If we believe the coming generation will face more hostility from our pagan culture, how do we switch gears from raising them for worldly success—as we have been doing, let’s be honest—to raising them for warfare, suffering, and loss? (We should have been doing that all along!) Here’s my list (Add others in the comments, please):
1. Discipline your children with the rod and with the Word. Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. Love them through discipline (Prov. 13:24). Want them to have a right regard for authority?—one where they know that the ultimate authority is God whose throne is in heaven? Show your children your own fear of God and submission to His will in this task. Rebuke them and train them with the Word. Spank and speak. Give the no and the yes. Punish for sin and go to God’s Word to show them the right path.
Remember, we are no longer training them for success in the world, we are training them for success in battle… Basic training means much more when you know you will be deployed for battle as opposed to a peace-keeping mission. Getting just an inch lower as you crawl along the ground could be the difference between life and death. So, too, training our children for battle will mean being more vigorous about our discipline so that they know every step and every mis-step is important.
2. Teach your children to respect authority. You will do this by showing them your submission in all things to God. Show your children your submission to God by your submission to His church and her elders. Show them your submission to God by your searching of His Word to know His will. And when the State oversteps her God-given authority, seeking to bind our conscience by their little laws, show them how you won’t submit to anything against God (Acts 5:29). Show them the example of the courageous and submissive Apostles.
3. Teach your children about the battle into which they will enter. Read them the headline articles about gay mirage, freedom of religion cases, contraception, abortion, feminism. Take them down to the local abortuary to look at the dumpster out back that holds the dead bodies of hundreds of babies. Teach them the difference between Christian anthropology and the worldling’s anthropology. Teach them about biblical sexuality. Teach your sons and daughters about how the church has become embarrassed by Titus 2 and 1 Cor. 11 and Proverbs 31…and thereby dishonor God’s Word. Show them always, every day what good things of God the world hates and what evil things of the devil the world loves. And remind them as often as you see them that they are on the Lord’s side (Ex. 32:26).
If you do not believe there is a battle raging, wake up. Our children will not survive the warfare if we neglect them because of our (head-in-the-sand) ignorance or our over-protection.
4. Teach your children about men and women who suffered (or who are suffering) for their faith. Hebrews 11, the book of Acts, biographies of missionaries and elders and pastors, news from the persecuted church today. Show them how God will sustain them through persecution (Acts 5:41, 1 Peter 1:3-9).
5. Make your children work hard. Have your sons dig up rocks in the yard for hours at a time. Have your daughters work in a nursery filled with runny noses and thick diapers. Make them work past the point where they think they can work. This experience will give them confidence that they can endure through pain. Don’t let them whine as they do the work (Phil. 2:14).
Pornography is killing this mentality. Giving yourself to porn is the sickest rejection of hard work and suffering there is. It is narcissistic softness. It is never saying yes to suffering. It is wearing flowing, purple, silk robes while the real men are putting on fatigues and weapons. The young man or woman trained by the idol Porn will be useless in battle. Teach your sons and daughters when they are very young that the first battle they will have to fight is against their own flesh (Rom. 8:5-12)…and that fight is training them for battles to come (2 Peter 1:5-8).
6. Pray. Pray that God would convert our sons and daughters. Pray that God would cause the next generation to be powerfully faithful—a generation like Joshua’s after their fathers died in the wilderness because of their faithlessness. And pray that unlike the sons of Joshua’s generation that our grandchildren would remain faithful. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church. We have seen God’s faithfulness through the ages. Our children enter a strong army and a battle that has already been won. We have seen, though, that a false-peace, a truce with the enemy, does lead to casualties along the way. Remember and pray through Deut. 6:
Deut. 6:1 “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, 2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 “O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
Deut. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deut. 6:10 “Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, 12 then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 “You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. 14 “You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, 15 for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.
Deut. 6:16 “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah. 17 “You should diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you. 18 “You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to give your fathers, 19 by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has spoken.
Deut. 6:20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the LORD our God commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 ‘Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; 23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’ 24 “So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 25 “It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.