Last week I shared about teaching our children to put on and fully use the armor of God. This week we are looking at how our children can be drawn into cults. We often think that if our children are raised in the church and in Sunday School and youth group that they are protected. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case! And this is because people don’t join cults because of their doctrine. There are 3 things that are an attractive draw for the hearts of our children. But first, I want to reiterate something from my previous post.
There is a point in our faith that scripture calls the young man stage. While I don’t think it is completely a chronological age, for children raised in the faith, it generally is: the late teens and early to mid-twenties. This is the stage in their lives when they are looking the 3 P’s: purpose, passion and power. These are very important and a part of their growing autonomous relationship with the Lord. BUT they can also be used by the enemy to push our children to look in the wrong place for those who demonstrate these qualities. We see this in 1 John 2:12-14
Our young adults are longing for a deeper purpose, greater passion and real spiritual power in their lives. Sometimes, our lives are not exemplifying those things to our children. We get sucked into the mundaneness of life and forget the fervor and zeal God calls us to. But our children desire these in their lives and cults are there (and new ones are always coming along) ready to draw our children in.
Young adults are drawn to those require ultimate and total commitment. This fits in with their desire for power. They long for their lives to have zeal and deep meaning.
- They are looking for strength and calling.
- They are looking to give their full conviction of heart and life to a single focus.
- They are looking for the one who requires their full commitment.
This is the lure of the cult. They demand full and total commitment of their followers. They make their followers feel the power of this commitment. They take advantage of this desire and exploit it for their own gain. This draws them in.
Ah, to be told that you are special, that you are unique, that you are chosen for a purpose. Our young people have lived in the everydayness of school, church, job. They are looking for other worldness – for supernatural experiences that they haven’t found before. They are longing to:
- have their lives count for something special
- have their lives have eternal purpose
- have their lives be filled with great meaning
This is the call of the cult. They feed on the desire for purpose in the young adult. They prey on their longings, their desires and fill them up in the flesh and feed into this heart desire. This sucks them in.
It is such a kick to be around like-minded people! You feel like you finally belong, like you know others and are fully known. You get excited as those around you get excited and your longing for passion is finally being fulfilled. You feel like:
- you are part of a group who gives their all
- you are part of a group who meets all your needs
- you are part of a group to whom you can surrender everything
This is the goal of the cult! Once they get you to commit, believe you are chosen and surrender to their community, they have you! You get swallowed up, you are enclosed and you are isolated from all family and friends. At this point your chances of ever getting free have dropped drastically. This envelopes them completely.
Teaching our children
We need to discuss this with our children. We cannot assume they are not susceptible, because they are. We need to not let this training fall by the wayside. We need to fill in the gaps with our children and talk about their desires for passion, purpose and power. Helping them see how the Lord will fulfill these things in their lives will go a long way in keeping them safe from the call of the cult. But it will really all fall in their choice. Help them to be grounded in the truth of the Word. Help them to be building a passionate, powerful, purposeful intimate relationship with the Lord. Help them to find their calling in ministry for the Kingdom of God.
Real freedom, passion, zeal and power only comes from a life surrendered to the Holy Spirit. Nothing compares to the power of an intimate walk with Jesus, nothing brings liberty like the grace given to use through the cross and nothing gives strength like the joy of the Lord in our lives. Train your children in THESE things. Fill them up with the REAL, and they won’t be so quick to fall for the COUNTERFEIT!
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(images courtesy of Jeff Ratcliff and luigi diamanti/freedigitalphotos.net)
All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.