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Will your Children be Persuaded? - Issue 241
March 09, 2012
Hi there! ....

This week we had another homeschool co-op meet. We meet once a month during the ‘school terms’. This time we asked the older girls (no boys of that age group at the moment) to plan activities that would keep all the kids occupied so that the mums and dads could talk and share for a couple of hours. We divided the kids into two teams with 2-3 leaders in each team. Though the obvious benefit is to the parents, as we get kid free conversation – there was a benefit for the kids as well – especially the older ones as they worked through issues of leadership and teaching. Though we have done this before there has been a change over with who the ‘big kids’ are so that it was a new opportunity for them this year. We will do this again at our next co-op so these ‘big kids’ can put into practice some of the lessons that they learnt this time round. We have been going as a co-op for close to 10 years now, and it is exciting to see new kids step up into leadership roles.

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Will our Children be Persuaded?

Over the last few weeks we’ve been studying Persuasiveness. It has been a very timely study as we applied it particularly to relationships around the home. Sibling to sibling and parent to child and yes, maybe even child to parent. How we say things, the tone, timing and words themselves, all have an impact in helping the listener change how they understand things.

The definition of persuasiveness from Character First is: Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks.

It has been helpful for us to see what our mental roadblocks are concerning different challenges in life and how by hearing God’s Word we can be encouraged to do the right thing even in the midst of that challenging situation.

Though this aspect of being persuasive as a positive thing there is always two sides to the story. If someone is being persuasive, that means there is somebody being persuaded. Which side of the coin are your children going to be?

Consider these verses

  • Deuteronomy 11:16 Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them;
  • Psalms 78:36 But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues
  • Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.

One aspect of ‘to persuade’ means to move, stir up, entice, provoke. It can have connections with deception and flattery. It can allude to the simple minded, gullible and naïve.

Do our children have what it takes to stand firm when they are challenged about their beliefs, their actions, their family ways, their character, their decisions? Or will they be persuaded otherwise?

I am reminded of the crafty harlot who stands around waiting for the simple youth to come along and she catches him. She looks attractive, seems legit, seems to only want the best for him, seems convincing! (Proverbs 7:6-23) and because of his simple-ness he goes with her.

Then there is the warning: Now therefore listen to me, my children, pay attention to the words of my mouth: Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her path… (Proverbs 7:24-25)

There are many such warnings in Proverbs – we see the young man being cautioned about his heart being ensnared by this immoral woman. We often read ‘heart’ as a romantic type of thing which leads us to read this as a warning against sexual immorality (and it is) but it is also much more.

Our heart is our inner man, our conscience, our mind, our inclinations and will, the place where our character comes from, it is the seat of our passions and our emotions.*

Do our children have a strength in their heart – in their convictions, their beliefs, their character, their will, their understandings to withstand an enticing argument from a source that seems attractive and legit, to withstand going down the path that is popular and well travelled?

In order for our children (and I mean children and teens and young adults) to have understanding they need to

  • Decide who Jesus is for themselves – they cannot just believe what Mum and Dad believe. This is a journey – and some kids will come to this point young, others will take years and in the meantime Mum and Dad’s beliefs will be their guide. At some time though, they need to know, not only in their head that Jesus is God’s son, that He came and died and rose again for them, but they need to make a decision to follow him, to have His ways change their life.

  • Know what God has to say on all aspects of life. They need to hold the Bible as the final authority on the way they live their life.

  • Listen to the counsel of their parents and other older people in their lives that will continue to teach and train them to think in accordance to God’s Word.

Proverbs 6:20 says: My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. There is a presumption here with this proverb and that is that the fathers and mothers are teaching God’s word. Are we?

For us to help our children in these things we need to be teaching two aspects of God word:

  1. It is the truth – and it has something to say about everything
  2. It is applicable – knowing God is not a head knowledge, it is an experience, it is a day to day walking with Jesus.

For our children not to be persuaded by the crafty harlot we need to persuade them ourselves, with the truth. For us to be persuasive we need to know the truth ourselves. We need to be able to understand the difficulties and roadblocks our children/teens/young adults will face and be ready with an answer.

1 Peter 3:15 …. always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,…

Do you know why you do things in your family? Is it based on the Word of God or is it based on something your parents did (maybe they based it on the Word of God but maybe you don’t know that?) Do you do things because your church expects it of you – do you know if they have a Biblical base for this? Do you do things because everyone in the homeschool co-op does it? Do you know what the Bible has to say about those things?

If we don’t think through what we believe and why, and why we do certain things we will be ill prepared to train our children to think and act Biblically. If they do not know what the Bible has to say then they will be persuaded with something other than the truth.

* Heart Focus Parenting, available on my website.

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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