At the core of so many messages our kids hear in the media, movies, music, politics and television resides a focus on individualism. The John 3:16 of the world is “be true to yourself,” and “you do you.” A life of individual autonomy (or “self-rule”) is the essence of all sin, which Adam and Eve believed in the Garden.
We want to do everything we can to deconstruct to our children the emptiness of living a life of individual autonomy—not to win an argument, but in order to deliver our kids from the inherent loneliness and anxiety that naturally result from living life on our own terms.
Jesus says that a life of individual self-determinism robs, kills and steals our joy. He says in John 10 that the most satisfying, abundant life a person can live is found in a sheep/shepherd relationship with him, where he governs our lives as we submit to him.
So how do we practically teach our children to recognize this fallacy of self-rule and instead submit to the gracious leadership of God?
Here are five strategies for going to war with the lie of individual autonomy.
1. You were made by God and, therefore, are accountable to God.
There is a reason that opponents of Christianity are so desperate to affirm a macroevolutionary worldview, where human origins are explained through non-divine, purely scientific explanations. At times, we see proponents of macroevolution argue in a manner that more resembles dogmatic religion than scientific investigation.
Macroevolution possesses such importance in the world’s mindset because if no God made you, then you are not accountable to a creator. If you are not accountable to a creator, then to whom do you answer? Yourself. Thus, individual autonomy becomes the most reasonable (or at least, desirable) worldview.
It’s important to make clear to students the direct link between their creation by God and the inherent accountability derived from this reality. Regardless of how God made the world, young people need to know that God is the author of their life and creation. This means they are accountable to him, and he desires for them to live under his authority.
2. Teach sin in theological terms (not just behavioral ones).
Too often, especially with kids, we teach sin purely in terms of behavioral mistakes. Sin equals lying, cheating, stealing, drinking, etc. Indeed, in one sense we define sin as a behavioral violation of God’s law. Simultaneously, we also understand sin in theological or spiritual terms as trying to live life independently from God.
As I mentioned in the previous article, the Bible depicts the essence of sin as unbridled human autonomy and trying to “be like God.” Conversely, Christian faithfulness fundamentally involves repenting from self-rule and following Jesus as the Lord of our lives.
When kids understand sin both in behavioral and spiritual terms, they have a greater ability to recognize the problematic messages of individualism, which are continually thrust upon them. When they hear mantras like “be true to yourself” and “you do you,” they will be able to discern that these messages directly contradict the way of Christ.
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Source: Church Leaders