One of the chief responsibilities of a parent is to recognize their God-given responsibility to be the primary person raising their children and to screen who the other influences will be in their life.
Our goal in guiding our children's lives is reaching and shaping their hearts for God. When a child's heart is where they need to be, parental hearts can rejoice.
"My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things" - Proverbs 23:15–16
How can parents win the battle for a child's heart? Is there an effective strategy they can use against those who would seek to shape them differently? Is there still hope for another godly generation in the darkened society in which we live? Of course! But first, we must know our enemy.
1. The Enemy Is Real
Scripture is filled with teachings regarding the reality and power of the enemies of the Christian. We know, as believers, we battle the devil, the flesh, and the world. Christians face a dangerous enemy whose philosophies and personnel occupy primary positions in our society.
Our enemy is savvy, influential, and intent on destroying our children's future. We must not forget that we fight these vicious enemies on the outside and the insidious enemy of the flesh on the inside. This is the very real enemy of every Christian.
Without a doubt, the world is continually enticing and endeavoring to stamp its image upon each of its inhabitants. We fight a true battle against a real enemy. The stakes could not be any higher. Indeed, eternity is in the balance for our children.
2. The Enemy Is Strategic
The devil and his world system have captured modern culture. Their agenda is in place, and the voice of biblical Christianity is increasingly becoming a whisper.
Culture relentlessly attempts to connect with your children. The culture has mastered the notion of a target audience. Your children have a bull's eye on their backs. And within its arsenal, the culture has the latest tricks and technologies to choose from and is in the fight for the long haul. The culture is not giving up. It patiently waits for change to occur in your children's lives. Saturation is its goal. Cultural propaganda is repeated with such frequency that they become the thoughts our children think and even how they think!
Unless effectively opposed, the culture shapes people. It changes their image. The enemy's goal is the opposite of God's goal for your life. His goal for us? Christlikeness, transformation to His image.
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." - Romans 8:29
The enemy's goal for us? To stamp its image in our lives, an image that proclaims itself in our priorities, perspectives, and appearances.
3. The Enemy Has A Message
The enemy is always preaching a message. "Ye shall be as gods," is the declaration of the enemy. What does that mean, and why does the enemy preach it so religiously?
It is a one-word message of "self." At the root of every sin is pride. At the center of the enemy's attack is a fixation on self. Self-focus, self-love, and self-satisfaction are the essential points of the devil's message.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." - 1 John 2:15–17
His message is summed us as "Consider yourself first."
When the focus becomes "self," it turns to "stuff." The idolatry of our culture is covetousness, and its hold has choked our society. Not satisfied with what God has supplied, we can fall prey to the love of money, a love that entangles its lover and destroys him. In the embrace of covetousness, we lose our awareness of what earthly pursuits are spiritually noble. Those who foolishly respond to the call of "stuff" become little more than pathetic builders of bigger sheds.
"Spoil yourself. Accumulate all you can. Satisfy your fleshly desires and expect no adverse results for doing so." This is the message of the culture. It has stayed the same since the beginning of time. And why should it? It's more effective than ever.
4. The Enemy Is Subtle
Our enemy is so seductive! He rarely declares who he is, where, or how he plans to attack. But fortunately for the believer, we have a reliable intellect on which to depend, which is the Word of God.
The greatest blessing you can give your children is a good model. If your speech does not match what you display, they will likely reject what you tell them.
If you want your children to love God, develop character, and invest their lives in eternal values, don't leave it to others to teach them. Instead, model it in your own life.
One day, each person will make their own choice concerning their life direction. But, today, keep your eyes open for the enemy and make sure what you do contributes toward leading your children to walk in truth.