What would you think of parents who claim to love their children and want them to be healthy, yet allow them to eat junk food constantly, buy junk food for them, promote the use of junk food, and often give their kids good-tasting poison? I suppose that most sensible people would think that these parents are not doing what is good for their children, but are, in fact, causing them harm.
Why, then, do many Christian parents who say that they want their children to grow up knowing and loving and serving God, constantly feed their children the junk of this world? Why do they promote the junk of this world, and even boast about it to others? Why do they even feed their children things that are contrary to the Word of God and promote the wickedness of this world?
Rather than teach our children about the heroes of the Christian faith – people like Elijah, Esther, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Daniel, Mary, Paul, Blandina, Polycarp, Patrick, Chrysostom, Columba, Athanasius, Athenagoras, Girolamo Savonarola, Balthasar Hubmaier, John Huss, William Tyndale, Menno Simons, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wycliffe, John Knox, John Bunyan, Richard Baxter, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Henry Martyn, John Newton, Christmas Evans, Robert Murray McCheyne, Amy Carmichael, Dwight L. Moody, Peter Cartwright, John Wesley, Adoniram Judson, Billy Sunday, C. T. Studd, David Brainerd, Peter Marshall, David Livingstone, Charles H. Spurgeon, George Muller, J. Hudson Taylor, and many, many more – we teach our children to admire athletes, actors, and cartoon characters.
Can your children name the players on your favorite baseball or football team, but have no idea who Amos or Hezekiah are? Can your children explain what the Super Bowl is but have no idea what the Great Awakening is about? Do your children imitate movie characters rather than the men and women used by God for His glory? If you are more familiar with Disney characters, science-fiction movies, and sports than you are with those Christians mentioned above, then my guess is that your priorities are in the wrong place and you are teaching your children that it is okay to ignore those who have given all for God in order to love the things of this world.
Imagine if Jesus showed up at your house and you wanted to introduce your children to Him. Would you boast about how many goals your child scored last Sunday? Would you be pleased if your child could tell Jesus her top ten favorite Disney movies? Would you tell Jesus how many songs your children could sing along to from American Idol? Maybe the children are just following your example. (Would you be proud to show Him your favorite music list, your most recent books you have read, the latest movies you have watched, and all the “Likes” on your Facebook page?)
Would you, instead, be pleased if your children could tell Jesus about the missionary they were learning about, sing to Him their favorite hymns, and quote the Bible verses they learned so far this year? Would you be proud that your children did not know who the famous immoral actresses are or that they actually honor the Lord’s Day and keep it holy? Would you be embarrassed that your child reads the Bible and Christian biographies instead of playing video games all day? Would you be glad that your children were dressed modestly instead of in clothes that copied the immorality and entertainment of this world?
Would you be happier to tell Jesus that your family reads the Bible and prays and sings Christian songs together every day, or that your children are in three sports leagues and two dance classes? Are you feeding your children healthy spiritual food, or are you poisoning them and causing them to look at the foolishness of this world?
Let us learn from John, who wrote: And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming (1 John 2:28). Will you be ashamed if Jesus showed up at your house and saw what was important to you and saw the things you loved, or would He see how you love Him instead of the things of the world? Remember, we cannot love both. Which do you love? If your children see your single-minded love for Him, then continue to abide in Him and help to change the world for God’s glory. If, however, you are teaching your children more about Star Wars than He who made and named the stars, more about Lebron James than the book of James, more about preparing for a soccer game than preparing for eternity, or more about playing than praying, then if truly love your children, you had better realize the error of your ways and teach them to love God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to not love the world and the things of the world.