Why Your Family Is So Important (Dannah Gresh)Why Your Family Is So Important
Leslie Basham: Here’s Dannah Gresh.
Dannah Gresh: I believe that the call of the kingdom is that we would bring this kingdom to earth in a one man, one woman marriage relationship, and therefore, we must pass that passion and that desire on to our children. The intention of the enemy is a direct assault on a picture of Christ and the church. It is being stolen from us right out from under our noses, and we are doing nothing about it.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, August 10.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: One of the things that women often hear from this ministry is, “Your womanhood isn’t just about you.” You see, when we embrace God’s design for our lives and when men embrace God’s design for their lives, we’re helping to provide a picture of the gospel. It’s important that we as women live this out. But it’s also important that we pass these truths on to the next generation.
My good friend, Dannah Gresh, is about to offer a passionate plea for us to teach young men and women to embrace biblical manhood and womanhood. Dannah and I co-authored the book Lies Young Women Believe. At the end of today’s program, I’ll tell you how you can get a copy at ReviveOurHearts.com.
I want to remind you that Dannah is going to be doing a special track for teen girls at the conference Revive Our Hearts is hosting next month. It’s called True Woman ’12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. Now, let’s listen as Dannah describes the challenges and opportunities facing families today.
Dannah: Genesis 4:1 says this: “Adam lay with his wife Eve and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.” I read that verse. I’d read over it before. “Adam lay with his wife Eve.” But I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. He so was not just laying there. Not one of the man’s more passive moments. Bad translation.”
So I opened my Hebrew dictionary to understand what God was trying to teach us. I found that the Hebrew word there in the place of “lay” was the word yada. Yada means “to know, to be known, to be deeply respected.” How cool is that!
I began to study this word. I studied it for eight years because I thought why isn’t the church talking about this word? It’s kind of a big deal as I began to research it and study it. After eight years, I wrote, What Are You Waiting For? The One Thing No One Ever Tells You about Sex. I believe that this single word as we trace it from Genesis 4:1 through hundreds of usages all the way to its Greek counterpart into the book of Revelation that God lays for us a labyrinth of His heart concerning marriage and family. And without an understanding of this, our theology of sexuality is weak at best. It answers every question.
In fact, turn with me in your Bibles to Genesis 1:26-27. It says,
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. And let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over every creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
I believe this is the first hint of the power of yada. We, male and female are the image or likeness of God. Why doesn’t God mention the traits of being intelligent, worshipful, or creative when He says we were created in His image? Why doesn’t He commend language proficiency or the ability to compose sonnets? Apparently, these are not the only things that make us a representation of His image, and perhaps they aren’t the most important qualities. Maybe there is one that trumps the rest.
The Bible mentions only gender in reference to our divine design. Maleness. Femaleness. Why? Because the One true God is a social being. This nature is clearly seen in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; though distinctly separate, exist together in perfect and constant communion with one another.
The unique distinction between maleness and femaleness invites us to be social beings, too. Our male and female differences are what creates our craving for yada. We wouldn’t long to be known if we were all alike, right?
The experience of being known means that we start at a place of being unknown. This place is authentic humanity and sexuality in the context of male and female diversity. Now there is some diversity that the world needs to be celebrating. Amen?
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery but I am really talking about Christ and the church.
Maybe the apostle Paul knew how rare a holy marriage bed was going to be when we read that passage here today. John Piper says this: “The ultimate reason, not the only one why we are sexual, is to make God more deeply knowable.” Thy kingdom come, Lord.
My friend, Dr. Peter Jones says that “. . . if Christians do not find the courage to address the biblical teaching on sex, they will wake up one day to find themselves and the gospel completely marginalized.”
I can share with you today how we need to establish stronger marriages, but I want to go to our children. I want to go to the littlest of our children. I want to go to our sons and our daughters. I want to encourage you that we must plant in the next generation an honor, a desire, a power to carry the picture of the gospel in a pure and holy male and female marriage relationship because the world is crucifying the desire in our children.
If I could, I want to share with you the general state of our daughters. In the past ten years, our daughters have been so sexualized that even the American Psychological Association, normally very left in their thinking, is very concerned. We’ve seen Women’s Wear Daily feature articles such as, “When Does Seven [the age of seven] Become the New Sixteen?”
The American Psychological Association has taken issue with the kind of dolls that are being created for our daughters. Where once they were give baby dolls and dolls that they could role play with, now they are being given dolls with pouty lips and fishnet and high heel boots and parents must not understand this; that what a girl plays with a doll is just practice for what she will become when she is older.
When we give a girl a baby doll and she plays a game of being mommy and she nurtures it, she learns the value and embraces the value of nurturing. When we give an older girl a doll that is non-sexual and she role-plays being a doctor or a veterinarian or being a school teacher, she understands the value of helping people.
But do you know what some of the most left leaning thinkers call the game that little girls play when they play with these kinds of dolls? Seduce the boy. That’s something you want your daughter to practice, isn’t it? One of the most left thinkers said that “When we give our daughters, dolls it places them on a conveyer belt to earlier sexualization. Parents must not know the risk.” The world is making our little girls grow up too quickly.
Now, hear me on this. One fishnet Barbie and one miniskirt and one boy crazy moment in your daughter’s life is not going to ruin her. But when they feast on these things, the American Psychological Association says that those little girls in their teen years are the most at risk of depression, eating disorders, and an early sexualization—early sexual debut. That means that when they are in the twenties and thirties, they have so many body issues and scars on their hearts that they are unable to enjoy the covenant marriage that God created them to know. The world is making our little girls grow up too fast and disabling them from the ability to be in a yada relationship.
Our boys are a little bit different. A recent Wall Street Journal article asked, “Where have all the good men gone?” As I researched what is the world is looking for in boys and men that it is missing and what does God say about good, I found that throughout Scripture when God talks about being good Himself and when He talks about us being good, it really means that we’re useful. It means that we have an attitude toward and for those around us rather than being self-absorbed in our own desires and interests. That’s what it means to be good. And you know what? The world is pulling our little boys away from goodness.
We actually have a new term to call twenty-something-year-old boys who are stuck in their adolescence. It’s called “adultescent.” In 1992 we began to see a very significant academic decline in boys. You might remember that before that boys were king of the math world. Girls ruled in the English department, but boys were king of the math world. And they had a rather strong work ethic in their academics. But we saw a significant decline in that beginning in 1992.
Well, you have to ask yourself what transpired right prior to that to make that happen. In the 1970s, in 1971 exactly, the very first computer game came out, but it took a warehouse to store it. When they finally got it down small enough, the only thing they could do was to put it in a public place. So some of you may remember visiting something called an arcade? It took them a few years after that and they came out with a pretty archaic system. Some of you might remember playing asteroids or pong. Blip! Blip! Blip, blip! That was a fast one.
It wasn’t until the early 1980s that we had a viable home system called Nintendo. And computers began to be created specifically for game use including the Commodore 54, Macintosh, and PC Compatibles. By the early 90s, we saw that significant decline. We saw boys who became so concerned about fighting epic battles that were virtual, that they no longer cared about the real world around them.
Today the average boy will spend thirty-five hours in front of his PlayStation or X-box console or in front of the computer playing games. Most of them by the eleventh year of their life will have been introduced to pornography.
No yada. No mystery. No picture of the kingdom. But here is the call of the kingdom. I believe that the call of the kingdom is that we would bring this kingdom to earth in a one man, one woman marriage relationship. Therefore we must pass that passion and that desire on to our children where the ability is being ripped out of our daughters and the desire is being ripped out of our sons. That is the modern day call of the kingdom—that we would replace those things—that they would not be stolen from us. The intention of the Enemy is a direct assault on a picture of Christ and the Church. It is being stolen from us, right out from under our noses, and we are doing nothing about it.
The Mona Lisa is considered the most famous painting in the world because there is something in the picture that we don’t understand. There is a mystery in her smile and in the way that she sits there, and so we want to know what’s behind that mystery. After five hundred years, we are still studying her. I suppose that you could say that marriage would be like taking the Mona Lisa and spray painting her with graffiti. You could even say like it was painting a caricature of her. But I think it is much more than that.
In 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen. The captain of the guard turned the corner to find four posts where once she stood. He reasoned to himself, “They must have taken her for photographic purposes to market her.” He did nothing. He consulted with other guards on duty, and they did nothing. The greatest picture in the world is stolen and those entrusted to its care did nothing.
That’s us, Church. The greatest picture of the gospel is our marriages and our families, and all too often we do nothing because we are lulled into complacency. It just seemed normal the way that our children are behaving today. The average marriage today has no yada—no mystery—no picture of the kingdom.
I want to issue a simple challenge to you today for when you go home. We could talk about all kinds of ways where we strategize to protect this picture—this holy picture of Christ and the Church. But I want to just issue this challenge. I want you to go home and start marriage counseling for your children—whether they are three or thirteen or twenty-three. I want you to begin to plant a desire in them for family, and I want you to do anything at any cost to protect it. Here’s marriage counseling for your children in two easy steps.
One: Plant a desire for family into your children. Let them see your passion for it in your own marriage. When they are very small, when they are preschoolers, they just want to be like you. They want to copy you. So love on your wife. Love on your children, and give them a passion and desire. The other day I was talking to my little three-year-old nephew the other day. I said, “Peter, when you grow up, do you want to be a football player?” He’s a tank of a kid.
“No, Aunt Dannah.”
I said, “Peter, when you grow up are going to be a baseball player?”
“No, Aunt Dannah. When I grow up I’m going to take care of people like my daddy.”
God, forgive me! God, forgive me! They just want to be like us. When they get older they ask “Why?” and it gets on our nerves. But tell them why you love being a husband, why you love being a wife, why you love being a mom, why you love being a daddy, and why there’s one man and one woman in your home, but two men in another home. Explain to them and answer the why’s because I promise you that if you don’t, the world will.
When they are teenagers coach them and re-coach them and re-coach them. You can’t control every decision that they make, but coach them. Tell them what your expectations are about dating and marriage. Tell them what kind of a husband or wife they should be looking for. Send them out into the game. Let them fall down and scrape their knees and bring them in and coach them back up.
First let me open a verse to you that I think is important, 2 Timothy 3:1-5. I don’t want you to miss this. It says this, “But mark this. There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, disobedient to their parents without love.” The word there “without love” was the Greek word astorgos, and you know what it meant? “Without family love.” No love for the family. That is what the world is trying to do to our sons, and I promise you it’s what the world is doing to our daughters.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss and I wrote Lies Young Women Believe a few years ago. We commissioned a study of homeschool girls, Christian school girls, and public school girls across this nation—all Christian. And do you know what they said? It didn’t matter the school type. They believed that being a wife and mom was a sub-par position to any career they could have outside the home. Without family love.
We must plant in our children the desire to have family love. What does that look like? That looks like when our little girls are little we give them dolls—baby dolls to play with so they can learn the art and love the art of nurturing.
That means we talk to our sons and say, “Do you want to be a dad, a husband?” We ask them that instead of, “Do you want to be a football player.”
That means that we keep our daughters off the boy crazy train, and we dare to believe that they can have a relationship with just one man.
That means that we turn off the PlayStation, and we turn our boys onto a hard work ethic.
It means that we teach our sons to love servant leadership by doing practical things, by teaching them to open doors for their mother and for their sisters.
It means that we open up Proverbs 31 realizing that it was written to a son. We call both our daughters and our sons to look for that precious, more precious than rubies relationship that God has crafted to be a picture of His love for the body. Give them a passion for the picture.
Step number two: Protect the desire for family by keeping the little in your girl and building the good in your son. When was the last time you saw a twelve-year-old girl that looks like a girl instead of a young woman? The culture is pressing them to grow up too soon, and they are being robbed of their ability to look like the picture of Christ and the Church. And in taking the goodness from our sons, our sons are no longer desirous of that relationship. How do you do it?
Well, there are two things that are really important, and we need to give our congregations and ourselves permission. First, learn to say “no.” Everybody practice with me, on the count of three—one, two, three. “No.” Beautiful! You can do it. I can do it. But I have to be reminded because sometimes those seventeen-year-old girls scare me to death.
“No” to music lyrics that our teenagers aren’t really listening to (laughter). It’s okay to say “no.” Your kids will survive it. They may accuse you of being Amish, but you will survive it. But do me this solid favor and that is remember to say “yes” more than you say “no.”
This is a weakness in my house and in me. Say “yes” more than you say “no.” Positive parenting message are so much more potent than negative ones, aren’t they? I said “yes” to hot pink highlights for my fifth grade daughter because her heart was good. Every Thursday night my husband said “yes” to our middle school son and at nine o’clock they left the house at bedtime to go get wings. “Yes” to an open heart to our son that still remains so today. And “yes” to heartburn every Friday morning for my husband.
“Yes” to driving six hours round trip this summer for my daughter because she felt close to a girl she met at camp and she felt closer to God when she was with her. “Yes” to shopping till my teenaged girls drop as long as it is modest and they aren’t accusing me of being Amish. And “yes, yes and oh yes” to my marriage. That means that at any cost, whatever it takes you do what it takes to fix it when it’s feeling dispassionate.
Nancy: Dannah Gresh has been explaining how vital it is for all of us to be investing in the next generation. As I’m sure you know, biblical ideas about manhood and womanhood are under attack today, and our young people need us to show them the beauty of God’s great design.
Let me tell you about one way you can invest specifically in the next generation of women. I want to encourage you to get a copy of the book that Dannah and I wrote together, Lies Young Women Believe. It shows young women how to think biblically about the issues they face—about topics like relationships, purity, modesty, true beauty, and more. Then, once you’ve had a chance to look at the book yourself, here’s what you could do. Put together a group of young women, teens, college age who need your involvement in their lives and go through Lies Young Women Believe together.
It’s a great way for you to intentionally invest in a young woman during an important season of her life. We’ll send you a copy of Lies Young Women Believe when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Just ask for the book when you give us a call at 1-800-569-5959. If you prefer, you can visit us on line at ReviveOurHearts.com.
At that site you will find information about the True Woman conference that is coming up next month. Just a reminder again that Dannah is going to be leading the teen track. I’ll be there along with many other speakers as well.
Now, if you’ve been to a True Woman conference in the past, I want you to realize that this is a new conference. You’ll hear a new set of messages for seeking God for personal and corporate revival which we so desperately need at this time. For all the details and to register visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.
Leslie: Starting on Monday, find out why those needing to experience revival are kind of like captives waiting for a rescue. Join us next week for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.
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