My Kid and His Armor of God
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.”
This was our memory verse last June. Our oldest son Micah turned three last April. This age came with many wonderful conversations, lots of interesting analogies and an explosive imagination. Unfortunately, it also came with some challenging attitude problems and unacceptable behaviors that weren’t pleasing to the Lord and honoring to us as his parents. It became a constant battle to get him to obey because he felt the need to argue or challenge us with a whine or an uninvited comeback. It became a daily struggle for me and I had to ask God to show me how to deal with and correct his character and behavior. This verse came to mind. It was great since the armor aspect (making a sword, a shield, a breastplate, a belt and a mask) seemed like a great way to appeal to his boy-ish interests and made the lesson a little more interesting. It took a whole week to put this lesson together but it was well worth it. I also ordered a book called “Will, God’s Mighty Warrior” by Sheila Walsh to read alongside our lesson. It is a story about a little boy who learns about God giving him the strength to win the battles of his heart. This did not just appeal to Micah’s love for books but also to his curiosity about the unseen “bad guys.”
As we read the book, he learned and grasped the idea that his unpleasant attitudes and rude behaviors were manifestations of “battles” (fighting to obey God and fighting not to sin) in his heart. After going through the book a couple of times, he started asking me about the “battles” in his heart. He asked me what those meant. I started by giving him examples like “Did you share with your brother? Were you kind to him today? Did you obey mommy when I asked you to eat your dinner? Did you have a bad attitude when I asked you to do something?” He initially said “yes” to all of them, but I (and he knew) the truth was that he really did not do all these things. A few seconds later, he retracted his words and said, “No. I didn’t [sic] obey all the time.” I explained to him that choosing to honor mommy and daddy showed obedience to God, which meant that he won a “battle” of his heart.
A few days later, an opportunity for him to exercise this lesson came about. He was on play date with a friend. Micah got a hold of the car first but his friend really insisted on taking it from him. I watched him from a distance and let him handle the situation on his own to see how he would respond. We had taught him to win the battle by using his words: that if he was using something, he didn’t have to give up right away but could tell his friends politely to wait until he was done. I expected him to do that and gave him the opportunity to do so. But to my surprise, he joyfully handed the car to his friend and said, “I will share this with you. You can go first.” I was surprised. A few minutes later, he came up to me with a huge smile on his face and said, “Mama, I won the battle of my heart. I shared the car and I was kind. It made me feel good and God is so proud of me right?” I started to tear up as I gave him a big hug and said, “Yes you did! God is so proud of you and I am too.” He told me, “Mama it wasn’t easy but I liked it. I like sharing and I like making God happy.” I silently thanked the Lord for this priceless moment. I knew my little three year old was learning how to respond in godliness. I couldn’t wait to share this with my husband. We both beamed with joy as we prayed together that night. We know that this was not of ourselves but only by the grace of God.
As we prayed, we realized that as parents, we needed to appeal to the Spirit of the Lord in the hearts of our children. Otherwise, it would be extremely difficult to teach and train them. We realized how important it was for us to connect them to Jesus while they are still little. Doing so does not guarantee that our children will be perfect angels, but it certainly makes them more receptive and responsive to the Lord’s teachings.
Here’s our activity that went with our memory verse, which served as a great reminder to put on his “full armor” and embrace the role of being God’s mighty warrior.
A. Breastplate of Righteousness
Materials: plain cardboard; painters/ blue tape; paint; yarn; paintbrush, scissors, duck tape
1. Cut out the cardboard into a shield.
2. Create a design with painter’s tape.
3. Paint away!
4. Wait for it to dry and take the tape off.
5. Punch in two holes on top.
6. Thread the yarn through the holes on the front and back cardboards and tie the yarn together.
7. Tape the whole cardboard to make it more sturdy.
B. Sword of the Spirit: Word of God
Materials: cardboard; painters tape, scissors, duct tape
1. Cut the cardboard in the shape of a sword.
2. Design your sword and paint it.
3. Cover the sword with duct tape to make it more sturdy.
C. Shield of Faith
Materials: cardboard, aluminum foil, scissors, duct tape, glue
1. Cut the cardboard in the shape of a shield. Cut another rectangular piece for the handle.
2. Glue the aluminum foil on the front side of the shield.
3. Attach and cover the edge with duct tape.
4. Flip the shield over, take the strip of cardboard and tape the two ends down to make the handle.
5. Hold it up and add more tape to secure the handle if needed.
D. Belt of Truth
Materials: thick heavy duty rope, tubes (tissue rolls cut into small pieces), duct tape, scissors
1. Duct tape the ends of the rope.
2. Show your child how to tape around the rope to decorate it. (We chose two different colors to just make it fun and to create a pattern. Trying to hit two birds with one stone in this lesson: fine motor skills and patterning)
3. Put the tubes through the rope. (Again just an extra fine motor skills activity.)
4. Place the rope around your child’s waist and tape the ends together where it fits him perfectly.
E. MASK (Helmet) of Salvation
Materials: foam mask, stickers, rubber string
*We didn’t have the Sandals of Peace. We just talked about it…because he said…”Mama remember…we have a no shoes in the house rule.” (HAHA)
Since then, we have used this verse (and these items) to remind him (countless times) of how to win the “battles” of his heart. It has been a great way for us to point him back to the bible and how he can handle his struggles of disobedience or disrespect. It is still a constant challenge to consistently obey but this has definitely been a useful guide to direct him back to Christ. God has used this illustration to remind my husband and I to also choose wisely and win the battles of our own hearts. It may seem like a simple activity but seeing how profound the lesson and the truth of God’s armor has made the emphasis even greater. We were definitely amazed with how God has used this illustration to speak to us as well.
If you don’t already do so, I encourage you to put on the full armor of God in prayer as a part of your daily walk with the Lord. In addition to protecting and strengthening you in the spiritual battle that we all face, I believe it will be an encouraging reminder to you and your children of God’s faithfulness and protection in your lives.