daily Broadcast

Teach Them to Make Wise Choices, Part 2

From the series Leaving a Legacy that Lasts Forever

What's the process for making good decisions? And in a world where morality is a relative term, how do you make wise choices? Chip lays out four ways to help your children evaluate their circumstances and make choices they'll be glad they made.

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Message Transcript

Paul would say in 2 Corinthians 3 when he is talking about the difference between the Old and the New Covenant. He goes, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed,” process, “from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

And his point is, as we get these glimpses of who God really is, how loving He is, how holy He is, how pure He is. You know what? And when you have that attitude it’s not like I get, Okay, read a chapter a day, keep the devil away. Or, I read five chapters. I feel really holy today. God, what do you think? Can I get a little star on the refrigerator up there? I prayed for fifteen point seven minutes. I fasted for two whole days.

Those are all performance mentalities. I read because I love You. Would You speak to me? I fasted because I am not clear and I don’t know what to do and I want to eliminate the distractions. I get no brownie points. I’m not better than anyone else. I just need to pull away from the world because I need to hear Your voice. Will You speak to me? I love You.

I want to sing to God because He is my Savior in what He has done, and I forget that. That is what holiness looks like.

And then you begin to pass on and give to others what God has given to you. On the application, it says, “I”. I would like you, if you would be so bold, to write your name in there, commit to learn how to discern good from evil. That’s the heart of becoming holy.

See, the problem is we have a real, real hard time in our day. You are living in a mirage, in a mirage of lies and appearances. And Paul would pray, we’ll look at it a little bit later in Philippians 1. He would pray that God would grant them the ability to discern good from evil.

Isaiah, in his day, would say the world and the religious leaders, he would say, “You know what’s happened is now we are calling evil ‘good,’ and good ‘evil.’” And I don’t know about you, but I see that today, everywhere.

So how do you pass this on? How do you pass on this view of God, this sense of holiness? Because if holiness has to do with being whole and health and if God, because of the nature of who He is demands holiness for the health of His universe, and when people violate that holiness, there are consequences because God is pure.

When a parent lets anyone do something that is harmful for them, over and over, without consequences, you don’t love them! Proverbs says the evidence of love, and Hebrews 12 says the evidence of real love is when a parent disciplines.

So when we step outside of God’s moral law and boundaries and He brings consequences, what He is saying is, “I love you. Because you keep doing that, you’re going to get hurt badly. You’re going to get hurt really badly. That attitude is going to bring pain. That behavior is going to bring pain. You keep logging on to that site, you’re going to lose affection for your wife. You keep chatting around and reading those romance novels, and creating this ultra-world that you hide in and have this virtual world, I’ll tell you what, it’ll ruin your marriage. You keep letting your kids hang out with that group, I will tell you, they are going to land in the ditch.”

And so, He says there is this standard of holiness, but the standard of holiness is built out of blocks or bricks of love to bring about health and wholeness. So let’s talk about maybe some practical ways – how do we pass this on so they can make wise decisions?

Number one: Encourage them to saturate their mind with truth. The Bible, great books, videos. You have in your notes, this is one of my favorite passages, Romans chapter 8, verses 5 through 8. It says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their mind set on the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. The sinful mind is hostile toward God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. And those who are controlled by the sinful nature or the flesh cannot please God.”

All I want you to get is: Where do you set your mind? Where do you set your mind?

The second is: Encourage them to hang out regularly with wise, godly people. Proverbs 13:20, “He who dwells with wise men will be wise, but the companion of a fool will suffer harm.”

There is a great line, I got this from, it was in a casual conversation and it was with a vice president of a guy that I work with. And his wife was there, and we were talking about the influence of kids and you’re always worried about who they hang out with. And she just turned to all of us and said, “Well, I’ll tell you, you show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”

Man, I don’t know where she got that. I wrote that down and I’ve been using it since and when I can remember to give her credit, I do. Like now. But it’s true.

Think of who you are investing in. You need, if you have control, you need to be very careful about who they hang out with.

Third, model for them how to ask God for discernment and wisdom. It’s really important for those you are trying to help that you don’t become like, “The Answer Man,” or, “The Answer Woman.” Well, what should I do about this? You know more than me. Well, can you tell me? And you say, “Well, da, da, da, da, da, do this or do that.”

Model for them, “You know what? Here’s a passage in James chapter 1 verse 5, okay? ‘If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach. But when he asks, let him ask in faith, for the one who doubts is like double-minded man who is tossed here and there by the waves. Don’t let that person expect to receive anything from the Lord.’”

And then you explain to them, “Wisdom is doing life God’s way, according to His design. He will always show you what to do. The Bible doesn’t tell you what state to live in. The Bible doesn’t tell you what vocation. The Bible doesn’t say you ought to go to a Christian school or a non-Christian school. You need wisdom from God.”

And so what you want to model for them is, “I don’t have the answer to that, but God makes a promise.” And the thesis of that text of not ever doubting is not that you never have doubts about God. Everyone has doubts.

Most of us, myself completely included, I want to get God lined up to get Him to do what I want because I think I know what’s best. It’s that surrender to be willing to do it. And you have to model that.

This is where, don’t say stuff like, my kids, when they were hitting the mid-teens, it would be something like, “Hey, I want to do this or that or go to this movie or do that,” and I would think, You know, that’s not good. But if am I going to keep making every decision, we are going to be in trouble.

And so, I would often say, “Well, would you do me a favor?” “Yeah.” I said, “Pray about it for twenty-four hours. And just really think it through. Do you believe God wants you to go do that?” “Well, Dad…” “I know. Hey, don’t argue with me. Just talk to God about it. I’m just asking you.”

And, again, you take that responsibility instead of the power trip, “I said no!” What you want to do is start helping them. “I want to buy this, I want to go here, I want to do that.”

And if you’re not sure but down deep in your heart you think, You know, that’s probably not a very good thing, but it won’t kill them whatever they do, I always wanted to give them a lot more rope and say, “Why don’t you pray about it?”

And by the way, this parental thing we have of wanting to protect our kids from pain, is not real smart. What you want to do is not protect them from small pain so it hurts really badly. Like, Gosh, I just spent twenty-five dollars on this wacky thing and it looks so dumb and now I wore it to school and it wasn’t even cool and I blew twenty-five bucks. Good!

Or, I decided to go on this thing and, man, everyone did this terrible stuff and I wish I never would have been there. Good. See, if you always tell them what to do and you always keep them inside your bounds, then what happens is they can’t wait to get away to go try some stuff.

So you want to develop them hearing God’s voice. You want to model for them how to get wisdom, how to discern.

Another practical thing with your kids is, you know that little clicker when you’re watching something? As much as I will talk a little bit later about limiting media. My kids, it was like, I believe every moment is a teachable moment.

And you don’t go overboard. But, okay, you’re watching the Super Bowl, right? And so these commercials come on. And they spent, what? How many zillion dollars to create this commercial? They are paying one point five million dollars for thirty seconds.

And here is a girl that she’s got it cut down to here and pushed up to there and pulled down to here and another guy that’s been on steroids and he’s got his Coors Light and this that, this that, and the music comes on: bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And then, stop! Okay. Before we watch the rest of the game. What was the message of that? Okay? Where are they coming at us, and why? What are they selling to us? What do you think? Okay. Why do you think she’s dressed that way? Okay. Why does he have that? What’s the message?

And what are you doing? You are helping them discern good from evil. And so, and then you watch this real silky movie and it makes you cry and it’s really good and it’s really warm and there’s no sex in it and there’s no violence in it. The only problem is, in this movie, the person that you identify with is married to this not very nice person. And so, this person married to the not very nice person falls in love with someone else and they have an affair and there’s music and they are going out and da, da, da, da, da, da, da.

And we are all crying and thinking, Oh, I’m glad she finally found love in her life and it was a popular movie and everyone loves it. And you stop the thing and you say, Wait a second. Wait a second. I got sucked in just like you but what did she do? We all love her and she was the pretty one and the music was really playing and all the violins. And her life was so hard before. Right?

Okay, let’s rewind. It’s called adultery. So how does that play out in real life? Let’s go through some families in the church where someone committed adultery. Let’s remember what that looked like. Let’s remember what it did to their… Do you understand what I’m saying? That’s what you do. So, it’s not a classroom. It’s every moment of every…

Now, by the way, don’t stop at every commercial. Some of your kids are going, Get out of here. But you get it.

Finally, teach them to monitor their exposure to the media. Teach them to monitor their exposure to the media. Romans 12:2, we touched on it earlier. “Do not be conformed to this world,” this present world system; not the physical world, it’s the cosmos. It’s the world system and 1 John tells us what it is made of: The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

The way to help your kids is this is like Fortune, Cosmo, and People magazine. Okay? That’s the world. If you can have her body like that, Cosmo or Seventeen or what else, then, or Muscle Magazine, Men’s Fitness. “You can get tight abs, baby, in six seconds a day.” And with the right drugs.

Or People, if you can just be famous, right? The whole goal is to be an American Idol. I want to be famous! I want people to know me! I will say ridiculous things on TV. I will go on reality shows and make a complete fool of myself doing things with a camera that I would never do privately, even in my own home. But I have to because I’m on TV! And isn’t that the epitome of all of life? I’m famous now! No, you’re an idiot now.

But your kids, your grandkids, the people you are discipling are getting, boom, ba boom, boom, ba boom. They are bombarded. And so, when they go to buy something, what is it? The clothes are that way, the media is that way, the magazines are that way. You will never be whole and healthy instead of being deceived and seduced unless you say, “Stop allowing yourself to be molded by this world system.”

So, you’ve got to put a real barrier in media and how much you watch and what you watch.

My kids heard it a zillion times and the people I have had an opportunity to help disciple. What you allow to go into your mind is the most important decision you make every day. Way more than what goes into your mouth.

Like, my wife is really healthy, this is organic and this doesn’t have any pesticides. We are really into eating good, healthy things. But, boy, you’ve got to put healthy stuff in your brain. You are the product of your thought life. You understand that?

“As a man thinks,” as a woman thinks, “in his heart, so you become.” You watch enough TV, you rent enough videos, you glance through enough magazines, it will create desires that you can never fulfill and you will never be satisfied and you will get sucked in. And the lure, right in, and bam!

And, by the way, when you live this kind of life, this is where people will start thinking you’re weird, because we are living in a day where, according to Barna, I don’t know how accurate, but according to Barna, about one out of every ten or one out of every twelve people who say, “I am a Christian, I am born again, I have prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior,” about one out of every ten or twelve are living the life. The others have either a mental or…

Now, I’m not saying they’re not believers, I don’t know. I’m just saying that they may have the living Spirit of the living God living in them but their external behavior, their values, their honesty, their commitment to marriage, their lifestyle, their speech, their priorities, and their values are exactly the same as their non-Christian friends. Because you are what you eat.

And if you don’t believe me, this is a mature group, so I will go way out on a limb. For you younger ones who want a mild challenge, go on a three-day media fast. Okay? No rent, no TV, don’t get on and surf the Internet, media fast. Get in the car, no talk radio. You can, positive music, teaching, okay. Three days, no TV, no media.

You’ll get antsy. Some of you will find you have an addiction. Because when you walk in, you turn it on. Some of you are like me that when I do watch TV and as soon as a commercial comes, I’m bored. So I can watch four shows at one time to relax, of course.

And then I’m exhausted when I’m done. I have to be, this game, this game, this game. Ohio State is doing this, this, and then part of this movie, this. Mmmm!

You go on a three-day media fast, and I will tell you, you will be, one, you will have all this time you didn’t think you had. Go on a ten-day media fast. For some of you, you will try and it’ll be scary because you can’t do it.

Go on a ten-day media fast, then sit down and watch just general prime-time TV. You will be shocked. That’s how desensitized we have become. You will be shocked at what comes out of people’s mouths, you will be shocked at the sexual innuendo, you will be shocked and you will see stuff that you have grown accustomed to, in terms of how people are dressed and different things that will stir your flesh that doesn’t even register now.

And it’s the classic, what’s the illustration that you put the frog in the water and if you heat it up real slowly, it won’t jump out? We have a whole generation that isn’t jumping out. And here’s the sadness. Then we reap the consequences, even though it’s not a willful, volitional, “I hate God,” sin – you just reap the consequences of an un-whole and unholy life. Because holiness is the demand of God to keep His universe healthy. So there are consequences when I put junk in my mouth, junk in my head. It creates a set of desires.

And so, limiting the video games, the violence, the sexuality. You are just going to be a spiritual salmon swimming upstream with your fellow friends and other people thinking you are weird.

Now, is this: never watch TV? Of course not. This is really asking yourself, Is this good, honorable, right, praiseworthy? Is this in the Philippians 4:8 criteria? Does this draw me closer to God or pull me farther away?

And, by the way, for me, sometimes it’s just good stuff. I just have a limit. After about two hours of TV, even a great game, and I love sports. I just find I get spiritually desensitized. And I’m different than you, I don’t know, some of you can take a lot more than me. But if you take seriously what goes into your mind and then substitute it, you will see dramatic life change. Dramatic life change.

What is the message? Living holy lives is how we get God’s best. Holy living allows you to experience God’s best for your life. Let’s move holiness out of this idea of the otherworldly, dark robes, something weird and let’s move it into becoming whole, healthy, pure, winsome, loving, and receiving that chalet life that God has in every relationship, in every area of your life.