Many of us try to use Bible stories to teach to our children. However, sometimes it’s difficult to match an effective teaching tool and a story from God’s Word to the particular lesson our child needs.
Suppose your preteen daughter is having a difficult time standing against peer pressure. Let’s look at the story of Joseph for one example of how to use a Bible story to teach an important concept.
When we first encounter Joseph in God’s Word, he’s a spoiled brat. Genesis 37. The favored son of his father Jacob, he was born to Rachel after many years of childlessness. He had ten older half-brothers who were aware that they didn’t matter to Jacob in the way that Joseph did. Not only did Joseph flaunt the special coat his father gave him, but he also repeated his dreams to his siblings–dreams that portrayed Joseph ruling over them and their parents.
Given such unbalanced circumstances, it is not surprising that his brothers plotted to kill him and finally settled on selling him into slavery. Slave traders bought him for a small fee and sold him in Egypt.
The story continues in Chapter 39 with an Egyptian official, Potiphar, buying Joseph to be a slave in his household. His experiences on the road with slave traders changed Joseph. The Scripture says that “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.” Genesis 39:2 NIV
As time went on, Joseph became the overseer of all of Potiphar’s household and everything he owned. Potiphar’s wife found him attractive and tried to seduce him. He declined her offer and told her his reasons for the refusal. He said he could not betray the trust that Potiphar had placed in him, and he could not sin against God. Genesis 39:8-9. The remarkable thing about Joseph was that he was able to remember and use those two important lessons in such a tempting situation.
This is exactly what we want for our children: to remember the lessons we teach them and to use them at the appropriate times.
After reading the story of Joseph, ask your preteen why she thinks Joseph was able to stand against the temptation. Through discussion, help her realize that Joseph must have made up his mind in advance. Knowing where one stands before the tempting situation is encountered is a key to resisting temptation. Help your child articulate where she stands on important issues that she will face in the future.
Suggest that she write in a journal what she thinks might tempt her in the future and where she will stand when the temptations arise. She can revisit and add to her list in coming months. When she does face a temptation and conquers it, she can make note of that in her journal.
Having a written record will make it easier for her to be strong. As years go by, she will have a history of her trials, successes and failures. Being able to see that she has overcome temptation in the past will encourage her as she faces new challenges.
Is this a helpful example that you might use? I’d love to hear some of the ways you use Bible stories to teach your children and teens.