Preparing Our Children for Spiritual Battle
A Father's Day Gift
We have three children at home, Joshua- 8, Stephen- 7, and Laura- 4. As Father’s Day approaches, I am reminded that as fathers, we are charged with the task of imparting faith to our children as a part of preparing our children for spiritual battles. Eph 6:4 tells us “And you, fathers,… bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
I believe there is no more important task than imparting faith to our children. While visiting a friend recently, I saw a picture hanging on the wall of his study. It is a picture of a father kneeling in prayer by the bed of his sleeping child. Through the window behind him is the scene of a battle raging. Two angels are depicted, one of darkness and one of light. They are at war.
The picture reminded me of several passages of scripture. One in Rev 12:17, where John writes:
“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” And Eph. 5:12, where Paul writes, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Through that picture and the scriptures, the Lord spoke to me: “As a father, it is your responsibility to impart faith to your children and prepare them for the spiritual battles at hand.” Preparing your children for the spiritual battle is of paramount importance in the life of godly men.
As fathers, we must be about the business of preparing our children for spiritual battles. These spiritual battles are going on in and around them all of the time. Their battles will not be fought at some time out in the distant future when they get older. The spiritual battles begin early on in childhood. Now is the time to train. Now is the time for preparing your children for a spiritual battle!
Recently my oldest son Joshua was going through a period where he would raise his voice and talk back disrespectfully. We tried all sorts of disciplinary measures; spankings, time-outs, and different consequences, all to no avail. One day after one of his outbursts, I sat him down and we had a long talk. But this time I sat down beside him, and I listened. He shared with me how he was trying to do right and not misbehave. He said, “Dad, sometimes no matter how hard I try, the devil just makes me do it.” It was obvious, he was in a battle- and he was losing. So I began a series of Bible lessons with him on spiritual warfare.
We got his children’s Bible and read verses in Gal. 5, about the war between the flesh and the spirit, and II Cor 10:4 about the battlefield of the mind and taking thoughts captive, and how to win the battle in our minds.
We got out his swords and guns and his brother’s shield and helmet and we simulated warfare. We looked together at Eph. 6, “put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We discussed the spiritual weapons available to us- prayer, God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit. We talked about how to use them: by praying throughout the day, memorizing scripture, writing them down on note cards and meditating on them, about being filled with the Holy Spirit, and how to walk in the Spirit. We drew diagrams and pictures and explored ways to deal with temptations and specific situations that arise. We practiced and conducted drills.
I was amazed at his interest and how much he understood. He even had his brother Stephen praying for him. It was remarkable to see the progress that he made in the days following. Children can indeed learn spiritual warfare and we as fathers are responsible to teach them.