This article is excerpted from Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans.
Life is full of decisions, and most of us are tired of making the wrong ones. As parents, some of us still feel the effects of poor choices we made in our youth, or even as adults. If you had the opportunity to relive your teen years, in light of what you know now, would you do anything differently? Would you make better choices?
While none of us have the opportunity to turn back the hands of time and make better decisions, as parents raising kingdom kids we can certainly do everything in our power and influence to instill the virtue of wisdom into our kids so they can live a life with the fewest possible regrets. No one will make the perfect decision every time simply because no one is perfect. But godly wisdom can enable a person to hit the mark more often than not, thus positioning oneself for security and positive accrual in the future.
The ability to make positive and productive decisions—to choose well—is what the Bible calls wisdom.
I love Indiana Jones movies. I love the adventure, chase, intrigue, and ultimate conquests that show up in each one. Indiana Jones overcomes every obstacle and scales every wall in order to reach his ultimate goal. But victory doesn’t come simply through brawn and resolve—most often it also requires wisdom for him to get what he wants.
One of my all-time favorite scenes in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the one where he is chasing after the elusive Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus used during His Last Supper. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, Indiana Jones makes it safely to his final challenge—a challenge that will test every bit of his wisdom. We see Indiana Jones standing in the candle-lit Grail sanctuary in the Temple of the Sun, guarded continuously by the aged
yet ageless Grail Knight. Dozens of chalices and bowls sit around the room, each having its own unique style and imprint. The final test to prove one’s worthiness to discover the true treasured cup rests on a search through the various options to finally select the one, true Grail.
Whether that choice is correct or not will be revealed when the person takes his chosen cup, fills it from the fount of the chamber, and takes a sip. If he chooses the Holy Grail, he will live. If he chooses any other chalice, he will quickly experience a painful death.
As Indiana Jones and the other characters in the film first enter the Grail sanctuary, they are met by the Grail Knight who explains what they are to do and then adds these last words of warning: “Choose wisely, for as the true Grail will bring you life, the false grail shall take it from you.”
The antagonist in the film chooses first—and he chooses poorly, dying and decomposing before everyone’s eyes. Indiana Jones chooses next. He chooses wisely, thus receiving not only life for himself but also the healing life he needs to give to his father, who has been injured and is near death.
The Indiana Jones films are meant to entertain us. But this scene echoes with the profound reality found in God’s Word. God has given us His commandments, precepts, and principles to show us how we are to live a life of wisdom, but the choice is ultimately ours. The choice is ultimately our children’s. You can parent your children, you can shelter them, and you can set boundaries for them while they are young, but eventually you will see that you cannot choose life’s decisions for your children.
If your children choose wisely, the truth of God’s Word will bring life to them and also to those around them. If they choose poorly, life can take them in a variety of less-than-desirable ways and likewise negatively affect those around them.
One of the areas I struggled with as a father was this balance between making choices for my kids or giving them the freedom to choose. This was especially true during the teen years, in particular with the choice of friends that both of my daughters, Chrystal and Priscilla, were making. They didn’t always make the wisest choices about the kinds of friends to hang around.
It was difficult for me to determine how to either deny or limit the friendships my daughters valued while also helping them to make their own decisions about which friendships to develop, without my forcing them. Sometimes I would simply say, “No more,” with regard to a particular friend. Other times, I’d ask my daughters to bring their friends to the house so we could spend time with them and then later have the opportunity to discuss positive or negative influences.
While wisdom is not something you can force on your kids, but rather something they need to learn for themselves, wisdom is the very heartbeat of life. Teaching your children wisdom and its value is critical to raising them as kingdom kids. Teaching your kids to choose wisely where relationships are concerned is especially important. For example, it’s important to teach your children to pick their friends based on their character, not their culture—based on ethics rather than ethnicity. Life is fragile; wisdom helps us to protect it, and one way is by whom we choose to surround ourselves with. When your children apply God’s wisdom to their lives, when they live in accordance with what He has outlined for them in Scripture, then they will experience being in God’s will. Wisdom is the application of God’s will to the practical areas of life.
Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans
From the bestselling author of Kingdom Man and Kingdom Woman, Raising Kingdom Kids equips parents to raise their children with a Kingdom perspective and also offers practical how-to advice on providing spiritual training as instructed in Scripture.
Dr. Tony Evans begins with an overarching look at the need for Kingdom parenting, our roles and responsibilities in raising God-following children, and how to prepare children to take on the assignments God has for their lives. He then takes a practical turn, with examples and illustrations to help parents understand and provide specific training for kids in the power of prayer, wisdom, loving God’s Word, getting through trials, controlling their tongues, developing patience, the surrender of service, and much more.
This book is for every dad or mom who wants to fulfill the parenting role God has given them—not just in raising healthy kids intellectually, physically, and socially, but in contributing to their child’s relationship with God and alignment under His plan.