Good morning friends. One thing I have noticed in life; if you ever want to get someone mad at you tell them not to do something. If you ever want a teenager to do something, first tell them not to do it. The sin nature in us is very strong and it gravitates to its origins. Remember how it started; when Eve did the one thing she was told not to do? Disobedience got us in trouble then and it continues to get us in trouble today.
Perhaps that is the reason the Spirit inspired Paul to write a very important part of his instructions to the Philippians in a positive light:
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. v. 8
Today we may be tempted to say, "If it isn't Christian don't partake in it" but I have seen many things titled Christian that was not noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable. Do not think the title "Christian" is safe any more than a movie marked "General" in Quebec is safe for family viewing. Even in the Church people have different standards of what is acceptable so it is hard to know what to trust. However that really is not the problem either because we do not want to be told by other people what we can and can not do or what we can and can not see or what we can and can not listen to. Why should we need to be told by others? Should we not be at a level of maturity to understand for ourselves what Paul means when he says "if anything is excellent or praiseworthy"? He tells us that we should think about things that fit these descriptions, that our mind should be occupied with the things that honour our Lord.
I have watched it happen in my own life and the life of my family. There is so much entertainment out there that looks so attractive, it is an easy thing to shut off the brain and just let it happen. However, it really does effect the pattern of our thinking and what we begin to tolerate in our own attitude and behaviour. Once the door is open it is hard to shut again. I have watched the attitude of my children toward the things of God slip away. I have watched their behaviour change. I have excused it with, "It's a normal teenage thing". Normal in the world perhaps but not so normal for those who have been taught to love and honour God. Where is the problem? The problem is in me not taking seriously these words from the Holy Spirit.
How can sexual sin honour God? How can murder and killing be considered praiseworthy? How can the stories of demons and witchcraft be considered excellent? How can songs filled with profanities and treating the most honoured name of Jesus like a curse word be thought of as pure? How can songs filled with thoughts of sin be tolerated as right? Entertainment has become such a huge focus for us that we hardly give it a thought any more. When I stop and think of the video games my boys play I shudder. If we take it all away what is there left? Not a lot, and that should worry us.
Is there a weakness in our relationship with Jesus? Is it any wonder that we struggle to grow into maturity? How can we understand the depth of love we are to have when our thoughts are on murder, rape, adultery, pornography. I laugh when people think pornography is only a problem for men. Watch some of the tv shows and see how many muscular young men are walking around shirtless. Who do you think that is for? Dad's watch your teenage girls.
I challenge you to look at some of your behaviours and habits to see what you have been tolerating. See if everything you and your children are involved in would stand up under these words of guidance from the Spirit. If growing spiritually matters to you and your children then maybe we all need to shift our attention from the behaviours that do not honour God to those that do. We can come up with lots of excuses but it really comes down to this guidance:
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.
This is not the advice of some dad from the 1950's, it is the Holy Scriptures, God's revelation to man. These words have been given to us to profit us, not to take away from us. They have a purpose and come from a desire to see us grow and mature in Christ. I think we need to shake ourselves until we wake up again to God's reality, to wake up from this slumber that the enemy has caused us to fall in to. Like the fruit in the garden, just because it is there does not mean we have to consume it. Perhaps we have to find a different method to explain it to our children and perhaps we need to find a different way to convince ourselves, but something has to change.