As parents, our home is our kingdom. God has put us in a position of authority in our family and it is up to us to govern it. Part of the responsibility of governing this kingdom is setting the atmosphere. Have you ever allowed one of your children to take care of that responsibility for you? They wake up in a bad mood or something sets them off and pretty soon the atmosphere in your home has a real negative vibe?
Let me paint the picture for you. The toddler’s whining because something didn’t go his way. Mom has had it with the whining and is about to lose it. Dad comes home after a hard day’s work and after 15 minutes the whining is about to send him over the edge. And for some unknown reason the baby picks this day to cry without ceasing. Of course, this scenario is totally fictitious and in no way describes the Stone household. Ok, I’m just kidding about that. Actually, it has happened more times than I care to admit.
Here are the cold hard facts. As rulers over a kingdom, our kingdom will come under attack. I know we would all prefer to just sit back in our “Lazy-Boy thrones” and enjoy a kingdom of peace, but the reality is in order to have peace we are going to have to fight some battles. Not with one another though. Our families have an enemy and recognizing that truth is the first step to getting a handle on it. Satan longs to stir up stuff in the home. He wants our homes full of strife, turmoil, confusion, unrest, anxiety, and stress. He’ll use our children, our spouse, and yes, even us to produce this in the home. He’ll use the TV, neighbors, relatives, friends, internet, school, workplace, or whatever else he can to accomplish his goal. Again, the key is to recognize what is happening and then take some appropriate steps to stop his invasion.
Prayer is one of our best weapons. So often we are quick to discipline our children when they are acting out and fail to take care of the real source of the problem. Don’t get me wrong, children need to be disciplined appropriately when they are out of line. But, disciplining a child for bad behavior and not following that up with spiritual warfare on their behalf is doing them a great disservice. Sticking with this whole warfare idea, it would be like the military sending aircraft to bomb the front lines but not doing anything about the supply lines that reinforce that front line. Trust me there is a root cause to our children acting out. So, discipline your children when it’s needed, but then go a step further and deal with the real enemy. Pray for your children, and take authority over the stuff that causes them to act out. Scripture tells us in Luke 10:19, that Jesus gave us authority and power over the enemy, so use it.
Another thing that my wife and I do, when there seems to be tension in the home is to pop in a worship CD or DVD and let it play for a while. It never fails. That alone changes the mood in our home. There is something about music, and especially worship music that takes the atmosphere and begins to reshape it. Just a couple of days ago my toddler woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He was whining and whining and whining. So, I turned off the TV popped in a worship DVD and within minutes the mood in our home had shifted. Try it, I’m telling you it works!
Of course, sometimes there are peripheral things that affect the atmosphere of the home. Find the source and deal with it. We find that if our child watches too much TV he acts differently. Not always bad, just not himself sometimes. That in turn, may affect the mood in our home. Sometimes, it’s what he watches. We notice that every time he watches some superhero movie like The Incredibles or something he becomes very aggressive. Not, a bad thing unless he watched it right before bed time or when Mom or Dad have a splitting headache. Sometimes It’s what our children eat. You know lots of sugar can really get them cranked, but just not eating enough of the right kind of food can make them cranky. Same goes for not enough sleep. Just watch and observe patterns and then take steps to help your child before things get out of hand and everyone in the house is affected.
Now, we all know that we, ourselves, can be the biggest problem when it comes to setting the atmosphere in our home. In fact, sometimes our children are simply a mirror image of us. They act out sometimes because Mom or Dad is full of anxiety, stress, turmoil, etc. We are bombarded by so much in life and let’s face it we don’t always handle it well. Just as with our children, we need to recognize that satan will hammer us and it will only be fixed by taking up arms against him. Just as you would for your children, do warfare for yourself. Spouses need to do warfare on behalf of one another. You’re a team and together you can be an extremely powerful force.
Peace in the home will only come about when there is peace working and abiding in us as parents. Our enemy is real. Scripture tells us that he goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. It’s so sad, but he is devouring many. Determine that your home and your family are off limits to him. Choose to go to battle for your kingdom and determine to stop him in his tracks. Your home can be a safe haven and a place of comfort for you and your children, but in order to experience that, Mom and Dad are going to have to be willing to go to war.
Tim Stone is a veteran of youth ministry with over 15 years of experience in that field. He currently serves as youth pastor at Freedom Fellowship Church in Magnolia, TX. He is also the founder of EquippingParents.com, a website designed to inform and equip today's parents. For more tools and resources go to http://www.equippingparents.com