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?
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.)
“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).
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)?
Imagine a family driving down the road when Dad sees a sign that says “Detour – bridge out.” Because the children pressure Dad to hurry home so they won’t miss their favorite TV show, Dad decides not to take the detour.
Insane? Of course it is. I can’t imagine a dad who would risk the lives of his family because he couldn’t handle pressure from the children.
Now picture a Christian dad who willy-nilly makes decisions. He does not seek the Lord’s direction through prayer and Scripture. When his children pressure him for a decision they favor, he quickly agrees. He doesn’t take into consideration the eternal value of each soul he has been entrusted with to disciple in the Lord Jesus. Is it any wonder that children are choosing the world over the Lord in droves these days?
What part do you think Dad’s “leadership” (or lack thereof) has on the children’s eternal choice? Are you like Abraham? “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:19).
A sure plan for a high consumption, debt-financed lifestyle is to fill your spare time with as much fun and pleasurable activities as possible. “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” (Proverbs 21:17).
Hmm, on second thought, Scripture has a better plan. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Noah had a problem. God told him to build the ark, but he couldn’t build it by himself. He needed his sons’ help. His family’s survival depended on them working together. Through his years as a dad, if he had been trustworthy, his family would cooperate. If not, he would end up disobedient to his God. No amount of commanding would have been sufficient for his sons to work faithfully alongside their dad for over twenty years. They followed because he had earned their trust.
Abraham had a problem. God commanded that all the men of his house be circumcised. If he had shown himself to be trustworthy as their leader, they would submit. If not, he would be in disobedience to his God. All meant all. I believe they voluntarily complied. No ninety-nine-year-old man was going to physically force all the men to be circumcised. They trusted him.
There are clear commands and principles in God’s Word. When we live them out, we earn our family’s trust. As children get older, authority is insufficient. Familial trust might be considered the reflection of dad’s integrity and will be the bond of hearts that enable them to follow Dad’s lead. Is your family following?
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).