In his first epistle, the apostle John speaks of the world as a hostile place. This hostility, however, is masked by deception. The world does not present itself as a hostile enemy. Rather, the world offers itself as the ultimate source of pleasure, fulfillment and satisfaction. The success of this deception is evident in the lives of many children from Christian homes who have been savaged by the world. Too many have repeated the cry of Proverbs:
“Afterward you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body, and you will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not demanded my own way! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to those who gave me instruction? I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace” (Proverbs 5:11-14 NLT).
What is the answer to that anguished cry of regret? Why didn’t he listen? Why didn’t he pay attention?
At least one reason is that Satan’s deceptive lies were believed. As the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep. The world has only the appearance of beauty, not the reality. But the appearance of beauty is alluring and powerful, even though it is false. Satan is hard at work putting an appealing, beautiful veneer over the horrible world that he rules. Never underestimate the danger of false beauty!
Your job as a parent is to use the time while your children are in the protected environment of your home to prepare them for the deceptive, hostile world that they must soon face. Then they must be strong enough and wise enough to see through Satan’s deceit.
The world is not what it appears to be.
You must prepare your children for a world which is deliberately designed to be a milieu of deceit and trickery. The world that Satan rules is, in fact, a grand deception.(Ephesians 2:1-3) Satan wants to make his world as attractive as it is deceptive. Sexual pleasure, financial independence, exotic vacations, freedom from sickness, powerful stereo systems, professional sports stardom, wide screen TV’s, reality computer games, freedom from aging, an exciting career, better golf scores—all hold the promise of fulfillment and contentment. Yet the sales of antidepressant medications continue to rise. Marriages continue to crumble. Young peoples’ dreams of sports careers lie shattered in the wake of damaged knees.
Remember the wise father of Proverbs 7. He carefully warned his son about the dangers of viewing sex and pleasure from Satan’s perspective. He fought valiantly and wisely to keep his son from bitterly repeating the devastating confession given in Proverbs 5.
Lovingly, humbly engage your children. Warn them about the grand deception that awaits them. Their lives hang in the balance.
Adapted from Chapter 9 of Everyday Talk.