On the evening of October 13th, I spent a long time reading to Josiah many of the stories from his Awana book. We were reading in my bedroom (where David was working on his computer) because the twins needed to sleep and were crying due to no more bottle (for Caleb) and no more pacifier (for Daniel), and so we were keeping the living room quiet for them. As we read, we talked about many different spiritual things and have been sharing things with him whenever the opportunity arises over the last year or so. I have told him about how we all "do bad things" (sin) and that even if we do only one bad thing that it proves we are in need of a Savior, as no amount of good deeds can ever negate the bad we also do in the eyes of a holy God. I then have shared with him how without Jesus in our lives to cover that sin, that we can't go to heaven someday. I think at first he thought that if he accepted Jesus in his heart that he would go to heaven right then and there, but we obviously clairified that point for him.
When our neighbor across the street died (an older man), we had lots of talks about the fact that everyone's spirit lives forever, but it is up to us when we are living to chose where that will be (heaven or hell). Josiah had a lot of questions about hell, which many times he calls "tell" for some reason and asked me things like, "Are there giant basketballs that come down and smash you?" or "Do they have knives that cut off your feet?" (and he was quick to inform me that only adults can use knives). I stressed that this is a bad place and not one that he would want to go to someday and clearly he got the point and said he did not want to go there.
I have been presenting the gospel message to him for some time, but have always said, "If you want to accept Jesus in your heart, just ask Mommy or Daddy and we can help you." For a long time he would answer, "I will do it when I am older...when I'm five." I informed him that he can do it at any age and that Daddy accepted Jesus when he was four too. He is one to ponder things for a while though and we didn't pressure him to do it if he didn't want to. I have been praying in fact that he wouldn't accept Jesus until he really wanted to and asked us specifically.
So after reading to him these Awana stories, I asked Josish to explain to Daddy some of the concepts we were learning, one of which was why we would want to have Jesus in our hearts. Josiah told Daddy, "To know Him and to go to heaven!" Daddy then added, "And also because we don't want to go to hell." Right after this Josiah said, "Daddy will you ask Jesus into my heart?" Daddy told him that he had to ask Jesus into his heart, but that we could pray with him. We then all gathered by our bed and kneeled down and Daddy had Josiah repeat a short confession of faith. Afterwards he was so joyful and sweet. I have noticed that he seems to be better at retaining spiritual truths now and that he is able to memorize verses for Awana much easier as well. Before, I sensed a real spiritual battle for his soul and now it seems there is more of a peace in his spirit of which I am thankful.
I am well aware that a four year old can't fully understand all the truths of the gospel of Christ, but it does say that we are to come to Him as little children and he is that. Also, it is clear that he is afraid (healthy fear) of going to hell and the Bible says, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." I will pray that this is a seed that grows and grows as he gets older. When he understands more, we will talk about baptism and encourage him to get baptized as well. It was a very sweet moment with our oldest pumpkinhead and one I will not soon forget. In the morning, when Daddy talked to Josiah he said, "Mommy cried a lot last night when she put me to bed." And indeed I did! :)