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Written by Michael Boling of Job 31 Ministries @ http://www.j31.org
August 27, 2014
By Michael Boling
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:6-9)
I am not often shocked when it comes to the truly deep level of depravity in our society. The length to which culture has embraced every expanding methods of perversion seems to be the new norm. One truly has to have existed in a closet over the past few years to not realize the shift towards all sorts of immorality seeping into every aspect of society. With that said and despite being fully aware of this move towards what some have rightly termed as the “pornification of society”, I was a bit shocked when this issue reared its ugly head in my own home recently.
We have a newly minted shall we say teenage daughter at home, with newly minted meaning she just turned 13 years old earlier this month. This stage of life begins to a large degree the transition into adulthood, an extremely important phase of life. The foundation laid by those of influence in the life of a child at this stage of life greatly impacts their worldview and how our children understand the issues of life. Thus, this places a huge level of responsibility on parents to follow the command of Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” In a day and age where at every turn our children are being bombarded with sexually explicit material, sexual innuendo, and perversion of all types, both overtly and in a more subtle manner, it is perhaps more important than ever for parents to be intimately involved in what their children are involved in to include what they watch, listen to, and read as well as those they call their friends.
From recent personal experience, I can unequivocally state that we live in a sick society and the sickness our society is plagued with is an embracing of all manner of sin. It was brought to my attention that even a word as simply as “thirsty” has been twisted to mean sex crazed, specifically a desire to have sex. What was shocking to me was the age level in which this term is being used, in this case by 11-13 year olds. Furthermore, this term was being bantered around not just in the halls of the local public school, but perhaps most shockingly, within the youth groups at local churches. This is just one of many examples I could provide that have come to my attention. Now I appreciate the honesty of my own daughter to share that such language is something she has come in contact with in interactions with her friends, fellow schoolmates, and the youth at church. Such honesty greatly assists the parental conversation that must then take place, a conversation that is focused on explaining why such language is abhorrent, and why resisting the urge to be “cool” is so vital.
So what does such behavior reveal? Let me share a few thoughts:
- The enemy is busy with his age old bag of tricks. It is quite clear he has his foot on the gas in the effort to attack our children with all manner of perversion. Moreover, he is using all available resources to accomplish his goals. Jesus had some rather strong words for those who participate in causing these children to stumble – it would be better that a great millstone be placed around their neck and for them to be tossed into the depths of the sea. If you are not familiar with what a millstone during the time of Jesus looked like, here is a picture. In this case a picture is certainly worth a thousand words.
The good news is those who attempt to poison the minds of our children will receive from God their reward for such sinful behavior. However, we must all constantly ask ourselves if we too are behaving in a manner that might lead our children astray. What kind of example are we setting for our children when we fly off the handle, watch an inappropriate movie, or say something that should not be said ever, regardless if children are around or not.
- Since the enemy is busy, parents must be equally busy. We live in an era described by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. This is a time of great difficulty. Our children are constantly being encouraged to be lovers of self, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to authority, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, unloving, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and duplicitous. It is more important than ever for parents to actually parent. The hands-off approach taken by far too many parents, abdicating their God given responsibility to raise their children to schools and youth groups must stop immediately.
What are we as parents to be about doing?
- A foundational activity in every believer’s home should be a family dedication to the reading, studying, meditation, and obedience to the Word of God. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 commands parents to teach the Word of God diligently to their children. Just in case parents are unsure as to what that entails, God follows up that command with a follow assignment, namely the need to teach our children the things of God when we walk, when we lie down, and when we rise up. In case that is still confusing, that essentially means all day long the things of God should be the focus of parenting. God’s law is to be a sign on our hands, frontlets to our eyes, and on the doorposts of our homes. Those confused by such ancient language should know that means God’s Word should be the focus of our thoughts, actions, and furthermore, God’s Word should be the very foundation of our homes.
- Pray, pray, pray for your children. Pray that your children may “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Lift them up to the Lord and pray that “integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection” (Ps. 25:21). Pray they may act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8). Pray that they may “lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19). Additionally, pray with your children. Show them the importance of an active, consistent, and persistent prayer life.
- Be active in the life of your children. While it is tempting to come home and plop on the couch after a long and exhausting day at work, please resist that temptation. Sit down with your children. Have a conversation with them about how their day went. Ask about their experiences and their conversations. While they may push back at you or wonder why you are so interested in what for them may seem like a whole lot of nothing, these are prime opportunities to find out who and what is influencing your child. The news can wait. It will rain or be sunny whether you watch the weather report or not. Those dishes will still be there. The laundry can wait to be folded. Investing time in the life of your child supersedes all those things.
One good way to strike up a conversation with your child is to get outdoors. Take a stroll around your neighborhood. Chisel the dust off your bicycles. It will be time well spent and in the process you will be a bit healthier to boot. The bottom line is find ways to invest yourself in the life of your child whatever and however that looks like for your family. Be sure when doing so to limit distractions. Tune out the surrounding noise and clamor and cultivate a relationship with your child. Engage in activities that will allow for conversation even though at first your child may try and give you the silent treatment.
I urge all parents to never forget we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation. Gird your loins and the loins of your children with truth. As a family, put on the breastplate of righteousness. Shod your feet with the gospel of peace. Take up the shield of faith. Finally, grab the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. We have been given this battle armor by God to wage war through the power of the Holy Spirit against this enemy that has set its face against our children.
Now get to it, turn off that computer, television, cell phone, or whatever you are reading this on and invest in your child! Remember the words of Nehemiah 4:14 – ““Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”