Joshua 24:15 says, “As for me and my House we will serve the Lord.” Read or listen to this chapter from the Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide to learn why is it getting harder to be able to say this.
Table of contents
- Our Children Are Growing Up in a Fallen World
- It’s Getting Harder to Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord” Because of the Proliferation of Evil
- It’s Getting Harder to Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord” Because of the Legalization of Evil
- It’s Getting Harder to Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord” Because of the Celebration of Evil
- We Must Disciple Our Children if We Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord”
- We Must Provide a Christian Worldview if We Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord”
Our Children Are Growing Up in a Fallen World
As our children are getting older, we are recognizing just how little time we have with them. As parents, we should be selfish with this time because we recognize that it’s valuable but limited. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average number of hours in a public school day is 6.64, and this doesn’t include the time spent walking, driving, or riding the bus to and from school. The average number of school days per year is 180, which adds up to a little under 1,200 hours per year. This means that by the time public school students graduate high school, they have spent over 15,500 hours in school.
This is a lot of time for our children to be away from us. They can be around students who have a strong negative influence on them by exhibiting behaviors and sharing beliefs we don’t want our children to embrace. As a former schoolteacher, I will be the first to say most teachers are hardworking and moral, but, though they may have their students’ best interests in mind, many of them are not Christians. They don’t share the values we want our children to have, and they must teach material that contradicts the Bible. The Fairfax County Public School Board in Virginia approved lessons about homosexuality and “gender identity” in its “Family Life Education” curriculum. In the fifth-largest school district in the nation, Clark County School District officials are considering teaching children as young as five about homosexuality.
- When you consider all the time your children are away from you (school, activities, etc.), how does that motivate you to be a positive example for them?
- How can you be a positive influence for the children in your life?
It’s Getting Harder to Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord” Because of the Proliferation of Evil
After school, when children sit down to watch a show or a movie, the moral decline is still more evident. Disney aired a cartoon showing a same-sex kiss. They’ve changed Beauty and the Beast to introduce a homosexual subplot. In Disney’s cartoon, The Owl House, a demon teaches kids how to become witches.
Cover Girl introduced a teenage boy, James Charles, as their new “cover girl.” Maybelline didn’t want to be outdone, so they countered by doing the same with a teenage boy, Manny Gutierrez. The January 2017 edition of National Geographic is a picture of a nine-year-old boy who looks just like a girl. He’s dressed in pink with long pink hair, and the quote from him reads: “The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”
In Proverbs 7, the foolish young man had to look for the harlot and put himself in a place to meet her: “Passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night” (Proverbs 7:8-9). He had to head down the street toward her house, and even go out at night when he knew he would not be seen.
The young fool had to go through many steps to reach her, but for young men today to encounter immoral women—how many steps do they need to take? They don’t need to wait for a certain time or even leave their homes. All they need to do is pick up their phones and get on the internet. The availability of sin today is unthinkable. The temptations our children face should motivate us to disciple them.
- What steps have you taken to protect your family from the rampant evil in our world?
- In what ways can you disciple the children in your lives so they would flee from evil?
- Whether you are a parent or child, how are you actively seeking to flee evil?
It’s Getting Harder to Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord” Because of the Legalization of Evil
Through most of human history, there’s been an amount of legalized evil. Drunkenness, fornication, lying, gossip, and immodesty are all sins, and under most circumstances, they’re legal. But in recent decades, we’ve seen even more evil legalized. In 1973, the Supreme Court legalized the murder of babies within the womb. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court required all states to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Laws are being enacted at a fierce rate in favor of transgender people. On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a law protecting homosexual and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. Citizens are required to support and pay for with their taxes, the progress of perversions. President Obama and other national leaders affirm not just the morality of these perversions, but the nobility of them. A few decades ago, if someone running for office defended these perversions, he wouldn’t be elected, but call something evil or perverse today, and an individual must doubt whether he could be considered a serious candidate for office.
According to a 2008 study published in The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Most children with gender dysphoria will not remain gender dysphoric after puberty.” In other words, those supposedly confused about their gender will no longer be confused when they’re older. But, if they received the free surgery to have their gender changed, it will be too late.
In the state of Oregon, fifteen-year-olds are not legally allowed to drive, smoke, donate blood, get a tattoo, or even go to a tanning bed, but they are allowed to have an operation that attempts to change their gender. They can do so without parental consent, and the state will pay for it through the Oregon Health Plan. I remember being fifteen, and I remember coaching fifteen-year-olds. They are very impressionable and fickle. Dr. Paul McHugh, who led the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Department, said, “Oregon’s policy amounts to child abuse. It’s a very radical and even mutilating treatment. Children age fifteen may not fully understand all the consequences of the procedures they are undergoing.” I’d be surprised if they understand even a fraction of the consequences. They’re fifteen!
Did you expect one day to be living in a world that affirms children who don’t know whether they want to be male or female? Tragically, these children must not have been taught one of the simplest and earliest truths contained in Scripture: “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27; repeated in Genesis 5:2, Matthew 19:4, and Mark 10:6).
Would we have so many children supposedly confused about their gender if parents were teaching their children this one simple truth from Scripture at an early age? Would we be dealing with this problem if men were raising their sons to be fathers and husbands, and women were raising their daughters to be wives and mothers?
- Knowing that children and teens are watching the adults around them, what sins do you need to repent of before the Lord?
- Describe the specific things you are doing to raise your sons to be fathers and husbands and your daughters to be wives and mothers.
It’s Getting Harder to Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord” Because of the Celebration of Evil
Arthur Ashe was an African American tennis player who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. Then he spent much of the rest of his life educating people about HIV and AIDS. After his death, ESPN developed an award named after him. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which is described as “one of the most prestigious in sports. Recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril, and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost. Winners of the Arthur Ashe Award strive to carry on Ashe’s legacy in their own lives, inspired by those who do so each day.”
Tragically, this honorable award has been ruined. The recipient in 2014 was Michael Sam because he was the first player chosen by the NFL after publicly declaring his homosexuality. He was also named one of GQ’s Men of the Year, and he was a finalist for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. He publicly defied God’s Word, but that’s not the worst part; people have been doing that for centuries. The worst part is he received a prestigious award for it. The nation celebrated what he did.
The recipient of the award for 2015 was Bruce Jenner, but he’s listed as Caitlyn Jenner. Imagine for a moment that a man could mutilate himself as Bruce did, and it would be considered courageous and make him the recipient of a prestigious award. Again, the worst part isn’t what Bruce Jenner did; people have always pursued evil and perversion. The worst part is that it was celebrated. Do you think fifty, forty, or even twenty years ago, a prestigious courage award would’ve been given to a man because he publicly announced his homosexuality, or to another man because he mutilated his body so he could call himself a woman?
There are certain perversions taking place today that used only to be spoken of in whispers; it was rightly considered shameful to publicize perversion. These evils never would’ve been acknowledged because they were so disgraceful, but now they’re celebrated and rewarded.
- If you could choose a biblical character who matches the criteria for the Arthur Ashe award of “possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril, and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost,” who would it by and why?
- How could the criteria for the Arthur Ashe award be relevant to your family today? In other words, what criteria could your family strive to apply?
- If a child or teen came to you to share their gay, lesbian, or transgender lifestyle or confusion about their sexual identity, how would you respond in a loving way that would direct them to God? What Scriptures would you use? If you have older children or teens, discuss with them how they might talk to any peers in these situations.
- How can you teach the children in your life to embrace the gender God created them as?
What Does God Think?
How does God view these things? The term transgender isn’t mentioned in Scripture, but there are two applicable verses. First, Deuteronomy 22:5 says, “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.” This is not saying every article of clothing falls into one of two categories—one for men and one for women—and you must ensure you don’t wear clothing that falls into the wrong category. There are some clothes that can be worn by males and females. Instead, the verse is forbidding intentional cross-dressing or transvestitism, which is when people attempt to appear like someone of the opposite sex. God wants gender distinctions maintained down to the way we dress.
Deuteronomy 22:5 is part of the Old Covenant, and we are under the New Covenant, but the morality of the Old is carried forward to the New. Morality is determined by God, and since God’s nature doesn’t change, morality doesn’t change. If God said something is an abomination, we know we’re dealing with something immoral. Another way to think of it is, if God said something is an abomination under the Old Covenant, we can be sure it wouldn’t become acceptable to Him later. The simple point is if God said it’s an abomination for men to dress like women and for women to dress like men, I don’t have words for what He must think about some of the transgenderism He sees today.
Second, Deuteronomy 23:1, which discusses eunuchs, says: “He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the Lord.” Why such a severe punishment being kept from corporate worship? More than likely, it is because they were no longer representatives of a man made fully in God’s image. They violated God’s clearly established gender roles.
The only way our world makes sense is to look at it spiritually, which is to look at it the way God sees it. How else can we explain people passionately fighting to save trees while also passionately fighting to murder babies in the womb, or celebrating homosexuality and transgenderism as the pinnacles of courage? The only way these situations make any sense is in understanding there’s a spiritual battle going on between good and evil.
Why all these examples? This is the world our children are growing up in. This is what they’re going to be confronted with. This is what’s proliferated, legalized, and celebrated. Our children must know God’s Word before they encounter these issues so they can recognize the evil and know how to respond. This is why it’s so important for Christian parents to disciple their children.
- In what ways have you compromised your beliefs or actions because “times have changed,” and you felt you had to go along? Take some time to repent of those things that dishonor God.
We Must Disciple Our Children if We Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord”
The responsibility to (disciple) train and teach children is on the parents’ shoulders. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This is addressing parents—not the public school system, not the government, and not even the church. It’s clearly addressing parents. When Moses gave the Law to the new generation that was about to enter the Promised Land, he said, “You shall teach them [the words of God] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). The “You” is parents. Ultimately, children belong to God, and secondarily, they belong to parents. The phrase “your children” is God’s way of saying that parents are charged as stewards to train them in His will and way. Parents must do this all the time, such as when they “sit in your house…walk by the way…lie down…rise up.”
Prior to pastoring, I taught elementary school. When the bell rang at the end of the day, the teaching concluded, and I sent the students home. But as parents, we never stop educating our children. God wants us to disciple them around the clock, every day, all day. When I was an officer in the Army, I was trained to “Always have a hip-pocket teaching available.” Our uniforms had large pockets on our hips, and we were supposed to have a teaching we could pull out at any moment to share with our soldiers. The same is true with our children. We should look for teachable moments throughout the day to disciple them on work, diligence, rest, laziness, service, joy, and thankfulness. As our children encounter day-to-day situations, we want to repeatedly say, “What does the Bible say about this? How does God’s Word apply to this situation?” Typically, children growing up in Christian homes learn Scripture, but how does this benefit them if it isn’t affecting their day-to-day lives, their relationships, and their decision-making?
- In what ways are you teaching your children the Word of God throughout the day?
- Ask God to show you ways you can use teachable moments to bring God’s Word to life for your children. Write down what God is showing you.
One final point for parents. If we’re going to talk to our children about fearing and obeying God, we need to ensure we fear and obey God ourselves. Children can see through hypocrisy very easily. If our children know we’re not doing what we’re teaching, we can be sure they’re going to choose rebellion over obedience. I don’t know if there’s anything that pushes children to rebellion faster than hypocrisy.
The other Person who can see through hypocrisy is God. If parents pray for their children to fear and obey God, it’s hard to imagine Him answering those prayers if the parents don’t fear and obey Him. As parents, we all want our children to read the Word and be involved in the church, but it’s tragic when parents expect this for their children, but not for themselves. They’re setting their own children up for failure.
- Look up the word hypocrisy in a dictionary and write the definition below. Ask God to show you any areas you may be living in hypocrisy.
We Must Provide a Christian Worldview if We Say, “As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord”
In classrooms across the nation, students learn important subjects: math, reading, writing, science, and history. They also learn some important morals: do not lie, cheat, steal, be kind, work hard, and do your best. We homeschool our children, but if we only teach them academics and morality, then we’re not moving beyond anything public schools offer. We must ensure we’re doing what Deuteronomy 6:7 commands, diligently teaching our children the Word of God. If they learn academics that get them into the most prestigious schools in the nation, but they aren’t committed to using that education for Christ, what good have we accomplished?
Why do we teach our children:
- Reading? So they can read Scripture.
- Writing? So they can write about the Lord.
- Music? So they can worship the Lord and help others do the same.
- Science? So they can better know the Creator of creation.
- Art? So they can produce works that bring glory to God.
- History? So they can learn about our Christian heritage and the sacrifice many were willing to make to worship God freely and learn from the mistakes of those who rejected that same God.
And why do we teach them to work? So they can serve God: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Paul’s son in the faith, Timothy, grew up to be a wonderful, godly, young man. He was so impressive that when Paul met him, young as Timothy was, he wanted to bring him along (Acts 16:3). What made Timothy so exceptional? Paul gives the answer: “From childhood you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). From a young age, Timothy knew the Scriptures, which did two things for him:
- They provided him with salvation; they taught him the gospel and how to be saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.
- They [made him] wise; Scripture is where true wisdom comes from.
This is a great example of what we should desire for our children: that they know the Scriptures at a young age, and that they’re wise for salvation, which is to say they know to put their faith in Christ. Where did Timothy receive this instruction? Not from his public-school teacher, wonderful coach, the government, or even the church. He received it from his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). And along with their fathers (see next chapter), this is where our children should receive the same wisdom and discipleship.
- After reading this section, how do you view the benefits of academic subjects differently? How can you weave Scripture into your child’s school assignments or homework?
- In what ways were you surprised by the information in this chapter?
If you have children, work with your spouse on a plan to intentionally incorporate more teachings of God’s Word into your daily routine. Brainstorm ways how you can do this naturally in addition to any regular Bible teaching you do in your home. If you do not have children, ask God to show you how you can be an example to a child in your life.