Yesterday was the most viewed post I’ve ever had? Thanks so much!!
I want to follow-up by telling you I believe I know why. I believe it is because we care desperately about our children. So, I’ve been thinking about how we raise “tough” kids spiritually. My mind was drawn to Daniel. You know Daniel of the Old Testament? He was sucked out of his homeland as a teenager and taken into captivity in Babylon with the rest of the young and strong Israelites. The weak and the old were left.
Daniel, even in a pagan society and taken from his home, thrived and flourished as a believer in Jehovah God. In fact he rose to power in the pagan and “ungodly” Babylonian Empire. Lucky maybe? I don’t believe in luck. I believe in God and His providential care over us…His people. Nothing happens to a child of God by chance.
So, with that said…
How’d Daniel do it? How did his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego do it? Remember those three? They were the young men that survived Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. How did these teens stay strong in the most pagan and godless culture of that day? I’ll tell you how. They had been trained and equipped to not “eat the meat” of the King, but to resist the allures and enticements of the world. Who trained them? We aren’t told specifically, but I’m convinced it was their parents.
I believe these young men and their families were studying Scripture…the Bible of their day…the Torah. I believe they took seriously the words of Moses in Deuteronomy when he said in Deut. 6:7…to teach the children the commands of God when you sit down, lie down, rise up and walk along the way. They had a training ground in their homes. They had a “walk along, talk along” faith and equipping environment in their home.
Is America pagan today? I’ll let you decide. But, if it is or even if it’s close to becoming pagan, what must we do? Simple. Become determined and committed and make up our minds to prioritize our lives to put Jesus first.
How do we do this?
Well, amazingly, I got an email from a lady I know last night at 3:45 am. That’s right…3:45 am. What was she doing? She was “cleaning house.” Did she have insomnia? Nope! She had “I’ve had enough!” That’s what she told me! She said, “I’ve had enough and I had to do something about it!” So, she was getting rid of movies, DVD’s, etc. that were not godly. She was removing music from I-pod’s that were pagan and not of the Lord. Wow! This lady wants to raise modern-day Daniel’s. In fact, she is being a “Daniel” herself by stepping up in her home! Way to go ma’am!!
What about you? Do you have children and grandchildren? If you do…I can tell you…they are growing up in a culture that is going to become more and more like Babylon. So, what will we do? Just let them be “taken into captivity” with no training, no equipping? Why, we wouldn’t let our child go to camp without being equipped. We wouldn’t let them go to the ball field or dance studio without their “gear.” We want to make sure they’ve studied for that math test at school.
But, what about spiritually? Do we care more about sports, activities and school than we do the spiritual training of our children? Have we allowed the culture to dominate and dictate to us as parents and grandparents how we will raise our kids? Have we made sports, extra curricular activities and educations “gods?”
None of these things are evil or wrong in and of themselves. Yet, if they take precedence over the things of God, time in the Word, church, etc., then my dear friend, you have set up a “god” in their lives…probably yours as well.
Almost five years ago I was challenged mightily at a conference that forever changed how I would raise my children and how I would prioritize my life and that of my family going forward. I’ve not been the same. Why? Because I finally made up my mind not to “eat the king’s food.” I made up my mind to eat the vegetables of the Gospel and the Word of God. Is my family perfect? Are you kidding? No way! Not by a long shot…but, we’re trying and we’re giving it all we’ve got.
How? By purposefully and specifically dedicating time at least 3-4 nights per week at 30-45 minute clips of time to read the Bible together as a family. To talk about the things of God and how to live the Christian life. But, it’s more than that. It’s how we choose to spend our money that the children are learning about. It’s what we choose to watch on TV (or not watch). I mean we watch almost nothing on TV because it’s mostly garbage. We watch godly DVD’s or Walton’s, Little House on the Prairie, Andy Griffith, Christy and the like. We watch movies like “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof.” We purposefully refuse to watch TV or movies that have any hint of sexual immorality. No cussing. None. We have chosen not to listen to music that does not edify Jesus or that we wouldn’t listen to if He were with us in person in the room or sharing an ear bud with us. You can pick what you think is wholesome and godly…but, use the Bible as your guide…not the culture. We are called to be a holy people…Ephesians 5:3. Holy…that means pure, separate and clean. We have to purge the paganism that creeps into our lives and we certainly can’t allow that paganism to creep into our homes.
Radical! You bet!! But, it’s a life of “separation” and sanctification from the world that is worth it!! It’s so exciting to see your children “get it” spiritually. It’s more exciting than a home run, touch down, back flip…you name it. Why? Because “I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth,” (3 John 4), even in “Babylon.”
Coming soon…”How to be in the world, but not of it.”