A dear friend and co-worker recently called me and asked,
“Would your grandsons like some swords and a pirate costume?”
Is the sky blue? Is grass green?
She dropped them off the day before four of our grandsons arrived last week. They immediately began to pose, stab, and swing those swords around. These swords did not come with an instruction booklet or a YouTube video with a live demonstration.
These boys just knew what to do. It was instinctive, a part of their genetic make-up.
I have evolved in my thinking about play swords, guns, etc. When our first child was born in 1977, I was not going to encourage violent play by giving him play guns or swords. We gave him toy trucks, trains, tools, balls of all kinds, etc.
Soon after he walked, he started picking up sticks and swinging them around. He pulled apart the stalks of dried Joe Pie weeds and had “sword” fights with his sisters. Any stick with a crook became a gun – if it was long enough it was a rifle.
My evolution became complete when I realized that children will play “fighting” and “battles”. I just needed to set limits on how they played with play swords or weapons.
So – no hitting people or animals. Period.
Since the fall of man, people have been in conflict. The Bible is full of such situations. The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-17 –
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Notice two things in particular about this passage –
* the battle is NOT against flesh and blood – other people – but evil spiritual forces
* we need the sword of the Spirit which is God’s Word
Hebrews 4:12 says –
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
God’s word is described as a sword in these two passages. As I saw the grand children playing with the swords, it struck me that we need to prepare them for the spiritual battles they face every day. We do that by learning to use God’s word which is “sharper than any double edged sword.”
When I was dealing with the fear of losing our son when he was stationed in Iraq, I would quote “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” The battle for me was not against the terrorists in Iraq, but the FEAR that I would lose my son. This Bible verse did not guarantee my son’s safety – it DID guarantee that God would be with me whatever happened to my loved ones.
Quoting God’s word sets my mind on truth, not the circumstances around me. It allows me to wield that sharp, two edged sword!
We must take the time to share with our children and grandchildren the word of God so that they will be prepared, swords sharp, for the battles they face.