In Part 1, we established the fact that a person’s beliefs determine his or her behavior. The pattern that Eve set for listening to, meditating on, believing, and acting on Satan’s lies is still being followed today. The good news is that as Spirit-filled believers, we have a choice regarding whether we walk in the flesh or in the spirit (Gal. 5:16). In Colossians 3 and elsewhere, we’re told to put off the “old man” and to put on the “new man” and his deeds. Obeying God’s commands is possible through Christ, not just for adults but also for teens.
In order to put off falsehood, beliefs that are unbiblical and anti-God, we need to stop the pattern of listening to Satan’s lies. That process is difficult in our sin-soaked culture in which “normal” is so far from God’s revealed will, as seen in His Word. Even what the average person sees as healthy and admirable ethics, sexuality, and priorities is far from godly living. At the same time, those with high standards of “Christian” behavior can be noticeably entrenched in pride and tradition, lacking the kind of humility and continual growth we see God’s Word encourage.
To break the cycle, we need to evaluate — and help our teens evaluate — where the lies are coming from. Some possibilities include these:
- Other media
- Friends or family members
- Personal logic
Perhaps that last issue can be most deceptive, particularly for those romantic enough to like the idea of “following your heart”; that propensity does not make falsehood any truer, though (Prov. 14:12, Isa. 55:9). Once the primary sources of falsehood have been evaluated, the next step is to find ways to avoid or reduce their impact on our thinking. With music or other media, we can usually control our exposure, to a degree.
Even once we’ve purged our lives of such influences, the power of memory can be difficult to face. We think the lyrics or replay scenes from movies in our minds, just like we recall words spoken to us years ago. Phrases like “How can something wrong feel so right?” or “You’re worthless. No one will ever love you” can come back to our minds as clearly as we heard them years ago. The meditation steps now come into play; while well-worn ruts can be difficult to escape, such victory is possible.
Perhaps even before we attempt to rid ourselves of some veins through which falsehood enters our thinking, we need to compare the messages we receive with the Truth of God’s Word. When we do so, we’ll be equipping ourselves for the second aspect of breaking the cycle: letting truth positively impact our lives.