I have to give Satan his props. He is tricky and bold. Look back at the story of Adam and Eve. As far as we can tell, the only rule they had was that they were not to eat or even touch the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (apples aren’t mentioned anywhere!). God wanted to make sure they understood, so He added a warning, “Or you will die.”
Now I don’t know about you, but when my mother taught me not to drink drain cleaner and added, “Because you could die”, I took her very seriously. In fact to this day, I am not even tempted to drink drain cleaner. Yet, for Adam and Eve something didn’t click.
I think there is something we can’t pick up on easily in the story. I am not sure what the serpent looked like or what he sounded like, but there was something in the way he said his temptation that convinced them they wouldn’t really die and would even get benefits from disobeying God.
That my fellow Moms (and Dads) is what we are fighting. Satan is so good at whispering lies in our ears/minds that not only does it make us disobey God’s commands, but actually makes us feel virtuous doing so! Can you just imagine what Eve was thinking right before she took that first bite? “This is wonderful! The serpent is probably right. It doesn’t make sense God would kill me for eating this fruit. He would want me to be happy, wouldn’t He? He might even be proud of me for doing such a great job at gaining wisdom?” Who knows what she really thought, but let’s be honest, aren’t those some of the thoughts that swirl through our brains right before we sin?
I think parenting lies are the trickiest of all. You see, it is not just Satan whispering them to you. Society is repeating them in respected magazines and newspapers. “Experts” are espousing them. Studies are even proving the lie “might” be the truth. (I will write about studies some time in the future.) Didn’t our teachers teach us to respect the wisdom of experts?
The problem is God is wiser than any human. He knows what is best for our children. He knows what they need from us in order to grow up to be true followers of God. Are you ready? Our children need us to spend a lot of time with them each day teaching them God’s Commands.
Three times in the first eleven chapters of Deuteronomy, God commands the people to teach God’s commands to their children. God evens says they are to “impress” His commands on the hearts of their children. If you have ever tried to make an impression on something, you know you have to put some muscle behind it, especially if you want to make a deep impression.
Well. making a deep impression on someone’s heart means you have got to put an enormous amount of time and energy into it. God knows that. Why else do you think He went on to spell it out for the people? “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road. When you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:6-9 NIV) He even had them tie the commands to various parts of their body and write them on various parts of their houses. If you examine the lifestyle of the time, this command means those children were constantly hearing and see God’s commands.
There was more though. God also told the parents to retell the stories of what God had done for them. That was even one of the points of the Passover Feast. You see God understands that rules without relationship can lead to rebellion. Your children need to have a deep meaningful relationship with you and with God in order to easily submit to God’s commands. Telling your children the stories of how God worked in the Bible and how you have seen God work in your life encourages them to have their own personal relationship with God. Working with them to establish their own prayer life and independent Bible reading will also deepen this relationship that is so vital.
So what lies does Satan tell us to keep us from doing what God tells us needs to be done to dedicate our children to God, to improve the chances of them being faithful Christians as adults, to spend time teaching them God’s commands and gifts? There are probably millions, but see if any of these ring a bell.
“I barely have time to breathe.” “We just have too many things to do.” “Baseball will get him a college scholarship and after practice he has got to do his homework before bed.””We barely get enough sleep as it is.””We need the extra money so we can have this nice house.””My kids are so busy with their own activities and friends they won’t even know I’m not around.””My kids won’t even listen to me when I tell them to clean their rooms.””My kids will think I’m boring.””I’m going to be the fun parent.” and on and on and on.
You could list all of the reasons you have for not putting in the time to teach your children God’s commands and helping them develop their own personal relationship with God. I could break down every excuse you give me and show you how Satan is lying to you, but the bottom line is this. At some point you have a decision to make. Will you make the many sacrifices necessary to put the time and effort into really dedicating your children to God as He commands or are you willing to phone it in?
I am sure you can point to many Christians who were raised in non-Christian homes and are strong Christians anyway. You may even point to children who were raised in “iffy” Christian homes and still come to church on Sunday. My guess is that if there were some way to measure such things, you would find they are the rare exception and it was much more difficult for them to change habits and patterns than it is for someone who is raised from birth to follow God. (Actually the Barna Group does have a few studies that back some of this.)
I won’t lie to you. To really obey God in this way, you will have to sacrifice. You may have to give up things the world has convinced us are necessary for living the “good life”. What you may have to sacrifice may even seem counterintuitive to what makes a “good” parent in the world. After all, doesn’t God just want us to be happy and enjoy this life? On some level, I believe He does. But that level is bottom lined by God’s ultimate desire. He wants us to do whatever we can to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. After all, eternity is a lot longer than the time we spend on earth.
I’d be interested in hearing what lies you think Satan has told you and what you have done to ignore them. Please share your thoughts in a comment below to help other Moms struggling with this. Believe me, we all have days where Satan has won this battle. I just don’t want him to win the war.