As we faithfully disciple our children, we are engaged in serious spiritual warfare and need to take aggressive steps to battle the kingdom of darkness and fight the Devil and his demonic army (Ephesians 6:10 – 20).
So, we as Christians must be militant in our approach to being serious disciple-makers.
We are helping our children to become well-equipped warriors for the battles of life in this world. Here are some verses to consider, and at the end of this blog, I’ll list several steps to help:
Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).
We live in a very dangerous, tough, and perilous world. This describes the world for all of us – for adults, children, and youth. The world has changed.
Some very serious and even critical questions for many a concerned parent include: What kind of world is my child going to have to grow up in? What are the very serious challenges and dangers he or she will have to learn to navigate in this world? How can I most fruitfully and wisely prepare each of my children for the perilous world they must live in?
The answer is Jesus Christ. He is the answer to how to prepare our children for the trouble, difficulty, tragedy, and dangers all around us. The Lord Jesus comes to save us and to give us abundant life.
What exactly does that mean? In a nutshell, we need to ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and be the Lord and Savior of our lives. Then we need to do our part to encourage each of our children to make this same step in their lives as well.
Once they are saved, we need to aggressively disciple them. And we need to be very deliberate, faithful, and serious about carrying out this critical work of discipling them which helps to equip them for the battlefield of life.
One of the reasons this is so critical is because both we and our children have a common enemy who is very serious about being just that – our enemy.
Be mindful that the job description of Jesus and that of the Devil are both found in John 10:10:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
We already stated and alluded to what Christ has come to do. But we must be aware of the Devil’s full intention – for us and for our children.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
We must be mindful that the Devil wants to swallow our children alive. His agenda for them is to steal from them, kill them, and to destroy them. The Devil has no compassion whatsoever for children. He hates them and wants to destroy them – one way or another.
A powerful picture of what the Devil both thinks of our children and what he wants to do to them is found in one word – abortion. Yes, the Devil wants to destroy our children.
Instead of destruction, disciple children to help them find and hopefully follow the Light of the world, Jesus. Pray for wisdom from God on how to proceed forward (James 1:5; James 3:17-18).
Here are some suggestions and fruitful habits to consider putting into practice in the crucial work of discipling your children. I know some may laugh at a few of these suggestions, but consider the best and worst-case scenario without the suggestion instead of dismissing it as impossible.
- Invite and encourage each of your children to decide to ask Jesus Christ to come into their heart to be the Lord and Savior of their lives.
- Have your children start the habit of reading three chapters a day out loud to you. (You may think that this will take a lot of time, but in reality, this could be done by your child in around fifteen minutes or so). Be a role model for them in your own personal Bible reading. Helping your children to get a solid foundation in the Word of God in their hearts cannot be emphasized enough. The Word of God is light, peace, joy, strength and so much more. It is filled with the ability to bless. “Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” Psalm 119:11.
- Take time to talk and share about the meaning of what they each read from the Word of God.
- Pray with your children every day. And teach them to pray as well. Have them pray daily – the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer of Jabez, the Ten Commandments, and the Psalm 91 prayer. Seek to teach and train your children to become prayer warriors. Be a role model for your children in your personal prayer life. Let them hear you pray for them and over them. Allow them to hear you call their name in prayer daily.
- Have an audio Bible playing at strategic times in your home so that everyone in the home can hear. Times such as – when they getting ready for school in the mornings, while they are doing tasks around the house, etc.
- Faithfully attend and be a part of a strong Bible-believing church that faithfully teaches and preaches the Word of God.
- Do not allow your children 15 or younger to have any electronic device that has access to the internet – computers or cell phones. Let them use flip phones that don’t have internet. Many adults and children are literally addicted to their iPhones. And sadly, too many children are addicted also to pornography and all other kinds of toxic information that they got off the internet. Parents monitor what your children watch on TV and on the internet. Screen the video games you allow them to play. Have full access to their cell phones and be able to check their phones to monitor what they have been viewing. The internet is a whole world in itself, and if children and youth have full access to the internet, they typically are exposed to all kinds of toxic things that they should not have access to.
And parents be mindful, many people are being “discipled” by the things they see and read about on the internet, television, and movies. In other words, they have much more exposure to all kinds of negative content than they do to the Word of God.
What you are exposed to consistently helps to shape and influence your mind and your life. So, to spend possibly twenty to twenty-five minutes a day discipling children, only to have them spend four or more hours on the internet is tragic.
This can be like taking three steps forward and seven steps backward. That is not progress.
The work of discipling our children is serious business as Dr. James Dobson says in the title of one of his books – Parenting Is Not for Cowards.
So, parents, we must be about our Father’s business. Every. Single. Day.