Dangers facing our children
Parents want to protect their children from harm. Although my children are grown, I still sometimes have nightmares in which I see my children threatened by some danger, and I am frantically trying to protect or rescue them.
Good parents take every precaution they can. But there is a limit to what we can do. There comes a time as our children grow older when they must assume responsibility for their own safety.
God also wants to protect His children from harm. And because He has given us the great gift of independent personality, we too must assume responsibility for our own safety, with the ready and willing help of our Father in heaven.
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain" (Philippians 2:12-16).
This is what we wish for our children, "that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation," and this is what God wants for all His children.
In this crooked and perverse generation our children are surrounded by grave dangers, three of which are materialism, immorality and apostasy.
The most fundamental decision man makes is whether he will build his life on temporary materialistic values or on eternal spiritual values. The two roads lead in opposite directions.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Through the centuries the ship of many a man or woman of faith has been smashed to smithereens on the rocks of immorality.
In this crooked and perverse generation the enemy of God has developed temptation to an amazingly effective art of deception.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8,9).
"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
Many good religious people will be eternally lost because they did not remain faithful to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, because they departed from the original faith of the New Testament.
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3,4).
Jesus warned: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you, depart from Me you who practice lawlessness. Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." (Matthew 7:21-27).
Most religious people worship God man's way rather than God's way. All such worship is vain, and leads to destruction, as Jesus told the pious Jews of His day: "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:7-9).
Apostasy seldom happens suddenly. It results from gradual drifting away from the original form of the Christian faith. Smooth talking false teachers and false prophets come in and lead people away from the word of God.
"Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).
"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17,18).
We and our children must strive to "become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" (Philippians 2:15). We must withstand and overcome the many dangers to which we are exposed, three of which are materialism, immorality and apostasy.
May God help us.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive