How To Recognize a Lion
When my husband and I traveled in Ireland, I read The Last Battle which is the final book in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. For the record, Ireland is a lovely place to experience Narnia because you are surrounded by stunning castles and graceful trees that look as if they might actually come alive at night. The entire book is a timely read, but there were a few lines in the first chapter that have haunted me these past few weeks, and I want to share them here:
To set the stage, there is an ape named Shift who is dressing up a donkey named Puzzle in a lion skin so he can deceive people and therefore control them...
"Well, stand still then," said the Ape. The skin was very heavy for him to lift, but in the end, with a lot of pulling and pushing and puffing and blowing, he got in onto the donkey. He tied it underneath Puzzle's body and he tied the legs to Puzzle's legs and the tail to Puzzle's tail. A good deal of Puzzle's grey nose and face could be seen through the open mouth of the lion's head. No one who had ever seen a real lion would have been taken in for a moment. But if someone who had never seen a lion looked at Puzzle in his lionskin, he just might mistake him for a lion, if he didn't come too close, and if the light was not too good, and if Puzzle didn't let out a bray and didn't make any noise with his hoofs.
"You look wonderful, wonderful," said the Ape. "If anyone saw you now, they'd think you were Aslan, the Great Lion, himself."
"That would be dreadful,"said Puzzle.
"No it wouldn't," said Shift. "Everyone would do whatever you told them.'"
Friends, we have an enemy - the Father of Lies. He is alive and well in our world and he is coming for our kids. I have wanted to write this article for a long time, but I didn't want to write from a place of anger or a place of fear, and those are the two places I most naturally end up when I consider the culture of deception being fed to our young people. I write to you today from a place of resolve. I am convinced that only love can drive out hate, and only truth can drive out lies. I want to plead with you today to recognize the severity of our present situation and to proactively arm your children with the only thing that can save their souls - absolute Truth.
You see, it is impossible to shield our children from the false narrative of the world, because whenever we turn on the T.V. or computer, or drive past billboards, or interact with neighbors, or read text-books or even picture books we are bombarded with lies. Here are just a few examples that I hear almost every day:
-You deserve to be happy and comfortable
-There's no difference between boys and girls except that girls are better.
-The answer to sadness and insecurity is to forgive yourself and love yourself more.
-Your body should be as sexy as possible because if people want to sleep with you then you can control them.
-Truth is not absolute - my truth may be different from your truth and that is okay.
-If it feels good then it is good.
-If you are looking for a Savior, look inside yourself.
According to God's Word ALL of the above statements are false, but they sneak into our houses and minds by way of cute cartoon characters and sports drink commercials. These false gods with their false promises have become such a common part of our culture that they quietly creep into our theology and world view if we are not careful to test everything against scripture.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Test everything; hold fast what is good.
As Christ followers, we are wise to limit the amount of falsehood our children encounter (especially in their formative years), but the truth is we can not foresee or shelter them from the constant barrage of lies they will encounter. In light of this dark reality, perhaps the most helpful thing we can do is take them to see a Lion every day.
Did you know that when you work in a bank you are trained to spot counterfeit bills not by studying every type of counterfeit known to man but by studying real money? Banks could never anticipate the new technology and various methods for printing false bills, but what they can do is teach their employees what real money smells like and feels like and looks like. The best way to spot something false is to spend time with something real.
So how do we do that?
We show our children God. We show them His Word and His heart and His character from 10 different angles every day.
When we sit down at the table to give thanks for our food, we show our children a God who is generous - a God who provides.
When we play in the backyard and marvel at the cicadas who after living under ground for 17 years have miraculously crawled up, climbed out of their shell and flown away, we point to a God who is a strong Creator - a God who transforms - a God who makes everything beautiful in His time.
When we give our children a dollar for doing a chore and we instruct them to set aside 10% as a tithe, we are showing them a God who is jealous - a God who will not share our hearts. We are showing them how to choose God over the idol of money and its false promise of security.
When we read the Bible or recite Scripture verses, we are filling their hearts and minds with the words that God Himself uses to describe what He is like. He is our Rock, our Salvation, our Truth, our Joy, our Healer, our only Way to the Father.
When we grieve the loss of a loved one or the death of a dream while still declaring that God is good, we show our children a God who is Sovereign - a God whose ways are higher than our own - a God who is near to the broken-hearted.
When we take our children to the ocean, we show them a God who is big and powerful and awe-inspiring.
When we look at the birds, we show our children a God who sees and cares for even the sparrows.
When we look at the vivid, water-colored sunsets, we show them a God who knows how to make beautiful things.
There are infinite places to catch a glimpse of His glory and we must be awake and aware enough to daily call out "Come and see!" And we don't merely lead them to the Lion of Judah and stand silently by - we open God's Word and we open our mouths and we teach them diligently.
I cannot save my children. I cannot always hold their hand and help them to choose the right path, but everyday I can show them the Lion, and Lord-willing, when the world holds up a donkey in a costume and tells them to bow down, they will not be fooled.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
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