Guest Post by Virginia Roberts
August has always been one of my favorite months. As a child, I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to go back to school after playing “teacher” with my stuffed animals all summer. I enjoyed buying new school supplies and organizing them, finding out which friends were in my classroom, and picking out the perfect outfit for the my first day of the year. As an adult I still enjoy the fresh start of a new school year and usually celebrate by purchasing a new planner. Despite all the excitement this past month my heart has been burdened.
I honestly have struggled in writing this post more than anything else I have written. The main reason is because the topic on my heart is a heavy one; it isn’t flowery, girly, or necessarily “positive and encouraging.” I have spent a lot of time listening, reading, studying, thinking, praying, and wrestling with this topic for nearly a year now. With that said…please hear what God has laid on my heart.
The first time I saw this picture it gripped my heart and it still sends chills down my spine. It is a glimpse of the reality of what is happening on the other side of the world. The Islamic State group has boasted in preparing more than 500 children for suicide and combat missions against American targets. Some of these children are as young as 6 years old. In these training camps the next generation of ISIS is being intentionally and systematically indoctrinated into the religion of Islam. It is sobering to realize that these children have been trained to fight and die for their cause—which is built on a foundation that is a LIE.
What’s even sadder is that we hold the very TRUTH of God yet we are often so casual with training up our next generation in spiritual matters.
As believers, we know that the only thing in this life that truly matters is what we do with Jesus, however our lifestyles often show something quite to the contrary. We spend tens of thousands of dollars to put our kids in the best schools and give them every opportunity to become top scholars. We place great pressure on our kids to perform and create a detailed plan on how to make them the next Michael Phelps or Simone Biles. This often involves endless hours of practice, traveling, and competition – much of which takes us away from valuable time at church and with the body of Christ. We fill our calendars then wonder why we have so little margin in our life for training our children in righteousness. We in the Western church have reduced our faith to occasional Bible stories, coloring sheets, and spotty church attendance.
Our kids deserve far more than to simply be entertained; they deserve to be trained in the Truth.
Simply entertaining is easier in the moment but comes at a long-term cost.
It can produce a child that:
- Focuses on himself,
- Conforms to the world,
- Has a high view of himself,
- Has personal tunnel vision, and
- Invests only in himself and his inner circle.
Training requires sacrifice in the moment but has great rewards.
It can produce a child that:
- Focuses on God,
- Is transformed through the Word,
- Has a high view of God,
- Sees the BIG picture, and
- Invests in others.
Paul wrote, “Discipline yourself to be Godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (I Timothy 4:7-8) Just like training to become an Olympic athlete takes diligence, perseverance, patience, and discipline; so does godliness. We have a prize far more valuable than any Olympic gold; a prize that will not end up in the attic like our trophies and diplomas.
I want to challenge you to evaluate your priorities and goals for your children. Where do you spend most of your time, money, and resources? Are you falling into the performance traps of academics, athletics, materialism, or some other? What message are you sending to your children?
I want to briefly share a few things Frank and I do as we seek to train our children in the Truth.
- We daily review catechisms to teach our children truths about God, man, sin, salvation, prayer, and the Church. We have found these to be a great way to teach our children about God. They may not fully understand everything but it has ignited many spiritual conversations along the way and it is laying a great foundation on which to build later. You can find a list of these catechisms for free here.
- I am teaching my kids the chronological framework of the Bible using the eras. Check out my Kids’ Era Study Blog to find out more about the resources I have created to help you teach your children.
- Learning the eras for myself six years ago was a game changer for me. If you desire to learn the framework of the Bible for yourself, one excellent resource is Chronological Bible Teaching (CBT). Find out more about CBT and take a look at their wonderful resources here.
Though my son, Benjamin, was scared when he saw the “bad guys” in this picture it was a sweet opportunity to talk to him about how BIG our God is, and teach him a great, old song you may remember. Let’s commit to train up a generation that is in the Lord’s Army! Scripture says that we are raising children as arrows to be sent out against the Evil One! My desire is to have a quiver full of finely tuned arrows that will penetrate the darkness of the world. I pray they will never meet those ISIS children face to face. But if they do – I want them to be fully trained, equipped, and armed with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Let’s be intentional and creative as we train our children – engaging their hearts and minds toward an intimate relationship with God and His Word.
*If you live in the Memphis, TN area and desire to learn the framework of the Bible for yourself, you are invited to register for Virginia’s fall Era Study Class at Bellevue Baptist Church starting September 7.
Virginia Roberts lives in Memphis, TN with her husband of ten years, Frank, and their three children Benjamin (4), Hannah (2), and Judah (8m). They are also foster parents with Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home. Over the years she has enjoyed serving alongside her husband in various ministries such as Campus Crusade for Christ and their church’s high school ministry. They now lead an active young marrieds’ Life Group at Bellevue Baptist Church. Virginia is passionate about biblical literacy and training up her children in the ways of the Lord. This passion also motivates her to call other women toward a greater understanding of biblical chronology that they can pass on to the next generation. You can see more about this on her personal blog here.