The world’s culture appeals directly to the flesh. It does not ask permission from parents to tempt their teenagers. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, the flesh is an intimate gateway for the world’s temptations. The message that the world gives seeks to discredit the biblical message that Christian parents offer. Galatians 5:19-21 & Proverbs 9 teach that the teenager’s flesh willingly listens to the world’s message of subversion. Parents, you must be aware of this warfare! Your call for your teenagers to be pure may be met with a scoffing, mocking world that already has an “in” with your teenager.
“But my teenager has made a profession of faith,” you protest. But the battle against the flesh goes on whether or not your teenager is a Christian. If he is a Christian, Galatians 5 teaches that he will still battle his flesh. If she is not a Christian, the same battle occurs, but without the power of the Savior to overcome the enemy. In both cases the answer is the gospel!
According to the unique situation of a particular family, boundaries, restrictions and wise consequences will be weapons to deploy in this battle to shepherd your children for God. However, do not leave out the call of Christ through his gospel. Otherwise your efforts will be in vain.
The beauty of the gospel is Jesus Christ. The call of Christ is more intimate than the call of the world. You may not have experienced all of the temptations that your teenager faces—but Jesus has! He offers his help. But first Christ must be acknowledged as God; he alone is the One worth living for.
Knowing Christ and being blown away by him is the one thing that can cause your teenager to overcome the alluring call of the flesh. The call of pornography is strong, but the gospel can expose it for the ugly lie that it is. The desire to be accepted appeals to teenagers when they have been hurt or misunderstood. However, in Christ, teenagers can know that they are accepted, not on the basis of what they have done, but they are accepted because of what Christ has done for them. Teenagers can feel out of place because of how they look, but in Christ they know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.
There are no easy answers or shortcuts to the problems teenagers face. There is only Christ. Parents show your children what it means to trust Christ in this battle with the world, the flesh and the devil.
Teenage lives matter! Offer your teenager nothing less that the power of the gospel.