My eleven year old daughter loves to read. To my dismay, however, her book choices seem to be limited to tales of sorcery, witchcraft, magic and mythology.
I’ve noticed that the occult influence is sneaking into our children’s lives. It’s happening right under our noses. Until recently, I couldn’t tell you the last time I gave a second glance to my child’s literary material. I, like most of us, would draw an obvious boundary around explicit material and even excessive violence. But I found myself asking, does it really matter if she reads about magic and witchcraft?
I was on the alert for an obvious culprit. Show me a guy with horns and pitchfork and I’m on it. But I realize that temptation rarely, if ever, presents itself in such recognizable forms. The enemy doesn’t want his efforts so easily thwarted.
Scripture says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). I’ve become aware in my own life that the enemy works much more effectively by blending in with the crowd. By working in obscure and insidious ways the enemy establishes a steady and increasing influence in our lives. Like a tiny drip of water that eventually erodes a cavern in a mountainside, the subtle influence of the prowling devil can begin innocently but eventually lead our children and us away from narrow road to life.
When I did peruse my daughter’s reading choices I experienced a spirit check. Perhaps you do too when you find your children’s nose buried in a book on the occult. So how should we respond to the nudge of the Spirit? Will we rationalize our discontent with “everyone is doing it” or will we take a stand and assume our role as the parental authority over our children’s reading choices?
Books influence our thoughts and our perceptions of reality. Proverbs 4:23 says “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Books on the occult, regardless of how seemingly innocuous or popular they may be, will plant seeds of doubt in the hearts of our children. How, You might ask? By giving our children an alternative “order” to the world based not in truth but in mythology and deception.
The literature to which we expose our children will affect their perception of God’s reality. Our job as parents is to indoctrinate the truth that He is the one true God, Creator of the universe, in sovereign control of everything, author of history and the door to salvation.
Unfortunately, our children are not always under our control. We can’t always vet every influence that comes into their lives. Here are a few things we, as parents, can do to help train them up in the way they should go when it comes to insidious occult material saturating their world.
- Give Our Children a Christian Perspective
First, assuming that our adolescent children have read the popular books about witchcraft and sorcery, all is not lost. We can use this as an opportunity to dialogue with our child about the messages contained therein. Let him or her describe to you the plot, the protagonist, antagonist, problem and how the problem was solved. Now contrast that by inserting God into the plot. How would God solve the problem? Compare the trustworthiness of God against the trustworthiness of the hero in the story (Hebrews 10:23). God never goes back on His word (Isaiah 55:11). God works all things for the good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). God does not need anything from us. He can accomplish His purposes without our assistance (Isaiah 46:10).
2. Assume our God-given role as the authority in our children’s lives
We, as the authority in our children’s lives, are their first line of defense against the temptations of this world. We parents have the God-ordained role to “train our children in the way they should go, so that when they are old, they will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
When we assume an authoritarian role over our children, we do so with love and grace. We choose to discuss the issue with our children to educate them about the dangers of opening doors to the enemy through occult reading material. We offer alternative choices. And while we keep the lines of communication open, we do not hesitate to draw a bright line that occult material is not allowed under our roof.
3. Model God-Honoring Behavior
Finally, we can begin to model behavior that differentiates from the world’s secular values. As we parents take tough, counter-cultural stands on popular issues, we begin to model for our children what it means to obey the command “Be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). We set ourselves apart from the world. The task is made easier when we have a supportive group such as a Bible study or Church that encourages the same.
For those who have not yet put their faith in the one true God, magic is a means of controlling the mind-boggling cosmos. But for those of us who understand the sovereignty of God, we need not rely on magic to give us a semblance of control over our circumstances. We gladly give over our will for Thine. Jesus did.