By: Kent Evans
3 min. read
Parenting on Purpose
It’s important, as parents, that we play good defense regarding sexual temptation. The Bible tells us to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18, 2 Timothy 2:22). We do well to relay those same warnings to our children. Especially, in today’s day and age, with easy access to illicit material, we need a strong defense. No doubt about it. Be on your guard.
Even so, I believe our greater weapon in this fight might be a strong offense. I can only filter, shelter, and defend for so long. Sexual integrity isn’t just about what we avoid, but about what we pursue. It’s not just about prohibiting evil, but promoting godliness.
Philippians 4:8 says it this way, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV) We must help our children learn what it is that they should be doing in the area of their thoughts and attitudes. They must pursue good things (1 Timothy 6:11)!
I am raising five future men. Right now, my oldest is 21 years old, and he’s married to a lovely young woman. I have two other teens, as well as a nine and a six-year-old. So, my home is full of testosterone! My wife and I have discovered a few areas where we play a lot of offense.
Offensive Integrity, Not Just Defensive
God’s Word – we’ve always pushed our boys into various Bible-related activities. Whether it was a summer study, a Bible memorization competition or a video series, we have hustled in this area to keep their wheels turning on scripture. And we don’t do this so that we’re “good Christian parents”. We do this because God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), profitable (2 Timothy 3:16) and will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Saturating our kids with scripture is a powerful tool in our arsenal. Probably the single most important.
Prayer – we’ve been in constant prayer for our boys, since they were babies. While I don’t want to oversell our habits here, we have been relatively consistent in this. Sure, we’ve gone many days where we might not have uttered an out-loud prayer on their behalf, but overall, we’ve been asking God to intervene in their lives for two decades. Again, this is not because we have a prayer to-do list we must check-off. It’s because we believe that if our kids have God’s favor, there’s nothing else they really need.
Positive hobbies – you’ve heard that old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Man, with boys, there’s a lot of truth to that! My oldest son went through a dozen “what is it now?” phases in his childhood and teen years. It was a rapid succession of benign pursuits, that in my view, helped “positively burn” his energy and aggression. Here are a few: collecting paperclips, mechanical pencils, silly bands, erasers, toy skateboards, carabiners, electronics, music, skateboarding and BMX bikes. We encouraged him in (almost all) of these pursuits, seeing them as solid ways to “run out the clock” on his passion and energy.
As a dad, here’s the bottom line. Get the defensive stuff in place, especially as it relates to technology and friend choices. Then, amidst all that guarding, attack their hearts with offensive strategies. The chief most being God’s word. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9, NASB)
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Kent Evans is the Executive Director and co-founder of Manhood Journey, a ministry that helps fathers become disciple-makers. After a twenty-year career as a business leader, he embarked on biblical Fatherhood ministry projects. He’s appeared on television, radio, web outlets and podcasts. Kent has spoken at parenting and men’s events. He’s authored two books. The first, Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You, was written to help men learn how to find mentors and wise counsel. The second, The Manhood Journey: Charting a Course to Biblical Fatherhood, aims to help dads not be good or great dads, but be godly ones. Learn more at manhoodjourney.org or fatheronpurpose.org.