I haven’t blogged anything for a long, long time. I finished this painting on a spur of the moment just to get it done and I’m glad I did. Today I discovered why. There is something going on all around us in the lives of our children that needs to be addressed. Just got off the phone with my wife, who informed me that what I was telling her that I believed God was saying about our adolescent kids should be written down. So here goes. (I’ll use Jedi terminology when ever appropriate.)
You may never have watched any of these movies by George Lucas but, the whole premise of the story is not only the struggle between good and evil; it is how evil will corrupt good into taking a short cut in an effort gain power and effect change for the better. One of the characters Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father ( Luke is pictured here squaring off with Darth Sidious, aka Emporer Palpatine), was seduced to the dark side out of fear of his wife dying and his own confidence in his superior abilities compared with the other Jedi (the good guys, the bad guys are called the Sith Lords).
The truth is on a spiritual level this goes on all the time especialy with kids that want to serve and follow Christ. There is alot to be tempted with. The scriptures refer to it as “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life” 1 John 2: 15-17. But thats kind of ambigous if it’s presented in raw form to a group of teenagers. They’ll ask, “How does that apply to me? I’m trying to be one of the good guys. I’m not out causing trouble.” Well it works like this. Lets start with the Grand Master Jedi himself Jesus Christ and how he was tempted. This is Matthew 4: 1-11:
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He [a]then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
5 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’;
‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “[b]On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”
8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and [c]worship me.” 10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND [d]SERVE HIM ONLY.’” 11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
Was that dark side sedduction or what? The devil offered Christ a short cut to what God already had in mind to give him. God wouldn’t let his son starve to death in the wilderness. He and his disciples were pretty well fed most of the time. You can take my word for it or look it up. They went to dinner parties, weddings, and the even ate out of a wheat field one time. But God always supplied for Jesus’ needs as well as the needs of those who were with him: the catch of fish that almost swamped the boat, the fishes and the loaves, etc., etc.. Wow! Talk about exceedingly abundantly beyond what we can think or ask.
Let’s look at line item number two: protection or knowing that everything will be OK and turn out for the best. At one point the people were going to throw him (Christ) off a cliff but he walked right through their midst and went on his way. Another time they picked up stones to stone him; that didn’t happen either. I’m sure there were more experiences like that that God arranged and delivered His son out of to show His love for him and us.
Number three (and probably the worst): “Bow down to me and I’ll give you the kingdoms of the world. They’re mine and I can do with them what I want.” I think at this point I’ll just show you what 1 John 2: 15-17 says in the Message:
15-17Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
I’ll let that speak for itself. But, what is it you want? This goes for young and old alike. I personally know of people who wanted to travel abroad. They wanted to go to exciting and exotic places like India and Africa. They didn’t save up every dime they made to travel and take a vacation. They didn’t go to a travel agent and purchace a travel package with their credit card. But God saw the desire in their heart. Some of them are in Africa even as I write this. Here’s how it happened:
“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
There is a Young’s Literal Translation that calls it “the petitions of thy heart.”
The problem is many times people, young or old, (you and I) don’t delight in the LORD, we delight in getting our dreams fulfilled or or wants met. Or, we are afraid something may or may not happen if we don’t take matters into our own hands. “Oh. I may not get to do that or I may not get to do this.” or “I’ll never get to go anywhere or have any fun.” Perhaps you should read the blog of a young man who dream’s of being a pilot. Not just any pilot but a missionary pilot. I know of young guys that take lessons and learn to fly. They get they’re license and they’re set. No problem right? Maybe you just need to read Austin Park’s blog http://austinpark.blogspot.com and see the adventure he’s on. Because of his delight in God. Or maybe I should say he’s delighted by God and with God.
Maybe you just want respect, or to be well thought of, to look nice (please don’t get tripped up here, I’m not suggesting there is anything pious in being ill kept and dirty) have nice things, have fun, (being bored and working all the time is no more holy than being dirty) and doing exciting and adventurous things. I hope you are taking what I am saying and referencing it back to what I wrote above including the scripture verses. I’ll leave you with one las thought from 1 peter 5: 7-9.
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.