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Have you noticed? We are now living with the consequences of the most “me” focused culture in our known history. Discovering Self, becoming Self, identifying Self, promoting Self, taking Selfies, glorifying Self, adoring Self, and fulfilling Self takes priority over everything else. Creating the most unique Self accumulates adoring fans in a universe that exists on a screen, where the projected image has been edited to appear perfect. As a result, Truth is considered more irrelevant than ever, and we are being bombarded with the celebration and promotion of things we never could have imagined even five years ago. With Self as the reigning god, fundamental changes in thought and practice are rapidly impacting the traditional family in revolutionary ways. There is persistent chaos undermining everyday life and confusion is palpable. With the onslaught of the Internet in every crevice of daily life, does it seem impossible to keep the darkness out and the Light alive in the home?

Christian parents are feeling overwhelmed and, considering the latest headlines, it is not surprising. While the Lord repeatedly says, “Do not fear”, every current event indicates to some He might not understand what is going on down here. However, there is a verse tucked away in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that declares, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” God is not surprised! He is not shocked, dismayed, or afraid. He has seen it all before and, knows what is ahead. He is still in control. He still loves you and your children, and the Truth still applies just as much now in parenting as it ever did. When focusing on our culture, parents may want to give up—but when looking to Jesus, there is every reason to be full of hope and joy in believing that His plan for the Christian family is very good and He will faithfully finish what He starts (Philippians 1:6).

Whatever diligence we apply in other areas of our Christian life to keep the Truth in and the lies of the enemy out, we can apply in the area of parenting. The culture continues to redefine the basics of life, erasing character-building principles and replacing fact with fantasy. Christian parents would be wise to recognize the danger in the world’s wisdom that undermines and erodes biblical thinking. As usual, Satan is making promises he cannot keep, and guaranteeing outcomes that do not exist, nor have ever existed. Are we teaching our children what is true and what is a lie? Let’s look at one of these self-promoting lies and think about its implications.

“You have the right to have it ALL your way.”

This one is as old as Methuselah. Satan doesn’t really change his tactics much, he just repackages the same old lies as new ideas to new generations. There are people who always have it their way, and upon close examination, they are miserable. Hollywood stars drowning in fame and wealth are some of the saddest examples of empty, broken living. The pursuit of one’s own way does not satisfy, nor has it ever satisfied a single living soul. Another look at Ecclesiastes speaks to this obvious truth, as the king says in 1:14 “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is futility and striving after wind”. Solomon says again and again, that no matter how hard he tried he simply could not find satisfaction on this earth. Riches, knowledge, comfort, pleasure, fame, success, excess—none of it filled him with hope, encouragement, or contentment. There was no lasting joy or peace. Instead, he was left unfulfilled and empty.

So, knowing it is a lie that our children will be happy when they get their way, maybe we should carefully examine how we are presenting the idea of fulfillment to them. Are we holding up the accumulation of things, success, or having fun as what life is about? What consumes you as a parent? What do you think about, talk about, and hope for? Are you as a parent bent on getting your own way? Because if satisfying Self is what life is all about, how unusual is it that a generation would rise up demanding a different kind of sexual experience or a different type of gender as the thing they want? Since everything else has been explored, won’t subsequent generations continue to discover “new” ideas of what could fulfill them? And whatever the trend, years go by before the truth is revealed that actually no, that wasn’t it either. That new thing was as disappointing as all the things before it. It was invented by the thief who “comes to only to kill and steal and destroy” (John 10:10); and the result is another unfulfilled, unhappy, discontented, disappointed, angry, and lost generation paying the consequences of believing the lie that “you have the right to have it ALL your way.. 

The good news is that children identify with truth and, embrace “thus sayeth the Lord”, and believe “Jesus loves you” because God loves them and wants them to be His. As long as you are investing your time and energy into a close and meaningful relationship with your children, they will look to you for answers to their deepest questions. Think about it: aren’t they fans of your favorite football team, interested in your most loved hobby, and begging to be a part of your happiest experiences? I still cheer for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Why? Because my dad did. I enjoy decorating my home. Why? Because my mom did. Do I like everything they liked? No. But of all the people in my life, who has had the most influence? My parents. God has already given you the opportunity to be the most influential witness in your child’s life for the gospel of Jesus Christ just by who you are. When you teach them that having it their way is not the plan God has for them, but that living for Him is the source of all joy, hope, and peace, you are telling them a truth that will not fail them. While they may test that truth, you can know it will hold firm and fill them up for all eternity once they choose to believe it.

Your salvation, and the salvation of your children, is a complete miracle and nothing less. “By grace you are saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, less anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Do you love the Lord Jesus? Do you love His Word? Do you long to worship, to spend time with Him and His people? Do you hunger after Truth and desire to live a life pleasing to the Lord? If you answered yes to those questions, do you understand that those things are absolutely impossible apart from the supernatural work of grace in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit? Your salvation did not come about because you tried hard— or because your parents did. Your salvation is a demonstration of what God can do in the human heart and what He longs to do in every single life, for He is “not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b). So take heart! The culture has absolutely nothing to do with the miracle-working, faithful, loving, awesome character of God! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He does not shift with the changing trends. His Truth is unpopular, even unacceptable to a world run by selfish pursuits, but His Truth is TRUE! And as you “look only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2) you have absolutely no reason to fear! The God of the universe, the Creator of ALL, who has conquered death and the enemy of truth, desires the salvation of your children even more than you do! He hears your prayers for your children and He will answer them as you seek His face, walk with Him, and trust Him for His will to be done in your home. Take heart and be encouraged, for He keeps His promises (Joshua 21:45), and He is always at work transforming lives.

Does this sound too simple? Do you wonder if trusting God is all you have to do? Well, it certainly is a start. If you believe that God’s plan for your children is beautiful and that He will finish what He starts in their hearts, then knowing Him and making Him known will motivate every intention, action, and decision you make as parents. Live a life of praise to the Lord for His bountiful grace, so that your joy and confidence in Christ, not your fear, is what impacts those around you. Let God’s fruitful Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) have reign in your hearts and in your home and your children will thrive, even in the midst of this floundering, hurting culture.

For a deeper understanding of how to think differently, Learning Trust, Finding Treasure: Helping you Solve the Puzzle of Parenting is a study that will provide clarity and encouragement as you raise your children to love the Lord Jesus.

Becky Sparks

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