Today ends my rant on parenting against cultural cancers that threaten our children’s spiritual health. Are you relieved? Have I beaten a dead horse? Please indulge me this last post, because what I have to say really doesn’t matter.
God’s word does, though, so let’s look at what He has to say: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world” (I John 2:15-16).
Our biblical duty is not to have kids that fit in; it is to train them up in the ways of the Lord, to talk to them about His word and His ways when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up (Deuteronomy 6:7). When they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
We want to teach them to "enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). We can’t allow our kids to play on the wide road to destruction and expect them to enjoy a narrow road life. Why even entertain pleas to enter the wide road?
Scripture tells us to abhor evil (Romans 12:9), separating ourselves completely from all wickedness and anything that would create a life full of hardship and labor. Have no fellowship with it whatsoever. Don’t even let it be named among you (Ephesians 5:3).
That is the narrow road.
That should be our life.
One day they’ll have to choose to guard their hearts for themselves, judging whether something is indeed lawful but not beneficial or edifying (I Corinthians 10:23) and therefore not something they desire. Until then, we are their spiritual sentries.
We have a responsibility to keep our kids’ hearts with all diligence until they’re old enough to be diligent on their own. We’re the ones, as my husband says, who are accountable to the Lord for the environment in which they live. It’s our job to create a safe environment where they have the greatest chance to grow spiritually.
What that looks like may be radically different from family to family, and we are not sent to judge one another, “for judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). An unusually mature teenager from one family may be ready to live on the other side of the world for a summer of missions while a teenager from another family might not have the maturity to walk down the street alone.
What applies to every family and every child, though, is the truth as Jesus established in John 17:17:
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
We have to know our kids, but even more important, we must know what the scripture establishes as non-negotiable truth, and then each one of us must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in making decisions for them.
Maybe we don’t have to expose our kids to evil in order to teach them how to recognize it. Maybe we don’t have to compromise so they don’t rebel against us and reject everything we stand for. Perhaps we just take them to the word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them into all truth.
Perhaps we just show them how to find out what the scripture says about a particular belief or activity and let them measure it against the word of God.
And then we stand firm in the boundaries God gives us for their protection, teaching them to live Philippians 3:8-11:
I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him… For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Our lives are “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). We endure for a moment here on earth in order to enjoy eternal glory with Christ in heaven. Therefore, let us keep ourselves and our children “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
Lord, keep us and our children from the evil one and sanctify us all by Your truth, equipping us with discernment, grace, and endurance as we become wholly Yours today.