Teach Your Kids to Fight
I have always loved the quote "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." I love this because I can relate. I have fought and continue to fight daily battles against fear, anxiety, depression, lust, greed, etc. What about you? What battles are taking place inside your head currently and how are you waging war?
I was born with a tendency toward fear, depression, and a critical spirit and a large part of my faith story is that God is freeing me from these former ways and teaching me to walk in freedom and victory. Because I don't want my kids to fall into that same trap of downward spirals and wrong thinking I am especially proactive in training them to "take their thoughts captive" and fight lies with truth.
The apostle Paul calls God's word the Sword of the Spirit and in this house you are never too young to carry that sword! When you study the Ephesians 6 passage you will note that out of all of the armor we are gifted, the sword is our only offensive tool. Our kids (like us) have a real enemy and we need to give them a real weapon with which to wage war!
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
Note that our struggle is not against "flesh and blood" but against " spiritual forces and evil in the heavenly places." When our child is afraid of the dark our first thought is to purchase a nightlight. When our child is depressed or anxious our first thought may be to medicate and while those things may be helpful and sometimes necessary, we need to make sure we are also considering the "spiritual forces and evil" at work. We are so quick to teach our children the skills we deem necessary for safety such as looking both ways before they cross the street, and yet we are often negligent in giving them the tools they need to guard their hearts and minds.
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.
So how do we do this? Do we tell our kids that Satan is real and wants to kill them, hand them a bible, kiss them on the cheek and say goodnight?!? Um...I wouldn't recommend that exact approach! An ongoing, age-appropriate conversation is working well in our home and here are two tools that have helped tremendously.
Fighter Verses - I think John Piper may have coined the phrase "fighter verses" but we use that phrase to describe any and all scripture we are memorizing. You will be surprised how many verses your 3 year old can memorize (let alone older children) and giving them a set of these verses to keep by there bed and teaching them to recite them when they are afraid is a wonderfully helpful tool. Psst...this works for grown-ups too, by the way! Click here for several options. We are currently using the ABC cards with our kids.
Songs of Victory - I wrote this for my children and they actually enjoyed listening to the story and talking through some of the discussion questions! Broken down into short chapters, this would make an excellent bedtime devotional or summer reading and it can help get the conversation started about spiritual warfare in a way that is easier for kids to understand. Click here to download and print your own copy at home.
Parents, teach your kids to get along with their siblings. Teach your kids how to share and play nice with their friends, but please, please, don't forget to teach them how to fight!
34 He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. 36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed. 38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. 39 For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me,[a] and those who hated me I destroyed.
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