I remember when I was talking with my 17-year old son, just enjoying chatting about the time he had spent at a 3-day youth conference. I could tell he was excited and wanted to talk about what he had done, and what he learned. He shared with me some of the different activities they did, who had preached, etc.
Then he started sharing a conversation that he had with a friend while they were on the bus ride. I was sad when he shared different temptation scenarios that this friend from church was “getting away” with. Things online, breaking rules set up by their parents, and more. It surprised me because I know the parents are very careful to set up safeguards and check on things. (This is a good young person who has a good attitude, but is struggling as many teens do.)
When I expressed my surprise that this friend was able to “get away” with some of these things, my son’s response about kids resisting temptation really got my attention!
Helping Our Kids Resist Temptation
He said, “Mom if you want to do something wrong bad enough, you will find a way around the safeguards. There are always ways to do wrong when you want to. There are ways to get around the safeguards, no matter what the parents do to block or limit certain online activity, or to check on it.”
This made me immediately wonder: Does this mean that he is getting around my safeguards? I check his online activity and history regularly, check his phone, have rules, etc. But from what he said, apparently, that might not always be enough!
So I had to ask him this “Ok, if that is true, What keeps you from doing things you shouldn’t? How do you successfully resist temptation? For example, what keeps you from looking at porn if you know you can get away with it without getting caught?”
He paused a moment and said, “When you make a commitment, it makes you stop and think when you are tempted, and you remember that promise you made to God.” I rephrased his answer and said it back to him to be sure I understood: “So what you’re basically saying is that the fear of God keeps you from doing what you know is wrong?”
He agreed that the fear of God and a Godly conscience have been the two best things to help him when he is tempted to cross the boundaries of online safeguards, or other temptations.
Avoiding the Temptation Game
Fortunately, there is a way we can go about giving our kids a fear of God and helping them to develop a Godly conscience. The Bible gives us a plan:
Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. Deuteronomy 4:10
How to help our kids resist temptation
1. We hear His words.
How can we keep our kids from being tempted? One way is to give them the words of Jesus. The more they are familiar with the Word of God the stronger they become. If they know His words, they’ll be better able to know when the tempter is speaking.
2. We learn to fear God.
Temptation is a part of life. We need to teach our children about it and the consequences of giving in to temptation or they may not realize when they are in danger. Parents can take steps to teach their children about the various temptations that exist in today’s society, creating conversations with them about what constitutes “temptation” and what the consequences are if they give into it. They need to understand the importance of making a commitment to God. When you make a commitment, it should make you stop and think when you’re being tempted. You then remember and reflect on that promise you made to God.
3. We teach God’s Word to our children.
It is vital that we teach them to hear God’s voice through a daily personal quiet time.
“And he shall read therein all the days of his life that he may learn to fear the Lord His God.” Deuteronomy 17:19
Start early and help your kids develop the habit of daily spending time reading God’s Word, then listening for Him to speak to them. Don’t let this be something that gets pushed aside. Daily fellowship maintains the fear of the Lord and is God’s design for helping to keep us from sin.
“Fear the Lord and depart from evil.“ Proverbs 3:7
We know we want to help our kids resist temptation because we know they are going to face it. And when they enter their teen years the temptations often increase. As parents, we must teach our kids to fear God and help them to develop a Godly conscience that will enable them to hear God’s voice when they are tempted with sin.
What about you? What are some ways you are helping your kids resist temptation?