As a parent of teens, I am in the phase of life where I am actively thinking about their future. Are they prepared for the world? Are they innocent of evil but not naive to cruelty and selfish lusts of mankind? Are they enthralled and distracted by the current culture? Or could it be said that they might be different or maybe a little strange? I pray, God, that they would be counter cultural. I pray, Father and King for their sake, that they would forsake everything this world offers to love, serve, and be devoted to you through Jesus.
I worry that the public square has no room for Christians who love Jesus. I have seen it change in my lifetime. Leadership positions in all stratus of society from government, public companies, non-government organization, news media, and education are held by the culture in an increasingly oppressive way. There is no room for ideological diversity. A pluralistic society in thought is no longer the norm. We are told what to believe and how to act. Anyone that does not conform will be shamed or canceled to prove a point. Twitter mobs roam from outrage to outrage facilitating the oppression. So where do my kids go from here as they mature and start their own lives? Do they join the culture and be absorbed by it? Do they forge their own unconventional path?
For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. Isaiah 2:6 ESV
God rejected his people because they choose live like the rest of the world around them. They choose the gods of the Philistines. They wanted a path for their children that looked like the lives of children of people who had no regard for God. When I was a young man chasing after young women my overriding constraint was to ask a question. Will a relationship with this young lady pull me toward God or pull me away from God? Most of the time the answer to that question was away from God. And that is the root of what God wanted from His people. He wants people who are devoted to him and not people who are devoted to a culture that has no regard for Him.
31 And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. 32 You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.” Exodus 23:31-33 ESV
I pray for my kids as they transition into adulthood. What relationships will they choose? Will they choose relationships that pull them toward God or will they choose relationships with the world that pull them away from God? If they choose poorly then the world will become a snare to them and then they will be just like everyone else.
22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:22-26 ESV
Lord I pray for my kids and for the youth of this present age. Draw them to you. Pull them in close that they might worship you and not themselves. Keep them from the snare of distraction and anxious living that has cursed the youth of this present age. Make them strong because they love you first. In the name of Jesus I pray.