Monday, May 31, 2010

Lie No. 28: Children Need To Get Exposed To The 'Real World' So That They Can Learn To Function In It

*Just a quick note: sorry it has taken me so long to get back to the Lies series. Things have been a bit crazy at our house lately, but I'm gearing up to finish this book sometime soon... I hope ;)*

This lie is one that has sadly been believed by such a large majority of the Christian community, and it's one that has already been repeated to me by more than one person in response to my plans to homeschool my children in the future. I will start by quoting straight from DeMoss' book:

"If Satan can't keep Christian women from bearing children, he will do his best to deceive them as to how their children ought to be brought up. He uses the same tactics with parents that he used with Eve. He convinced her that by eating the forbidden fruit, she would learn something she needed to know: 'When you eat of it your eyes will be opened... knowing good and evil' (Genesis 3:5). Satan was right- when Eve ate, her eyes were opened (v.7); she did learn something she had not known before- the experience of evil. The result of this knowledge was shame, guilt, and alienation from God and her husband.

God never intended that you and I should know evil by experiencing it for ourselves. His desire is that we should be 'wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil' (Romans 16:19). But Satan says 'You need to taste for yourself.' He says to parents, 'Your children need to taste for themselves. If you shelter them from the 'real world,' they will never be able to fit in and survive in it.'

The Truth is, our task is not to rear children who can 'fit in' or merely 'survive' in this world. The challenge of every Christian parent is to bring up children who love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength; who have a vibrant, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus; and whose lives will be bright and shining lights, penetrating the darkness around them. Christian parents ought to be seeking to raise up not just 'good' children, but children who enthusiastically embrace the Truth, children who love righteousness and hate evil, children who will be used by God to change this world."

I think the author stated the point so clearly in this passage. I could go on about the specific priorities and attitudes that end up getting cultivated in a secular environment, but it all leads back to every single previous topic we've discussed regarding the priorities and beliefs we now have as adults. And where do you think they all got started? We all started out in school, surrounded by influential whispers, telling us who we needed to become and how we needed to do it.

We had a guest pastor at our church this past Sunday and he gave a very compelling sermon about finding our true identity in Christ. He pointed out that we all say we just want to be "normal", but what exactly is the "norm"? If you are comparing yourself to your friends, your family, even your pastors and spiritual leaders, you are falling so incredibly short of the standard of "normal" that God has prescribed for you. Our model of "normal" is Jesus Christ. Everything else is a sickening failure.

Our kids need to be learning that at the earliest age, and they need to be learning it in a controlled environment. Like the passage above stated, God did not intend for us to ever experience evil. We are to know it and understand it and be able to defend against it, but we are never to experience it. As parents, it is our job to talk to our kids about the things of this world at an appropriate time, to make clear to them the realities of this world, and to teach them what is right. And only when they are grown and have established a firm grounding in the right way of thinking and behaving should they be released to put those beliefs to the test.

I like the analogy that the blog author of Generation Cedar used for this argument:

"If a boy were to want to become a fireman, he would not be taken to a burning house and told, “go in and figure out how to put it out–that’s the best way to learn about fires.”

No, he would train alongside experienced firemen; he would read, learn and study the nature of fires. After a while, he would be given protective gear and taught how to use it. After that, he would be allowed to practice, in a controlled situation, with the experienced firemen, on a smaller scale.

Slowly, gradually, and carefully, he would be trained and little by little, allowed more opportunity to combat a real fire. One day, he would be fully ready to wage his own battle against that billowing enemy. But he would only survive if he had been properly and carefully trained along the way.

So it is with this spiritual battle. We MUST walk alongside our children until they are ready to wage war alone."

We have to figure out what exactly is our standard for success, how we define evil and sin, and how we define holiness. And if we are going to be true to God's biblical guidelines for living, then we need to make sure that our kids are being washed in that truth constantly and are not being bombarded with deadly spiritual fires before they are truly ready to put them out. As I close, I encourage you to think on the following verses and pray about how God would have you raise your children.

"I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness... My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence. Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land, that I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord." Psalm 101:3-4,6-8

"Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him." Psalm 92:13-15

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