The average recipient of a gift accepts it with joy and gratitude and cherishes it, even when he or she does not see the usefulness of the gift right away. The appreciation stems from the fact that the giver has expressed love. Gifts are not necessarily given because the recipient deserves it, worked for it, or requested it. Usually, the giver gives out of the goodness of his or her heart. No wonder when families are expecting a baby, they go out of their way to prepare in very special ways to welcome this gift from God.
When God gives the gift of children, He also has plans for them, and expectations for their nurturing and godly upbringing. He does not leave His expectations to chance, but carefully maps out how to make it all happen. Through the Bible, He gives clear instructions for raising and caring for children. God has plans for each child’s welfare, and plans that each will come to faith in Jesus Christ.
It is also important for us as parents and caring adults to be aware that the devil has intentions for each child. Knowing that the devil is evil, we should conclude that his intentions will be the opposite of what God wants for our children. The devil, of course, is very secretive about his intentions, and being the liar and deceiver that he is, he will misrepresent everything to mislead and misdirect. He tries to undo what God does, because God is his arch enemy.
Because we have God’s nature, God instructs us, and makes it natural for us, to provide for the needs of our children (see Matthew 7:11). He also wants us to train them in the way they should go, which should be the way we are going ourselves—the way of godly living! Successful training should start very early in a child’s life. The training should be well thought out and well planned, and ongoing, not occasional or haphazard. God, through Moses, conveyed to the Israelites, “You must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NLT). This is God’s prescribed training for raising Godly children. The devil does not take a break from plotting evil, and neither should we take a break from training and encouraging our children!
Let’s consider being positive role models for our children in all that at we do and say, allowing them to see us as we read the Bible and pray and relate kindly and respectfully with others. And how about replacing some of those cartoon characters on their bedroom walls with Scripture verses that they can see every day, read, meditate on, and memorize?
God is faithful, and so are His promises. In Proverbs, He promises that if we raise our children the right way, they will continue on that path, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22:6 NLT). Yes, some do go astray every now and then, but with continued prayer, they come back to the path they had left behind.
The devil hates God! He is a liar, and will use any tricks he can to misdirect our children as an attack on God. How can we afford to let these precious gifts from God go in the wrong direction? Let us train and encourage them in their walk and let’s pray for them, without ceasing, that they will continue to walk faithfully with their God.
The Scripture tells us the devil is looking for someone to devour, and that includes our children. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT). Let’s fight and weep on our knees over the souls of our precious children. What tricks has the devil succeeded in using in your home to discourage your children and to strain your relationship with them, making you ineffective in your leadership role? The apostle Paul tells us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 NLT).
The devil is battling for the souls of our children. Let’s fight back by teaching them to walk in the fear of the Lord, and let’s be watchful and prayerful. We cannot afford to let the devil win the battle; God has made available to us all the necessary resources to wage this war wisely, strategically, and victoriously (see 2 Peter 1:3). Amen!