Children love stories of knights and dragons. They love the battle of good versus evil. Even better, they love to envision themselves as the hero of the fight against the dark.
Here’s the truth: kids love stories of a good fight because, deep down, they know they were made to stand in the light, warring against the dark.
Scripture tells us that we’re in a very real battle against the dark. As believers, we’re called to put on the full armor of God.
When my boys were small, we used to talk about Ephesians 6:11-17 all the time ~ we made it a game until they knew every part of the passage.
We used to pretend to fasten our belt of truth. We’d talk about what the belt of truth is. What is truth? How do we know truth from lies? How can knowing truth protect us?
Next, we’d put on the breastplate of righteousness. We’d slip our pretend armor over our head while we discussed righteousness. We’d talk about the holiness of God, and our absolute inability to become holy ourselves. We talked about grace and how God – through His loving kindness – enabled us to have faith. We’d talk about God’s forgiveness of our sins which comes through His grace. We’d agree that our righteousness is only a gift from Our Father – it’s nothing we can earn through anything we do.
Carefully, we slipped on our shoes of the gospel of peace. We talked about the Good News of Jesus Christ. What’s the Good News? Why is it good? Why is it news? What are we supposed to do with the Good News? Why does carrying the Good News to our neighbors shod our feet in the gospel of peace? What is peace?
We would pretend to arm ourselves with the shield of faith – faith given to us by a good and loving God. We’d wave our shields and fight off the flaming darts of the evil one. We talked about how we never have to fear those darts – as long as we wear our armor each and every day. We’d talk about how we fight in the Lord’s army – how we will never lose the battle.
We donned the helmet of salvation and discussed what true salvation is – and how we come by it. We talked about forgiveness for our sins and God’s grace and mercy (see a theme here?). We discussed Lordship, and obedience to the God of the Universe.
At the end of our game, we talked about knights riding to battle in full armor – without a weapon. How silly is that? If we enter a fight without a sword, how will that work out for us? The boys and I would reel about, pretending to fend off the sword of our enemy with only a shield, a helmet, a belt, and our breastplate to protect us. In the end, we would turn tail and run away in our special shoes.
“Boys, what do we need?” I’d ask as they giggled. “We need a sword!” they shouted. “What kind of sword?” “The sword of the Spirit!” “What is the sword of the Spirit?” “The Word of God!” “What is the Word of God?” “The BIBLE!”
At the end, we’d all hug and laugh and fight each other with imaginary swords.
We played that game for a number of months. By the end, the boys were guiding the game. That Christmas, they both received their very own sword – a real, student Bible with their name stamped on the front. I’ve never seen children so excited about the Word of God. For Christmas this year, my eight-year-old asked for an adult ESV study Bible. We gave him one the next week.
Friends, we’ve been talking about Raising Grown-Ups ~ The Great Commission at Home. If we are to disciple our children, we must guide them to Scripture. If we’re to teach them to seek God’s Word, we must emphasize it in our homes. We must read the Bible in front of them; we must model the importance of Scripture for our kids.
However, we must do more than that. We must give our children Bibles! We must read their very special Bibles to them.
It’s easy to dismiss the importance of supplying our children with a Bible. They cost money, our 4-7 year old children can rarely read well, and it’s a lot of work to emphasize Scripture in our parenting. Yet, the battle we’re sending our kids into is real. The flaming darts of the evil one exist. If we’re going to communicate that truth to our kids, we need to demonstrate that we’re serious.
We wouldn’t send our kids out to ride a bike without a helmet. Why do we forget to equip them with their very own sword?
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
Looking for a review of children’s Bibles? You can find one at Raising Godly Children.
* How do you teach your children about the importance of God’s Word?
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is a children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.