By Rhonda Stoppe, Crosswalk.com
Parents, don’t lose your focus amidst life’s distractions!
Football practice, homework, and social events are not of themselves bad things. But if they become your focal points, you’ll undoubtedly direct your attention (and your son’s attention) to whatever pursuit has priority at the moment.
But you can fight losing focus with being intentional about taking time to share with your son the way God used teenagers in the Bible to accomplish His purposes.
This will inspire him to look forward to however God might work through his young life to influence his generation as well.
Let’s visit David’s story to look for an example to teach your son how God works in young men’s lives. First Samuel 17 records the incredible story of David killing the giant, Goliath.
David was a teenager when he went to the battlefield to deliver supplies to his three older brothers. There, he found his brothers—and Israel’s army—hiding from the Philistine army. When David learned that for 40 days Goliath had been mocking the Israelite army and challenging them to send a warrior to fight him, he immediately declared he would battle against the giant.
Consider six things that happened when David courageously stepped forth:
1. David’s Motives Were Questioned
When David said he would fight Goliath, his oldest brother, Eliab, challenged David’s intentions and called him prideful. But Eliab’s misinterpretation of his younger brother’s motives didn’t sway David’s resolve. David simply said, “Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29).
There is something about a cause that ignites a fire in the hearts of teenagers. And when it is the cause of God, godly teens will go to great lengths—even to the point of sacrificing their own lives—for the His purposes.
If your son steps up to do something courageous, prepare him for his peers to question his motives. Help your son learn how to search his own heart and pray that his motives are God-honoring.
And teach him that when he knows God will be pleased with his actions, he does not need to worry about what ungodly people think.
2. David Was Told He Was Too Young
When King Saul saw how young David was, he immediately discounted David’s ability to fight the giant. After all, Goliath was an experienced warrior.
David didn’t become discouraged by Saul’s lack of faith in his abilities because David’s faith rested in God. David recounted to Saul how, as a young shepherd boy, God had enabled him to kill a lion and a bear with his bare hands so he could protect his father’s sheep.
When your son’s abilities are questioned because he’s young, remind him that if he’s serving the Lord, he should “let no one despise [his] youth” (1 Timothy 4:12). To help your son not grow disheartened when he faces difficult challenges, remind him how God allowed the lion and bear attacks to grow David’s faith.
As your son recalls how God worked to make David a courageous warrior for the Lord, he’ll learn to recognize God’s hand amidst of his own struggles and find strength to trust the Lord.
Are there lions and bears in your son’s life? Can you learn to trust God’s sovereignty with regard to what He allows your son to endure?
Sometimes we parents are so busy rescuing our sons from trials that we get in the way of how God is working to build their faith.
In the future, God may ask your son to fight a giant. Will you allow Him to prepare your son for the battle?
3. The Odds Were Against David
King Saul tried to suit David with his armor, but it was too big and heavy and encumbered David’s walk. Although Goliath was a warrior with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds, David chose to do battle with nothing more than a slingshot and five small stones.
There will be times when your son faces challenges that seem too big for him. The world will throw their ideas of “weapons for success” at your son. But you can teach him that, just like David’s sling and stones, God can help bring victory through unexpected resources. He will provide your son with the means for facing a challenge in the very moment he needs them.
4. God Was with David
King Saul said, “Go, and the LORD be with you” (1 Samuel 17:37). David’s confidence that the Lord was with him became evident to all when he proclaimed to Goliath, “I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45).
To equip your son to be courageous when he thinks he stands alone, encourage him to memorize 1 John 4:4: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” When you remind your son––if he is a Christian, that the Spirit of the living God dwells in his heart to give him strength and courage, you prepare him to accomplish whatever it is the Lord asks him to do. (And if your son’s not a Believer, use this opportunity to tell him how a relationship with Christ is the only way to find true strength for life’s challenges.)
5. David Had Faith
When David was face-to-face with the giant on the battlefield, he didn’t waver in his resolve. Rather, he said to Goliath, “ This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you” (1 Samuel 17:46).
David didn’t look at his unnerving circumstances and cower. Rather, he looked right at his enemy and, in belief, proclaimed conquest. In the same way, there’ll be times when your son will have to courageously step out to do God’s work.
One of the best ways to teach your son how to live by faith is to demonstrate confidence in God yourself. Let your son observe, in your life, how true faith is daily lived out.
6. David Had a Proper Perspective
David’s goal wasn’t to make a name for himself, but to glorify God. His righteous courage came from a deep longing to defend the name of the God of Israel. First Samuel 17:46 clearly defines David’s purpose in fighting the giant: “That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”
From David’s example, teach your son what it means to glorify God. David’s desire wasn’t to draw attention to himself, but to uphold God’s glory. Because David clearly understood the purpose of his mission, he knew Who would help him emerge victoriously.
His desire was for all who were watching that day—and for all who would hear of this notorious battle—to honor the Lord.
David was a shepherd boy who was also a musician and poet. He was a skilled archer and warrior. By teaching your son about David’s life, you can help him discover that David was involved in many activities, and he did each of them to the best of his ability. Because David’s accomplishments were never about his own fame, but rather about exalting the name of God, the Lord gave him great success.
Share Other Heroes of the Faith
In the Bible, there are other teenagers through whom God accomplished great feats. You can tell your son about Joseph, Samuel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Helping your son discover how each young man devoted his life to serving the Lord can plant a seed in his heart to commit his future to God as well. When you teach your son how those same men are now reaping eternal rewards from their service to God, you’ll inspire him to live with an eternal perspective.
Introduce your son to the “heroes of the faith” in Hebrews chapter 11. After reading about these heroes we’re told, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Teaching your son about Bible heroes will inspire him to live like them. Will you run the race with heroic faith? Your example will earn you the privilege of asking your son to grasp the baton you are handing him so that he can continue this great relay race of Christian heroes through the ages.
*Modified Excerpt from Rhonda Stoppe’s popular book: Moms Raising Sons to Be Men (Harvest House Publishers).
Rhonda Stoppe is dedicated to help women LIVE LIFE WITH NO REGRETS. Rhonda is the author of 6 books including: Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, and Real Life Romance. Her newest book is The Marriage Mentor, is co-authored with her Pastor-husband, Steve Stoppe. (Harvest House Publishers) With over 30 years experience of helping women build a life with no regrets as a pastor’s wife, mentor, speaker, author, mom & grandmother. She’s appeared frequently on Focus on the Family co-host of The No Regrets Hour, and other popular Christian Radio broadcasts. Rhonda helps women to:
- Break free from regrets that hold them back
- Grow in wholehearted devotion to Christ
- Find victory over people-pleasing
- Have the marriage others only dream about
- Build a godly legacy to become more influential than they ever dreamed possible
Rhonda is passionate to share the gospel and teach women the sound doctrine of scripture. Rhonda and Steve have been married 38 years and live out their own real life romance on their ranch in Northern California. To invite Rhonda to Speak at your women’s event, or to book the Stoppe’s No Regrets Marriage Conference please visit: www.NoRegretsWoman View: Promo Video & marriage videos.
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 30 years experience of helping women build no-regrets lives. I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night, is what women say about Rhonda’s enthusiastic, humorous, transparent teaching and zeal as an evangelist. She’s committed to fulfilling the Titus 2:4 commission by mentoring, teaching, and writing books that are inspiring, grounded in Scripture, and easy to read––like you're visiting with a friend over coffee.
Rhonda is the author of 6 books and appears on numerous radio programs, including Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and Dr. James Dobson’s FamilyTalk, & hosts The No Regrets Hour. Her new podcast, Old Ladies Know Stuff, just launched. She’s an evangelist and speaker at women’s events, College Women’s Chapel, Pastor’s Wives Conferences, MOPs and Homeschool Conventions. Sharing the gospel at her NoRegretsWoman Conference is her sweet spot. Rhonda is a regular contributor for Crosswalk and many other magazines. Rhonda ministers alongside her husband Steve, who for 20 years has pastored First Baptist Church of Patterson, California. They live out their own Real Life Romance writing books and speaking at their No Regrets Marriage Conferences, but their favorite ministry is their family. They have four grown children and ten grandchildren. To learn more about Rhonda’s speaking topics, watch her teaching, and book Rhonda for your next event, visit: NoRegretsWoman.com.
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Are you in the trenches with your toddlers or teens? Read Rhonda's full article here!