It would appear from the daily events which unfold around us, both locally and internationally, that human nature is becoming more and more unrestrained. If we define human nature as the works of the flesh, then we see a pattern of behavior that fits these categories. For example, sexual immorality, hatred, contentions, outbursts of wrath, drunkenness, “and the like”, are common occurrences today. They are not new. That is true. However the magnitude and the openness – and even the flaunting – of immorality has no modern counterpart. By all accounts the situation in Rome when the empire was so great may have been similar. But the rampant immorality contributed greatly to bringing that empire to an end. We have been warned that before Christ returns it will be as it was in the days of Noah.
Roman society collapsed from within and all the markers of that collapse are evident in our societies today. What we are learning of the sexual perversion amongst the movers and shakers of society is almost unbelievable. Many politicians, movie and TV personalities, educators and religious leaders – those who have the power to form and shape the trends of society – are heavily engaged in the “works of the flesh.” This week the head of the Church of England advocated that parents should allow their young sons to wear a tiara and female clothing to school. Australian citizens voted overwhelmingly for the legalization of same sex marriage. Australia’s national horse race – the Melbourne Cup – was reported more in terms of the debauchery of the race-goers than which horse actually won the race. And no one seemed to notice that the EU made significant progress toward military integration (PESCO).
God’s people have only one solid line of defense against the encroaching tide of societal breakdown. Counter to the works of the flesh are the works of the Spirit. Paul said clearly, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” He then outlines the works of the flesh and the Spirit and concludes by saying, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 24-25). Walking in the Spirit means we actively disconnect from the pulls and desires of human nature. We use the power of God’s Spirit to disengage our minds from the source of immorality. To “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires” means we allow God’s Spirit to motivate our thinking and subsequent actions to be in line with what God says is right and good. We must be very careful in our use of the tools in today’s society, which are also used to spread the “works of the flesh.” A tool, of and by itself, is not evil, but it can be used for an evil purpose.
The BBC recently published material from a report (Connected Kids) on children’s media habits.
“The amount of time children spend glued to a screen has risen dramatically in the last 20 years, a new report suggests. Children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995, according to market research firm Childwise. Teenage boys spend the longest, with an average of eight hours. Eight-year-old girls spend the least, three and a half hours, according to the study. Screen time is made up of time spent watching TV, playing games consoles, using a mobile, computer or tablet.”
Satan is not unaware of the value of screen time – especially for young minds. The internet is an open gate to the field of the works of the flesh.
The time when the family is together is incredibly important. It is a time for connection – parents to children. This is the time for talking and face to face communication. A time for fathers to inject the works of the Spirit into the family relationship. It is a time to arm your children with the tools they need to deal with the world and the human nature that drives it.
As some encouragement in this direction, here is a link to information on how Iceland has tackled the teen drug and alcohol problem with good success.
Let our families mirror the Apostle Paul’s family admonition. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1-4).