The first part of John 10:10 tells us that the thief, Satan, the enemy of God, only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He doesn’t stop or even slow down his efforts when it comes to children. In fact, Satan knows the value of children to the Kingdom of God and does everything he can to destroy them as soon as possible. It could be blowing them up with vest bombs in a terrorist war, tearing them away from their families and throwing them in the streets to be prey for pimps and drug dealers, distracting them from who they are and why they’re here with social and commercial lies. He even has them killed before they come out of the womb.
There’s no need to go into any more detail about what the enemy is doing. That is not my focus though it is a very real and present force. The rest of John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came to give us life, and even give it more abundantly. And that is certainly very true when it comes to children. The Lord says not to forbid the children to come to Him but to bring them to Him. He blessed them and said we must be like them to enter the Kingdom of God. It is their childlike faith and trust that characterizes all God’s children.
But just like being meek, being childlike does not necessarily have to mean being weak and vulnerable. Children can be empowered with the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. They can be rooted and grounded in God’s Word, and have the mind of Christ. Research shows that at a very early age, children are capable of grasping and practicing these truths. (Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions, George Barna, Published by Regal)
So how can children be empowered to stand against the stratagems of the devil? Children’s church is good and so are Bible clubs. Christian games, movies, and books are godly fun as is VBS. And every child should have godly friends. But these are helps. The real responsibility for the spiritual growth and development of a child rests on the parent. Nothing is as powerful for the spiritual growth of a child as a parent’s modeling of a Christ centered life. Parent and child reading the Bible and praying together on a regular basis will create the “good soil” in a child’s heart for the Word to grow.
This may seem like a daunting task and some may not feel up to the job. But we have our Heavenly Father as a model, and the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. And, at CMW we want to encourage parents and help prepare them to be the mentors of spiritual awareness and growth for their children in the Lord Jesus. In future blogs we will list resources and ways to do this. George Barna of Barna Research is a good source, as is Family Talk. The resources will help you get started. And spending time with your child in prayer and in the Word is of value beyond natural resources.
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Deuteronomy 6:7 – You must diligently teach them [God’s Words] to your children and talk of them as you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.