What do you think? How can we equip ourselves to stand against the flood of ungodliness that threatens our homes and the spiritual well-being of our children?
Looking at the landscape of American culture the situation can appear hopeless. However, the Word of God has our answer. Wisdom gleaned from obeying the Word of God bears the fruit we so desperately want to see in our children.
Understand this: while certain things are unique to our times one thing remains constant from generation to generation. Since the fall of Adam, through the days of Noah, until the time of Christ, and up to our present hour the spirit of the world remains the same. The Bible says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:16-17).
One of the first things a parent must come to grips with to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in child training is the necessity of separating from the world. With purpose a parent must set their children apart to the Lord and apart from the world. This will play out in the practical ways a parent allows the world to influence their children.
Let me quickly say the issue at hand is not normal interaction with the world around us as a child grows up. However, whenever a parent allows consistent influences upon their children that have the power to shape their thinking contrary to the Word of God we have a problem.
Let me site an example alive and well in our pop culture today. Recently a news release came to my attention I think you need to be aware of:
Alex McFarland warns against a ‘new model of morality’ for teens on social media
‘By training young brains to seek positive reinforcement from social media, we are allowing the world to mold young minds rather than the Holy Spirit’
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has confirmed the suspicions of many regarding social media’s effect on youth. The study found that “social media checking behaviors in early adolescence may be associated with changes in the brain’s sensitivity to social rewards and punishments.” Teenagers who spend excessive amounts of time on social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are adjusting their perception of “good” and “bad” by how their peers respond to content, leading them to be more easily manipulated by social platforms.
Youth, culture and religion expert Alex McFarland commented on this disturbing phenomenon, stating that if the results of the study, which suggests long-term detrimental effects to youthful minds, show even more irreparable intellectual and spiritual harm than the research reveals.
“‘Thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ has become the new model of morality for millions of teens,” McFarland stated. “Peer approval can be a painful false god, and it’s incredibly easy for teens to get sucked into the online world and miss the truth of the Gospel. Not only can excessive social media negatively affect young people’s brains, the ideology of altering your viewpoint to garner more ‘likes’ is patently anti-Christian. Christians were called to be a light in the darkness, despite however the world perceives us. By training young brains to seek positive reinforcement from social media, we are allowing the world to mold young minds rather than the Holy Spirit.”
(An ordained minister for more than 25 years, McFarland has personally counseled thousands of families and individuals, and he is passionate about helping America’s youth build successful lives in the face of ever-diminishing morals, ethics, and values.)
This news release touches upon the world of social media. Every young person under the age of 20 has grown up with this new phenomenon. There is a lot to be said about the tsunami called “Social Media.” However, for now just focus on the powerful influence the world can wield on the minds of your children if they are left to themselves with social media.
The wise parent will keep their children away from social media as long as possible simply to allow their children to grow up in a normal childhood! Furthermore, as the teen years come along clear guidelines must be established for interaction with social media.
The spirit of the world seeks to invade our homes from every direction. However, it is in the power of parents to limit this influence by shutting down the sources by which the world meanders into our home life. With that said, it is even more important to keep the Word of God front and center in the thinking of your children as they grow up and eventually come of age. Your practice as a parent is to INCREASE EXPOSURE TO THE WORD and LIMIT EXPOSURE TO THE WORLD.
Our homes can be a haven from this world. We can limit exposure to the spirit of the world. We absolutely can guide our children away from the culture of this world. Our children will not be prone to adopt the culture of the world if they are a part of a “Christian subculture” in which convictions are developed from godly parents, pastors, and teachers.
Thankfully, no parent need resign themselves to a guessing game about how their children will turn out. While it is true each child must inevitably make their own choice for Christ, diligence has its place. Fight the battle to win! I assure you those parents who limit the world’s influence upon their child and see to it that the life of their children is built upon the Word of God will make their way successful.
Pastor Rusty Yost