“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” –Ezekiel 36:26.
The beauty of the Christian faith is that it offers redemption and forgiveness for our sins. We can use the Bible to show our children how even though people committed the worst sins against God, he still forgave them and transformed their hearts. We can help our children understand that character transformation is a continuous process due to the dual nature that lives within us.
During this episode, Lee Ann elaborates on stories of biblical characters that can be used to help teach children about faith and transformation:
- Saul (Acts 9): Saul was a zealous Pharisee who persecuted Christians. He was on his way to persecute Christians when a light from Heaven suddenly blinded him. Jesus appeared to him and transformed his heart. Saul became one of the most influential apostles, spreading the gospel throughout the world. Saul’s transformation story shows us that God’s grace can transform anyone.
- Nicodemus (John 3:1-21): Nicodemus was a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council who did not believe in life after death and where they earnestly wanted to kill Jesus. God worked on Nicodemus’ heart because Nicodemus yearned for truth. He came to Jesus to learn more about him. Though he initially doubted Jesus could be the Messiah, Nicodemus eventually put his faith in Christ and became one of His followers.
- David (2 Samuel 12): David was a man after God’s own heart. David’s story is unique in that he slayed Goliath in honor of God yet, dishonored God later in life with his adultery with Bathsheba. He wrote many Psalms about repentance and forgiveness. David’s story teaches us that even the most faithful people are capable of sin but that God will always forgive us when we repent.
- Jonah (Jonah 1-2): Jonah was a prophet God called to preach to the city of Nineveh. Jonah disobeyed and ran away from God. God sends a giant whale to swallow up Jonah’s belly of the whale for three whole days. It seemed that all was lost for Jonah, but he repented to God, and he was spit back up on shore. This story teaches us that we should always obey God, even when it is hard. It also teaches us that God is merciful and will forgive us when we repent.
- Peter (Luke 22:54-62& Acts 2:14-42): Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, but Peter repented and was forgiven. Learning to repent helps to transform a sinful heart to be more obedient. Peter was transformed, and he was one of the most influential apostles. He transformed from this self-motivated, impulsive, inconsistent follower of Jesus to one of the most charismatic leaders of the church.
- Moses (Exodus 2:11-15): Moses was a murderer and fugitive. He transformed into one of the most influential leaders in history. His story demonstrates that no matter how far we’ve fallen, it’s never too late to turn our lives around and follow God.
- Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10): Zacchaeus was a tax collector people hated. They were called publicans or tax collectors and were known for their corruption. Zacchaeus met Jesus and repented of his sin. Zacchaeus’s story teaches us that Jesus will save anyone, no matter how far they have strayed from Him.
Here are some other transformation stories of biblical characters that you can read and discuss with your children, showing how one’s heart can continually be transformed through Christ:
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