A neighborhood boy came to us, frantic to find his lost puppy. We prayed with him and began searching. She was soon found cowering in the corner of an abandoned shed, and we brought her home. Tears of joy rimmed our eyes as we watched the happy reunion of the boy with his dog.
Before he left, I asked if he thought we should pray again.
“To say thank you to God for helping us.”
“Okay, he said, took my hand, and bowed his head.
After our “Amen,” he looked at me and said, “You know something? When you prayed and said thank you to God for helping us find the puppy that was lost, it reminded me of that song. You know, the one that goes…” and right there, in the middle of the driveway, he sang the opening lyrics of Amazing Grace.
What comes to mind as I think about that unforgettable day—are his parents—and how they are teaching him the ways of the Lord and protecting him with their faith.
The enemy of God doesn’t want any of us, young or old, to know about and believe in God. And if we do believe in Him, he will do everything he can to keep us from staying close to Him.
Until children are old enough to understand the spiritual battle being fought for their souls, we must remain vigilant to protect them and extinguish the enemy’s “flaming arrows”—ideas, concepts, reasonings, and philosophies against the truths of God—with a shield of faith. (See Ephesians 6:12-17)
How? First and foremost, acknowledging there is a battle going on. Then, that our human wit and weaponry, persuasive words of human wisdom, marketing techniques, and counter-philosophies are of no benefit.
This is a spiritual battle, and the only offensive weapon we possess is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The greatest defensive weapon we have is the shield of faith. Only by knowing and believing God is fighting for us and will not forsake us can we have victory over the forces of evil and powers of darkness set against us. “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power . . .take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
“Okay,” you say. “But what does that look like in everyday life? How can I do that? How can I share the inspired, God-breathed words of scripture with the children in my life—and not end up sounding like a religious nut?
Here’s an idea. Begin by memorizing Philippians 4:8 together. Then pray and ask God’s guidance in ways to show you how to think about:
- Whatever is true. Pick a flower and look at it. “Isn’t it amazing how only God can make a living flower?”
- Whatever is noble. “Johnny did the right thing stopping that fight.”
- Whatever is right. “Cheating on a test isn’t honest or fair to others.”
- Whatever is pure. “The water we drink is pure. It’s clear and clean and good for us. So are the words of scripture.”
- Whatever is lovely. “Wow! Look at that sunset.”
- And whatever is admirable,“ The medals those police officers wear show what brave people they are.”
How are you preparing the children in your life for the day they pick up their own sword and shield? Please share your ideas in the comment area below.