We understand that teenagers fight a battle with Satan every time they leave the house (I Peter 5:8). However, we do not always appreciate that this battle continues to be waged after they come home. We would like to think that home is a refuge, a place were teenagers can escape from Satan. But, the truth is, his efforts do not end at our front door. With increasing frequency the devil is finding his way into our homes and continuing his war against our kids. God has great purposes for the home, but Satan has an agenda too.
God wants the home to be a place where children learn about His will for their lives (Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:1-9). However, using the television, radio and internet Satan is busy flooding the minds of our teenagers with corrupt images and messages. He wants parents to leave their children unattended with these dangerous weapons so that he can do his work.
God wants the home to be a place where children listen to their parent’s instruction. It is His desire to help teenagers avoid life’s pitfalls by providing wise counsel from those who are further down life’s road (Proverbs 1:8-9). But using media messages and the influence of peers, Satan seeks to undermine the influence of parents with their children. He wants kids to dismiss their guidance. He wants to create conflict between kids and parents so he can turn our homes into war zones.
God wants the home to be a place where families spend time together. He wants us to be close, to be involved in each other’s lives, to spend time talking about the things that really matter (Deuteronomy 6:7). But Satan wants to keep us so busy that we have no time for each other, even when we are all at home. He wants to keep teenagers off in their own little world, back in the bedroom with the door shut, listening to music, watching television or surfing the net. He wants families to watch television while they eat their meals so that they will be robbed of one more opportunity to communicate. The devil is content to let families share the same address; he just does not want them to share their lives.
An honest assessment of many homes will reveal that the devil enjoys the upper hand in this battle. However, families do not have to let him win. Home can be a refuge, but this requires parents and teenagers to join together to run the devil out of the house.
For many parents this process begins with recognizing that there is a battle going on at their house. Some seem unaware of the serious dangers that threaten their children at home. For example, many teenagers are able to access the internet and watch cable television in their bedrooms. Parents are often unaware of what their kids are seeing and hearing and do little to hold them accountable. Many do not even know how to find out which websites their kids are visiting. This is a formula for disaster. When parents allow these things to happen at their house, they give important ground to the enemy. Moms and dads need to set strict guidelines to govern what their kids see and hear. When teenagers surf the net, it should be in an open place in the home with lots of traffic. Kids should only surf the net when parents are home and able to pay attention.
We should also fight the devil’s efforts to isolate us from each other. We need to trim back our overloaded schedules and make time for each other. We do too much these days, and this “busyness” hinders God’s purposes for the home. When we are at home, we need to do things together. We need to eat together at the dinner table. We should do this without the television blaring in the background so we can use this time to talk. We need to spend devotional time together. Moms and dads need to read the Bible and pray with their children every day.
However, parents cannot win this battle on their own. Parents and children must work together to push the devil out of the house. For teenagers, this begins with the right attitude. They must respect their parents and value their counsel (Ephesians 6:1-3). They must listen as mom and dad provide instruction and guidance (Proverbs 6:20-23). They must submit to their parent’s rules, even when they don’t like them. This contribution by teenagers is essential. When teens fight against their parents, they are actually fighting on the devil’s side.
The devil has brought this battle into our homes. It’s up to us to be sure he does not win.