Here at Hope Biblical Counseling Center we get to hear about many family tragedies. We receive approximately 300 emails a week and many phone calls from people who are Independent Baptists. Much of the tragedy today, and it is huge, comes from people not having a real, intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with God.  If you do not understand what that means please click here.

They live for their lusts and are not willing to make the changes necessary in their lives to have one. Sadly, we see many of the same patterns over and over that lead to spiritual disaster. Over the past couple of months we have received several calls from parents who have a disaster in their family. All of the people were home schooling their children. Down through the years we have seen the same thing many times. It is a common parental mistake that leads to disaster. The mistake is putting children in the work force too early or sending them away from home too early.

Many Christian families spend years homeschooling and seeking to protect their children from influences that will steal their heart. However, when the child graduates from high school, they seem to think that now it is time to go to work. It is kind of like they breathe a sigh of relief and think, “We made it.” No, you only turned a corner; you have not made it.

One young parent recently said to me, “It makes no common sense to homeschool your child and seek to protect their influences, guard their heart, and then put them out in worldly influences of the work place and expect to see good results”. Exactly! It makes no common sense or spiritual sense. It is kind of like there is this rush to get them out to work or school! Folks, they have the rest of their life to work! It is a parental responsibility to make sure their child is spiritually and emotionally mature enough to handle that. You do not put them in a worldly work place to help them mature. It is like the fox guarding the hen house.

Rule of thumb, friends steal hearts. The common disaster is they get out into the work place and meet other worldly young people their age and those of the opposite sex and it is a serious problem. Recently, I had a father sob to me that his daughter had done well in school, was accepted at a Bible College, and had a bright future. The parents sent her out to work at a local business to make money for Bible College. She met a young man there and started seeing him without the parent’s knowledge. She ended up pregnant and ran away with the guy. A few months later he was gone, but her life was scarred forever. The bright future she had was now greatly limited. She would not listen to her parents and chose to live with other people she met at work. Of course, God and church are no longer on her agenda.

Proverbs 4:20-27, My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. (21)  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. (22)  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. (23)  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (24)  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. (25)  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. (26)  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. (27)  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Proverbs 2:1-2  My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; (2)  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Our goal for our children is spiritual and emotional maturity. Just because our child is 18 does not mean he or she is spiritually and emotionally mature. The parents must have common and spiritual sense to discern that issue!

Another poor decision that many parents make is to allow their child to work on Sunday and Wednesday night. Folks, honestly, that makes no common sense or spiritual sense either. What is the most important thing for your child to be doing? To be in God’s house hearing God’s Word and establishing a pattern of faithfulness in their lives!

So, what you are saying to the child is that now that you are 18 years old you can be unfaithful to the house of God because work is more important? It is a blatant disregard for the commands of God and brings disastrous results. Sadly, many parents start doing this when the child is 16 years old! It is spiritually poor parenting!

Hebrews 10:25-27, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (26)  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27)  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Of course, along with the friends in the work place comes social media. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, “They had a Facebook account and I did not know it”. It does not take long looking at a young person’s Facebook account to see they like worldly music, and the ungodly and wicked pictures of “their friends” on their account. By the way, the parent who encourages their children to have a Facebook account is just courting disaster as well.

Recently, a parent contacted me and stated their daughter who had finished school was living at home and had gotten a job at a local fast food restaurant. There she met and made friends with ungodly young people. Was not long until she had secretly put up a Facebook page. Seven months after she started the job, she announced to her parents she did not have to obey their rules, she was moving out, and she no longer wanted to have anything to do with God.

Obviously, the parents were devastated and were wondering what in the world happened here?

Folks, as a parent I need to make sure my child is spiritually and emotionally mature enough to move forward into an adult life. Just because they are 18 and graduated from high school does not mean that they are ready spiritually and emotionally to move forward in an adult life.

Another scenario we have been called about so many times is the child goes off to Bible College and a huge disaster takes place. We also have counseled many Bible College graduates who have a real disaster in their lives and marriages as well. Our belief Biblically is that it is the Biblical responsibility of the local church where the person attends to train the person if it is at all possible to do so. It is the reason we have a Bible Institute at our church. The parents believe a Bible College is a safe place of spiritual growth and understanding. However, just because it is a Bible College does not mean it is a safe place. Worldly dorm life can be devastating to a child who is not spiritually and emotionally mature enough to handle it.

It is not our belief that putting spiritually immature children together in a dorm room with other immature children matures them. The failure of this is huge and does not prove out in fact this matures them. Much of the failure is due to a young person being in a room with 2 to 3 others who do not have a real, intimate, personal and passionate relationship with God. It is a recipe for disaster and it is happening every day. The roommates go to the lowest common denominator. This has caused much gut wrenching misery for many parents because they believe the Bible College is a safe place, when sadly it is not.

Ephesians 4:14-15,  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (15)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

2 Peter 3:18, But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

 Ephesians 5:18, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Recently a Pastor called me to talk about his son who came home after his first year of Bible College and announced he was moving out and wanting nothing more to do with God or his parents. He was going to live with worldly friends he had met at Bible College who were going to do the same. Happens a lot. The Pastor was weeping, and said, “When my son left he had a heart for God I do not understand what has happened”.

We also do not believe it is best to send a person who is spiritually and emotionally immature away from their home, church, pastor, and parents when they are not spiritually mature enough to handle their surroundings! Kim and I are firmly opposed to sending any student away from our church to any church or school where there is anger preaching, performance based Christianity, lustful activity orientation, and are doer mentality institutions. Also any institution that is a way over the top in youth activity orientation. It does not promote spiritual and emotional maturity to teach people to live for their lusts! We would never want to send a student to a church or institution that would not teach them how to have a real relationship with God. It is a huge recipe for disaster. Why send a student to a church or school that is teaching what we as a church and ministry are trying to change and help people with? It is not going to help our student. It does not make any spiritual or common sense and sadly will only end in disaster.

2 Timothy 2:22, Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Ephesians 4:14-15, II Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:29-32

Ephesians 4:29-32, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  (30)  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  (31)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  (32)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Proverbs 14:17, He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

Proverbs 22:24-25, Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: (25) Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

James 1:19-20, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:  (20) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Psalms 37:8, Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

Another pastor called me talking about his daughter who came home after her first year at Bible College and stated she did not want any more to do with God or her family and was moving out. It was worldly dorm room influences and friends she had made. The pastor said to me, “It is like they have stolen her innocence”.

Someone says, “Pastor, how do I know when they are ready?”  Glad you asked that. A common mistake that most parents make is not realizing that fundamentally all issues of life are spiritual issues (heart issues).

Proverbs 4:23, Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Ephesians 6:6-7, Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; (7)  With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

The heart is a serious issue. Many times parents look at the outward appearance and think everything is okay in their child’s heart. The child is a compliant rebel. They are telling the parent everything they want to hear and on the outside everything looks okay. The parent just hopes everything is okay and wants to believe everything is okay. Down in the heart there are issues. The way a child rebels is their heart is wandering because of some issues(s) in their heart. Then their heart is available to be stolen, then their heart hardens. You then have a real problem on your hand as a parent.

 Parents, the only way we can know what is in a heart is to ask God to show us.

Jeremiah 17:9-10, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

James 1:5-6, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  (6)  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Just as a parent should be asking, “God is there anything (sin) in my heart today that would stand between you and me.  God, please show me if there is any sin that stands between you and me?” This is an important part of having fellowship with God.

Good parenting requires that it should be a daily thing to ask God, “Is there anything in my child’s heart that I need to know about?” Why? Because you cannot help the child if you do not know. If my desire is to help them live a godly life, then I need to know.

Secondly, it is my responsibility to teach them to ask God the question about their own heart. Many times we hope that people will live up to the knowledge they have and that they will desire to live as the Bible instructs. Sadly, many times that does not happen because we are dealing with the human heart. Life is full of choices. We must diligently guard our heart and have a real relationship with God each day. It is not optional equipment, but a must do and have scenario.

If a parent is not asking the heart questions, they will lose their children. Be diligent about your heart and the hearts of your children. When you do find something down in your child’s heart, you must ask heart questions of the child. Then calmly and positively draw it out of the heart. Who, what, when where, how and why? The Bible has the answer and let the child see the answer in the Bible. Show him or her what true repentance means and how to accomplish it from the Bible for that specific issue of their heart. There is no change in fuzzy land. We must be specific! A spiritual life is a heart issue. Make sure to ask God what is in your heart and your child’s heart and how He wants you to deal with it? Be diligent!

By asking God about their heart you can know when they are ready to move on. If you do not you will not know and a disaster will result. Folks, they have the rest of their lives to work. They also can work in “selected guarded areas”. There is nothing wrong with children learning how to work and they should. They can be and should be taught at home to have a work ethic.

They may not be spiritually and emotionally ready to go out into the work place, Bible College, or into other areas of adulthood. If their heart is not prepared they are not prepared. It is a wise parent who understands that. Moving forward too early will create disastrous results.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

A father provokes his child to wrath by moving them ahead too early. Certainly just because they are 18 does not mean they are spiritually and emotionally mature. Of course, as a parent my goal should always be spiritual and emotional maturity. If I have not dedicated myself to that task and made it a priority in my life, then I will see rebellion in my children’s lives. I need to be asking heart questions at an early age, not letting rebellion grow.

I can blame others, church, teachers, pastor, etc., but the Bible gives that responsibility to us as a father and mother. The church will always have a difficult time resurrecting what the home is putting to death. Poor spiritual decisions by parents are the major cause of childhood rebellion. I cannot expect good results if I make poor spiritual decisions. As a pastor, I have tried to share with parents when I see they are making poor spiritual decisions. A rebellious parent will be defensive, and not listen to wise counsel. Sadly, their child will end up in a disastrous situation.

Remember, it is all a heart issue. Be diligent about it and make sure to ask God questions. He will make it very plain to you.