Read His Words Before Ours!
In our family, we regularly discuss politics, local news, and current events. However, when a conversation surrounding values took an emotional turn, we knew something deeper was stirring up; our children were seeking a biblical understanding about a belief we strongly held. Feelings of guilt and failure, on my part as mother, overcame me.
My children couldn’t possibly be the ones struggling with biblical foundations and truths. How could this happen?
After much careful consideration, prayer, and wise counsel, we decided we would not run from hard truths or leave our kids alone to interpret their questions. Instead, we would study and engage with them. In months to follow, when the Holy Spirit led, we attempted to address a multitude of questions about Biblical concepts.
As we peeled away the layers, I soon realized my children, like many others, needed abundantly more spiritual guidance to help navigate the topics significantly impacting and shaping their faith journeys.
In an article by Christianity Today, a study found that out of 500 youth group graduates, over 70 percent reported having serious doubts about faith. These students’ opportunities to express and explore their doubts were correlated with greater faith maturity. In other words, it’s not doubt that’s toxic to faith, it’s silence.
I realized God was working on our family’s behalf, bringing attention to areas within our life that were out of alignment with Him. My family messiness was no different than others, which highlighted a message of its own: as believers, we’re not given immunity from assaults of the enemy.
In my family’s journey, I understood the enemy is a liar, and I was not going to feel pinned down by doubt, blame, insecurity, comparisons, fear, or relational discord. My family prayed, and God revealed we needed to make some adjustments. Our initial steps were refocusing our priorities (putting God first), being intentional with our time, having patience with our children in learning the word of God, and seeking community.
Furthermore, the Spirit revealed a deeper truth to me during this tumultuous time.
The struggles we were facing needed to happen.
God didn’t want me to spend all my time trying to fix every problem of my children or of this world; He wanted to show me how to fully lean on Him and demonstrate this dependence in every area of my life.
Through this adversity, God wanted to fill me with His strength. In 2 Corinthians, preacher Paul uses the language of siege warfare to talk about engaging in spiritual battle.
“For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds.”
(2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
As believers, we are not left defenseless. Satan wants to disrupt God’s place in our lives b y displacing God’s authority with deceptive, manipulative evil schemes. This truth should remind us we cannot defeat Satan in our own strength and neither can we fight spiritual battles without God’s protection and weapons. (Psalm 44:3-4)
In Ephesians, Paul talks about the spiritual weaponry available to Christians, often called “the full armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-20) Paul emphasized the reality that our warfare is against more than the natural temptations of flesh. There are powers in the unseen world against which we are powerless, except through the aid of Christ.
Spiritual armor prepares us to face any and all spiritual battles we encounter. These battles are not fought against “flesh and blood” enemies, but against the “cosmic powers of this darkness[.]” (Ephesians 6:12) Satan’s strategy is clever; he uses technology, popular culture, consumerism, misinformation, and distorted views about biblical truths to wage war against us constantly.
But we’re not falling for it. The real enemy, the real source of oppression in our world, is the devil, not people, places, or things. The spotlight of God’s truth will effectively expose every single scheme of the enemy.
By God, we have all been given weapons to fight the unseen. For me, I needed to take this truth seriously in my parenting.
We’re called to follow God, Who is “the way, the truth, and life.” (John 14:6)
Follow God, Who has come so we “may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10)
Follow God, Who brings true peace and freedom from oppression as His death and resurrection “conquered [the powers of] the world.” (John 16:33)
As we follow Him, His grace is sufficient, and we can have hope and victory in any spiritual battle that comes our way.
Lord, following You is hard. Sometimes it feels our brokenness is cliché, but I’m so grateful we serve a God who cares. A God who knows our battles, and equips and sustains us through them.
Help us to push away from culture, familiarity, and likeness, instead embracing Your Word and Your love. May we find strength in Your infinite and absolute goodness, and when the battle is fierce, remind us the true source of oppression is the devil himself. May we not be afraid to stand firm, as parents and leaders of faith, by putting on the full armor of God. Amen.
*Written by guest writer, Keshia Jackson
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!