Giving our Youth a Faith Worth Fighting For

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Recently, a mother came to us looking for help for her 17-year-old son. He’d confessed to her that he’d been addicted to pornography since he was nine; she had never suspected that porn was a problem for him. 

Several months ago, I visited a Barnes and Noble with one of my daughters. As we walked past the occult book section that was right off the main aisle, a mother and her teenage daughter were in a heated debate. The daughter wanted to buy a book of spells so she could “talk to spirits.” To her credit the mom refused, but parents aren’t always there to intervene. My teenage daughters tell me they’re exposed to ads on social media promoting the occult consistently.

3 Ways to Fight for Our Faith

Our youth are under intense assault. Greg Reid has been in youth ministry for 30 years; on our radio show, he shared that he sees 80% of Christian youth walking away from the church by their early twenties. My kids, who went to a Christian school, tell me many of their friends from high school have walked away from the faith.

We’re failing to equip our youth for the battles they’re facing. Telling them “Be nice, learn your Bible verses, and do good works” and hoping they’ll survive is like sending soldiers to war dressed in their pajamas. 

Part of our problem is that the church isn’t equipping the adults. How often do you hear topics like sex, pornography, spiritual warfare, suicide (which is now the number 2 cause of death for persons 10 to 24), or the occult openly discussed from the pulpit, let alone provide effective answers for how to cope and overcome these issues? [1] Most of the Christian men who come to us for help with porn addiction are married fathers, from their forties to their sixties. With surveys showing that 68% of Christian men and 33% of Christian women are viewing porn, sexual sin is just as prevalent in adults as it is in our youth. [2] [3]

So how do we respond in a culture that is freefalling into a moral abyss and doing everything they can to take our kids down with them? 

We must begin with a passionate love relationship with God that surpasses head knowledge. Father and Mothers, what is your first love? (Revelation 2:4). 

Be Alone with God and Pray

A vibrant prayer life is critical. The dark days we live in demand that we spend extended time in prayer every day. Your prayer life is a barometer of your spiritual power and your relationship with God.  

We have a questionnaire that we ask those who come to us for help to fill out. One question is “When was the last time you spent an hour alone with God in silence?” 90% of the men respond with “It’s been a long time” or “never.” Prayerless churches and schools create prayerless, powerless believers.  

Maintaining a passionate love relationship with the Lord requires being grounded in His word, consistently seeking Him in fervent prayer, and learning to rest with Him in silence. We minimize entertainment and other pleasures and distractions so we can have more time to make going all out for God the biggest priority of our life. 

Open Up to Others and Your Kids

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16 

Most American Christians are isolated. When I speak at a church, I’ll often ask the audience to raise their hands if they meet with another believer weekly for accountability, support, and prayer. Usually, only 15% put their hands up. There are no isolated believers in God’s economy. James 5:16 is a command, not an option. I meet with another believer every week, and you should too. We must teach our kids how critical this is. One reason Satan has it so easy picking off our youth (and the adults) is because they’re isolated and have no support. 

We must not shove our heads in the sand when it comes to talking about sex. Like it or not, we have to educate our kids about sex when they’re young. Most of the men we work with got their first exposure to pornography at the age of eight. Parents, if your child is nine years old and you haven’t had the sex talk, you may be too late. Kids are getting smartphones as early as age 6. 

Equip Your Kids for Spiritual Warfare

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12 

We must equip our kids how to be spiritual warriors and overcomers by teaching them about their authority in Christ, making them aware of the spiritual armor they’ve been given and how to use it, and training them to use the power of prayer in spiritual warfare. 

When my daughter Rebekah was 14 years old I started taking her with me to some of my ministry events. The day before we would leave, she would get hit with panic attacks and fear so severe she started crying. I showed Rebekah that what she was going through was spiritual warfare, taught her about her authority in Christ, and how to use prayer to overcome. 

Today when Rebekah goes with me, she may still get attacked, but now she knows how to win the battle. She wrote the following to me in a Christmas card several years ago: 

Dad, you have taught me so many things that I wouldn’t learn in school, like how to be a prayer warrior and how to stay close to God. You also taught me how to overcome spiritual warfare. Thank you also for being there when I was going through an attack. You inspire me to be a better person every day. I hope that I can be a positive inspiration like you to my kids.  

Being a Spiritual Warrior

Father and Mothers, Sons and Daughters, we are a church at war. We must equip, encourage, and challenge each other to be the spiritual warriors and overcomers God calls every believer to be. 

If you want to know more about living the life of what I call a Rogue Christian, I encourage you to read my book The Rogue Christian — the Status Quo Has Failed, it’s Time to Go Rogue. It will equip and challenge you to take your walk with God beyond what status quo Christianity offers today. 

Mike Genung is the founder of Blazing Grace, a ministry to the sexually broken and their spouse. He is the author of nine books and the host of Blazing Grace Radio, which airs in Phoenix Fridays at 3:00 PM on Faithtalk 1360AM. See www.blazinggrace.org and www.theroguechristian.com for more information on Mike and Blazing Grace.

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