The middle years of 5 to 12 are years of transition. One aspect of this transition is preparing for war. Parent, you are the active combatant as you protect your 5 year old. But when he turns 12 he must be ready to fight spiritual battles without always having your oversight. We are often shocked at seeing young children carrying weapons and being in the middle of gun battles in other parts of the world. But this uncomfortable picture is much more fitting for our children than we care to admit. Developing character in your children is preparing them for a war that is real and even more deadly than the ones we cringe at seeing on the nightly news. No, your 12 year old may not running in the streets carrying an AK-47. But he is a target nonetheless. His enemy wants more than his physical life; he wants your son’s soul.
The weapons that you are to teach your children to use are spiritual in nature. If your children are unskilled in using spiritual weapons they will be easy prey for vicious enemy. As your children gradually spend more time away from you they will have an increasing need to be skilled combatants in the war that really matters. For example we know that one strategy that the enemy will use to attack your kids is sexual immorality. The enemy knows that if he can lure children into immoral, obscene speech his battle is already on the way to being won.
So what spiritual weapon is the right one to fight immoral, obscene speech? The answer may surprise you – gratitude! This is what Paul says in Ephesians 5:3-4 about combating immoral speech:
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality,or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
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