Just Remove It!
Van Walton

"…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:13 (NIV)

This past January, our close friends moved in with us for the weekend when temperatures dropped to the single digits. Frigid weather coupled with their mal-functioning heating system forced the family and their dog out of their house.

As a recent empty-nester, I welcomed the prospect of having children in my home again. And I love dogs. At one point, an opportunity presented itself to teach them a powerful spiritual lesson.
While talking with their mother, I heard the two little people collectively scream out, while giggling, "No! Bad dog." Their mother and I looked over to see their darling little cocker spaniel on my kitchen table. We removed her from the table. The kids explained, "She does that. We don't let her, but she does it anyway."

"Oh?" I walked around the table and pushed each of the chairs up under the table.

"What are you doing?" six year-old Morgan asked.

"I'm removing the temptation."

"What's that?" Her crinkled up expression gave away the fact that she was not familiar with my vocabulary.

But her older brother Terrelle was. "You know – like the apple in the garden. That's temptation."

Morgan nodded, remembering the story. I showed the children how a chair, left out, allowed their doggie to use it as a stepping stool to hop up on the table.

Temptations are like that, I explained – stepping stools to wrong choices…steps to sinful behavior.

Then I added, "Removing temptation helps us all make good choices."

It was a moment for learning spiritual truths. We discussed how removing temptations from our lives could be highly beneficial.

Their mother, who was dieting, chimed in saying, "I've removed cake mixes from my grocery list." Her children's eyes widened. They understood.

Terrelle immediately jumped in, pouting I might add, "Mommy and Daddy don't let me have a TV in my room." Yes, because televisions tempt children when they should be sleeping or studying.

"We can't take mommy's lap-top into our bedroom either," Morgan chimed in. Yes, there are many dangerous perils on the internet that threaten young minds.

I thought about my own house-rules set up for my boys as they grew up. Many of them were developed to spare them from temptation:
1. On school nights, quiet time began at the same time every night. Overly-stimulated children don't sleep well, and tired teens fall asleep in class and struggle with self-control.
2. My boys could visit friends only if their friend's parents were present. Unsupervised teens tend to find trouble.
3. There was no "hanging out" in malls and stores. Loitering leads to boredom, which may lead to overspending, vandalism or shoplifting.

I'm not naïve; I taught high school for years. I know my children faced temptations. As their mom, setting these house-rules helped remove a good portion of the fuel from temptation's fire. Plus, studies prove children make better choices when parents make clear their expectations and set boundaries.

Keeping this in mind, I accept that no matter how well I tried to parent, my children are inherently sinful. Jesus said, "There is no one good, no not one" (Mark 10:18). But my sons are precious in Jesus' sight and in mine too.

Just like that cute cocker spaniel, we face temptations to do what we've been taught not to. And we must learn to choose right from wrong. But if I can remove even one temptation that might cause me or my children to stumble, we're one step closer to victory!

Jesus, You asked the Father to "deliver us." Thank You for teaching me how to pray for my children. Help me guide them in paths of righteousness. Please give me wisdom and resolve to just remove the temptations that would distract my family from Your narrow path. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Related Resources:
For more discussion on removing temptation from children’s lives visit Van’s blog

From the Pound to the Palace by Van Walton

Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture by Mary E.DeMuth

Boundaries: When to Say Yes How to Say No by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Application Steps:

Too many rules turn a home into a prison ward! Ask God to reveal to you the deal breakers: those activities that will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Am I a wise mother who understands the battle for my child's soul or have I refused to deal with the truth that my child is capable of falling into sin?

Am I proactive? Have I considered the paths my children might take and how I will respond to their misguided choices?

Power Verses:
James 1:14, "Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away." (NLT)

Hebrews 4:15, "For our high priest [Jesus] is able to understand our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin." (NCV)

© 2009 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree in a way with this and in some ways I don't. Yes it is good to remove temptations so we just wont be tempted. On the other hand though temptations are all around us in the outside world and sometimes we cant easily remove these temptations, we need to also teach our children that they can abstain from these things even though they are out there. It is much easier in the home to control these things, but I feel if you do this their whole lives that they will get a huge shock when they step out into this world that we live in. Our world isn't the way it used to be 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. Everywhere you look there are temptations and so many things that can easily beset us. If you train your children up right, I know we aren't perfect and we aren't always going to make the right decisions but we can't always remove the temptation. They need to be well adjusted when they step out into the world and be able to cope with it. This is just an opinion and nothing more, we all have different views on things, I hope no one has taken an offense. With Love and Prayers, LaRae Weaver

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to respond to LaRae please. Could it be that if we teach our children at home about temptation, why it needs to be removed and how to do it...that once they get out into the world they will have the tools necessary to do so? I know they will ultimately have to make their own choices and at times they will fail, but w/o teaching them, their chances of forgoing the temptation might be a lot less. I hope it's okay to share my opinion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course its okay to share your opinion it is welcomed. I love to hear what other women think about things, especially when it pertains to our children. How do we remove the temptation from the outside world though? It is such a scary huge place out there. I have two young children that live with their father and I am scared to death that they are going to grow up not knowing what to do. I haven't seen them in almost a year and it is breaking my heart. I have put it in the Lord's hands and than, every now and again I start to think about it and how much I want them in my home where I know what they are being taught and what they are seeing on a daily basis. My son is 9 and my daughter is 7. Their little minds are being formed right now, and oh how I wish I could be a part of it!! Do you have any suggestions for me? I would greatly appreciate anyone giving their advice, please do so. I feel as though I have failed, and that my children are going to grow up not knowing their mother. I don't get pictures in the mail. I barely get cards from them maybe one or two in this past year. Please if their is someone out there that is going through this please let me know how you are handling things.

Blogger Van said...

LaRae, I know your heart is heavy and I also know God holds it in the palm of Hand. He is near the broken hearted. It is obvious you are a loving and caring mother who longs for her children and their very best. Praise God we can pray for our chilren and that is the greatest gift we can give them. I agree with all you said. Parenting is a balance. We keep them close, teach them their lessons, and slowly let them go. Hopefully they are ready for the world and will make good choices. IF not they will fall - so what is new. Isn't that where we learn our lessons? We fall down and God picks us up. I will be praying for you, your son and daughter. Keep your eyes on Jesus and trust that He is keeping His eyes on your little ones. Thanks for your comments. I believe a great learning experience could develop from your thoughts as others step in to comment.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am trying so hard not to cry right now. Thank you so much for what has been said so far. I just got through putting my make-up on and its hard to keep the mascara from running. The Lord knows my heart and I love how he has brought me to this site so I could gain strength from other Christian women. Both of you are such an encouragement to me and God Bless you for letting Him use you the way He is. My heart does ache for them and I long to be by their side. The other day my friend and I were having a time of praise and worship in her home, and the Lord ever so gently let me feel the presence of my children for a little while. I could sense their presence, it was like I was holding their hands in mine and we were dancing back and forth. It was the greatest feeling I have had in a very long time. I was crying and didn't want the moment to pass, but for a brief few moments I felt my children by me, and only the Lord can do that. I know they weren't physically there, but my Spirit felt them, It was AMAZING!! If I wasn't a Christian I know that that wouldn't have happened. His Love and Grace is so amazing and the only way I get through my days is because of what He has done for me. Thank you for such great encouraging words. Love and Prayers, LaRae.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Members of my family have just been dealing with an issue that makes this devotion very pertinent. Thanks!

Blogger upward bound said...

Every time I need a word of encouragement I can always find it in your Daily Devotions.I have just preached my initial sermon and it seem that my trials and tribulation has been on the increase.My roads have become so crooked but I know that this part of God's plan and I will get through this situation also.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was very good. A great object lesson. It prompted me to pray for my children as they parent. I do think teens especially need to make their own choices. Of course, you weren't talking about teens here. I remember Dr. Dobsen saying that teens need to be allowed to make choices. That parents must give them their options and let them make the choice. Even letting them make a wrong choice but when the crash comes then the parent is there to pick of the pieces and help the child thru the consequences. Then when they get out of the home, they won't go wild and make a lot of wrong choices. He said that they need that freedom to make wrong choices and that will help them to make wise choices on their own. Plus it is extremely other godly adult friends to whom they can go.

Thank you for this devo. I praise God for you.

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