Dear Friends and Family,
Putting on Spiritual Armor for our Children
Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The greatest declaration of our witness as fathers and parents to our family is standing as true followers of Christ in the deadly spiritual war against the enemy. Life in Ephesus was similar to our culture today and forced Christians to stand up to the test of truth. If something is true, we cannot speculate on it, but must accept it as a fact of reality.
In Ephesians 6:4 we are commanded to “train our children in the instruction of the Lord.” Putting on the full armor of the Lord makes our lives transparent as we teach and practice what Christ says in John 14:6: “ 6 . . .I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Our lives must reflect what Christ has shown us as truth…not what the world or others interpret truth to be. In following Christ, there is only one way, one life and one truth. We cannot invent our own truth…it is either absolute or it is not. This is the foundation for putting on the spiritual armor of God – truth!
Tony Evans writes, “. . . truth is an objective standard of reality that stands outside of our experience and stands above our opinions.” (Tony Evans Speaks Out, (2000), Barbour Publishing, Inc., 2016, Barbour’s Encyclopedia of Great Christian Quotes, p456).
Abundant life comes through Jesus in John 10:10: “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Putting on the full spiritual armor of God begins with the understanding of Ephesians 6:14a: “14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, . . .” Teaching our families how to put on the full armor of God begins and ends with the Belt of Truth that encompasses the full spiritual armor holding everything else in place.
Armor is a means/method of shielding one’s life with something that encloses it in order to protect from attack or injury. Armor, both defensive and offensive, protects the individual and, ultimately, the family. Armor is not made for retreat.
Christ authenticates everything in His Word. We must measure any information we are given against the standard of Jesus Christ, who He is and what His Word says. In John 1:1-5: “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus is both the living and the written form of truth.
I have studied in one of the gospels daily since my early ministry so I would not be influenced by human opinion. It is Christ alone who authenticates truth. It is this belt of truth that holds everything else together and is a “standard” of truth that is witnessed in both our actions and in our words.
At a men’s Bible study relating to Spiritual Armor, a friend, Larry, shared, “My parents told us growing up, “If our family did something, it was okay for us to do it as well. We could use them [our parents] as examples of approved behavior as their kids.” I wonder if we could use our own habits and behaviors as a standard for our children. Paul shares this same principle with humility in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
Proverbs 29:3: 3A man who loves wisdom [and truth] brings joy to his father. Charles Swindoll writes, “Character traits are sculptured under the watchful eyes of moms and dads. Determination. “Stick with it, regardless.” Honesty. “Speak and live the truth – always.” Responsibility. “Be dependable, be trustworthy.” Thoughtfulness. “Think of others before yourself.” (From Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, p. 392.)
As parents, as fathers, we must prepare our families for the future by first knowing Christ personally as our Lord. In a daily searching and living out the Holy Scriptures, we can instruct and teach obedience to the standards of God’s truth. Without truth nothing else will keep our lives in order.
General Douglas MacArthur writes, “By profession I am a soldier and take great pride in that fact, but I am prouder, infinitely, to be a father! A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentialities of death, and the other embodies creation and life. . . It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home, repeating with him the simple prayer, ‘Our Father who are in Heaven. . .’ (Bob Roberts, Timeless Treasures For Untimely Times, Vol. 2 p. 63)
Leading our family is our greatest blessing and most difficult task as parents. Truth must be our standard and our guide for leadership. May we follow Christ as our example and model.