A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT)
There is a reason there are so many references in the Bible to putting on our armor and fighting battles. For one, it gives us a mental picture and an analogy that we can grasp. Many of us have not fought in war but we’ve heard stories, been close to veterans, and even seen how Hollywood tries to depict what has been a reality for thousands of people. War, battle, armies, weapons, armor, it’s all been around for centuries. In Gods Word we are instructed to put on our Spiritual Armor so we can be equipped for the Spiritual battle that IS going on right now, every day, until Christ returns.
Over the last 2 weeks something has been brought very “front and center” for me and that is arming and equipping my children. I have always read that scripture and applied it to myself but it is weighing heavy on me now that we MUST properly arm our children. Admittedly, even with as much information that I feel like I have been given, I still naively and ignorantly believed that there was a chance we could keep our kids in our little bubble. That Jason and I would have enough power to filter out the “bad” that comes in and that we would have the ability to shield and protect them from the present darkness of this world. Protecting is most certainly A component but it’s not sufficient. We can not always be there to protect, therefore we HAVE to teach them how to protect themselves. And this is where it gets scary for us as parents. To teach them how to fight darkness and evil involves telling them about it. Most of the time we acknowledge and strive to be very intentional with telling our children about the good things God created and how he has purpose for all things. (I say most of the time because let’s be honest, God created sex, and I for one, for some reason have been terrified of that subject with my kids) But we can not leave out the fact that the world tells a different story. The world has taken what God has created and is twisting it into sinful, atrocious, harmful, wicked, obscene, offensive, wrong…. -insert your adjective- I am discovering as a parent that I can no longer tell myself “it’s not that bad” or “that won’t happen to us” or whatever else I have told myself to avoid confronting with my children what’s really out there. I recently read an article titled “Teaching your child to ‘say no’ to porn”. (Excellent article btw, you can click here to read it) A few years ago a title like that would rock my boat. I would have thought “I don’t need to read this, not now, hopefully not ever.” I realize now, that I was fear driven and foolish with that thinking. We can believe it or not but the fact is porn, among many other abhorrent things, sadly, is either right outside our doors waiting to knock, or it’s already in. Thankfully, the Lord has been growing me in my areas of fear and I feel eternally grateful for his timing. My daughters are only in Kindergarten and First grade and I have already dropped jaws over some things they come home from school telling me. And I can’t be there to protect them.
It’s just the beginning.
There is a scene in the movie The Patriot. Benjamin Martin has just had a visit from the British army and they have taken his oldest son, Gabriel, as their prisoner. The family knows full well what his fate will likely be, death. His 2nd oldest son, Thomas, in a brave and emotional attempt to save his brother ends up being shot in front of his entire family, which includes 5 younger siblings, ages ranging from around 12-2.
Can you even imagine, having your young child watch their sibling be shot to death? This was a movie, but I have no doubt it’s been someone’s reality.
The scene goes on though. The British leave with Gabriel, leaving Thomas dead and the mourning family in shock. Oh yeah and they set the Martins home on fire. Once they are out of site, Benjamin, the father, retrieves all his armor and weapons. He instructs his 2 daughters to find safety at an Aunts house, on foot mind you in the middle of a war, I think they are around 9 and 2 years old. He takes his 3 remaining sons with him, Nathan being the youngest boy, looks about 6. He gives each son a rifle that they clearly are well acquainted with already and they end up taking out a whole squad of British soldiers and being reunited with Gabriel. Seriously, these boys know how to shoot.
What’s my point in recapping this? The father, Benjamin, was well aware of the dangers and evil in the world. He strived to protect but he also gave his kids a rifle to defend themselves!
It takes trust and bravery to arm our children with the appropriate weapons so they can fight their own battles and conquer them in Jesus Name.
If Benjamin had been naive and too scared to allow his kids to practice shooting guns they wouldn’t have succeeded in their mission. But he was bold! And he created a safe environment for them to learn, to learn why they needed these skills. He told them the truth of what’s really out there so they could be aware of the dangers. He armed them with everything they would need and he allowed them to practice their own bravery so that when the time came they knew what to do.
We can’t pretend darkness doesn’t exist. It’s all around us. We can’t think or hope that it won’t try to enter our home. It’s already at work. We better believe satan is already trying in some way to slither his deception in our minds AND our children’s minds. Everyone has to get their armor on and you better believe we have to be brave enough to give our kids their own sword!
I feel this post requires a “to be continued……”
Today I spoke briefly on the phone with my best friend and as I was sharing the cliffs notes version of my post I was telling her “I know we have to do something now. I know waiting isn’t the solution. But I don’t know what to say, what to do, when to say or do it ect.” And what I can only credit to the Holy Spirit it dawned on me….. Pray about it.
So this is my prayer.
Gracious, all knowing, loving God, Thank you for the opportunity to parent along side you. Help me Lord in this journey that can often times be overwhelming and scary. Continue to create braveness in myself, my husband, and our children. Continue to grow our faith and trust in You. Give us the opportunities to boldly and lovingly tell our children the truth about the world we live in and Your Truth that has the power to conquer all the darkness. Give us the appropriate words at the appropriate times, help us to not shrink back in fear but be confident in our motives as we align ourselves with Your Word. I pray we would do all we can to arm our children with everything they need to fight this battle and have victory in Your Name. You are our strength and our hope and I pray we would trust you with everything including these children you entrusted to us.
In Jesus Name, Amen