Why is Satan so persuasive when he’s lying to us about something that will kill us? Why are Christian parents who have the Truth often so incredibly not persuasive? Join AMBrewster as he teases Christian parents to lead their children like God.
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“Parenting Like Satan” (episode 372)
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This season we’re on a multi-episode journey to discuss some important and controversial issues.
Let me trace for you where we’ve been and where we’re going.
We started with an episode about “A Parent’s Final Words” because the most important thing you can tell your child is to submit to God and obey His Word.
Then we discussed the “Reality of Rebellion” because we need to understand that every member of our family has a predisposition to rejecting God and rebelling against His Word.
That’s why our next episode was “What Happens When Your Family Does What’s Right in Its Own Eyes?” We needed to hear God lay out the very detrimental consequences of refusing to think and desire and believe and speak and act in ways that conform to His character.
And whether it immediately makes sense or not, the previous episode discussed “What Does It Mean to Teach Your Children to Think?” because what we believe and think about God, ourselves, and His Word is the indicator of whether we’re going to follow His path or our own.
So, how do we follow that up?
Today my plan is to talk about persuading our children with Truth in the opposite way the Devil tries to persuade them with lies.
Are you seeing the progression? We talked about how success comes by submitting to God, but we also saw that humans naturally want to rebel. So we talked about the consequences of that rebellion and jumped into a discussion about how we train our kids to think like God thinks.
Today is a continuation of that topic because there is nothing more important we can do as parents than teach our kids to think God’s thoughts after Him, not lean on their own understanding, acknowledge Him in all of their ways, deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Christ by having the same mind that Jesus had.
And once we’re done talking about how to help our kids think biblically in general, we plan to tackle how to help our children think biblically about injustice, racism, diversity, unity, government, and Christ-honoring division.
Lord willing, that conversation will take us to the end of Season 16.
By the way, if you’d like to actually join the conversation, you can email us at TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com, you can go to Taking Back the Family and comment on the individual episodes, and you can engage us on social media. We’d love for you to be part of working through God’s Truth on these subjects.
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Alight, let’s talk about God’s Truth, Satan’s Lies and how to parent out of death into life.
Adam and Eve were created innocent. They were sinless only because they hadn’t yet sinned, and God — in His grace — gave them a free will to choose or reject Him.
But since they were finite humans who had never encountered lies, it was easy for Satan to manipulate them.
Now, everyone since them is born with a predisposition to sin. It’s called our Sinful Flesh or our Sin Nature and it actually wants to be lied to.
Our hearts are wicked and deceitful and they crave lies so that they can justify rebelling against God.
So, Satan continues lying to us the way he lied to Adam and Eve, and we continue believing Him.
Now, today I want to talk about how to tell your kids the Truth in a persuasive way, and I could do that — and I have done that — by looking at positive examples in the Scripture. But today I want to compare and contrast God’s Truth with Satan’s lies in an attempt to find the similarities.
That’s right, I said, “similarities.” Had Satan’s lies not resembled Truth, he never would have convinced Adam and Eve to sin.
In the same way, your kids are (or soon will be) surrounded by Demonic Forces, the World, and the Flesh who are trying to persuade them to embrace lies concerning race and unity and Truth and justice.
And — hopefully — on the other side stand we and our pastors and other Christians who love the Lord and know His Word trying to persuade your kids to think God’s thoughts after Him.
And it’s one thing to speak Truth, but we must be able to speak Truth in love. And that’s why we’re going to compare and contrast Satan’s persuasion with God’s.
You’re probably very familiar with Genesis 3. We’ve referenced it tons on this show, The Celebration of God has also been encouraging you to read it in Preparation and Celebration for the Day of Atonement.
Adam and Eve were too close to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and Satan used a number of tricks to manipulate Eve into eating the fruit and Adam to follow suit.
So, how was Satan so successful? Seriously, we need to ask because Satan was trying to persuade them of a lie from a heart of hatred that was going to destroy them. How did he make it work?
1. Satan convinced Adam and Eve that he wanted what was best for them.
The world is always going to do that. Whether it’s the transgender, pedophilia, homosexual, communist, atheist, or abortion crowds, they will always try to convince your child that they have your kid’s best interest in mind.
They will use all the right terminology and emotional devices to convince your child that their way is going to be best for your child.
2. Satan asked questions.
Asking the right questions guides thinking. Satan knew he was going to have to work hard to convince Adam and Eve that their all-powerful, all-loving Creator had ulterior motives. God had never done anything to cause them to doubt His character, so Satan knew the best thing he could do was allow Adam and Eve to convince themselves there was a problem.
He had to make enough room for the fact that God could at least be questioned, and so that’s exactly what he did . . . he questioned God.
And that’s what the most persuasive influences still do today.
3. Satan spoke with confidence.
When Eve quoted God to Satan, Satan with passion and fervor proclaimed, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
There was no room for debate. He spoke with absolute certainty on the subject.
Just unplug your ears and open your eyes, and you will see this on every street corner, blog, and TV show. Everywhere people are speaking with confidence about things of which they are completely ignorant.
4. Satan told them part of the Truth.
The worst lies are all lies. The best lies are mostly truth.
When you study what Satan told them, you quickly realize that he didn’t technically say anything inaccurate.
The moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit they did not immediately die . . . physically. God did know that when they ate the fruit their eyes would be opened. And since God was the only being Who knew what sin was, Adam and Eve would be like God . . . but only in that very limited sense.
Satan relied on their ignorance and assumptions to use the truth in order to convince them of a lie.
And the same is true for our children’s influences. Sometimes churches are the most diabolical places because they work error between the verses and use the Bible to support their self-worship.
And, lastly . . .
5. Satan appealed to every facet of their being.
Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Do you remember the three battlefields on which we wage our daily spiritual battle? During “The Spiritual War in Your Home” series we discussed how our temptation comes at us in the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life.
Eve saw that the tree was good for food — that’s the lust of the flesh. She saw that it was pleasing to the Lust of the Eyes, and her Pride of Life was tempted because she thought the fruit would make her wise.
And that’s how Satan hatefully convinces all mankind to accept a lethal lie today.
Now, please understand that I am not going to suggest that when we communicate the beneficial Truth in love that our kids will automatically embrace it.
That would be a lie.
But we’re not in charge of whether our kids accept the Truth, we’re only in charge of presenting the Truth the way God commands.
But here’s our biggest problem. Satan is all manipulative and sly, and he can manage to take the worst lie and convince us that he has our best interest in mind, but far too may Christians present the Truth like it’s a terrible burden and hateful position.
You see, Satan’s ploy only worked because he created a persuasive counterfeit of God.
Let’s work back through the list.
Whereas Satan had to convince Adam and Eve that he had their best interest in mind . . . because he didn’t . . .
1. We parents must absolutely love our children and want God’s best interest for their lives.
I wish I didn’t have to say this, but I must because I know what it’s like to want my kids to do what’s right only because of how it will affect me. And that’s not love.
How many parents want their children to embrace God’s will for their sexuality, but their kids sin, and then the parents rip into them. Sure, they’re espousing God’s plan and blessing for sexuality and the destruction that comes from sinning, but they’re simultaneously rejecting God’s plan for their own motivation and conversation.
They get angry and unkind and hateful and mean.
How do you expect your child to believe you love them and have their best interest in mind?
Moving on, just like Satan asked questions,
2. We parents should ask questions to engage our children’s minds to overrule their emotions.
The world does everything it can to pull at our mindless emotions, but we need to engage our kids rational, Theo-logical minds.
We talked often about the value of asking questions, so I won’t rehash all of that here, but I will say that far too many parents are really good at lectures, commands, declarative statements, and soliloquies.
Now, is there a time for each of those? Yes, and yes again, but if that is the only mode you have for communication, you are going to potentially ostracism your audience . . . especially if you couple those lectures with hateful attitudes and words.
And just like Satan spoke with confidence about things that were untrue . . .
3. We parents must speak confidently about God’s Word.
I completely understand that natural desire to not want to put words in God’s mouth. The Bible is very clear about the consequences that come from adding to or subtracting from God’s Word.
But we’ve created a very bad habit.
Recently on Facebook I quoted Soren Kierkegaard who rightly observed that “The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know every well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
For that reason and more the modern church says a lot of things like, “I believe the Bible means,” “What does that verse mean to you?” and other equally flaccid statements.
There is no confidence there. There is no fact, no truth, no certainty. The world is telling us they know exactly what we need to be happy, and we’re telling our kids that we’re pretty sure that our interpretation of God’s difficult-to-understand-word is probably good . . . or just as good as anyone else’s.
But God is confident!
The fool has said there is no God.
Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.
And then He gives us passages and passages that define righteousness, faith, love and peace.
In addition to that, the Bible speaks often of the foolish and wicked who deliberately twist the Scriptures.
My point is that the practical meaning of the Bible is clear in the vast majority of the cases, and where there is flexibility and liberty to apply the Bible differently, that is a gift from God, and proper application will never lead to sin.
Moving on — unlike Satan who could only tell part of the Truth . . .
4. We parents must speak the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth of God.
I won’t spend much time on this point because we have spoken about this a lot recently. On fact, we’ve talked about this for the past 395 episodes.
The only reality is God’s reality. The only Truth is God’s absolute Truth. The only fact is that which God created.
But if we root our parenting in our own opinions and desires and wishes and philosophies, we’re going to ostracize our kids.
I once had a man tell me he didn’t want his son having sex outside of marriage. I agreed that his desire was valuable. Unfortunately, the man was not a Christian, and — knowing this — I asked him why his son should obey his desires.
The man seemed stumped but eventually replied, “Because I’m his father.”
I then went on to explain that — to a thinking person — that’s not good enough. I said, “Your son disagrees with you. What makes your opinion any better than his? And if you’re going to say that you’re older and wiser, how do you plan to combat the fact that men who are older than you and believe they are wiser than you disagree with you? And you may say, ‘Well, it’s my house so he has to obey my rules.’ But then he can just move out.”
And I told him, “I believe your desire for your son is good, but your authority is found only in your own understanding and beliefs. Your son has no reason — aside from general respect for you — to believe that your opinion is more right than his own.”
“But Christians aren’t the source and end of their beliefs and standards. The almighty Creator of the universe who knows all things and desperately loves and wants what’s best for us is the one who sets the standards.
“When I tell my son he shouldn’t have sex outside of marriage, it’s not my opinion versus someone else’s, it’s God’s opinion versus someone else’s.”
You see, we actually shoot our parenting in the knee when we make it about what we think and want — when we make it about us versus our kids.
And lastly, in a better way than Satan appealed to every facet of their being . . .
5. We parents must appeal to every facet of our children.
But we are not going to tempt our kids with the Lust of the Flesh and the Lust of the Eyes and the Pride of Life because those are the carnal grounds of failure. We can appeal to the eternal and redeemable parts of them.
In Mark 12:30 Jesus said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Many people like to read ideas into these words that weren’t there in the time of Christ. They see this passage as describing the emotions, mind, will, and physical body.
But that’s not really what’s going on here. What’s interesting is that each of these words in the Greek is extremely similar in the facet of humanity they’re describing.
“Heart” did not refer to our emotions, it referred to our minds. It was used to describe the core of our beings, the place where decisions are made. Though heart may have been the center of our personhood, the word “soul” refers to the whole person, and obviously includes the heart. “Mind” describes the thoughts that are formulate in the heart, and strength does not specifically refer to our physical bodies, but instead describes the power we are to have in our thoughts.
So, Jesus is saying that we must use all of our power to love God with each of our individual thoughts in our mind at the center of our soul, and every concentric circle is to be consumed with loving Him.
That is the most important part of our kids.
And, as we’ve been learning recently, this is why we must teach our children to think biblically about issues, for it will be impossible for them to love God if they don’t conform their mind to His.
Now, I could stop here, but I want to cite one more set of contrasting ideologies.
In our spiritual war series we talked about the Spiritual Weapon from Ephesians 6. Most of us are familiar with the Armor of God, but I want to apply that passage to today’s discussion.
Ephesians 6:14-20 describes the Armor of God as Truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. And though the next two items are not described as part of the armor, they are the necessary application of that armor — prayer and speaking Truth.
I believe this description is the exact opposite of what Satan was doing in the Garden of Eden and what he’s doing in your home.
Satan lies in an attempt to get us to do something very unrighteous. His goal is not in line with the good news of Christ Jesus, but it is instead the belief that we can save ourselves. We can be the fulfillment of our satisfaction. Therefore, we don’t need God’s Word; we just need our own life philosophies and feelings. And then the only talking we do is to convince ourselves and others that we’re making good choices and — by consequence — assisting Satan in spreading the same lie with which he tempted us.
And I walk through that because Satan has the worst motivation and is trying to convince our kids of the worst lies, and yet it’s so easy to embrace because he communicates it so stealthily and smoothly.
And then we parents take the Bible and yell it at our kids and beat them over the head with it, and when they reject the Truth of God’s Word for the lies of Satan, we throw all of the blame on our rebellious child and give ourself a pass because we used the Bible.
Are our kids ultimately responsible for their decisions? Yes. But we are ultimately responsible for communicating God’s Truth in a way that glorifies Him.
Now, as we finish this up. Please, hear me. I’m not saying that communicating Truth in a way that pleases the Lord means that we talk in an almost whisper, a syrupy sweet tone of voice, and a perpetual smile.
I am not saying that.
I’m saying that if Satan can convince our kids that he cares about them and use communication skills that onboard the child versus push them away . . . then we can absolutely love our children and want God’s best interest for their lives. We can ask questions to engage our children’s minds to overrule their emotions. We can speak confidently about God’s Word. We can speak the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth of God. And we can appeal to every facet of our children.
And — layering Ephesians 6 into this — if we are born again believers we can speak the Truth in a righteous way. We can root our parenting in the Gospel. Our parenting should show that we believe God’s promises. If all of that is true, I promise that your parenting will flow from the Scripture and be filled with it, and I know you’ll be praying for your kids and shining the light of God in your home.
That is how we parent from death into life.
Satan deceived our ancestors from life into death, and he’s trying to do the same to our kids. But we are equipped far better than he. We have power and Truth he can’t counterfeit.
So, let’s stop communicating like Satan and — instead — communicate better than he ever could . . . and then trust God to change our kids.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets and feel free to sent us an email at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com if you have family specific questions. You can also call us at (828) 423-0894.
Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent like God . . . not like Satan.
To that end, join us next time as we get more specific by discussing “How Children Understand Justice and Injustice | and how to teach them to think biblically about it.”
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