(Editor's Note: This article was first published in the May 2022 print edition of The Stand found online HERE.)
How are parents to combat the ways of this world that are so readily accessible to today’s children and youth? Not just accessible, but flaunted and paraded in front of them, promising all of the riches and satisfaction and happiness the world claims to offer.
All that … for just one easy payment: their soul.
Earlier this year, Wil Addison, AFA director of special initiatives, posted “What I Want to Pass Down,” a powerful commentary on The Stand. In it, he draws principles for parenting from Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Daniel to encourage and guide parents in the challenges they face today.
“I often think about the book of Daniel when thinking about the times we are living in,” wrote Addison. “It feels like we are on the brink of being captives here or like we are living in a modern-day Babylon.”
The Stand magazine shares the following excerpts from Addison’s post in an abbreviated Q&A format along with the Scriptures he emphasized.
The Stand: When you say current times are reminiscent of the times of Daniel, what do you mean by that?
Wil Addison: Jeremiah was a prophet who God spoke through for over 40 years [warning His people of the coming Babylonian captivity]. When I think of Daniel and his friends – Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael – I believe their parents listened to the prophet Jeremiah based on the fruit produced in their sons.
It’s obvious that these young boys were trained to go to Babylon but not to become Babylonians.
I was thinking about what I would want to impress upon my children looking at a modern Babylon on the horizon … this is not the time for lying back but a time for vigilance as we approach the discipleship of our children.
The Word: Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans (Daniel 1:3).
TS: What are some things you would like to pass down to your children?
WA: Be excellent.
The Bible clearly lays out that these young men were excellent spiritually, physically, and academically.
The Word: [They were] youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans (Daniel 1:4).
TS: How can youth be excellent in today’s culture?
WA: Do your best in school. Be smart.
Learn practical things and get your education. See how your whole self, especially your mind, when given over to God, is a great tool in His hand.
When I think of someone loving God with their mind, I think of George Washington Carver [1864-1943]. He believed that Providence guided his scientific investigations and that those investigations led to a better understanding of God and His handiwork.
The Word: And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your heart. This is the great and foremost commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).
TS: What else makes you think of Carver?
WA: In an age when scientists had begun to view science and religion as mutually exclusive, Carver stood out for his insistence that science provides proof of God’s existence.
He often referred to his lab as “God’s little workshop.” He did not consider himself a scientific genius; that is, he did not take credit for discovering one or another product.
Instead, he considered himself a conduit for divine inspiration and revelation: “[I] ask the Great Creator ... to permit me to speak to Him through the three great kingdoms of the world, which He has created – the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms.”
The New York Times, strongly disagreeing with Carver’s juxtaposition of science and divine influence, published an editorial claiming that Carver’s comments revealed a “complete lack of the scientific spirit.”
If “scientific spirit” means excluding God from the investigation of His own creation, then, in that skewed sense, the Times was right. For Carver plainly considered God and science inseparable.
He once wrote, “I am not interested in science or anything else that leaves God out of it.”
TS: What additional elements of excellence do you hope your children learn from your legacy?
WA: Be resolute.
That they would not be defiled by the king’s food (Daniel 1:6-17).
That they would not bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Daniel 3:16-18).
That when faced with moments of compromise, they would not compromise!
Be prayerful and keep good company.
In Daniel 2, when Nebuchadnezzar said he would kill all the wise men in the land if none could tell him his dream and interpret it, Daniel got with his friends, and they sought the Lord. They prayed. When things got hot, they were good, godly company for each other.
The Word: … then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, about the matter, so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon (Daniel 2:17-18).
TS: Do you have any last charges for today’s young people?
WA: Keep yourself unstained from the world.
Don’t let this worldly system rub off on you. You are peculiar because you have placed your faith in Christ. Be alright with being different for righteousness’ sake, and do the things that please the Lord.
The Word: If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:26-27).
Scriptures cited are from the NASB 1995.
MFL22 Conference coming in July
Wil Addison is founder and director of AFA’s Marriage Family Life Conference July 7-9 in Tupelo, Mississippi. The two-day event will equip believers to defend biblical truth and minister to culture-wearied adults and children (ages 4-17).
Impact a Life is the theme of this year’s conference where adults will engage in information-packed sessions while kids and youth will participate in their own age-appropriate sessions.
For more information, to register, or to become an MFL22 vendor, visit marriagefamilylife.net. MFL22 partnership opportunities are available by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With his wife Meeke Addison, Wil co-hosts Airing the Addisons on American Family Radio, 2-3 p.m. CT, weekdays. Homeschooling parents of six, the Addisons cover a broad range of critical family, spiritual, and cultural issues.