“You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Alright, I’m going to be blunt here. Christians are not living in true righteousness and holiness. In fact, most of the time it is difficult to pinpoint who in a crowd is a believer and who isn’t. There is just as much perverse talk, corrupt actions and negative attitudes in Christian environments than in secular. The only difference being that the Christians are doing it behind the backs of those who will call them out for their actions. And this is true for our children too.
One of my sons suffered culture shock when he entered middle school. Three elementary schools were mixed together, so there were numerous children he didn’t know bringing in untold back-stories, home-lives and faith; but, this wasn’t the problem.
What bothered him was seeing his friends lives take a 180. The same children he grew up with, who professed Jesus in elementary school were cussing (including the “F” word), indulging in perverted conversation, bullying, and disrespecting authority, themselves and each other.
This bothered him so much that he became physically sick at the thought of having to go to school. He even opted to eat lunch in the counselors office rather than sit with his peers.
We were talking about it at the dinner table, trying to console him and give him a pep talk in preparation for the next day, when my high school son decided to offer his consoling remarks, “You think that’s bad, just wait till you get to high school!” My heart sank to the pit of my stomach. I felt sick. Then I uttered the most un-motherly words to my high school son. I said, “Please don’t ever tell me what goes on in high school.” He laughed…but I was serious.
The truth is, the age of innocence is dwindling. This degradation of moral character is trickling down to the elementary level at an alarming rate.
I learned this the night I helped chaperone an elementary school lock-in. Girls were parading around with cell phones, engaging in caddy conversations and talking about boys. Guys were huddled in groups whispering, laughing and pointing at others. One boy made a sexual comment toward a girl who, thankfully, had no clue what he was saying. It was an eyeopener.
We can’t isolate our children from worldly influences-nor should we want to; but we do need to educate them to handle it.
Here are three essential truths that children need to know.
- As a child of God you are not ruled by sin-When you accept Jesus’ payment for sin, there is a transfer that takes place, Dead to Sin~Alive in Christ. This doesn’t mean the absence of temptation. It means that the option to say, “No,” comes with the power of God helping you resist. Our children need to know that they will be confronted with the desire to do ungodly things, they will want to do some, if not all of them, saying no may be difficult and unpopular but it is essential for their spiritual growth.
- Sticking to godly principles in the heat of temptation displays true maturity-Satan has our youth believing that indulging in worldly pleasures displays their maturity, like a right of passage into adulthood. When in fact, it takes more maturity and strength of character to resist temptation.
- Developing godly character takes time-You are a new creation created in Christ Jesus; but, there my be a breaking in period. That old self with it’s sinful desires will not give up easily. Temptations will hit daily and the desire to give in will still be there. The key is to feed the spiritual nature so it is more dominant in their mind and will hopefully be the “go to” voice in the heat of temptation.
Temptation is indispensable for providing growth opportunities and refining godly character. But when our children are ill-equipped to withstand it or fail to see the need to resist; they will live fruitless lives or abandon their faith all together.