Our walk with God is like a book. Possession is not enough, just like knowing about God is not enough. These Sunday school object lessons use books to teach the message. You have to know how to “read” the book to get to the magic, and our lives are a walk toward knowing God.
Sunday School Object Lessons Series: Books Aren’t Useful Unless You Read Them!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Any children’s picture book (but one of Bible stories is particularly useful).
LESSON: Books Aren’t Useful Unless You Read Them!
When I was five years old, my aunt got me a book. Hold up the book. She told me it was a magic book. I’d never known my aunt to lie to me. She was a great woman. She said it could take me to The Magical Land of Isletompf. And on that note, she went off to speak to the grownups.
I thought, “magic book?” How does it take me? What do I need to do? How do I activate the magic?
Stand on the book. Was it like a magic carpet? Bounce a couple times impatiently. Nup, not a magic carpet.
Was it like a wand? Wave the book all around. I didn’t see any sprinkles falling, and I didn’t feel anything.
I had just seen Mary Poppins, where the kids pop through a painting on the sidewalk and go on Holiday. Lay the book open on the floor. Would I merely have to look at a picture and jump into this magical land? Jump on top of the open book.
Well, I was only five. What was I misunderstanding about the magic my aunt was telling me about? You have to read the book.
Reading the story is what would take me to the magical land. I just didn’t get it. And it would take me a while to learn to read well enough that I could look at words and my imagination would simply take off. I wasn’t able to “get to” the magical land of Isletompf by myself for a couple of years.
A lot of people today have been given a magical gift from above. It is the gift of salvation in Jesus. They’re thinking because God offered Him to us that that is enough. He’s simply ours. But that’s a lot like having a book you never read.
God gives us advice on how to keep our salvation magical and how to grow in Christ every day. 1 Thesalonians 5:16-18 says these things:
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Just like I had to read the magical book about the Land of Isletompf, we ought to practice things to gain power from the Holy Spirit.
What does “rejoice always” mean? Does it mean to wake up with a smile and to smile all day long until our face hurts? Help them along; children don’t readily understand “degrees”. It means to find the good in every situation.
Even if you just failed a test in school, you can rejoice. Why? Because God isn’t like school. He always gives second chances, and no matter what your earthly grades are, your heavenly grades are honor roll, thanks to Jesus’s death and resurrection.
What does “Pray without ceasing” mean? Do we have to go around all day praying, even when we’re trying to talk to people and get work done? It means that you will think about God often during the day – not just when it’s time to pray in the morning or at night. The Holy Spirit will be with you all day to remind you of how to behave in different situations. Some Christians claim to think of God and ask Him how they should act sixty or seventy times a day. That’s what we need to shoot for.
What does it mean “in everything, give thanks.” How can we always be thankful? That’s very much like that first thing: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” How can we give thanks in all circumstances, even bad ones, such as finding out we’re going to move and we have to switch schools? If you give thanks, you can find that you have even better friends in your new school. You can find you have more courage after starting with new kids. It gave you more character.
If we go about our days trying to rejoice always, we’ll be happier, and we’ll be able to make others happy. If we “pray without ceasing,” it means God will keep us on a straight path all day long and we’ll feel His presence whenever we need it. If we “give thanks in all things” we’ll come to see that life is always an opportunity, and in Christ, all things can work to our advantage and His.
Your daily walk is the magic that will bring you to fullness in Christ. We ought to practice these things every day. Practicing in our daily lives is like reading the story that contains the magic.
Hold the book up.
Good daily living is what takes us to special places.
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