Football season is upon us and here is a truth you will see played out in every game. Every coach in every sport will tell you this. And, every general will tell you the same.
You can’t win with defense alone.
As parents, we tend to focus much of our energy on defense, defending and protecting our children from the dangerous influences of society. Our reconnaissance of “today’s world” reveals a challenging arena for raising children. By all appearances, families are under attack. When parents understand this to be the case, they naturally take up a defensive position. We get busy shoring up our defenses as we attempt to lessen the casualties. Even in the 70’s and 80’s when Cheryl and I were raising four boys, there were times when the world outside our door activated instinctive defenses. We wanted to gather the children into the safety of our home and “hunker down.”
At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his child in the faith. Paul described difficult times ahead, brought on by those who despise wisdom and truth.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” –II Timothy 3:1-4 ESV
It would have been natural for Timothy to think only of taking cover! In II Timothy 3 and 4, Paul laid out a strategic offensive plan for Timothy and other believers so they could stand firm and continue the work they were charged to do.
A Strategic Offensive Plan
- Continue in what you know to be true.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.” –II Timothy 3:14 ESV
- Know and use the powerful offensive weapons that have been given to you.
“… and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” –II Timothy 3:15-17 ESV
- Be bold and speak with confidence.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” –II Timothy 4:1-5 ESV
Parents, do not lose heart! As Christians, we know our Leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust in our weapons, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Gospel. And, we are fully equipped with offensive strategies for the good work we have been called to do…to fulfill the plans God has for us and our family.