s pray for understanding, for humility, for the Word to stick fast to their hearts — and ours.
Pray today for the Holy Spirit’s work in hearts as you point your children to God’s Word. Let your children hear you pray for His guidance every time you open the Word with them. To illustrate to them the important “sticking” work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, consider using one of the projects or recipes below as a fun and simple object lesson. First, try to get the glitter, coconut, chopped nuts, or graham cracker crumbs to stick without coating the object first. What happens? Then add the glue or melted chocolate, etc., and see what a difference it makes.
- Make a paper crown, coat it with glue, and watch how well glitter sticks to it.
- Make cupcakes, lather them with frosting, and then dip them in coconut or sprinkles.
- Coat a frozen banana with melted chocolate, then roll it in chopped nuts or toasted coconut. Or coat it with yogurt and roll it in Cheerios (or Fruit Loops, if you really don’t care about nutrition!).
- How about dipping pretzels into melted chocolate and then into colorful sprinkles or crushed candies?
- Make Smores on a Stick — a marshmallow with a stick in it, dipped into melted chocolate, and then into crushed graham cracker crumbs.