Satan wants to destroy your children, and he often uses entertainment brimming with Failure Philosophies to do it. Join the discussion as AMBrewster unpacks just one song in order to help us all be able to see and answer the lies our children will encounter.
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Off and on for the past month we’ve discussed Failure Philosophies. In episode 14 we talked about the tsunami of errant philosophy that pervades our modern entertainment. In episode 21 we discussed a unique Failure Philosophy obsessed with things you’re not supposed to say to parents, children, bosses, and every other conceivable human on the planet. Then as we looked at what God thinks about your children’s music in episode 23, we found once again that errant philosophy is one of the sneakiest and most dangerous issues with modern music. And all along the way I admonished us, the parents, to be informed. To watch the movies, listen the music, read the articles, and not only be able to spot the Failure Philosophies being preached, but -- more importantly -- be able to answer them with God’s Truth.
So, today we’re going take one song, work our way through it, and show you how I spot Failure Philosophies and what God has to say about it.
But more on that in a minute.
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So, now, I’d like to share a song with you. What makes this particular choice interesting is not the quality of the song. We’re not talking about a high-caliber musician whose music has rocked the charts. What makes this song interesting is that it was written by an artist who formally professed to be a Christian. This song was written during a transition period in her life, and when you look carefully at her music and life choices, no Bible-believing Christian would be surprised to hear that she’s slipped so far off the deep-end that even the world says she’s gone too far.
Editors Note: We knew by spotlighting this song that we were unavoidably dating this episode. However, please understand that the importance of this article is not about the song or the artist in question. The value of the episode is in learning to hear the World System's Failure Philosophies, identify them as lies, respond to them correctly, and prepare our children to do the same.
The artist to whom I’m referring is Miley Cyrus. Once hailed as a role model for young girls with her Disney Channel show Hannah Montanna and “family-friendly” music, Miley went through a distinct transition around the time she recorded a song called “Party in the U.S.A.” From there on she quickly descended into lifestyles that made Hollywood cringe and eventually took a wrecking ball to Christianity in numerous rants.
So, how does a sweet, “Christian” girl from “good” family pull an Anakin Skywalker?
The answers were always there. In episode 5 we discussed 4 ways to better understand your child. The most important concept was understanding that everything your children say and do, don’t say and don’t do speaks to the state of their relationship with God. It’s what the Bible calls “fruit.”
Well, Miley’s “bad fruit” had been peeking out for quite some time, but I fear that those closest to her didn’t notice it until it was too late.
For years, Miley slowly taught us how to fail God, and I want to take a few minute to look at one of the chapters from her “book” I’ve entitled, How to Fail God by Miley Cyrus.
“Party in the U.S.A.” came out on Miley’s “The Time of Our Lives” album back in 2009. Though people were mostly concerned by her potentially risqué “pole dance,” the real dangers of the song were entrenched in nearly every lyric. Also, keep in mind that this song contains absolutely no profanity and doesn’t talk about drugs or sex or drinking or any of the “bad” things.
Yet despite all that, here are five Failure Philosophies from this one song that every parent needs to be able identify and address.
1. Chase Your Dreams.
“I hopped off the plane at L.A.X.
With a dream and my cardigan.”
I’m not here to stomp on anyone’s dreams or say that a dream that includes singing in California is wicked. But I do want to make two observations.
Ecclesiastes 11:9 says, “Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things.”
The danger with any “Follow Your Heart” philosophy is that we’re chasing after our dreams instead of God’s dreams. Psalm 37:4 tells us that only when we “Delight . . . in the Lord [that] He will give [us] the desires of [our] hearts.”
If our children are encourage to chase a dream that isn’t centered on God’s perfect will for their lives, they will fail.
The second Failure Philosophy Miley taught us was to . . .
2. Care too much about what People Think.
“Welcome to the land of fame excess (whoa),
Am I gonna fit in?”
“Get to the club in my taxi cab
Everybody’s looking at me now
Like, ‘Who’s that chick that’s rockin’ kicks?
She gotta be from out of town.'”
The first way to fail God is to idolize my own dreams above His. The second way is to care more about what other people think than what He thinks. This is, of course, ironic because if my dreams are more important than the God of the universe, why do I care so much about what puny mortals think? Thankfully no one ever said failing God had to make sense.
When we fear men over God, we invite destruction into our lives.
Proverbs 29:2 tells us,“The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.”
Matthew 10:28 goes further to say, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” God’s opinion of our children needs to matter to them infinitely more than their peers.
Now, it’s at this point in a counseling session that a parent who’s all but lost their child to the World tries to scold me for such an incredibly narrow application. I hear things like, “It’s normal for children to be self-conscious.” or “Are you saying it’s wrong for kids to care what their friends think?” or my favorite, “Well, maybe that’s how life works in your world, but in the real world, it’s not that easy.”
First, I never said that combating the Failure Philosophies the World is shoving down your children’s throats was going to be easy. Second, this doesn’t really have anything to do with me. It was God who in His infinite wisdom said, “the fear of man brings a snare.”
To be honest, we need to help our children not care what the World thinks when it comes to their fidelity to God. Yes, we need to care very much when people point out pride and disobedience and impatience and foolishness and a lack of love, but when people want to tear us down for doing right . . . we really don’t need to care. In John chapter 15, during some of Christ’s final admonitions to his disciples he used the words hate/hates/hated 8 times as he describes how the words is going to treat us. And He starts that section off by saying “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”
If our kids are taught to care too much what people think, they will fail.
3. Value Your Friends Over Your Parents.
“So hard with my girls not around me
It’s definitely not a Nashville party.”
This may sound like number two, but it’s very different. Number two dealt with being more concerned about the criticism of the World, but number three deals with the counsel and comfort from friends.
Having friends is great, but when my friends mean more to me than my parents I’m likely surrounding myself with the wrong advisers. Too many young people have terrible relationships with mom and dad. But your kids need to accept that if there were a set of parents better for them than the ones we have, God would have given your kids to them.
Children spend too much time running away from their God-given authority, but if a set of parents loves God and loves their children, that child would be a fool to seek counsel and guidance from their friends before running to mom and dad.
In I Kings 12:6-8 we learn about a young king who took bad advice from his friends. “King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you counsel me to answer this people?” . . . But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him.”
“Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death. And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.” I Kings 12:18-19
If your children buy into the Failure Philosophy that the world system has more to offer them than God and His mouth-pieces, they will fail.
As a recap, this one song has modeled for us how to chase our Godless dreams, care too much people think of us, and care too much for our friends’ counsel.
The fourth way Miley demonstrates how to fail God is this . . .
4. Handle Anxiety the Wrong Way.
“So I put my hands up
They’re playing my song,
The butterflies fly away
I’m noddin’ my head like yeah
Movin’ my hips like yeah
I got my hands up,
They’re playin’ my song
I know I’m gonna be OK
Yeah, it’s a party in the USA.”
“Feel like hoppin’ on a flight
Back to my hometown tonight.
Something stops me every time;
The DJ plays my song and I feel alright.”
We’re emotional beings. This is a gift from God when we understand and respond to our emotions in a Christ-honoring way. In fact, we’re going to discuss our kids’ emotions in great detail in February, but for now we need to understand that when we idolize our feelings by putting their importance over God-ordained sources of peace and encouragement, we’re destined to failure.
Listen again to Miley’s pop placebos.
“My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda home sick
Too much pressure and I’m nervous,
That’s when the taxi man turned on the radio
And a Jay-Z song was on.”
Three times throughout the song, the one thing that helped Miley get control over her fears was music. This sounds an awful lot like what we talked about on Tuesday in episode 23. When we idolize our emotions, it’s easy to turn to those mediums that will give us a superficial jolt of fun-feeling. It’s easy to drown our sadness in adrenaline, our guilt in sensuality, and our fear in fun, but those are not God’s ways of responding to life’s difficulties.
Philippians 4:6-7 is an amazing passage concerning fear because it says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This whole passage gives us multiple ways to beat fear into submission. But instead, Miley wants your kids to think that their favorite songs are the best way to escape fear. And if our kids do that, they’re going to fail.
Now, the final way Miley teaches us to fail God is this . . .
5. Idolize the Wrong People.
So, Miley’s chasing a dream that doesn’t glorify God, cares too much what people think about her, seemingly ignores mom and dad, and handles her anxiety by turning to emotion-drenched placebos . . . orchestrated by Jay-Z and Brittany Spears?
Do we see the problem here?
Let’s discuss Jay-Z and Brittany Spears for a second. These individuals have bad credit at the bank of Good Advice and yet Miss Cyrus turns to them before eternal Truth?
Both these performers have practically ruined their personal and professional lives and yet Miley wants to follow their guidance?
Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
And the sad thing is, Miley’s made the same shockingly bad choices that shocked the world when Jay-Z and Bittany did them.
Again, this is where I have parents tell me, “You’re making a big deal out of a little thing,” or they say “It’s just a song,” but I want to draw you to one more very important verse. Matthew 12:34 instructs us “The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
This concept has been a foundation stone of my ministry to families. The words of our mouths reveal and betray our deepest beliefs. There’re no slips or accidents when it comes to our speech. Miley likely didn’t write all of these words, but she sang them, and communicated them to millions of people as a worldview worth living by.
Through this song (and others) she told the world what she thought about life and God. And somehow we were all surprised when she failed the God she claimed to love.
If you don’t want your children to fail, you need to be on the lookout for these 5 Failure Philosophies. They’re everywhere. Satan and his World System want us to believe 1. That there’s nothing better to live for than our own happiness. 2. So, therefore we need to be afraid of people who aren’t tolerant of our passions, and 3. We need to surround ourselves with those who will tell us our path to happiness is okay, and 4. Drown out the things that might point us back to Truth with emotion-soaked entertainment, and 5. idolize the celebrities in this life who have supposedly been “successful” in the first four areas.
I hope you join us next Tuesday when we discuss 5 things about the internet I’ve learned from counseling teens addicted to sexual sins. We’ll also talk about 5 spiritual solutions to those tech-tations, and I’ll offer a simple bonus help as you do your best to prepare your children to handle the world’s never-ending onslaught of Failure Philosophies.
And speaking of the interweb, if you’d like daily access to Biblical Truths for your life and parenting, please like and Follow TLP on Facebook and @AMBrewster on Twitter.
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And lastly, if you’ve hit a wall with your children, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
May God’s Perfect Philosophy for life and godliness drown out the Failure Philosophies trying to highjack your home.
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