Don’t Force It

Shape SorterHave you ever watched toddlers with a shape sorter? At first they try to force the square peg into the round hole. Then they strain to jam the round peg into the square opening or the triangle into the square. In time, however, they learn that the shapes cannot be forced.

Shape sorters can teach us something about sharing the gospel, especially with children. We can pray and share, but we can’t force a response. The decision to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord is ultimately between the individual (regardless of age) and the Holy Spirit.

Some of us—with good intentions—have tried to force children to repeat words because we think they should. To please the adults in their world, they may repeat a prayer they don’t understand or are not ready to say.

The result is often a spiritual struggle as they get older. Sadly, many of these children grow up with either doubts about their salvation or a false sense of security because they repeated the words to a “magic” prayer.

Of course, we want to share the gospel with the next generation. We want them to know Christ at an early age. But it’s critical to trust the Holy Spirit’s timing and preparation of hearts to respond to His call. He is the one who draws us to Him with His unfailing grace and kindness (Jeremiah 31:3).

Share the gospel…while being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading as you share!

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About Ava Pennington

Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. She moved from New York to Florida, leaving a twenty-year corporate career as a Human Resources executive. But don’t call her retired! She now teaches a weekly, interdenominational Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 300+ women from September through May. Of course, Ava writes. She has written for organizations such as Focus on the Family, Christianity Today, and Haven Ministries. She has also been published in 25 anthologies, including nineteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts International. Ava has also co-authored two children’s picture books, Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? If you’re looking for a speaker, she delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, please visit


Don’t Force It — 1 Comment

  1. So important that we capture their hearts and minds for Christ at an early age, with heartfelt prayer and dialogue led by the Holy Spirit.

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