There’s a spiritual battle occurring daily in the lives of the girls we minister to. The enemy is active, and temptations are around every corner. As leaders, we can often feel ill-equipped to prepare our girls for the battle due to new temptations and pressures in our society. However, I believe that is a tactic from the enemy as well. Though the temptations of this world are ever-changing, the truths of Scripture are never-changing. Though we don’t always understand what our girls are going through, the Lord still put us in their lives to come alongside them in their spiritual battles. Discipling girls through temptation varies with each group and each girl, but I believe there are some key strategies we need to equip girls to fight sin.
It starts with us. We must realize our girls aren’t the only ones in a spiritual battle. The enemy tempts us daily too. In order to disciple our girls well, we must be actively walking with Christ ourselves. The Word of Christ must dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16), we must pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17), and we must not forsake the gathering together with other believers (Heb. 10:25). We’ll never be able to pour into our girls as we should if we’re not being poured into and filled with the Spirit ourselves.
Pray. As simple as this sounds, prayer must be a key element of equipping our girls to battle temptation. We don’t understand everything happening in our girls’ lives, so the best thing we can do is to seek the One who does. We should be in prayer before, during, and after we have these conversations with our girls.
Arm them with the Sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:17 tells us to arm ourselves with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The sword is an offensive weapon. We place the Word of God in the hands of our girls so they can use it to slay temptation as it approaches. We should be constantly challenging our girls to be a part of a corporate Bible study and to make their individual study a top priority. More specifically, we should arm girls with specific verses based on their specific temptations. God’s Word is always relevant and applicable for each temptation! Here is a resource with some common temptations and Scripture to arm our students as they battle these. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a great starting point:
Create spaces and actions for accountability. In James 5:16, we’re commanded to confess our sins to one another. I think we can all admit that, at first glance, this is a command we’d rather ignore. However, it’s good for us to regularly confess our sins to one another (or else God wouldn’t have commanded it), and as leaders, we need to create safe spaces for our girls to do this. Small-group times are an excellent time for accountability. Have a “what’s said at small group stays at small group rule” so girls feel free to share without the fear they’ll be gossiped about later. This also requires us as leaders at be brave and ask the hard questions. Simply knowing there will be an accountability time can hopefully give our girls an extra ounce of strength to say “no” to temptation. However, when they slip up, the accountability time should be a place for them to receive grace and someone to walk alongside them in repentance. This means we not only ask the hard questions, but we also help our girls take action. This looks many different ways, but it could be texting them at a specific time when that temptation really sneaks up, or it could be going with them to talk to their parents. The point is to help your girls take steps in actively walking away from that sin and toward Christ.
Point them to Christ. Ultimately, the best way to arm our girls for the spiritual battle they’re in is to point them to the One who has already won the battle over every sin and temptation they will ever face. Show them that He is their most beautiful Creator, and when we sin, we’re saying we think something or someone else is more beautiful and worthy than He. We must teach our girls they’re not alone. They have the Spirit and a Great High Priest who was tempted in every way (Heb. 4:15). Their sweet Savior can sympathize with them in their weaknesses, so may we urge them to boldly approach His throne of grace (Heb. 4:16).
Finally, may we point them to the full restoration that Christ will one day bring. One day, we’ll struggle with sin no more. On days when your girls are weary in the battle, remind them of this. Remind them of their future hope and help them to fix their eyes on Christ. He’s our wonderful, merciful Savior who gives us grace upon grace and strengthens us for each and every battle.
Cassie Pattillo is a wife to Jack, and mama to Hunter (5), Isaac (3), and is in the process of adopting from India. Jack is a student pastor, so she loves serving alongside him and investing in teens’ lives. She is passionate about biblical literacy along with writing and teaching about Scripture. She is also a big fan of slow mornings with a cup of coffee, a good book on the beach, and Gamecock football.