FIRST-PERSON: The ride to school
CHURCH HILL, Tenn. (BP) -- The short eight minutes between our home and school is time that God has been fashioning as an open window for peering into the ever-evolving mind of my son, who tends to be willing to talk more during these moments.
I soon realized the importance of my attentiveness in each conversation.
As parents, we are called to shape and mold our children. We are to teach them how to equip their souls for the world that awaits them in the classrooms, cafeterias and hallways of their youth.
The sweet (sometimes challenging) minutes of discussion to school is the perfect opportunity to recite the Scriptures that he hopefully already has hidden in his heart.
An occasion recently presented itself in the form of an innocent question from my 11-year-old. It pertained to expected language. Apparently, new words that sound cool had been floating around school and he wanted to know if it was OK to say them. Now, he fully knew the answer to this question. He knows our family values and the morals we have demonstrated. He just needed a bit of encouragement -- some reassurance to combat the sting of peer pressure that had caught up with him this year.
Thankfully, we had an important weapon for the situation -- a tool that had been sharpened throughout his elementary school years by a ministry that challenged him to memorize Scripture. I was able to pull a verse from memory and it was also one he had hidden in his heart. He was at a crossroads with his faith and he needed a gentle nudge in the right direction. What better way than through the truth of God's Word!
Together we shared Romans 12:2: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
The blessing of Scripture memorization
When my son was in the first grade, he began attending our church's Royal Ambassadors ministry. RAs is a Southern Baptist missions education and development program for boys in grades 1-6. It provides an opportunity for boys to develop biblical character, grow in their relationships with others and mature spiritually, physically and mentally in a Christian discipleship walk.
Along with growing in their relationship with Christ, the class was encouraged to memorize Scripture. As they committed various verses to heart, they were given awards to adorn their special vests. Not only that, but the kids who could recite the most verses from memory were given a special award -- an actual trophy that reminded them that their hard work was appreciated by their leaders. It was a small sentiment but it gave our son one more reason to tuck away those gems so he could apply them to his life in any given moment.
On this particular ride home, I was fully aware and in awe of how God had prepared my son's heart. Even though he was seeking instruction from me, the Holy Spirit was already working.
We will always face tough decisions in this lifetime. If we know the truth of God's Word, we can be better equipped for the daily battle of our hearts.
As we read in Ephesians 6:13, "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm."