We have been looking at Christ’s admonition for His disciples to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. There are several points that we need to remember when we attempt to have our children act as salt and light.
- Jesus taught Matthew 5:12-16 to His disciples. He never told children and youth that they were to be salt and light.
- Salt has many uses but all of them require it to come into direct contact with whatever it is trying to influence.
- Light has full command over darkness and if darkness exists, it means that light has disappeared.
- For a Christian to be salt and light, it requires him to have a very strong grasp of God’s Word and he must have the maturity to refute error with biblical truth.
I think you will agree that it is an extremely challenging assignment for a Christian to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In fact, I believe one must be willing and able to enter into spiritual warfare if he/she truly wants to be salt and light. I encourage you to read passages like 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and Ephesians 6 to understand the severity of entering into spiritual warfare.
With this in mind, we need to realize that our children and youth should not be sent out into spiritual warfare without being fully prepared for the battle they will definitely face. When I have shared this with parents and pastors, I frequently hear the person justify what they are doing by sending their children into secular educational programs with these words. I don’t want to shelter my children from the real world.
I find it interesting that we don’t want to “shelter” our children when it comes to education but we are unwilling to be consistent with this kind of thinking in other areas of life. For example, parents are unwilling to send their children to a church that uses the Book of Mormon or the Quran as its source of truth. I have even asked parents if they would allow their child to live with an ungodly family in their neighborhood for a couple of weeks. Of course, they quickly say that they would never do such a thing. See, parents know that their children need to be protected from bad influences in some areas of life but are not willing to be consistent in their theology, especially when it comes to where they send their children to school.
Jesus always taught the importance of protecting one’s children from ungodly influences. We find several NT writers warning Christians about the importance of avoiding false teachers. So are we to try and “shelter” our kids from the real world? First of all it is impossible to “shelter” our children from the real world. However, we must still protect our children from the false philosophies and ideas that are aimed at taking them captive. Here are two statements that I believe to be of utmost importance to parents, church leaders and educators when it comes to withprotecting our children from the false ideas of this world.
The goal of protection must not be to “shelter” our children from the world!
The goal of protection must be to “prepare” our children for battle with the world!
Protecting our children is not the problem. The problem is with the goal we use for protecting them. If it is merely to “shelter” them, then we are setting them up for failure because when they leave our care and go out into the real world, they will be destroyed. As we protect our children from the influences of the world, we must always be “preparing” them for the battle they will one day enter into. In other words, the education we give our children at home, church and school must prepare them for the spiritual war that God expects them to fight as an adult. They must be fit for battle!
Kevin Swanson states it well in his book, Upgrade. He writes,
For a child to be fit for battle and be salt and light, he must be prepared to confront the world, to wrestle with principalities and powers, to cast down imaginations that oppose the knowledge of God, and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
These are powerful words. When God sends us out to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, He expects us to be able to confront the principalities and powers of darkness. We must be prepared to do battle so that we can destroy the ideas and speculations of this world that oppose God’s truth. Unfortunately, not too many adult Christians are fit for battle in today’s world much less our children and youth.
Therefore, we should never send our children into secular education programs when they are not prepared to do spiritual battle while there. Again, I call your attention to the warning Swanson gives. As you read his words, think about how ill-prepared a child or young person is to tackle such topics as these.
If he is not prepared to cast down the imaginations of egalitarianism, God-eliminating evolution, materialistic socialism, relativism, environmentalism, atheism, pluralism, or sexual ‘freedom’, then he should not be subjected to a steady diet of it.
I found an interesting parallel to this concept in the book of Numbers. There were a couple of times that God told the nation of Israel to conduct a count of the people. In each of these instances, we find that they numbered the men who were 20 years and older who were fit for battle. Even though the young men had to be physically prepared to fight the enemies that were all around them, the enemies also represented pagan cultures. God was not merely wanting to defeat Israel’s enemies, He wanted to eliminate the false gods of the surrounding nations. To accomplish this it required that all men who were 20 years old and up to be physically, mentally and spiritually prepared and fit for the battle.
I wonder what would happen if all Christian parents would dedicate the first 18-20 years of their children’s lives to fully prepare them to confront the pagan culture that exists all around us. If the home, church and school were fully committed to making sure every child was fit for battle by the time they became 20 years old, I believe we would see a generation of Christians who would enter adult life and actually be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. That generation would then be able to do what our generation has failed to do – to turn their world upside down for God’s glory.
Let’s join forces and prepare our children and make sure that they are fit for battle!!!