The Spoils of the War: Our Children

The war is on.

On one side is my Mary Poppins Child Training – practically perfect (not really). Well, that, and God. On the other side, is music, TV, movies, friends, teachers, the news, the very air we breathe! It’s been said that ideas are caught, not taught. They’re in the air, like the flu. The war is brutally unfair and feels imbalanced. In the middle — the spoils of this war — are my kids.

Never do we see the believer’s three enemies – the world, the flesh, and the devil – more active than in a youth’s life.

On the other hand, when people do get saved statistics show that almost half of them get saved before the age of 13, 2 out of 3 get saved before the age of 18, and another small percentage get saved before their 21st birthday. (1) I think that shows the Holy Spirit is active, too.

The battle over my kids’ souls is raging.

It’s always the kids. Look around the world and throughout history. It’s children that are the spoils of war. In a spiritual, cultural battle it’s their hearts and minds that get carried away. What carries them away? The philosophies of this world. (Colossian 2:8)

Jesus said, the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) The rules of the game are dirty. The enemy deceives and tempts our kids to choose what feels right instead of what is right.

A solid foundation should get them through the war, right?

What was my assumption?

Kids who have been brought up just right with practically perfect parenting and solid teaching from God’s word should have a strong grasp of truth, shouldn’t they? They’re safe.

What about a flawed foundation because of sin and weakness? Is there hope for my kids then? Even when I think I’m doing everything right, it turns out that my efforts are very flawed, at best. I mean well, but my best efforts haven’t been enough, and there are things that are out of my control.

How will my shortcomings, conflicting examples, and things I can’t control influence them?

These worries drive me to prayer.

Lord, there is an onslaught of immorality and godlessness coming at my children! I have sought to raise them in Your word, and in Your ways, but I am inadequate. Fear grips me when I wonder if I have said enough, done enough, prayed enough.

My hope wanes sometimes, but Philippians 1:6 reminds me that He is the One who completes the work He began.

Thank goodness the salvation of my children is not up to me.

We are not sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God – 2 Corinthians 3:5. On my own I am inadequate, but God makes me enough.

Two years ago, I was beginning to realize my parenting was not panning out as I had planned. My expectations of daily family devotions, deep discipleship, and perfectly appointed discipline weren’t happening. There have been beautiful moments along the way, and God’s Spirit has been faithful to meet us in many teachable moments, however, areas where we lacked were beginning to bear fruit, and it wasn’t pretty. The world’s influence was taking root, and I could see my children’s hearts changing.

I prayed for God to intercede in the areas we were weak as parents. We needed to grow in our parenting, but we also needed the Lord to simply reveal Himself to our children.

I asked God to be their teacher.

I prayed that He would teach them His truth, His character, and the fear of the Lord. My heart’s cry was that God’s truth would be their greatest influence.

I spent several weeks petitioning the Lord.

A few months later, a friend gave me a handwritten card. She had been praying for my family, and the Lord impressed on her heart a scripture and some encouraging words for me.

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
-Isaiah 54:13

This woman had no idea of the insecurities and worries that had plagued me, nor that I was praying about this very thing.

The Lord had heard me and answered me.

He gave me His living word and a promise in His answer.

I forgot that I had asked for this. He did not forget. His response and His promise in that verse gave me great comfort. Now I hold Him to it in prayer.

Lord, You said that all my children shall be taught by You, and great shall be their peace! Thank You, that I can trust You to teach them today! Teach them in their mistakes. Walk them through their fears. Show them the fear of the Lord. Reveal to them who You are. Lead them in Your truth that they might walk in Your ways. Thank You for the confidence I have in these prayers because of Your promise.

You have His ear today.

Are you worried about who and what influences your children? Ask Him to be their teacher. The Holy Spirit will give them discernment into the lies and temptations that come their way, and He will shape them into His own image.

What do you specifically want the Lord to teach your children this week?

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