This past week on date night John and I got to talking about our kids. I started sharing some concerns I had about Isabelle and her emotional health. No particular problem but I have come to see a pattern of negative emotional behavior in one area that I feel is standing between her and God. I shared with John that I felt like it was our job to stand in Satan's way on this issue. I see it as the area he feels he can get a foot hold in her life and keep her from developing an intimate relationship with Christ. So we stand ready to tell her the truth while praying earnestly for her protection.
Then by total coincidence we started talking about Jake and immediately we realized we were talking about the issue in his life where Satan is trying to enter. Again, we stand prepared to block his entrance as we are diligent and pray for Jake's protection.
It is interesting how they are such different children and Satan has identified in each of them the weakness he wants to exploit.
Keep in mind as I write this that both my kids are good kids. Jake has a solid faith that I do not fear being shaken as he leave for college next year. Isabelle's faith is still developing but I am confident will grow as she does. Neither of them is in a rebelion, I am not afraid of loosing either of them to a secular world. But I want more for them.
Sometimes it seems like the goal with our kids is to get them to know Christ, say "the prayer", go to church, be "good" and we will see them in heaven. Check mark. Done. Good. Next. But as I have raised my kids I want so much more for their life on this earth than to simply be "good Christians". What is so good about a good Christian kid anyway? Some days I feel like that is Satan's biggest foothold in our lives, good lives. Christ wasn't a "good Christian". He never did what was expected, he did what he was called to do instead.
He was tempted, oh so tempted, to simply become a good christian. Live a simple life at the top of the Jewish circles, touring the middle east teaching in various temples and healing people. He was a Jewish circle rock star with people constantly vying for his attention, a touch or acknowledgement from Jesus! Can you imagine? But he wasn't here for that. God did not call him to be a good Rabbi, didn't call him to live a safe life. He called him to so much more.
In the desert Christ was tempted by Satan. He thought he saw an entrance and he tried to push his way in. He thought Christ wanted that good, safe life. Satan tempted him to use his power to turn stones into bread for food after fasting 40 days rather than trusting God for his nourishment. Satan tempted Jesus to test God, to risk his life in hopes that God would save him. And finally he offered the entire kingdom to Jesus if he would only bow down to Satan, to turn from the path God had him on. Oh how often do I fail in each of these temptations trying to use my own power to do what God wants to do for me, testing Him and bowing to Satan as I pursue my own desires rather than the plans God has for my life. But Christ did not fail. He saw through Satan's deceptive temptations, knew he was trying to keep him from accomplishing his purpose and sent him away.
Christ also saw that sometime the people around us can be used by Satan. One of my favorite lines from the bible is when Peter rebukes him (can you imagine rebuking Jesus?) and tells him he shouldn't say he is going to suffer and die. "Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matt 16:22) (Actually I once said that to my sister although I forget why now.)
Someday my children will be ready to send Satan away on their own, to see Satan coming and to say, "get behind me Satan!" when well meaning friends and family try to stop them from doing the work God has for them. Until then I will be standing in the gap. Quietly praying at times and wildly waving my arms, shouting and pointing Satan out at other times but always desiring to see them seek God with all their hearts, know Him and His plan for their lives and not be afraid to send Satan away and Follow Christ's example.