"While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name … I protected them ..." (John 17:12 TEV)
The mark of a spiritual leader is protection, so parents should protect the spiritual growth of their children. Jesus said, "While I was with them I kept them safe by the power of your name … I protected them" (John 17:12 TEV).
Jesus guarded the disciples' spiritual growth by protecting their minds. As a parent, it is your job to protect your children's innocence. This is a huge task in the culture we live in today. Children are not mini-adults, and we need to protect the innocence of our children as they're growing up. They cannot handle things like violence or sex. These things are heavy subjects for a little mind.
When our three kids were growing up, Kay and I were very strict with what movies they could see, what TV programs they could watch, and what books and magazines they could read. We got all kinds of grief from our kids for it.
When they were little and could only see a G-rated movie, they would say, "We want to go see this PG movie!" When they got a little bit older, they would say, "We want to go see this PG-13 movie!" We'd say, "You can when you're older, but right now you're not going to see it." And they ruthlessly criticized: "Dad! Mom! You guys are so narrow-minded! You're the only parents in the entire universe who are not letting their kids see this movie!"
It is amazing to me how Christian parents let their kids, even teenagers, see all kinds of things they have no business seeing. We should care about their minds. My three kids have grown up and they are happy, well-adjusted kids. Why? Because when they were growing up, their minds weren't filled with garbage and vulgarities.
Your children will be exposed to that soon enough in life. They don't need it at a young age. You have to protect what goes into their mind.
Talk About It --
- Think of the last movie you told your kids they could watch. Would you still let them see it in light of what you've read here?
- How are you encouraging your children to fill their minds with positive, life-giving, and instructional information and images?
- Are you more concerned with how your kids view you or with your responsibility as a parent to guard their minds?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.