November 2015 Final Issue
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Raising Children to Be Cultural Warriors

I am going to make a couple of very large understatements. Ready?
  • It is very difficult to live in our modern culture as a Bible-believing, God-fearing follower of Christ.
  • It is even more difficult to raise children to fear God in an ever-more worldly society.
I told you those would be understatements. As parents seeking to raise our children to embrace the things of God rather than the things of the world, we could easily become so overwhelmed by the news headlines that we throw in the towel. We could choose to wring our hands in desperation over the situations around us. We could panic. We could hide our heads in the sand, pretending it’s not happening. Or we could choose to trust, like Queen Esther in the Old Testament, that God has indeed placed us, and our children, in the world “for such a time as this” (Esther 2:14, NIV). Choosing to be Counter-Cultural “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22, NIV). We begin raising our children to respond to the world around them in a Christ-honoring way by making daily choices to respond in a godly way for ourselves. After all, children first learn by watching what we do and how we react, and then by listening to what we say. So if I say I believe that violence on TV has gone too far, then my kids need to see me turn the TV off when inappropriate content is aired. Easier said than done, right? Many times, I catch myself watching a popular movie, listening to a certain song, and engaging in activities that walk right up to where I say I have drawn the line. I may not be pursuing those activities, but I am giving them my silent consent. Anyone watching me – and that includes my family – will believe that I am okay with whatever behavior is being demonstrated, even if my words say otherwise. Raising Cultural Warriors I cannot change the world by myself. Neither can you. Certainly, our collective (and individual) voices matter, but even more than that, I believe that the children and grandchildren that we are raising can make an even greater difference in changing the world for Christ. God has impressed on my heart that the greatest impact I can have on the world is through my son’s life – both in the decisions that we make as a family now, and in the choices that he will make for himself in the future. So, if we acknowledge that our children are our greatest weapons against a world that is increasingly hostile to the gospel, how do we arm ourselves, and them, for the battle? “Not against flesh and blood…” "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:11-12, NIV). First, we recognize that the battle is not against each other, but against evil. In a world that is increasingly divided by hate, our children need to be taught to demonstrate love toward those who believe and behave differently, and at the same time equipped to fight against the lies and evil around them. I admit, this is a difficult dance at the best of times, and even more difficult to impart to our children. We war not against one another, but we are at war with the schemes of the devil. There is nothing politically correct about this. We will be labeled hypocrites at best, haters at worst. But the Bible makes clear that Christians live as those set apart from the world; in the world, but not of the world. Teach Them the Truth in God’s Word The only way our children can know Truth in an increasingly truthless society is to know what God instructs in His Word. As parents, this is one of our greatest jobs, and we can’t just leave it to Christian school teachers and student pastors, although they can be valuable allies in our children’s instruction. As their parents, we are to be their first teachers, and our children need to hear God’s Word first from us. Whatever we are teaching our children, whether the things of God or the ways of the world, will be what they are most likely to embrace as they grow into young adults. Make sure your words and actions convey what is most important. Pray for Your Children In a results-oriented world, prayer often seems like the least weapon in our arsenal, when in fact it is the greatest and most powerful. Pray for your children to rise up and be used by God. Pray that God will anoint them as His warriors in a darkening society. Pray for their salvation. Pray for their choices and friendships. And after you have prayed for them, pray with them. Let your children hear you approach God’s throne with your hopes and dreams for them. Let them hear you boldly ask God to bless them and use them. Help Them Take a Stand Children are quick to notice injustices around them. They often feel sympathy for others and want to help – so when it is appropriate, let them. If they suggest giving a sandwich the homeless man you just walked past, go buy the sandwich. If they want to raise money to help the local crisis pregnancy center, brainstorm ways that they could do that. My son chose to give all of his birthday money to a special offering for our state childrens home. Although in my practicality I was concerned about his decision, he was convinced that it was a good idea. He taught me a lesson in generosity that day. Demonstrate the Love of God Regardless of the social issue we happen to be facing, we need to demonstrate to our children God’s great love and compassion for a lost and dark world. Yes, we fight against injustice. Yes, we stand up against moral evil. Yes, we use our collective voices to speak for Truth. But we do all of it with an attitude of love; specifically, we give voice to God’s truth with God’s love for all of mankind. Through God’s love and truth, we will launch our children as the greatest army the world has ever known, ready to fight injustice, speak up against moral evil, and fight against the schemes of the devil. When it seems as if we can do nothing in our decaying culture, we need to remember that God has given us an army to raise. Our children are our greatest hope and greatest resource. We must steward them well.
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About Beth Holmes

Beth Holmes
Beth Holmes is a God-follower, wife, and mom of one very entertaining four-year-old boy. Beth lives in Owensboro, Kentucky where she works hard to squeeze in time for writing, reading, music, gardening, and lots of coffee-drinking as the means to retain her sanity. When she was a little girl, she told her dad she wanted to be a writer someday, and blogging has become the fulfillment of that childhood dream. You can read more about her adventures at bethholmes.wordpress.com.

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