“These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience)” (Judges 3:1-2 NIV)
I don’t think I ever noticed these verses before as I did this morning. I’m sure I’ve read them along the way, but this morning verse two stuck out to me. It spoke to me because over and over in my mind I’ve been thinking about my parenting approach. I’ve been thinking about how I’ve sheltered my kids (not a bad thing) from the world and poured into them the things I believed to be from God. I think I’ve been doing the right thing, but I honestly believe it’s time for a shift. We need to take our parenting to the next level. It’s time to teach our kids how to fight.
When I say fight, I don’t mean in the literal sense. I mean in the spiritual sense. My desire as a Mom is for them to learn to live lives for God. For me, that doesn’t mean just staying away from bad stuff or not participating in certain behaviors. It means honestly and truly being led by Jesus Christ every day and in every way. It means a life lived to please the Almighty. Living that kind of life is about battles. It’s about learning every day to fight against the flesh, the world and temptations.
God knew there would be a generation that didn’t know how to fight. They had not lived in slavery. They had not been set free and they had not fought for the Promised Land. They lived in the land promised by God to their parents and grandparents. They simply inherited it. And God knew, because there was no struggle, their hearts would be drawn away from Him. He knew the ease of life would make them discontent and they would seek satisfaction in those around them and other gods. He knew their devotion to Him would not remain if they didn’t have to rely on Him.
Things haven’t changed much over the years. At times I still find myself, “prone to wander from the God I love”. I still idolize things that are far from holy. And I still strive for comfort and ease. However, it seems I am closest to God when I’m in the midst of battle. I’m on my knees more when there’s something important at stake. And when I need direction, I run to God. But if I spend my days telling my children “don’t do this” or “you should do this” I’m not teaching them to fight for themselves. I’m not showing them how to get answers from God. Instead, I’m making life easy for them.
Please hear me. I’m not suggesting we not protect our children. Instead, I’m saying we need to show them what we know. We need to guide them to the throne of God so they can learn to hear His voice. And we need to let them make their own mistakes sometimes so they can learn from them. This is how we have learned forgiveness, grace and reconciliation. It is our responsibility to show them how to do it, not just tell them.
God loves us so much and He loves our children. I don’t want to keep them from running to Him when they need strength, wisdom and guidance. It’s easy for me to tell them what to do, but that does nothing to equip them to follow Him wholeheartedly. They have to learn to depend on Him. I don’t exactly know that that looks like but I’m sure the Lord will show me. He will guide me. It will be scary to let go and let God.
- My Mum’s amazing message (inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com)
- The Power of a Praying Women (fggam.org)
- John 7:17 – Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God (church4u2.wordpress.com)
- Our Daily Bread – God’s Strong Arm May 17, 2013 (arielgonzalaz91.wordpress.com)