Feed the Right Dog
While a sophomore in college, our son Brandon went on a ski trip arranged by his school. One of the chaperones led a devotional the second night and asked this question: If I have a black dog and a white dog and they get into a fight, which one will win?
When none of the students could answer, he said, "You don't know because you don't have enough information. Now what if I tell you I feed the black dog every day but rarely give the white dog anything to eat. Could you tell me which would win the fight?"
"The black dog," the students said in unison.
"Of course," he said. "The black dog would win because feeding him has made him stronger. It's the same with us. If we feed our sinful nature with raunchy music, R-rated movies and television shows that would make a sailor blush but we rarely feed our spirit with the things of God, which side will grow stronger? Which side will win when we face temptation?"
Little did that chaperone know that our son had become addicted to pornography three years earlier. Though he had made great strides in overcoming his addiction, Brandon still struggled with the desire to seek out and watch pornographic movies. He had fed his addiction for eighteen months before coming to us for help, and it had grown very strong. Those longings did not relinquish their hold without a fight.
Whether your child has fallen into porn or not, your first and most important goal is to lead him into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ (see "Helmet of Salvation"
). But our son knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior and still succumbed to porn. So what's a parent to do?
After salvation, many new Christians put their faith on a shelf and ignore it like a stuffed animal rather than feed it like the living, growing relationship it is. By doing so, they never realize the true joy of the Lord. How sad!
If we find interesting and exciting ways to nourish our children's minds with the things of God, we make a joyous life lived for Christ more delectable than what the world has to offer. As we do, we build up our children to withstand pornography and other temptations.
Many Christian parents keep their children busy with Sunday school, church camp, choir and Awanas rather than the usual fare of soccer games, dance class, karate, and Scouts. That's not a bad thing. But unless we're careful, we can focus on Christian activities and miss Christ altogether. Resisting temptation is not just about pulling away from bad things but about drawing near to God.
So encourage your children to choose activities that honor God but also encourage them to build themselves up in their faith as it says in Jude 20
. Pray for and with your children about their future. Talk to them about Jesus as if He's your best friend (after all, He is). Grow in knowing more about God by reading and memorizing scripture together. Find fun family devotionals to do once a week. And don't forget that the family was the first institution ordained by God (Genesis 2:24
). Keep your family close. Eat dinner every night together. Spend time just having fun.
According to the world, Christians are boring people with a list of rules that suck all the fun out of life. With a little effort, you can give your child a mouthwatering look at Christianity and let him "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8
). And with that kind of nourishment, your child will grow a strong and healthy spiritual life.