I'm going to jump back into what I started. It needs to be discussed, talked about, taught, and practiced. Why? Because we're at war. A real war, with real lives, with real consequences. We lose that mindset through weeknight sitcoms, educational pursuits, losing ten pounds, and checking social media.
The distractions stealthily pile in around us until we are lulled into a day-in-day-out mode of operation. Subtly, our marriages suffer, our children suffer, our relationship with God suffers, as we are none the wiser.
And the war wages as we catch up with Netflix and tell the kids to go play somewhere else.
Please tell me a war, any war, any battle, skirmish, minor altercation that ended well if one could not identify their enemy? How in the world does any military hope to be victorious unless they can correctly, quickly, and assuredly identify their enemy. The various sides throughout history up until present study their enemy, to learn habits, schedules, fighting styles, techniques, weapons, location, movement, and communication patterns.
How can we, the Church, hope to engage in the daily battle if we don't acknowledge our enemy? The "d" word has become a word thrown out along with hardback hymnals and alter calls in the new church era. I'm not saying the Church can't stay current, just don't get stuck in it.
Our kids, tomorrow's soldiers, need to know their enemy, his tactics, his schemes, his style of attack. How can they be on their guard if the devil is never mentioned? As if talking about him might usher evil to our door. No. Identify him. Expose him. And train to fight his attacks.
My boys are not unaware of who the devil is. We openly talk about their, our, my enemy. He's seeking to devour, to steal, kill, and destroy and I want these soldiers to be on their guard, not taken off by the wolf in sheep's clothing.
We talk about his attack plans, his subtle ways that may not look like the enemy at first. They may be disguised and leave us curious and questioning. We discuss his plans to confuse, distract, divide, and devour. And we discuss our strategy, our weapons, our Savior, and His ultimate battle plan.
The boys are young and we arm them only with what they are strong enough to carry for this present time, but my five year old can rebuke the devil in the dark hours of the night when nightmares creep stealthily in to rob him of peace. My three year old loves prayer walks and prays over neighbors and strangers knowing the power behind his Savior's name, "Jesus."
My five year old even came to us this morning, "One day," he said, "I know someone might say something to make me wonder if God really is real. If what I believe is true. And I'll know, it's a sneak attack. Satan is using the questions to make me get hurt, but he can't hurt me! I have God in my heart and he's more powerful and I just have to say, 'get away from me Satan!', and ask God to help me stay strong."
I cover this might little man and his little brothers in prayer that they will always stay keen to their enemy.
Church, teach your children who their enemy is. Train in battle, be on the alert. And recognize one of the devil's most stealthy attacks, distraction. Put down your phones, remote controls, iPads, and Kindles. Pick up your "Sword" and teach your children to fight.
"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith." 1 Peter 5:6-9