One of the principles of Classical Education is to impart the love for truth, goodness, and beauty to students. And a big component involves teaching values and character. There sure are a lot of resources that cater to these topics from a humanistic perspective. But there is a shortage of Gospel-centered materials that teach Christian character—growing in wisdom and godliness. I had the privilege of rediscovering such resource tucked away in a hidden cabinet where I keep my old materials for Children’s Ministry. It was given by an old family friend, who also happens to be my former professor in Systematic Theology back when I was still studying in seminary.
Get Wisdom! by Ruth Younts is an excellent book on teaching kids how to be more like Jesus, and it starts off with a great introduction [emphases mine]:
Apart from the gospel itself, nothing is more important to get than wisdom. It comes before education, friends, health, sports, work, and everything else you can think of. In fact, wisdom is the only good foundation for all those things…
Every child of God—both adults and children—should work hard to show these traits more and more, because we love Jesus and want to be like him. That’s easier said than done, isn’t it? We struggle with sin every day. But thankfully, even though we often fail, we are saved by grace alone, by Christ alone! That is the good news. Jesus is the perfect example of all these qualities, and by his grace we can grow in wisdom and godliness.
Aside from the fact that includes a complete curriculum (23 lesson plans, devotional, prayer, suggested activities, and discussion questions) for teaching children about growing in wisdom and godliness, what I love about the material is that it emphasizes that character building should spring from a proper understanding of the Gospel. In other words, growing in wisdom and godliness should stem from or draw its strength from what Jesus has already done for His children on the cross, and not a means to earn His favor or blessings.
Growing up, I have learned that a wise person is someone who knows how to apply the Word of God in their life. As a Christian parent, I should learn how to identify the difference between worldly wisdom and Biblical wisdom, and teach my children how to distinguish between the two as well. Get Wisdom! helps me in training my kids to do just that. As the catechism teaches us, we glorify God that by loving Him and doing what He commands.
I’m including a short catechism Q/A from the introduction of book about Christian Wisdom and the Gospel below, and I hope you find it useful in training little hearts to follow Jesus and to shine their lights for God’s glory!
Christian Wisdom and the Gospel
What is Christian wisdom?
Christian wisdom is knowing and understanding the truth, obeying the truth, and making decisions based on the truth. Wisdom helps you be more like Jesus in your actions, thoughts and attitudes, by loving God and loving your neighbor.
Matthew 22:37-40 “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Can I be good and wise—like Jesus—if I work hard enough?
No, not by yourself.
We are told in Romans 3:12 “There is no one who does good, not even one.”
How can I be good enough?
Only by the goodness of Jesus Christ. He was perfectly good, and he took the punishment of other peoples’ sin by dying on the cross. Ask God to forgive your sin and give you a new heart. Then God will see you as though you are as good as Jesus. Also, he will help you to love and obey him.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
Why should I want to be good?
To show love for Jesus.
1 John 4:19 tells us, “We love because he first loved us.”
What do I do when it’s too hard to be good?
Pray and ask God to forgive your sin. Thank him that he loves you even when you sin. Ask for God’s help to practice each quality of godliness, because you love him and want to please him.
Phillipians 4:13 “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
SOURCE: Younts, Ruth. Get Wisdom! (Kindle Locations 75-102). Shepherd Press. Kindle Edition.