It’s one thing to send an army to distant shores to protect our homeland. It’s another thing to see the enemy on our shores, advancing down our streets. In today’s sexualized culture, protecting kids goes hand in hand with equipping them to face the enemy.
The assault on sexuality today is worse than you think. The level of depravity found in today’s porn is unfathomable. We’re way past the point of being able to trust filters alone to protect our loved ones, but the good news is we have a mighty God on our side.
We’re about two-thirds of the way through our Ally Series, equipping you to become an ally to your child in a sexualized culture. The last two posts taught how to connect and direct your kids. This week we’ll focus on the third key: protection–how to make smart choices to protect them.
There are a couple of important questions to ask as we begin:
- What are we protecting?
- Realizing we cannot protect our children completely, what are we equipping them to face now and as adults?
What are we protecting?
Obviously, we want to protect our children’s eyes, but there’s much more. We want to protect their ears, minds, hearts, views of self, views of God, views of others, and their bodies from sexual abuse. We also want to protect their childhood. We hope for them a childhood free of the shame, fear, and false messages that come along with encountering sexual things in ungodly ways.
What are we equipping our children to face?
The answer to the second question could fill an entire blog post. Basically, we’re equipping them to face the lies, half-truths, and ungodly displays of sexuality found in today’s culture. God has declared sexuality holy, sacred, and good. Sexuality, the male and female body, sex – these are all amazingly beautiful creations of God that are being distorted and misused by people who do not have a godly understanding of sexuality.
You don’t want culture to define sexuality for your child. You don’t want culture to tell your child that his or her body is not beautiful and perfectly designed. You don’t want culture to speak shame over your child’s sexuality. You don’t want culture to teach your child distorted views of love, sex, identity, and worth.
A child who is unprotected and ill-equipped will have his or her sexuality shaped by a culture with a God-less view of sex and sexuality.
Practically speaking, in today’s culture our children will likely face:
- Violent, degrading, destructive, addictive pornography that depicts rape, assault, sexual perversions, and any number of vile sexual acts, along with other inappropriate material
- Teaching on sexuality that does not align with biblical truth (homosexuality, gender confusion, sexual perversions, premarital or extramarital sex, etc.*)
- False messaging about bodies and sex: e.g. bodies are to be objectified and used for personal pleasure, bigger is better, “Like” equals worth, and you must give parts of yourself away through sexting or sex in order to gain love and acceptance
In an earlier post, I reminded you that children need an ally because they have an adversary. This adversary is Satan, the enemy of their souls, and he is waging an assault on sexuality through culture. We are facing a spiritual battle of the greatest magnitude that has been ongoing since the Garden of Eden where the enemy tempted Eve to doubt God. Our sexuality is God-given and good. It reflects the very image of God and is therefore a prime target for the enemy. In this battle, your greatest weapons will be prayer and the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says,
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…
Ephesians 6:12 says,
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
“Spiritual forces of evil” may sound a little far-fetched, only found in science fiction or horror movies. The “unseen” seems unreal. We cannot “see” the wind, but we see the effects of a tornado. You may believe your family is immune to the forces of evil because you haven’t noticed any effects yet. But knowing what I know and thinking back to my own experiences, I’m convinced that the battle is greater than we can imagine, and the stakes higher than ever.
Patrick Carnes, a leading sexual addiction expert, warns of the “coming tsunami” as today’s children become tomorrow’s adults with a very skewed view of sex and sexuality shaped by early exposure to porn. Today’s porn is exponentially worse than anything I saw as a child. I do not view this material but have learned much from Culture Reframed (warning, graphic content). I have seen the effects of pornography in teens and young adults now addicted to porn, in marriages destroyed by porn and sexual addiction, in victims of sexual abuse, and in my husband’s dark struggle with porn for many years. The battle is real.
Protecting our loved ones from the all-out assault on their sacred sexuality and equipping them to face the challenges will require prayer–earnest, persevering, honest prayer.
God, protect my loved ones’ eyes and ears from messaging that will cause them to doubt Your goodness or to hide in shame.
Protect them from evil and perverse men and women intent on harming them.
Protect them from the lies of culture, from the lure of pornography, from sexual abuse, from abusing someone else, from the schemes of the devil against them.
Protect our family, our marriage, our own eyes and ears.
Give me the humility and grace to confess my sins and find healing for my wounds.
Give us courage to stand against the flow and intentionality to enter into honest conversations along the way with our kids.
Send your Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of our children for these talks.
Make our home a safe place to share emotions and process the things we encounter in an unholy world.
Make our home a refuge in the storm, a welcoming place for others, a place where grace abounds and fear and shame retreat.
Give us wisdom to make smart choices that will protect and equip our family.
Remind us often of our identity in Christ and the freedom from bondage to sin that Christ’s death and resurrection give us.
You get the idea. Through such prayer, you’re demolishing strongholds, false messages, things that come against the knowledge of God and His attributes. You’re advancing God’s kingdom in a world where Satan works hard to advance his kingdom. You’re reclaiming truth about sexuality. You’re protecting your children by praying mighty prayers inspired by God’s Word and His truth. You will accomplish much through prayer that only God will see, but do not underestimate what your prayers can accomplish.
Persevere in prayer as if lives depend upon it because they do. Persevere because sexuality is sacred, and we live in a very unholy world. Persevere because your child’s sexuality is being shaped right now, and God has given you the job of teaching His truth about it to your loved ones. Find others to join you in prayer for such an important cause.
Prayer is essential, but we should protect our loved ones in other ways as well. We will share very timely and practical ways to do that next week.
Be encouraged as you seek to become an ally to your child! You are not alone in this battle, and God will use this journey to sanctify and transform you as you equip your family.
Are you finding this series helpful? Please share it with a friend. I welcome your comments or suggestions!
Founder and CEO of TrueNorth Freedom Project in Atlanta, Georgia
*Many Christians disagree on issues related to homosexuality and gender. Our response should be to present the truth in love, interpreting Scripture through the lens of the entirety of Scripture. There are many biblical references to homosexuality as sin. There are many references to surrendering our sexuality to God for His purposes. Same-sex attraction is not a sin, and many believers with SSA live celibate lives, humbly relying on God’s grace. Homosexuality and gender dysphoria are tender issues of the heart, and I encourage you to pray fervently for the Body of Christ today, that we may love well while adhering to the truth of Scripture.