Is that what God is asking parents to do? Pick the battles? Are not all battles HIS? Which means the victor is decided, so why not fight the battle? So by picking your battles are you not just really choosing which ones not to fight? Really? Leaving them for satan* to claim without a struggle? Hey, it is your child, not somebody else’s … certainly not satan’s* (although I have heard parents say their child is the spawn of satan* in jest. Sad, right?)
Acts 9:1-21 ~ God turned Saul into Paul. Saul saw Jesus … Paul praised Jesus. Jesus brings change. There is no child that cannot be made into a child of God by Jesus. Show them Jesus in you. Be careful what they see, hear and say. It is a parent’s job; not the churches, not the schools. They can only reinforce. If God made you a mother or a father, then be the parent. PARENTS decide. You do not lord over them, however, you set the parameters, the borders in which they live their lives. You cannot ‘pick’ battles. They are all battles that God has won. If something they are doing is really bothering you then sit them down and tell them what it is, why it is wrong and why it is not going to be allowed. Do not wave it off because you do not want a conflict, you do not want to ‘fight that battle’. Realize that the thing that is bothering you is the Holy Spirit telling you to be the parent.
Let me give you a couple of recent examples:
Mom comes into our store and asks for some HipHop/Rap artists. She says she does not know what to do. She hates the music, cannot understand it and does not want it in their home. She says she hopes the words are okay, it is hard to understand and is so loud. Then she says, “What are you to do? You have to pick your battles.”
Another mother walks in with her preteen and teen daughters. Mini-shorts would be longer on these girls. Cheeky is an understatement. She sees the eyes of women around her and sighs, “What is a mom to do? At least I know where they are. You have to pick your battles”.
Neither of these are picking battles, nor are they parenting. They simply do not want confrontation. The truth is, if Jesus is not seen in their child, they have handed the battle over, that Jesus has already won, to satan*. If the Message cannot be discerned in the music, if it cannot be understood, then it is just noise. If the appearance is not modest, if it implies you are anything but a Christian, then it is not for your darlings.
You do NOT pick your battles. You can choose what IS a battle. Let me assure you, the Holy Spirit will let you know where to draw the line. Ignoring it is NOT PICKING YOUR BATTLES. Where problems arise is when parents never set boundaries. When they are little you teach them to dress as Christians. That does not mean they are in long robes, unfashionable, etc. It means, you teach them their Christian character must show through the clothes. When my girls were toddlers I would lay out clothes for the day from which they could choose. They did not pick pj’s to wear to church (as I have seen done) simply because those were not within the boundaries for that day. When they were old enough to help choose the clothes they wanted to wear, I would scout out the store if possible before hand. If not, as we walked through I would point out areas they could choose from. When they started wearing makeup they were taught that if someone says, “nice eye makeup, love the eyeliner, or nice lipstick, ….” instead of, “you look nice”, then they had on too much of the item.
In other words, making something stand out overwhelms the total person. They never wore words on their backsides. Never understood why parents would want everyone walking by to stare at their daughters’ backside. Just think about it. Seriously? And cleavage? Seriously? The current fashions include showing your boxers, your bras, …. seriously? And leggings are glorified pantyhose; revealing every crease and body dimple. THOSE ARE BATTLES. God holds you responsible for your child’s testimony. There is no way that people are looking at your child and thinking wow look at that testimony for Christ. If their appearance causes lust, you are responsible before God.
Women and their daughters baring shoulders, thighs, anything that would cause a man to stumble in church just blows my mind. How are they going to stand before God and say, “I was just picking my battles. They were in church to worship, were they not?”
It is your job to teach your son and daughter to walk, talk and look Godly, not worldly. They can be very fashionable within parameters set by His word. They do not need to be social outcasts. Parents that succumb to their kids dress wishes, music wishes, curfew wishes have long ago allowed the child to be the parent. Taking back your role as parent will not be pretty, battles never are. Jesus won that battle, ask Him how to proceed.
1 Thessalonians 2:12 (NASB) “that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
Ephesians 4:1-2 (HCSB) “Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, acceptingone another in love…”
*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I do not. I refuse to give him any status of importance. The devil is a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.