Your Character House

Son, today I begin teaching you how to build a house.  I will teach you how to choose the timber, how to cut it and work it and how to join it so well you create a strong and lovely structure, fit for your future bride and a happy family.

It will take me years to teach you all I know, and you will learn by working alongside me, assisting me, observing what I do and listening to my instructions.

In time, you will have all the skills you need to build a fine house for the young bride of your choosing.  And, you will remodel and expand it over time, for your growing family.

With the skills I shall teach, you will be able to rebuild the whole thing if ever a disaster should destroy it or sweep it away.

Shoddy Building

You have seen the gaps in the walls and the leaks in the roof at Jake’s place.  You have seen the problems at the Garrard’s place.  Those families are cold in winter, wet in the rain, unhappy in the heat and uncomfortable most of the time.

When a house is built badly the whole family suffers.  The builder can take an easy day or get a quick fix to a problem, but the consequences will impact others and last for years to come.

I will teach you to build carefully and well.  It will take more time and it will be physically harder than a hasty job.  If you don’t do it right, you, your lovely bride and your children will live with the results of selfishness and laziness for many years to come.

I want your children to be proud of you and pleased with you.  I want them to honour you.  But first you must decide to honour them, even though you don’t know them yet, by making the right choices now.

Character

And son, the same is true of the invisible house you live in.  Every day you are building your character house.  If you build well your future will be blessed.  If you build a poor and shoddy structure, you will live with the consequences for the rest of your life.

Every day you face choices about obedience, diligence, truthfulness, repect, patience, self-sacrifice, and a host of other character issues.  When you choose wisely and stick with those choices over the weeks and years, you build a solid wall or a sturdy frame in your character house.

In years to come that sturdy character house will give you strength under trial, protection in hardship, honour from others, security for the future and peace in times of storm.

Tearing Down your House

Every time you choose to lie, be selfish, resent others, give in to anger or jealousy, speak sharply, react, steal, reject the truth, or any other thing that is against godly character, you tear timbers from your character house.

You will create gaping holes in the walls, leaks in the roof, uneven beams, teetering frame and other major problems in your house.

And, what is worse, you can never leave that house.  You take it with you wherever you go.  You take it into your future, into your marriage, into your family, into your career and into everything else you do.

You will suffer cold drafts of fear, the dampness of doubt, the aches of regret, the shame of your shoddy work and the pain of defeat.  You will feel the cramped limitations of your laziness and the smallness of the world you have built for yourself and your family.

Character Pain

You have seen how the Magrans argue, even in public.  You have seen how Rordan’s children run from his anger.  You have seen sadness in old Mrs Gray’s eyes.

People you know are trapped in painful houses they built for themselves.  They live with disappointment, limitation, agitation, loneliness, false accusations, loss of self control, foolishness, vain ideas, and so much more.

Each of them built those unhappy places for themselves.  They each now live with the hasty, selfish choices they made years ago.

Don’t be like them.

Choose Wisely

Anyone can shelter under a pile of sticks.  But no one wants to live there.  Gracious rooms filled with lovely things, are not found in a pile or rubble.  It takes time and effort to create such a home.

And while you build a family home with your hands, you build your character house with your heart.  You build it by choices.  They are often hard choices.  You build by each choice to do right and to silence the selfish, lustful and evil thoughts that lurk in your heart.

So choose wisely, my son.  Build well.  And let me guide your hands and your heart as we work together on the wonderful future God has for you.

Connecting the Generations

The notion of a “generation gap” is not new. It was well established in the 1960’s when I was in my youth. Back then it seemed the younger generation was intent on separating itself from all that had gone before. Youth were determined to be free from constraints and expectations put on them by their parents.

Wearing jeans, having long hair and listening to rock music were signs of rebellion by youth, who did so against the wishes of their parents, to prove that the youth could make their own way and not be subverted by parental expectations.

We had the sense back then that prior to our time things had continued with greater continuity from one generation to the next. It seemed to us that a revolution was underway and that children were cutting themselves off from their parents more seriously than ever before.

I don’t know that the perception was completely accurate. But it is easy to believe that a process of increasing separation from previous generations was underway.

Today’s Disconnect

Today, however, that sense of disconnect from the previous generation is more acute than ever. We now speak not of the young versus the old, but of there being multiple different cultures in increasingly narrow age bands.

The “baby-boomers”, which accounts for my generation, were different to the “veterans” who went before them, and are quite apart from the Gen X’ers who followed. But while both boomers and X’ers are on the scene Gen Y is already upon us. Supposedly the gap between Gen X and Gen Y is as great as between the Gen X and the boomers.  To top it off today’s youngsters are now dubbed Generation Z, or digital natives, who are expected to have yet a different set of values to Generation Y.

It seems that a process of cultural disconnect is accelerating and what may once have been a generation gap is now becoming a gap of multiple generations.

An Anointing Is Needed

With that background take a moment to reflect on the last verses of the Old Testament, in Malachi 4:5,6.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5,6

A prophetic anointing has been promised by God to do what might today seem impossible: to turn the hearts of parents and children toward each other.

So there is an anointing which God provides that is able to do just that, despite how much more difficult it might seem in today’s situation.

Don’t Be Fooled by Labels

While it may seem intriguing to think of today’s kids as different from youth a hundred years ago don’t be too hasty to swallow the idea.

Remember that God created man thousands of years ago and the heart of man has remained the same ever since.  Man’s heart is evil and deceptive, sold under sin.  Man is readily seduced by worldly values, especially those that appeal to self gratification, appease our sense of value and feed our pride (the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life – 1John 2:16).

Men, women and youth were categorised by King Solomon, in the height of his benchmark wisdom, into a few basic distinctions, including fools, wise, evil, angry, and so on.

All the labels in the world, created by worldly observers, may trick you into thinking that there is a real and tangible gulf that should exist between you and those of different generations.  Yet mankind has not changed.  Evil people are still evil people.  Fools are still fools.  Godly are still godly.  And so on.

And people of vast age differences have always been able to relate, despite man’s tendency to be selfish, rebellious and foolish.

Heart Connection

Notice that the intergenerational connection promised in Malachi is not one of mind, interests, fashion, joint ventures, playing on the same team, or the like.  It is all about the heart.  The heart is the heart of the matter.

God, by His Spirit, is ready to create a heart connection between the generations.  It is about the heart and a heart bond.  It is about compassion, respect, care, bonding, love and relationship.

People of different professions, different ages, different political persuasions, with different tastes, abilities and interests, can love one another and care for one another.  That is readily obvious when we see parents care for children who have chosen a vastly different life direction to that which the parent wishes for them.

So God has an anointing which will turn the hearts of the parents toward those children who now seem so hard to understand and so difficult to relate to.  And God has an anointing which will turn the heart of those children toward those parents who seem to them to be so out of touch, irrelevant, overbearing, or otherwise disconnected to them.

Don’t Lose Heart

If generational barriers have invaded your home or put a gulf between you and others, don’t lose heart.  All is not lost.  This is not something that has to be.  God has an anointing that will bridge the supposed gaps and turn the hearts toward one another.

If you are struggling with generational gaps let me suggest a prayer for you to offer to the Lord.

“Lord God, You know that my heart is not perfect before You.  I am susceptible to the same things that distract others.  So I don’t come to You because I deserve anything, but I come to You asking for grace and mercy on me and my family.  I ask You to turn my heart toward my children and those around me who I am distanced from.  And I ask You to turn their hearts toward me.  Give us Your grace so we can love, accept and forgive one another.  Turn each of us toward You, so we each come closer to each other.  Give me such a heart of compassion that I overlook and even hide a multitude of sins, rather than reacting to them and letting them pollute my heart.

Please send Your anointing into me and my family, and bring about a healing.  Remove all the offences, injuries, resentments, distrust, shame, pride, selfishness and other rubbish that has polluted our home and our relationships.  And please glorify Yourself in my family.  Cause Your name to be exalted by what others see that You have done in me and for me, and in my family.  Be glorified by acting gloriously in my situation.  I ask this in the lovely and powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Legalistic Dad

How do you help a legalistic dad?  You know the kind.  He demands his family do as he wants, the way he wants, on the basis that he has GOD on his side.

I have had to deal with several dads over the years that have dug themselves into a hole but refuse to change because they are the DAD and the Bible tells the kids to obey them.  The children become hurt and rebellious and that only affirms to the dad that he is on the high ground and they are wrong.

Call For Help

I was asked recently by a Christian counsellor for some suggestions to help a legalistic dad face the mess he has created and the pain he and his family are living in.  The dad appeals to the Biblical command that children obey their mother and father as his trump card to justify his stern stand.

As I considered the question, my thoughts about sad situations I have seen over the years led me to a new suggestion to help a legalistic dad.

The problem is getting the dad to listen and to be prepared to review his own actions, when he has a strong sense of being “right” and others being wrong.

Test the Fruit

Jesus told us we can know the truth about people by the “fruit” of their life.  A father’s life is not measured by the legal ground he claims as his authority, but by the fruit of his actions.  “By their fruits you will know them” is a basic litmus test we can apply quite widely.

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Matthew 7:16

“So by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:20

I suggest we can apply this to test those legalistic dads who think they are right and others are wrong.

Fruit in the Family

A child starts out as a blank page.  And children are very resilient and forgiving.  They have the ability to cope with disappointments and the distractions of their parents.  And children learn much of their concept of life by watching their parents at close quarters.

So, at least in general terms, the way the kids turn out can be regarded as the “fruit” of the family.  If a family produces selfish, proud, loud, disobedient kids, you know that the home has some serious problems.  If a home produces quiet, obedient, loving, thoughtful children, the quality of the home is attested to by those kids.

So let’s use that fruit factor as a searchlight on the legalistic dad.

Stubborn Kid from a Stubborn Dad

When a legalistic dad digs in his toes and will not budge from his conflict with a child, and the child digs in his or her toes and will not budge either, we can see that the child is the “fruit” of the father.  The stubborn father has produced that stubborn child.

So, if the dad thinks he has the ‘moral high ground’, standing in the place of being right while the kids are wrong, he had better re-think things.  The “fruit” of what he has produced is a public testimony to his failure.  Instead of standing on moral high ground, he is standing in the place he accuses his kids of standing on.

Humility in the Home

If the dad is looking for a spirit of humility in his children, then we need to see that same fruit in him.  If he doggedly defends his opinions and the rightness of who and what he is he can only expect his children to be as stubborn in their stand for their own rightness too.

First let’s see the dad humble himself before God and admit that he needs God’s wisdom.  Let’s hear the dad admit that he has failed in his role as dad.  When we see that kind of humility we know there is hope for the family.
If dad defies the evidence then he has invalidated his stand before God.  God gives grace to the humble, not to the defiant and arrogantly proud.

Heart Issues

Another important truth for a legalistic dad is that the issue is not rebellious kids, but the condition of the dad’s heart.  Yes, rebellion in the family is wrong and the rebellious children need to have that resolved.  But the dad is the head of the home and it is vital to get him sorted out as a key to healing the whole family.  And getting dad sorted out means dealing with dad’s heart.

The Bible points out that the real “issues” of our life are not the things that come against us but the things that come “out of us”.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

When we seek to heal a home, the real “issues” are not the rebellion of a son or daughter, but those things that come out of the heart of the dad and mum.  In the case of a legalistic dad in conflict with his children, it is what is coming out of the heart of that dad.

Out of the Heart

Listen to what Jesus said about the significance of what comes out of us.

“And he said, That which comes out of the man defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:20-23

The issue that is defiling the father and likely bringing real problems into the home is whatever is coming OUT of the father’s heart.

And we know what is coming out of the heart by what people say.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Legalistic Speak

A legalistic dad will speak judgment of his children, rejection, condemnation, fault finding, pride in his own standards, negativity, contention, and so on.  And those words of his mouth reveal that he is not standing on moral high ground, but is polluted.

A heart that produces evil speaking reveals an “evil heart”.  The legalistic dad has deep troubles in his heart that lead him to produce toxic speech and bad fruit.

The more a legalistic dad is challenged about his stand the more virulent he may become in attacking others, asserting that he is right, feeling rejected and intimidated and so on.

All of this reveals that the dad is not walking and living in God’s grace.

Fruit and Heart

The dual matters of the “fruit” of the dad’s fathering in the home and the “issues” in the dad’s heart expressed in his legalistic stance and speech, show that the dad needs help.  The home is what it is because the dad has internal issues that need to be resolved.  He will never be able to lead his family into joy and wholeness while he is beset with personal problems that have produced bad fruit in the home and which reveal bad issues pouring out of his heart.

Legalism as a Cover

If a dad has produced bad fruit in his home and his heart pumps out evil things he has issues.  And legalism may just be a way to cope with life and excuse his situation.  Legalism may be a cover.  By being legalistic he can point at others, rather than get free on the inside himself.

Just about anything could cause a person to become legalistic, but since legalism prompts a person to reject others it is reasonable to assume that rejection has a part to play in the legalistic dad’s heart.

Certainly there is a lack of the grace of God.  And the writer of Hebrews warns that failing to receive and give out God’s grace leads us to having a root of bitterness which causes us to defile others.

“Be diligently attentive lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” Hebrews 12:15

Legalism and the attendant accusation and rejection certainly defile and offend people so an important need in the life of a legalistic dad is to experience the grace of God and to give God’s grace to others.

Give Grace to Dad

If you suffer under a legalistic dad you will find it easy to become hurt, offended, resentful, judgmental, angry and so on.  And by so doing you will be tempted to let a root of bitterness spring up in your life.  If that happens then the problem has been passed down to a new generation, instead of being dealt with and rooted out of the family.

So if you have a legalistic dad press in to God for sufficient grace so you can give grace to your dad, even though he does not deserve it.  If you can give grace to those who have no grace, you will not come under the power of their failures and weakness but have triumphed into liberty for yourself and your children.

If your dad is legalistic and refuses to see that there is anything wrong in his life, you are in a very vulnerable place.  Determine with God’s help to give abundant grace to that graceless dad.

Blaming Others

A problem that emerges in most relationships involves upsets between two or more people.  Having wisdom about those upsets and what is really going on thus becomes very powerful in making those relationships work better.

A tell-tale sign of wrong attitudes in relationships is that process of blaming others.  Accusing and blame shifting are common practices when people are in tension about something.

We are all familiar with the example of a mother calling out in an angry tone, “Who brought this mud into the house?”

And we are all familiar with the chorus of voices saying, “It wasn’t me!”

Getting upset, and doing what we can to avoid trouble are two automatic processes that often get built into our interpersonal communications.

Properly Interpret What is Going On

When we have an idea about something we can be very reluctant to change our mind.  This is especially so if the new perspective suggests we are wrong or have a problem.

The whole “blame shifting” routine kicks in if someone tries to suggest that we are a cause of trouble.  We don’t like to be wrong and we don’t like to be accused, or exposed for our weaknesses.

In highly competitive contexts we may be very strong in asserting our innocence or trying to cover up our failures.

These human tendencies, based on our pride, become deeply ingrained and some people become famous for their readiness to accuse others or to make up excuses.  For example, alcoholics are famously recognised for their ability to cover for their addiction and failures.

It is important for our own health and the health of our relationships that we properly interpret what is going on in our relationships.

Different Perspectives

Consider the difference in perspective that could be applied in the following statements.

“You often upset me and it takes me days to get over it.”

Or alternatively it might be more accurate to say: “I get into moods about things and take days to get over it.”

“You upset me so you must be wrong.”

This might be better stated as: “I get upset by you, so there is something about my reactions that is not right.”

The Real Issues

Since our true “issues” are not what others do or say but how we react, then it is wrong for us to blame others for the mood we are in, or for our responses.  It is what comes out of us that defines the “issues” we have to deal with.

In an earlier article titled Issues of Life, posted on 1/10/11, I discussed a powerful Bible text that exposes what the real issues are in our lives.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

This verse tells us that the real “issues” of our life are not what people say or do to us, but what comes out of our heart.  Our responses and reactions define the issues, and in fact ARE the true issues.

Natural Impulse

When a parent gets upset with his or her child, when a husband or wife gets upset with their spouse, or a child is upset by their sibling, the automatic assumption is that the other person is wrong because it seems to the one who is upset that the other person caused it.

It is counter-intuitive to think that we are upset because of our own choices and the weaknesses of our own personality.

Yet the Biblical truth is that it is what comes out of us that is the problem, not what was said or done to us.

What happens to us could well be injustice and wrong.  I am not saying that if we are abused it is our fault.  People hurt and offend others and we all suffer at the hands of others in some way.

This discussion is about the tendency we have to get into a mood, or some other form or “reaction” toward another, that is really our own responsibility.

Touchy People

Some people have a “hair-trigger” and readily react toward others. They are so ‘touchy’ that others have to walk on egg-shells in order to avoid being at the receiving end of a tirade from that upset person.

This is the substance of manipulation, oppression, abuse of others, control, emotional abuse, imposing self-will onto others, belittling, etc.

People who indulge in such activity are out of order.  They have “issues” in their own heart and mind.  However they may be able to justify their outbursts, accusations, anger, sharp tongue or other attacks on others without realising they are the oppressor, not the one they are blaming.

Loving Others

This self-delusion, while intuitive, is destructive and a failure to “love others” and to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, which is the Golden Rule given to us by Jesus Christ.

“As you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31

In fact, it may be that a central purpose of the two great commandments, to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbour as ourself, is to force us to realisations that we would be blind to if we thought the world revolved around us.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30,31

Maybe God’s intention in giving us His laws is not to enslave us to His will, but to lead us into revelation truth about ourselves that will set us free from folly and shame.

So, next time you hear yourself expressing your exasperation, disapproval, anger, frustration, resentment, jealousy, contempt, prejudice, unforgiveness, intolerance, demands, despisement and similar rubbish toward someone else, even if only in your thoughts, stop and realise that YOU HAVE “ISSUES”.

By reflecting on what you are thinking and why you are doing it you can be led into health and release you don’t presently have.

Example

In my family seminars I share the account of my early married life when I found myself readily annoyed and frustrated with my first-born son, Stephen.  Susan and I were parents shortly before our fist wedding anniversary and had three children born in short order.

One day I realised that I was particularly hard toward my oldest son, and much more lenient toward the two other boys.  It struck me that I was being unfair on him.  For some reason I caught myself out being biased against him when it came to rebuke and discipline.

I could justify my reactions by saying, “He’s the oldest so he should know better”, but I sensed there was a deeper issue at work.

I prayed about the matter, confessing my evident bias and asking God to show me what was wrong and what to do.

As I reflected on the situation it struck me that I resented my son.  He was the first baby and therefore the first child to take my wife away from me.  Susan had to care for the baby, and she had various health challenges along the way.  A baby completely changed our married life and reduced our time together and or intimacy.  Unconsciously I held Stephen responsible for how that impact on me.

Having realised the impact of a baby I was far less reactive to the impact of my next two sons.  So my “issue” was only with Stephen.

Once I realised that situation I was able to pray about it, confessing my selfish responses and attitudes, asking God to forgive me and to heal my heart attitude toward my son.

Some time later I realised to my delight that I had a fresh relationship with my son.  I did not feel any of the hardness of heart that had been there before and I enjoyed him as I had not been able to before.

Set Free by Truth

My experience is a testimony to the veracity of God’s Word, which tells us that when we know truth that truth liberates us.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32

So I share these insights with you, in the trust that you will refer back to God’s Word and allow God’s Truth to settle in your heart and set you free.

Your problem, as is common to all humanity, is that we will prefer to believe a lie, if it gives hides our pride, lust, self-will and shame.  You will tend to justify your actions, including your selfish and angry responses to others.  You will like the idea that THEY are to blame, not you.

I can only pray that the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you, to change your heart and cause you to step into the wonderful freedom that is available to you.

Spirit of the World

How is it that a Christian upbringing doesn’t protect some children from taking up the world’s values and abandoning the faith they were raised to?

This is a perplexing problem for many families and churches. I believe that part of the problem is the “Spirit of the World”. I expect there are many homes where the spirit of the world is given room to work and where that spirit is even given rights over the children. Let me explain.

Toxic World

We are warned that everything in the world is contrary to God. “All that is in the world” – that’s “everything that is in the world” – is not of God’s character.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. 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.” 1John 2:15.16

The world and God the Father are so separate that there is nothing in this world that is consistent with who and what the Father is. So, for us to walk with God we need to have no connection with the “world” and its value systems.

The world is toxic to our spiritual life. We are “in” the world, but we are not “of” the world, and the world will hate us, because we are separated from it in spirit.

“I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14

Pied Piper

The “world system” is ruled by satan. He is called “the prince of this world”.

“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.” John 14:30

He seeks to get people entangled with the processes of the world. He wants them tied up in the cares of this life and the affairs of this world. So, like a Pied Piper, he plays the world’s tunes to seduce the hearts and minds of men and women, boys and girls.

The devil’s key strategies involve catching us up in the things of the world, and specifically “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”. He wants you living by your natural appetites and impulses, the stimulation of what you see and desire, and your pride in yourself.

The “spirit of the world” asks you to buy in to the world’s values in your heart. No matter what you appear to be on the outside, the devil wants you lusting after the world in your heart. That way you become an idol worshipper and the devil has spiritual rights over you and your children.

How it Works

About 100 years ago the western culture was heavily influenced by Bible teaching and Christian values. People were taught to fear God and to accept responsibility, thinking of others rather than self. That did not make the whole culture Christian, but it did make the culture basically safe and the people basically responsible.

But in each successive generation the devil tried to lure people away from faith in God and the fear of God. He knew that his greatest ally was the weakness of the human heart. Just as Eve was easily seduced away from obeying God, each generation is seduced away from God’s holy standards.

In a god-fearing culture, the devil could not get everyone living in open lust and immorality, but that is what he wanted them to do. So, he settled for asking one generation to give in to the “spirit of the world”.

The devil asked people to build an altar in their heart for the worship of worldly pleasure. That pleasure was fairly harmless and safe, held in place by the morality of the culture. But by getting people to “give place to the devil” in their heart, the devil had rights over their lives and their children.

Queen

Spiritual Slavery

Jesus warned that what we give in to gains power over us. The things we worship, lust after or even secretly serve become our masters. We become spiritual slaves to those things.

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I tell you, Who ever commits sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34

The Apostle Paul explained it this way …

“Don’t you know that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16

People who are simply going along with the world are actually servants of satan.

“In time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” Ephesians 2:2

Next Generation

What the parents did in moderation the children were encouraged to do in greater measure. Mum enjoyed listening to the latest music in her day, and so her daughter listened to the latest music in the daughter’s day. However, instead of the popular songs being about innocent themes, the new generation listened to songs with immoral messages. The process was effectively the same, but the moral content had changed.

When the parents tried to caution their children those kids ignored the warning. The parents had done the same thing in their day, so those parents did not have the authority to stop their kids from doing the “same” thing in this new generation. But the stakes had been raised by the spirit of the world. Now the relatively “innocent” activities had become more morally dangerous.

The Pied Piper had the parents and the children trapped in his strategy. Neither could break from the direction he was leading them.

On It Goes

The grandchildren did what their grandparents and parents had done. They followed the cultural standards. Just as grandpa and mum had kept up with the fashion, fads and standards of the world in their day the kids now kept up with the fashion, fads and standards in their new day.

The problem is that the standards had slipped to a level shocking to the grandparent’s generation. Grandma didn’t think that sleeping around was fine. She didn’t think that defying parental instructions was OK. She didn’t want her grandchildren to be destroyed by immoral and godless living.

All she wanted to do was enjoy the “world” as it was offered to her in her day. It was “innocent” fun. It was the best the world had to offer. She gave her heart and soul to it and it seemed to do her no harm.

A Sinister Spirit

When a person gives in to the Spirit of the World they give themselves and their generations to that spirit. It will continue to lead each successive generation into open rebellion against God, gross immorality and complete abandonment of all that is holy and righteous.

And that’s where we are right now. The kids who are sleeping around, taking drugs, doing whatever they want to, when and how they want to do it, are simply fitting in with what the “spirit of the world” tells them to do.

When their parents try to caution or stop them, the parents have no ability to intervene. That’s because the parents were just as much under the power of the same spirit themselves. The parents cannot resist the devil’s work while they are still perfectly happy about their own course in following the spirit of the world in their day.

Two Spirits in the Home

Many Christian homes worship the Spirit of God and the spirit of the world. While the parents try to promote godly values and Christian lifestyle, another spirit has full right to work in the hearts of the children. That other spirit is the spirit of the world.

The parents are oblivious to this unseen subversive spirit, because all their Christian friends also have dual worship in their homes. It seems normal and innocuous to chase the world’s values, entertainment, values, objectives, processes and the like. Science, education, fashion, technology, lifestyle, popular culture, ambitions, morality, and everything else, are seen as normal things to love and pursue, just like all the other people in the “world”.

The spirit of the world is backed up by television, movies, magazines, music, radio, newspapers, the education system, western culture, popular fads, secular role models, universal value systems, and the lusts in the heart of each child.

So, which spirit do you think is likely to win out in the home?

God’s spirit is much more powerful, but the devil has “legal ground” in the heart of the children, due to the parents’ willing worship of the world. He also has the family’s total attention and heart commitment.

Renounce the World

The only way to deliver your home from the spirit of the world and the all pervasive seduction of your children is for you to repent of your commitment to the world and its values. You need to repent and renounce the worldly values which you hold dear. You have to stop loving the world.

If you do not break your affection for the world you will have a wide open door for the devil to walk into your home and to lead your children out into the worst worldly values available.

It is time for you and your family to develop a new lifestyle, such as Paul had when he declared, “For me to live is Christ!”

Not Easy But Desperately Important

I don’t think it will be easy for some families to break from the spirit of the world. I’m not telling you to do this because it’s easy. I’m telling you about this because it’s desperately important.

As you “turn your heart” toward your children you must face the challenge of dealing with the place the world has taken in your heart and in your home. You ignore this challenge at your peril and at the price of your future generations!