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We are college sweethearts, Lord of the Rings fans and Antique Roadshow watchers; but most importantly, sinners saved by God’s grace.  

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Helping Your Children Fight Temptation

Helping Your Children Fight Temptation

Temptation: The act of tempting; enticement by the offer of some real or apparent good.
— Noah Webster
 
 

Have you ever had a moment when a random thought pops into your head?  I had that happen to me this week.  While watching my children go through their normal daily routine, the thought hit me, “What am I doing to prepare our children for the times in life when they will be tempted?”  That thought stopped me in my tracks.  I sat down for a few minutes, mulling the question over and over in my brain.

“What am I doing to prepare my children for times when they’re tempted?”
“What am I doing to prepare my children for times when they’re tempted?"
“What am I doing to prepare my children for times
when they’re tempted?”

I pondered the question a bit longer.  Then I realized I’ve made a lot of assumptions about my children.  Assumptions such as, “They’re too young to really have faced serious temptation.” Or, “We talk to our children so much that we would certainly know if something was bothering them.”  I realized instantly how dangerous these assumptions were and how my husband and I needed to help our children recognize and resist the temptations they’ll face.  So, what should we do?

  1. Help your children understand what temptation is.  Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines temptation as: “The act of tempting, enticement to evil by arguments, by flattery, or by the offer of some real or apparent good.” In our home we paraphrase this for our children by explaining to them that temptation is when you are offered something good for doing something you know you shouldn’t be doing.  We need only to look at the first book of the Bible, Genesis, to see how destructive temptation can be.  The serpent’s tempting of Eve and her subsequent tempting of Adam, led to the fall of all mankind (Genesis 3).  How amazing it is that something as simple as eating from a tree God created would bring sin into our world.  The lesson in this for us and our children is that God has set a standard for us.  We see this clearly in the Old Testament as God persistently warned the children of Israel: “Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. (Dt 12:28)” Likewise, in the New Testament we see a standard of holy living: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Pe 1:14–16)     All around us there are rules and systems in place to show us what to do and what not to do.  When we allow others to influence us to do contrary to what the Lord says, we open our lives up to pain and trouble.

  2. Show your children the example that they have in Christ as to what to do when tempted.  When Christ was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, what did he do?  He recalled his Father’s words in Deuteronomy:  Man shall not live by bread alone (Deut 8:3); You shall not put the Lord your God to the test (Deut 6:16); You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve (Deut 6:13).  It is so important that we teach our children scripture, not just as a means of seeing how much they can retain, but for arming them for the spiritual battles they will face against the devil.  We have a real adversary that would devour our children if given the opportunity to do so.  Equip your children in the faith so when they are tempted, like Christ was, they will remember the promises and power found in God’s word.

  3. Admonish your children, from a very young age, to be mindful of people, places and things that might tempt them to do something wrong.  I was raised in a Christian home.  My parents were what would be considered now as, extremely legalistic.  Strangely enough, one area that my parents didn’t guard too tightly was the friendships that I had.  If there was not a clear issue with a child or her family, my parents were okay with my friendships.  Little did my parents know that many of my “friends” were one way in front of them, but another way when we were away from home.  I made a lot of bad choices in my teenage years simply because of my inability to resist the temptations presented to me by so-called friends.  I take full responsibility for my actions but oh, how I wish I had been stronger in my faith during those years.  Thank God for grace!   Scripture tells us that “bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Cor 15:33)  Pray that God would surround your children with “good” company.

  4. Understand that facing temptation is inevitable and it is one of the ways God develops our faith.   Sometimes, your children won’t really know how to resist temptation until they are faced with it.  It is one thing to memorize scripture and guard your heart and mind against obvious sin, but it is something altogether different to apply that scripture to your life and stand firm against the fiercest of temptations when they come.  As parents, we have no idea what form that temptation may present itself to our children: drugs, lying, alcohol, pornography, rebellion against authority.  We don’t have a clue...and neither do our children.  It is imperative that we teach our children to pray, to have a love for God’s word and to seek godly counsel when they need it. The Lord is able to help them.  What a blessing it is to have a Savior that is concerned about us!

Thanks again for stopping by and reading our blog.  May the Lord give us all the strength to resist temptation and to train our children to do likewise.

Sherry

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