Family Devotion: The Four Pillars Of A Healthy Child

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Written by Jared Mitcham

This free family devotion series is based off of Luke 2:52 where it says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man."

It struck me that this was a balanced way to look at raising a healthy child. There are 4 categories of growth mentioned in this one single verse.

  1. Wisdom - A child who is growing in wisdom is not simply book smart, but has the capacity to make wise choices.
  2. Stature - A child who is growing in stature is developing physically healthy habits such as eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, exercising and practicing good hygiene. 
  3. Favor with God - A child who is growing in favor with God practices the spiritual disciplines and seeks to please God.
  4. Favor with man - A child growing in favor with man has solid relational skills such as listening, good communication, forgiveness, patience and other habits that build relational equity with others.

These four areas give us as parents guidelines to help us know what we are shooting for in our children's development. It also gives me a grid to help me evaluate areas of strength and weakness in my children's lives.

Therefore, in this 4 week series of family devotions, we focus on one aspect of these four categories each week. I hope you enjoy them.

4-Week Family Devotions

My wife and I recently agreed that we need to get back in the habit of having regular family devotions. My task was to come up with something to teach our kids. With the help of ChatGPT and Luke 2:52 as a starting point, I came up with a 4 week family devotion that covers a different category each week.

Feel free to use the following family devotion for your own family.

Day 1: The Importance Of Wisdom

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 2:1-6

Reflection: What does this verse say about wisdom? Why is wisdom valuable according to this verse?

Metaphor: Wisdom is like a map—it helps guide us to the right path in our journey of life.

Activity: Write in your Wisdom Journal about a time you felt lost, and how wisdom could have acted as your map. Then, pray for God's wisdom to guide you in your life journey.

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to seek and value wisdom as much as you do. Help me to learn and grow in understanding each day. Amen."

Day 2: Solomon's Request For Wisdom

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 3:5-12

Reflection: How did Solomon impress God in his request? What does this tell you about what's important to God?

Metaphor: Asking for wisdom is like asking for a compass—it helps us navigate in the right direction.

Activity: Write in your Wisdom Journal about an upcoming situation that you need to navigate. Ask God for wisdom in this situation, just like Solomon did.

Prayer: "Dear God, just like Solomon, I ask you for wisdom. Help me to make wise decisions that honor you. Amen."

Day 3: Asking God For Wisdom

Scripture Reading: James 1:5

Reflection: What does this verse tell us about God's willingness to give us wisdom?

Metaphor: God's wisdom is like a bright light in a dark room, it helps us see clearly.

Activity: Write in your Wisdom Journal about a situation where you felt in the dark. Pray about it, asking God to shine His wisdom and light into that situation.

Prayer: "Dear God, I need your wisdom in my life, especially in (mention the situation). Thank you that you generously give wisdom when we ask. Amen."

Day 4: Wisdom In Speech

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 15:1

Reflection: How can your words demonstrate wisdom? Think of a time when gentle words could have made a difference in a situation.

Metaphor: Words are like seeds - they can grow into beautiful plants or harmful weeds, depending on how we use them.

Activity: Write in your Wisdom Journal a conversation where harsh words were used. Think of how the conversation could have been different with gentle words. Make an effort to speak gentle words today.

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to use wise and gentle words today and every day. Amen."

Day 5: Wisdom In Decision Making

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:5-6

Reflection: What does it mean to trust in the Lord with all your heart? How can God make your paths straight?

Metaphor: Leaning on our own understanding is like using a twig as a hiking stick—it may break under pressure. However, trusting God's wisdom is like leaning on a strong, sturdy staff—it will support us.

Activity: Write in your Wisdom Journal a decision you made based on your own understanding that didn't work out as expected. Reflect on how trusting God's wisdom could lead to a different outcome.

Prayer: "Dear God, I choose to trust in you with all my heart. Please guide me in my decisions and make my paths straight. Amen."

Day 6: Our Bodies, God's Temples

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Reflection: What does it mean that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? How can we honor God with our bodies?

Metaphor: Our bodies are like houses for the Holy Spirit. Just as we keep our homes clean and cared for, we should also care for our bodies.

Activity: Write in your Journal about a change you can make to better care for your body, as you would care for a house. This could be related to diet, exercise, rest, or hygiene.

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to remember that my body is your temple. I want to honor you by taking good care of it. Amen."

Day 7: God's Provision Of Food

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:29-31

Reflection: What does this verse say about the foods God has provided for us? How can we make wise food choices?

Metaphor: The variety of food God has given us is like a colorful palette. We should choose a balanced mix of colors (fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.) to paint a beautiful picture of health.

Activity: Look in your refrigerator and count how many colors of food you find. Then, during your next meal, make it a goal to "paint" your plate with a variety of colors from different fruits and vegetables.

Prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the variety of foods you have provided for us. Help me to make healthy food choices that nourish my body. Amen."

Day 8: The Importance Of Work And Rest

Scripture Reading: Exodus 20:8-10, Proverbs 14:23

Reflection: What is the principle of Sabbath rest? Why is rest important for our bodies? How does Proverbs 14:23 demonstrate the value of hard work? Why is balancing work and rest important?

Metaphor: Our lives are like a song. There must be a balance of notes (work) and rests (relaxation) to create beautiful music.

Activity: In your journal, create a schedule for yourself today. Be sure to include the "work" you need to complete today. But also include times for "rest". Is there a good balance between work and rest? 

Prayer: "Dear God, just as you modeled a balance of work and rest, help me to follow that pattern in my life. Guide me to work diligently and also to take time for rest. Amen."

Day 9: Commitment To Exercise

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4:8

Reflection: What does this verse say about physical training? How does taking care of our bodies relate to our spiritual life?

Metaphor: Physical exercise is like tending a garden. It requires regular attention and care, and the results, though not immediate, are beautiful and rewarding.

Activity: Write in your Journal about your "garden" of physical health. What types of "exercise seeds" can you plant and nurture this week? Make a list of exercises you can do and when you will do them.

Prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the ability to move and exercise. Help me to take care of my physical health as a way to honor you. Amen."

Day 10: Maintaining Cleanliness

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 7:1

Reflection: What does it mean to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit? How can maintaining cleanliness reflect our respect for God and the bodies He has given us?

Metaphor: Cleanliness is like a clear window. When we maintain physical and spiritual cleanliness, we allow God's light to shine through us more brightly.

Activity: Write in your Journal about one area in your life that could use some cleaning. This could be a physical hygiene habit or a space in your home that is messy. Make it your goal to spend the next week focused on cleaning up this area of your life.

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to maintain cleanliness, both physically and spiritually, as a way of showing respect for the body and life you have given me. Amen."

Day 11: The Heart Of Favor With God

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 16:7

Reflection: What did God see in David that was more important than his appearance? How can you strive to have a heart that's pleasing to God?

Metaphor: Our hearts are like the roots of a tree. Just as healthy roots result in a healthy tree with good fruits, a heart that is right with God produces good actions.

Activity: Write in your Journal about an area of your heart is not healthy. Write down how your actions would be different in this area if your heart truly wanted to please God.

Prayer: "Dear God, I desire to have a heart that is pleasing to you, just like David. Help me nurture the roots of my character to reflect your love and righteousness. Amen."

Day 12: True Worshipers

Scripture Reading: John 4:23-24

Reflection: What does Jesus say about the kind of worshipers the Father seeks? How can you worship God in spirit and truth?

Metaphor: Worshiping in spirit and truth is like giving a gift that's handmade—it's not just about the outward appearance, but about the sincerity and thoughtfulness that went into it.

Activity: Write in your Journal about a way you can worship God in spirit and truth, not just with words. This could be through an act of kindness, through spending time in His Word, or through prayer.

Prayer: "Dear God, I want to be a true worshiper who worships you in spirit and truth. Help me to not just worship you with words, but with my actions and my heart. Amen."

Day 13: God's Favor Through Studying And Applying The Word

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:15

Reflection: How can studying and understanding the Bible help us find favor with God?

Metaphor: God's Word is like a treasure map. By studying and applying it, we find the treasure of His favor.

Activity: Write in your Journal about a Bible verse that has been particularly meaningful to you. How can you apply this verse in your life this week to seek God's favor?

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to study and understand your Word. I desire to apply your teachings in my life. Amen."

Day 14: Seeking God Through Prayer

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 29:12-13

Reflection: What does this verse tell us about seeking God through prayer?

Metaphor: Prayer is like a phone call to God. We can reach Him anytime, anywhere, and He's always listening.

Activity: Write in your Journal about a specific time and place you will "call" God each day this week. What topics do you want to talk to God about?

Prayer: "Dear God, I commit to seeking you wholeheartedly in prayer. Thank you for listening when I call. Amen."

Day 15: Everything For God's Glory

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:31

Reflection: What does it mean to do everything for the glory of God? How can you incorporate this principle in your daily routine?

Metaphor: Our lives are like a house and when we invite Christ into our lives, it's as if we've invited Him into that house. We should not just confine Him to one room but give Him control of the entire house.

Activity: Write in your Journal about each "room" in your life (such as your school work, friendships, hobbies). Reflect on how you can give Christ control in each of these areas for His glory.

Prayer: "Dear God, I desire to do everything for your glory. I invite you into every room of my life. Help me to honor you in all areas of my life, not just a few. Amen."

Prayer: "Dear God, I desire to worship you in spirit and truth. Let my worship be pleasing to you. Amen."

Day 16: Understanding Favor With Man

Scripture Reading: Genesis 39:1-6

Reflection: What qualities did Joseph display that earned him favor with Potiphar? How can you demonstrate these qualities in your interactions with others?

Metaphor: Favor is like a bridge—it connects us to others. Joseph built a bridge with Potiphar by displaying qualities like honesty, diligence, and faithfulness.

Activity: Write in your Journal about a "bridge" you'd like to strengthen. How can you exhibit qualities like Joseph's to improve this relationship?

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to display qualities like Joseph that earn favor with others. May my actions reflect your love. Amen."

Day 17: Early Church's Favor With People

Scripture Reading: Acts 2:46-47

Reflection: How did the early Church find favor with all the people? How can we create a loving and inviting community like the early Church?

Metaphor: A community is like a puzzle. Each piece, or person, has a unique role. When we all work together in love and unity, we complete the picture.

Activity: Write in your Journal about your "piece" in your community's puzzle. How can you contribute to a loving and inviting community like the early Church?

Prayer: "Dear God, guide me to live in harmony with others and build a loving community just like the early Church. Amen."

Day 18: Living Peaceably With Others

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:18

Reflection: What does it mean to live peaceably with everyone? Why is it important to strive for peace in our relationships?

Metaphor: Peace in relationships is like a calm sea—it allows for safe and enjoyable journeying together.

Activity: Write in your Journal about a "wave" in your relationships. How can you promote peace to calm this wave?

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to strive for peace in all my relationships and live in harmony with others. Amen."

Day 19: Building Relationships Through Kindness

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:32

Reflection: How can kindness and forgiveness help us build stronger relationships? Can you recall an instance when someone's kindness affected you positively?

Metaphor: Kindness is like a key—it can open the door to stronger and more meaningful relationships.

Activity: Write in your Journal about a door you'd like to unlock with the key of kindness. Perform an act of kindness for this person today and note the impact it has.

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to be kind and forgiving like you. Let my actions bring others closer to you. Amen."

Day 20: Building Relationships Through Communication

Scripture Reading: James 1:19

Reflection: How can being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger help in building better relationships?

Metaphor: Communication is like a dance—it requires grace, patience, and attentiveness to the other person's cues. A successful dance, like a successful conversation, involves give and take, listening and responding.

Activity: Write in your Journal about a "dance partner" you'd like to communicate better with. How can you practice the steps of listening more and speaking less?

Prayer: "Dear God, help me to be a good listener and communicator. Let my words and actions reflect your love and understanding. Amen."

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