If you have a new‐born in your house, I'm sure you don't have any problem interfering with your baby's free will. It's the only way you'll ever get any rest.
But as children can handle the consequences of their choices, they must be allowed to make those choices. In this way they learn to manage their own “will.” Kids, too tightly or too loosely controlled as children, grow up into adults who don't know how to manage their own free will.
If you are just now joining us, I encourage you to study all the previous articles in this series. Yesterday, we finished our discussion of the various ways we can create opportunities for our children, when they are not in our physical care but out on their own.
Before we begin discussing the ways we can eliminate threats in our children's lives, I want to talk about their “will.”
1. Our children have a
of their own.
2. The devil intends to use their will, along with the will of other people, against them.
Satan has limited ways in which he can bring harm to our children. He must either influence their will or the will of someone else.
- Satan does not have a gun. If he wants to use a gun against our children, he must find another human to pull the trigger.
- Satan does not have a car. If he wants to involve our children in an accident, he must either influence them to be careless, or influence the will of another driver.
- Satan does not have infectious agents. If he wants to give our children a disease, he must influence them to neglect their bodies. Or he must use an external source like a chemical from a factory or a virus from a person.
I can hear all the exceptions coming into your mind: “Are you saying that when Johnny fell off the roof, he somehow allowed it to happen?” “Are you saying that when Sally got sick, it was her own fault?”
I am not attacking anyone's character. I am not trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone.
I am saying we have much more control over what happens to us than we realize. It is critical for us to begin to understand just how much control we have over what happens to us.
I am around broken people on a regular basis, and my sympathy does them no good whatsoever. I could hold their hands and cry over them all day long, and it would do them no good whatsoever. It is only when I help them understand the authority they have over their lives, that I can even begin to be useful.
If you just let things happen, most of them will be bad.
But we don't have to let things happen. We can use our “will” to tap into all the resources Jesus bought for us—and He paid dearly for those resources.
You have a job to do. You have children to protect. And even if you don't have natural children, there are plenty of people out there who have no one looking after them. If you have a “protection switch“ then protect someone—your own children or the orphans. Play by the rules—those Biblical principles set in place to help you. Please don't allow what appears to be the exceptions disprove the rule. You can always find an apparent exception to every Biblical principle. And if you start throwing out the rules because of what appears to be the exceptions, you will be left with a toothless Word of God.
I used to play that game. I know it very well. I've had plenty of what appeared to be exceptions in my own life. But enough of those apparent exceptions have turned out to be slip‐ups or misunderstandings on my part that I'm not willing to tear down any Biblical principle—even if I still live with some of those apparent exceptions. As a wise man once said: “If your experience contradicts the Word, throw out your experience.”
Your experience can confirm the Word, but your experience can never reveal the Word.
Sherrel and I are intent on eliminating threats not only to our children, but to us and to other loved ones as well; and we're using the Word to do it. We use the Word as if it was a physical weapon. We shoot at the bad guy whenever he comes around.
When eliminating threats in our own lives, we hit him almost every time. But once in a while we miss, and he slips through. Do we say the weapon malfunctioned and throw it away? No, we acknowledge that we missed and continue firing.
When it comes to eliminating threats in the lives of loved ones, we have more misses because we're not just dealing with the threats. We're also dealing with the “will” of other people, who may or may not be helping the situation with the choices they are making. Do the occasional exceptions cause us to throw the weapon away? No, we regroup and continue firing.
If you are just beginning to realize your responsibility to eliminate the threats in your children's lives, you also may be convicted that you've been a little sloppy in your own self defense. But please keep everything in balance.
Yes, Satan can bring harm to your children if they or other people around them cooperate with him. But Satan can “only” bring harm to your children if they or other people around them cooperate with him.
Satan is all mouth. Shut him up and you control him. Let him talk and he controls you. But it's not an epic battle; it's a matter of paying attention. The serpent did not force the apple down Eve's throat; he talked her into eating it.
When I was operating my furniture factory, I had an employee who was always trying to sue me over something. The stress of dealing with her was consuming me. In desperation I asked my attorney for advice. And what he told me has had so many practical applications since then: “Treat her like a mad dog. Keep your eye on her and don't let her bite you.”
Every day of your life the devil goes about stealing, killing, and destroying—whenever and wherever he can. He comes after you, as well as your children and all the other people you love. So what else is new? Pay attention, but don't give him any more attention than necessary. Treat him like a mad dog. Keep your eye on him and don't let him bite you (see 1 Peter 5:8–9).
I ask you to consider the following before we continue on Monday:
We can talk about creating opportunities for our children and eliminating threats coming against them all day long. But we must not lose perspective. We are creating opportunities for our children to choose Jesus. And we are eliminating the threats that would keep our children from choosing Him.
Have a good weekend,