Teach Your Kids to Fight Fear with Truth
Something amazing just happened in our house! My almost 6-year-old son told me he was scared about something (a scary image he saw on a video game) and then immediately proceeded to take out his “fighter verses” and read all 26 scriptures aloud to our family! It was a moment of victory; a moment we’d been training for all year long. Let me share a bit of the journey that led us to this point.
I was a very fearful child. I had wonderful, godly parents, never experienced any trauma and basically had no logical reason to be afraid. But as we all know, fear isn’t logical. I have often said that I believe fear was all tangled up in my heart from the moment I was born. Even though I put my faith in Jesus when I was three years old, it took years for God to drive out my fears and train my hands for battle. (I’m sure I will write several articles about this topic in the future.) For now, let me summarize by saying that I know fear and I know how to fight fear and the best weapon God gave us is scripture.
Because I lived in fear for so long and because I now enjoy the freedom and healing that God provided, I am very motivated to break this generational sin pattern of fear and anxiety. As soon as I saw signs of this in my first born I immediately began praying about how to equip him to fight.
I have heard about parent’s giving their kids spray bottles filled with water and labelling it “monster spray.” One (of many) problems with this approach is that it assumes that monsters aren’t real and so we can use an imaginary weapon to fight our imaginary problems. 1 Peter 5:8 tells me I do have a real enemy, the devil, who prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour! Now, I don’t recommend reading this verse to your kids as you tuck them in but it is worth noting that we DO have a real enemy. Our kids have a REAL enemy who wants them to be afraid and we should give our kids REAL weapons to fight their REAL enemy!
Take the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.
So….we memorize Fighter Verses. (I think John Piper may have coined that phrase.) In our house Fighter Verses are any verses we are strategically memorizing so that we can pull them out whenever we need them. My two oldest kids are boys and they love the imagery of pulling out their Sword of the Spirit to fight off the enemy.
We started by printing off 26 verses that go through the alphabet. I put them on a ring which we kept in the kitchen and every morning at breakfast we would review our verse of the week. Car-rides were great times to review all of the verses we had learned so far. In fact, that car-ride tradition began the day my middle son was nervous about going to his bible study class. He was starting to get upset about me dropping him off so the whole drive over we reviewed our Fighter Verses and that kid walked into his class like a champ. We fight fear with truth – truth sets us free! (John 8:32)
The beautiful thing about going through the alphabet is that it makes it really easy to review verses on the go. I would simply call out “A” and the kids would say “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find!” You could easily create your own version of these memory verses but we used these.
So the first step in fighting fear is to fill your kids with the truth of God’s word. You will be surprised how much scripture they can memorize at a young age!
The second step is to remind them to pull out the verses when they are afraid. Fear is a battle for the mind. This is how I explain it to my children – as soon as you have a scary thought you have to grab it and take it to Jesus and if that thought is being stubborn then you take out your sword and run it through! 2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Added bonus: You will hear these scriptures come out in their prayers. It is the sweetest thing to hear your toddler say “God, we know You are the same yesterday, today and forever”. What a wonderful thing to know!
This is working, people. God’s word is living and active and trans-formative for all ages! I urge you to give this word of truth to your children. They have a strong enemy so give them a stronger weapon. The Sword of the Spirit is sharp and powerful but go ahead and give it to your three-year-old. Someday he’ll thank you.
Update: you can download a free copy of our ABC X's 3 Scripture Memory Cards and view a short video about how we use them here.
You can find John Piper's Fighter Verse Packs and other great resources @ - Childrendesiringgod.org