We are evaluating forbidden fruit versus things to teach self-control.
In the garden, when God wanted man to learn to obey Him and choose right from wrong, He used the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by forbidding it.
God didn’t use the trees’s fruit to teach moderation/self-control. He didn’t say:
- Eat only the good fruit.
- Eat only a little fruit.
- Eat it on Sundays.
God said, don’t eat! Eating from that tree in the Garden meant death.
I want my children to completely avoid directly sinful things and I expect that is your desire for your children as well. However, in addition, I want my children to have a disdain for things that easily lead to destructive things. Are you still with me?
“And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house” (Judges 8:27). The ephod that Gideon made likely wasn’t directly sinful at first. However, it soon became a snare to Gideon and his family.
The less like the world your family is, the more dangerous TV and movies are in pulling their hearts to the world.
What about you? What are your goals for your children?
I appreciated the question a dad asked following a recent Seriously since it might be one others have as well. His question was: Should TV/movies be a forbidden fruit to be completely avoided or would it be better used to teach self-control (moderation)?
When someone uses the term “forbidden fruit” I take it they are implying that by making something forbidden, we are actually enticing someone to want it. A further implication is that by not forbidding it completely, it isn’t as desirable (as when forbidden) and it can be avoided more easily.
Let’s consider this concept. The Garden God created in Genesis was perfect. Agreed? God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the midst, and He said, “Thou shalt not eat of it.” It was forbidden fruit if you will.
God didn’t leave it un-forbidden to make it less appealing. He knew it was appealing, and for His children’s protection gave them a set boundary with no middle ground, no balance, no moderation. Simply, “No!”
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17).
Discipling children in the Lord, the Savior of their souls, is THE critical aspect in raising children. Dad owns this responsibility before the Lord. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Family Bible time every day is critical to nurturing a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the feeding of a soul, producing fertile ground for the Spirit of God to work. If Dad is slack in his responsibilities to gain ground in the hearts of his children, you can be sure the enemy will use it to his advantage.
“And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?”(Joshua 18:3).
The reason I warned a couple weeks ago about TV and movies is they are a sure way to give ground in the hearts of your family to the enemy. When given a choice, a child will likely choose the world’s entertainment over God’s Word. Why not eliminate the world’s entertainment and draw their hearts to God’s Word?
Last week when you read my Seriously article about TV and movies, you might have thought, “Why didn’t he say something about the computer?” I must limit my word count, hence a follow-on article.
A chainsaw is a powerful tool, but it can also be very dangerous to an unskilled and unprotected user. A computer is also a powerful tool, but there is great danger to the soul if it is used carelessly. It seems like many (most?) use the computer similarly to the TV – as an entertainment device. When viewed as such, the serious danger it poses seems minimized. No one considers an entertainment toy as dangerous. Right? No, wrong. It is terribly dangerous.
Therefore, safeguards are required not just a good idea, but required. No one is above temptation. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Many dads haven’t realized the danger of the computer for himself or his children and discovered too late the damage done whether in addiction to empty games or to serious immorality.
Our family’s computers are not used for play or entertainment. They are tools for work and efficiency. We also use Google Safe Search and Accountable2You and encourage anyone we can to do the same. Better to be safe than sorry! (The Accountable2You is an affiliate link and blesses the Titus2 ministry.)
“Neither shall he (the king) multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: . . .” (Deuteronomy 17:17). Even with our little wisdom it is obvious, Solomon disobeyed the Lord. “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:4-5).
Yet, might we be like Solomon and have difficulty in seeing our own error? Will we heed the warning of Scripture? “Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing” (Deuteronomy 7:26). Sadly, many Christian dads have brought what God would call an abomination into their homes.
Notice how these verses describe TV and most movies. “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
“And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).
Part 2 coming soon, “What about the computer?”
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” ( Luke 9:24).
Spring is planting time, and soon farmers will be hard at it. Once the conditions are right. they focus on getting seed in the ground. Then, there will be fertilizing and cultivating to ensure a good harvest in the fall. Given normal weather, the quality of the harvest is generally dependent on the effort expended during the growing season. There are efficiencies farmers learn, but basically its the same routine, year-after-year.
Raising children is very similar. Careful attention and great investment is needed in training and discipling children. Instead of six months, the “disciple-growing season” is twenty years or so. Full-time commitment is required, there are no shortcuts.
I have yet to meet a farmer who wanted a poor harvest or a parent who wanted a child to love the world. Oh my Brothers, I beg you, be committed, invest yourselves in the children God has entrusted to your care and nurturing.
“And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:14-15).
I recently purchased a beautiful ring at Walmart for ten dollars to be used as an object lesson. It is totally amazing. It looked like a diamond ring but it was fake. Frankly, it is difficult to believe something that looks so nice was only ten dollars. Still it was an imitation. Often, it can be difficult to recognize what is real versus what is fake for all sorts of things.
What about Christians? I expect when the idea of fake Christians is mentioned, a few names may cross your mind. We can easily fool even ourselves regarding our walk with the Lord. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). If only the Lord gave a “conformed to His image” rating like a purity rating on gold.
Are we going through the motions, or is there an intimate relationship with our Savior? Is the power of the Holy Spirit present in our lives? The Spirit is more than just the third name in the Trinity – He is needful for our lives.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7).
The judge asks you. “Which do you choose, death by hanging, or a lifetime sentence to the vacation resort of your choice?” Simple answer.
Next choose one: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” or, “come, enjoy all the fun, entertainment and pleasures (non-sinful of course!) that this world offers.” For many/most(?) another simple answer.
Notice the choice isn’t between Heaven and hell. It is between Heaven and the world.
Is it any wonder why so many Dads and children choose the world today? “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
How often do you read something or here a message and think how it applies to a number of guys you know? Maybe someone at church or a friend? We can so quickly dodge the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Oh what good may result if we are willing to be open to the Holy Spirit enough to say “Is it I?”
“And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I” (Matthew 26:21-22)?