Family Ministry: Are You Engaging in the Cosmic Battle for Your Child’s Soul?
by Timothy Jones
Cosmic combat occurs most Friday mornings at a coffee shop a few blocks from my home. If you happen to be ordering your mocha latte during this episode of intergalactic warfare, you might not even notice. Neither arms nor armor can be seen at the epicenter of this celestial struggle. No lightsabers are visible, and no voices are raised. At the nexus of the battle, there is only a man of not-quite-average height in one chair, a bubbly brown-haired girl in another, and a Bible and a couple of ceramic mugs on the table between them.
Do not let such mundane appearances misguide you: This is cosmic combat. When I sit at that table with my daughter, building on a week of family devotions and mother-daughter discussions, I am at war. This is not war with my daughter; it is war for my child’s soul.
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This is war because—even as I train my child to take up her cross and root her identity in Jesus Christ—the surrounding culture calls her to celebrate immaturity, to smirk at sin, and to center her passions on pleasures that will slip away. This is war because the same serpentine dragon in that celestial conflict that John glimpsed on Patmos who longed to consume the fruit of Mary’s womb also wants to devour my children (Rev. 12:1–9). His weapons in this conflict are neither the priests of Molech nor the soldiers of Herod (Jer. 32:35–36; Matt. 2:16). The Enemy’s weapons in my child’s life are slickly-promoted celebrities and commercials that subtly but surely corrode her soul. What we wrestle against in this battle is not “flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
I am able to remove some of these influences from my child’s life for now, but I cannot and should not shield her from them forever. What I can do is to guide her to love what is good and beautiful and true. I can train her in the fear and reverence of God. I can constantly call her attention to the gospel. And that’s precisely what I work to do—not only week-by-week in the café, but also moment-by-moment in conversations about everything from the latest superhero film to the implications of Daniel’s prophecies. These may look like meetings for hazelnut coffee and whole-grain bagels, but what happens here is nothing less than the preparation and execution of a cosmic battle plan. Every week, every day, this is war…