“I think it’s a virus!” stated a student at the high school where I work in response to the recent outbreak of unplanned pregnancies within our academy. She estimates about 75% of the girls are with child and having “baby daddy” drama. The other day, I asked another mom-to-be what teenagers need that they are not getting from adults. Her response was, “Support…physical, mental, and emotional…encouragement. Everybody wants to be encouraged.”
Recently, a college student (a baptized son of a preacher who grew up in the church) confessed to me that he is not a Christian and is studying the text of another religion. A few hours later he posted a status on Facebook asking, “Why are you a Christian?” to his community of “friends” which spurred a plethora of responses from Christians and non-Christians alike. And moments ago, a girl burst into my office yelling about being persecuted by Christians for following a religion she was forced to convert to as the result of her mother’s remarriage, “I hate being a _____! My life has been completely destroyed since my stepfather moved in!”
Children, teenagers, and young adults are crying out and no one is listening. Instead, we respond to them with movie nights, harvest parties, and Christian Bingo when what they really need is authenticity – authentic faith, authentic communication, and authentic fellowship. But, often we are too busy planning bigger and better programs forgetting about the need to equip our future with the spiritual depth they need in order to survive in a world full of empty lies.
These lies promise love, security, and wealth. Even worse, when our children become of age, we push them out the door into a microcosmic cesspool of ideas where Christianity is mocked; the wisdom of man is glorified; Hedonism reigns; and scientific theories are taught as absolute truth. Thus, it is in an environment like this where viruses are born and invade the minds of our children.
Viruses are submicroscopic, parasitic thoughts/ideas/imaginations that infect our children and often lead them to feel lonely, misunderstood, and doubting their faith or the truths of the Bible. They consist of a core of misinformation repackaged to sound like truth. Most viruses are too small to be detected inside the walls of our churches. As a result, their presence become known only after our children have been isolated in despair, a relationship, or a dormitory room. So, how do we prepare our children for the viral infection that is waiting to consume their spiritual lives once they leave (or stop believing in) the protection of our homes/churches?
The answer lies in deliberately discipling our children by teaching them to renew their minds, to have the mind of Christ, and living out the faith for themselves. Far too often our children are insulated from the realities of life’s problems. Therefore, we miss opportunities for them to activate their faith, under the umbrella of our guidance, while they genuinely develop coping/problem-solving skills using God’s Word. Proverbs 4:5-6 reminds us that we should teach our children to: “Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.” Therefore, Biblical Wisdom sees the world and life from God's perspective.
Our children need opportunities to practice this wisdom and to discuss, process, and/or inquire about that which they have learned in non-judgmental surroundings. There is a battle for the minds of our youth: science wants them to believe there is no God; anthropology wants them to believe all gods are the same; television wants them to be numb to sin; professors want them to believe that Christianity is a fairy tale; and, unequally yoked boyfriends/girlfriends want them to believe that “No one will ever love you the way I do.” “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, ‘He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness,’” (1 Corinthians 3:19). Thus, it is important that we raise our children to have a consistency in thinking Biblically in all areas of life in order to sanitize the thinking that spreads the viruses of this world.