As part of the alleged wisdom floating around these days on the subject of parenting, you’ve probably heard that parents who shield their children from the influence of our anti-gospel culture are guilty of “sheltering.”
I wish more parents were guilty of protecting their children from spiritual harm. Here are some reasons why.
- Children are not born wise. They are born with an innocent naivete and a default of trust. Therefore, parents have a big responsibility to filter what comes at their children.
- Children are born into a spiritually dangerous world. Ever since Adam and Eve got themselves kicked out of the garden, sin and evil have been present in our environment. Just as you would protect your child from fire or drowning, you must protect them from influences that would harm their soul.
- Believers have an enemy. Satan comes to lie, steal, kill and destroy. He would love to destroy your child’s faith in God and his/her spiritual well-being.
- Children need safety measures, including spiritual safety. You wouldn’t let your child sleep alone in the woods, or eat poison for lunch, right? The same kind of loving diligence comes into play when it comes to guarding your child’s soul.
- Children need to feel secure, including spiritually secure. A sense of security doesn’t happen by accident. I’ve spoken with young adults whose parents allowed them to choose their own faith (or whether or not they wanted to attend church). The children ended up choosing … nothing. One young woman wistfully said:
“I wish my family had gone to church when I was growing up. I think we would have done better.”
Here’s the thing: You will only provide a spiritual fortress for your family if you understand how dangerous the world is.
By “world,” I don’t mean the earth; rather, I’m using the Bible term for the ungodly system of thought which has prevailed in human history since sin tainted everything. The apostle John talks about this in I John 2:15-17.
Popular opinion generally opposes the gospel. This is as true in our culture as it has been in every culture throughout human history.
Our culture tells our children:
- There is no God.
- Life has no ultimate purpose.
- It’s okay to express yourself sexually in whatever way you please.
- You can pick whether you want to be a boy or girl.
They’re told to believe in themselves, finding their soul mate, following their dreams — in other words, worship someone or something other than God — yet for all this “freedom,” there’s an underlying hopelessness and lack of meaning.
It’s not a safe world. God wants parents to protect their children from the evil that puts on a pretty face, but wants to destroy them.
The good news is, we totally can!
“Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” — Proverbs 14:26
In ancient times, people lived in walled cities for protection. These cities had walls, towers, gates and bars. During times of peace and safety, people could move in and out freely through the city gates for commerce and interaction.
However, during times of battle, they would take refuge inside the city, barring the gates to keep the enemy out.
As you submit your life to Christ’s lordship, as you obey his commands and honor his name, as you joyfully love and serve him, your whole family enjoys spiritual security!
We’ll talk more about what protecting your children looks like (and doesn’t look like). In the meantime, don’t worry about the opinions of others.
You’ve got a fortress to build.