Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (NIV)
As we hear about the temptations and pressures that young people face these days, we wonder how we can protect them from yielding to the evil around them. Of course, we should teach our children to fear God and honour His standards for godly living. To do this, we should take them to church often and train them to read the Bible daily.
Is this the best protection from evil? Certainly fearing God keeps a person out of a lot of trouble. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," Solomon advised (Proverbs 9:10). However, children may fear their parents' discipline, yet secretly do things that would displease them. Sometimes our desire to compromise and experiment with forbidden activities is stronger than our fear of God.
But if a child truly loves and respects his parents, he will resist doing things that would hurt or grieve them. Love is a stronger motive than fear. I respected my mother and knew her standards were high, but I also loved her intensely. I realized it was not easy for her to raise us girls without our father around to help. Consequently, I did everything I could to make my mother's life easier. After I became a Christian I did not talk back to her or deliberately do things that were wrong.
Through my mother's example and influence, I came to know Jesus as my Saviour when I was ten years old. Even at a young age, I realized that my heavenly Father's love for me was a wonderful blessing and protection. I loved Him in return and didn't want to do things that were contrary to His revealed Word. I wanted to please Him above everyone, so it was fairly easy to resist the temptations of the world.
Later in life I made some selfish choices that I deeply regret. At the time I persuaded myself that they were God's will for me, but now I realize I was not putting God first in my life. If we are truly motivated by love for God in all we do, we will avoid many bad decisions in life and save ourselves much grief. Love for God is our best protection against sin.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us remember that you want only the best for us and that it is always wisest to do what pleases you. Help us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Amen.