I started this post thinking about my oldest daughter and the start of the third grade. She is getting older and I know I have to be proactive in preparing her for some of the challenges she will face. It’s hard thinking about my first born growing up and being exposed to all that is out there so I decided to help myself and other moms think about how we might teach our kids how to resist temptation.
Let’s be honest though — our kids aren’t the only ones in need of a lesson when it comes to resisting temptation. But who really wants to talk about all those secret things we struggle with? The truth is that even as Christians we will struggle with temptation. Not only will we struggle with it, but we will also succumb to it. Our children, unfortunately, are no different than us. No matter their age, our kids will face temptation. That is a certainty. They will be tempted to lie, to disobey, and to be unkind. As they get older they will be tempted in even more ways. They will be tempted to think they are unloveable, unworthy, and without value. Our teens will have to make decisions, in the face of temptation, about drugs, alcohol, and sex. The possibilities of what they will be faced with are endless.
This is serious business. Our kids’ ability to resist temptation can mean the difference between life and death; it can change the trajectory of their life and yours as their parent. Listen Momma, if we want to be confident in their ability to make wise choices in the face of temptation we need to teach them how to resist it.
I’ve Been There
As parents we will have greater influence on our children if we are transparent with them, especially in this area. However, providing an appropriate level of transparency requires we walk a fine line. We want to share enough for them to see that we too have experienced temptation but without it appearing as though we are boasting or bragging about our past behaviors or struggles (without sensationalizing it), and without sharing an inappropriate degree of detail. We too were children, we were teenagers, and likely faced many of the temptations our children will face. Sometimes we succeeded and other times we failed. It’s important for them to know this. It’s also important for them to know that as adults we are also tempted. We can share that at work we may be tempted to give less than our best, to cut corners; or in our relationships and how we treat others; we might also share about how we are tempted in the manner we care for ourselves.The one word our kids must know when faced with temptation is flee. Click To Tweet
The one word we all need to know (especially our kids) when it comes to responding to temptation is “flee“. This simple instruction is the exact opposite of what our culture and perhaps even our pride tell us to do; we are encouraged to believe we should stand our ground and dig in. We’re told that to turn and run is cowardly and without honor. We need to make sure our children know that that the wisest choice they can make is to turn and flee the situation.
Why We Should Flee
The Bible tells us in several places that the best way to resist temptation is to flee from it.
1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral persons sins against his own body.
1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
1 Timothy 6:11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
We don’t willingly fall into temptation but we tend to foolishly believe that we have the strength and ability to resist it.
If as adults we struggle mightily with the tempting of our flesh and our minds, how much more so is this true for our children? Scripture, inspired by our Heavenly Father, recognizes our frailties. Our God recognizes our weaknesses and knows we will succumb to sin and so gives us a way out. He tells us to flee, so let’s embrace this instruction and encourage our kids to do the same.
Certainly there are other things we and our children can do when faced with temptation or to try and avoid it. But let’s start by teaching them this one, simple yet important lesson. Let’s teach them to flee. Let’s teach them to remove themselves from the situation, the person, or the place. No matter how old they are this is a lesson our children can comprehend and put into practice. The earlier they start this habit when faced with temptation, the better.
I pray this week that God will reveal to us any area in which we might need to “flee” and in turn impress upon our hearts the necessity of this lesson for our children.