For Mother’s Day we could take a sweet, nostalgic look at motherhood.
Or we could take a hard look at one of the best things Christian mothers can do for the children they love.
Because it’s so important, I choose the latter.
Here’s the question Christian mothers–actually all adults who influence young people–need to deal with before another day passes:
What are we doing to prepare our children for persecution?
I’m not peddling paranoia or political activism. I am merely reminding each of us about Jesus’ promise in John 15:20–
Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you . . .
Well, they did persecute Jesus. So . . . guess what?
You may not live in a place where persecution is already expected as natural. Yet. But your brothers and sisters already do. Read this Iranian mother’s story about how she had to speak to her daughter about what turned out to be inevitable. Why do we assume it will never happen here?
Since Jesus said persecution is intrinsic to the Christian life, we do our children no favors by hiding from them that ISIS beheaded 21 Christian men in Libya, or that Boko Haram kidnapped young Christian women from Chibok. Or that school shooters in the US sometimes seek out Christians for targets.
These young people were all believers’ sons and daughters. Listen to what this mother had to say about her son’s death among the 21 martyrs:
She was prepared for persecution. Apparently her son was, too.
Not all of us will face the same horrific kinds of persecution. But denying that persecution will come is a delusion. Preparing to face it with faith is empowering.
Laying a Foundation for Facing Persecution
The apostle Paul attests to the reality of Christ’s promise, when he writes to the young pastor Timothy:
“And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus
will be persecuted.” (II Tim. 3:12)
Then Paul goes on to remind Timothy of the foundation upon which he can base his confidence. He mentions 3 important building blocks.
- He knew Scripture from an early age. Timothy had learned “the sacred writings” from childhood.
Are we teaching our children to memorize Scripture? Are we encouraging them to read the Bible daily, either with us or on their own? Or are we letting entertainment, sports, or school work crowd out the things we say really matter to us?
- He was already convinced. Convincing required logical thinking and reasoning. Timothy had asked his questions and found the answers. He had decided to follow Jesus based on good reasons.
Do we parents know the truth about Christ and convey that truth to our children? Do we listen to their questions and help them find answers? We have the Bible; do we know how to use it? It’s all we need to train up confident believers.
- He had godly role models. Paul reminds Timothy that he learned to trust in Jesus from his “grandmother Lois and [his] mother Eunice.” (II Timothy 1:5) He had received further training from Paul himself.
There is no substitute for watching people we respect practice what they preach. Do we live before our children in such a way that our love for Jesus excites their interest? Can they see the joy of our salvation? Are we consistently obedient to the One we address as Lord?
I don’t like confronting tough issues any more than you do. But what about our children? If we don’t take seriously the certainty of persecution, how will we equip them to handle the challenges that come their way? Before we can help our children, we have to honestly assess our own condition before the Lord.
We can start by asking:
- Am I living wholeheartedly for Christ? Or have I left my first love?
- How much time do I spend reading the Bible compared to checking email and posting to Facebook and watching NetFlix?
- Am I merely “holding to a form of godliness, although [I] have denied its power”?
- If tomorrow my life was threatened because I professed to be a Christian, how would I respond?
Bold Mothers for Brave Children
I want to be a mother like Eunice. I want to live out my faith before my kids so well that they are convinced Jesus is worth whatever price we have to pay for following Him.
What about you? Will you join me in finding ways to instill unshakable confidence in our children?
How do you think parents can prepare their children to face persecution with endurance?
I’d love to hear your thoughts as I work on future posts about this critical need. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.