Monday, October 10, 2011

The Tug of Foolishness

I wanted to share with you all a personal testimony about this weeks lesson. This lesson was particularly relevant as we discussed some issues with our teenagers this week. As many of you know we have 3 teenage boys. They are an awesome blessing to us but at times we have our struggles. Earlier this week we had a good discussion about music and what types of music we should listen to. The position we have for our family may not be the position that works for all families, but for us, we highly encourage Christian music. We allow "neutral" music and highly discourage and disallow music with negative lyrics. This practice has worked for us for many years and hasn't been called into question... until this week.

Our boys are growing and they are beginning to reason for themselves. So this last week they began questioning us about music. Now, in our family we rarely listen to the radio. For the most part we listen to songs we have purchased on Itunes. This allows us to select the types of music that we like the most. Our boys have found a great site on the web called Pandora. Pandora allows you to listen to a variety of music. It allows you to like and dislike songs and over time it learns what types of music you do and do not like.

So here is the issue. Our sons have picked up on Pandora and have started listening to "neutral" music with the occasional "negative" music sneaking in. Once they hear a "negative" song they dislike the song, but of course they have already heard it at that point. Since our boys are teenagers and are growing more independent we want to give them freedom to spread their wings and begin making decisions. We want to begin this process now so that they are prepared to live on their own in just a few short years. So this last week when my wife went downstairs and heard a song with questionable lyrics it sparked a great conversation.

We tried to explain to them that it is important to watch what we allow into our lives. We need to limit the negative and increase the positive. Of course being teenagers they thought we were a bit narrow in our thinking. They tried to explain that it was okay to listen to non-Christian music. That it didn't affect them. We tried to explain that as you allow more and more non-godly influences it desensitizes you.

We used this illustration. If you have a continuum from one to ten; ten being good and godly, and 1 being completely worldly and sinful. Our eternal goal is to bring all of our life into the ten range. That is what we are made for. That is our goal in holiness. We want to see most of our lives with ten events with maybe the occasional six or seven or even five. If we allow ourselves to live most of our lives in the five range we begin seeing some sevens and eights but also some fours and threes. And we tend to think that the fours and threes are not so bad. Then as we fill our lives with more threes and twos, eventually ones are not so bad. We are trying to encourage them to live as much of their lives in the ten range because that is our eventual dwelling place. Heaven will consists of all tens.

Of course teenagers being teenagers they pointed out that you just cannot live your life surrounded with all tens. They asked about movies, the occasional neutral song that is just plain fun, and the great novel, web page, or musical that just isn't in the ten range. It was convicting on our part as a mom and dad. It made us evaluate our lives to see where we were living most of our lives. It is hard to tell your kids to strive for the tens if you yourself are settling for threes, fours or sevens.

At the end of our discussion I think they still thought we were a bit extreme. The question was asked, "Why do the "neutral" and "negative" songs sound so good?, Why can't Christian entertainment, entertain like the world does?" I thought it was a good question and have been thinking on it over the weekend. I think there are various reasons why it isn't as good, but I think one of the reasons has to do with the heart. Our hearts are easily drawn away from the good things. We are attracted to those things that are neutral and negative. Part of the reason non-Christian entertainment is so entertaining is because we are drawn to it by our remaining sinful nature. We need God to grant us new appetites. We need to be praying that we and our children begin to hunger after righteousness.

Here is the great part. God is so good to reinforce His Word. This weeks lesson for Kidz Klub focused on how we are called to wisdom as Children of God. That, as we walk the way of wisdom we need to hold onto instruction, guard our hearts and keep our feet from evil. Foolishness is always calling us to love what is wrong. It is always tugging at our heart. We need to strive to do what Proverbs 4:27 says, "Do not swerve to the right or the left, keep your foot from evil."

In this week's parent page there are some great ideas for helping yourself and your kids think through the tug of foolishness.