Friday, January 15, 2010

Guarding Our Children's Hearts & Minds

It’s a crazy world out there. Everywhere you turn – on the TV, in movies, in music, in magazines, sin is blasted full force into our lives. Obvious things like sexuality, violence, and profanity. Less obvious things like disrespect, lying, cheating, wrongful attitudes toward the opposite sex. These things are everywhere, and children are like little sponges, soaking up every bit of it.

What are we, as parents, to do about all this? The easiest thing of course is just to give in, throw up our hands in desperation and say, “Its everywhere, there’s no way to shelter them from it all.”

Another common reaction is to say, “Children have to live in the real world, and to shelter them from these things robs them of their choice to live and learn.”

But what is the RIGHT thing to do? Well, we have no authority in and of ourselves to proclaim right and wrong actions. The only thing we can do is to call upon the authority of the Bible and to search God’s Word for direction.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”
~2 Timothy 3:16....


God’s Word clearly tells us how we are to respond to worldly things and worldly influences. If these instructions are meant for us as adults, how much more important they must be for us to consider in light of our children’s young hearts and minds!

I have read more than one person say something to this effect: would you allow a murderer, a rapist, a drug dealer into your home? How about a sassy pre-teen that talks back to her parents or sneaks around to get what she wants? Would you want your kids to dress in the ways that most people – even kids – on TV dress?

In effect, when you do not carefully monitor what your children watch on TV or movies, or what they listen to on the radio, or the magazines or books they look through, you basically hand them over to all those people for their upbringing. You say ‘here, babysit my kids for awhile, take control of what enters their minds, shape and mold them for me.’

There are many people who would argue that sheltering children from such things is to shelter them from reality and set them up for failure when they grow up and enter the “real world”.

To that I go to the authority of Scripture for an answer:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.....
~Romans 12:2....

That ‘real world’ out there is the very world we are to do our best to NOT be like. It is the world we are to constantly guard against.

Now, the reality is that there IS violence, drugs, overt sexuality in the world. These are sins and we live in a sinful world. This does not mean we are to accept this sin! We are not to accept it into our homes and the lives of our families just because it’s out there. We are to keep away from it! Not just keep our children away from it, but keep ourselves away from it as well!

“But write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.”....
~Acts 15:20....

The world can be a scary place and we do have to teach our children to live in it. This is truth. But this is not accomplished by throwing our children to the wolves in order to let them “live and learn”. Parents can watch the news with their children – exposing them to the actual real world and discussing current events with them. Parents are to teach their children a Biblical worldview through real discussions about real events, not by exposing them to every sinful or just downright frightening show or movie out there.

Some more verses to ponder:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.....
~1 John 2:15-17....

Keep your heart with all vigilance,for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech,and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward,and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet;then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left;turn your foot away from evil.....
~Proverbs 4:23-27....

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.....
~ Colossians 3:5....

God tells us over and over again in the Bible to stay away from sinful things, to take care to avoid them and to guard our hearts and minds.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.....
~Proverbs 4:23....

What we allow into our children’s lives through outside influences is our responsibility. We as parents are to guard our children’s hearts until they are old enough to do it themselves. We are responsible before God for what our children are exposed to. It is our job as mothers and fathers to expose them only to that which is good, pure and wholesome.....

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.....
~Philippians 4:8....

Many will think we are overprotective of our children. Many will accuse us of sheltering them. Many will think we are doing a disservice to our children by limiting what they are exposed to. Many will try to say that we are setting our children up for disaster later in life. ....

I say to those people: I am doing for what my children that which God commands. I am guarding their hearts and minds against all that is ungodly. I am immersing them in that which is good, right, pure and true. I am teaching them to shun that which is evil, immoral, or corrupt.....

Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.....
~Romans 8:8....

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.....
~Matthew 5:8....

There are those who will say that, in spite of all this, in spite of all the authority of the Bible, that we are “going overboard” or being “extremist” in our views. To them I say this: there is only one true godliness, one true Christian lifestyle, and it is incredible extremist! God does not approve of or tolerate so-so Christians or those who try to bend Scripture to fit what they are comfortable with.....

First of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation…....
~1 Peter 1:20....

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.....
~Revelation 3:15-16....


Extreme in my Christianity? Extreme in my parenting? You betcha! ....

Verses to think on:....
.. ..
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires...
~Galatians 5:24

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
~Colossians 3:1

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints
~Ephesians 5:3

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.....
~Luke 6:45....

And a couple of quotes:....

“Keep guard over your eyes and ears as the inlets of your heart, and over your lips as the outlets, lest they betray you in a moment of unwariness.” ....
~ Anne Bronte, British author and poet....

“As believers, we must guard our hearts and understand that no one crashes and burns. They just slowly fade away one little compromise at a time.”....
~Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns

Oh be careful little eyes what you see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little eyes what you see

Oh be careful little ears what you hear
Oh be careful little ears what you hear
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little ears what you see

Oh be careful little feet where you go
Oh be careful little ears what you hear
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little feet what you go

Oh be careful little mind what you think
Oh be careful little mind what you think
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little mind what you think

Oh be careful little heart what you love
Oh be careful little heart what you love
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little heart what you love

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