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 6:4-9).
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. 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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (Ephesians 6:10-20).
Spiritual warfare is a reality of life. Life is not a playground. Life is not a beach. Life is a battlefield.
So, it is critical that we understand that life is not a game. It is not a game in which those who oppose you think themselves to be bound by a certain set of rules.
The Devil is our enemy, plain and simple. He hates all people, especially people of faith. This is the truth for every man and woman on earth.
But know that this is not a reason for any believer to despair. Be mindful that Christ told us “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Spiritual warfare is a reality for children and youth as much as it is for adults. It doesn’t change for children and youth just because they are young.
The Devil isn’t trying to give children a break. He doesn’t care about children. He hates children as much as he hates adult human beings.
A picture of how the Devil feels about children can be seen in abortion. He hates them and wants to destroy them.
We, as followers of Christ, would be wise to do our part to very effectively equip our children for the battlefield of life.
We would be wise to seek to equip them as young warriors that every day have to step out on the same battlefield.
How tragic it is to see in the news children as tragic casualties in the spiritual warfare of life.
Teens murdering other teens. Youth and children committing suicide. Very young children hooked on drugs and selling them. Children bullying other children – and the list could go on.
We are wise to seek to help them to be Christian warriors - spiritual warriors because this helps them to be in the most advantageous position they can be in life.
And that position is in knowing Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior – and living a life boldly following Him. That’s a Christian warrior!
So now, allow me to define a Christian warrior. The following are some traits of a strong Christian warrior:
- He or she is a person who has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Lord and Savior.
- This person is growing spiritually as he or she becomes a diligent student of the Word of God, probably reading and meditating on at least three chapters in the Word of God daily.
- This believer is a person of prayer who makes time to spend significant time doing so every day.
- This follower of Christ is seeking to live out the Word in his or her daily life and lifestyle.
- This believer is faithfully seeking to be a witness for Christ, learning to faithfully share the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever he or she may go.
- This believer is also faithfully involved in making disciples, encouraging believers to grow and grow strong in their walk with Christ.
One might ask “Are these characteristics of a warrior that should be taught to children and youth as well as adults?”
Again, because they too have to step out on the same battlefield that adults have walk onto every day.
It is critical that we as parents and adults not send in children onto the battlefields of life with “sticks and stones.” At the same time, we see the enemy with spiritual “guns, missiles, grenades, etc”.
Parents – know this: the Word of God is an atomic bomb. How critical it is that we equip our children with it as their main weapon in life.
Ephesians 6 paints a powerful picture of how the kingdom warrior ought to be equipped.
How important it is that we help equip our children with the ongoing work of filling their hearts and minds with the powerful Word of God.
Parents, we equip our children as warriors as we have them to read the Word out loud to us daily. We fruitfully prepare them for the battlefield as we teach and train them to memorize the Word of God and pray it every day.
We are molding and shaping our children to be followers of Christ as we teach them how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to encourage other believers in their daily Bible reading and in prayer.
We are graciously equipping our young saints as we teach them to give generously to the work of the kingdom of God.
We very strategically prepare them for battle as we model before them a life of boldly living for Christ in our everyday lives.
When we believers fail to disciple and equip our children to be kingdom warriors, we leave them to be like civilians in the middle of battle – with no weapons to adequately defend themselves.
And too often, civilians simply become some of the first casualties of any war.
So, should we be training our children to become kingdom warriors as Ephesians 6 teaches us?