by Ron Livesay
I first became directly involved in Christian school education in 1978. The many joys and heartaches I have experienced could fill a book. No experience is quite like it, and I would not trade any of it for a different career or ministry. It has been a tremendous experience to be on the scene at BCS and to witness the Lord’s blessing over the years.
During these thirty years, I have seen many changes, and not all of them have been for the better. One of the most difficult things to observe has been the influence of “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4, NKJV) on students and their families. Try as we might, it is nigh unto impossible to protect our children from all of the evil influences that permeate every segment of our society. The Christian school should be, and generally is, one of the small islands of refuge from the daily bombardment of ugliness coming from all directions, but ultimately originating from one source – Satan himself.
Satan tells many lies. One that is most appealing to young people sometimes takes the form we occasionally see on a bumper sticker: “Eat dessert first.” What does such a statement really say? It is reflective of a philosophy that tells young people to demand their rights, grab as many privileges as possible as soon as they can and as often as they can, and delay acceptance of responsibilities for as long as possible. Such an idea is appealing to human nature, but in the end, self-destruction is assured. As a practical matter, if someone consistently ate dessert first, he could easily end up being full before eating the nutritious food his body needs. He would eventually become ill. In the same way, if someone grabbed all the privileges without accepting the necessary responsibilities, the outcome would be disastrous. One could think of many illustrations of this point. What would it be like if someone could accept the privilege and income of being a brain surgeon without paying the price of going through the years of study that are necessary? While it is silly to think anyone could pull that off, such a scenario would be disastrous to the lives of many people.
Young people often feel they are somehow missing out on something, and that it is necessary to grab onto every “pleasure” of life as soon as possible. Several years ago, a beer commercial said, “You only go around once in life. Get all the gusto you can.” It is interesting that such a statement came from a company that was peddling an addictive substance which has destroyed countless lives.
Satan loves it when Christian young people think this way, because such thinking makes them easy prey for his lies and can potentially make them ineffective as servants of the Lord. He tells young people to break away from old-fashioned morals and do whatever makes them feel good. “Go ahead – use tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Show your parents and teachers that you are grown up and can do as you please. It’s your right. Go ahead – take your dad’s car and drive 100 miles an hour on the Ramona Expressway. Go ahead – try stealing something. It’s a great rush. Go ahead – lie to your parents. They’ll never know, and they don’t understand how life really is anyway. Go ahead – cheat on that test. You deserve a better grade than that rotten teacher is giving you. Go ahead – take the privileges of marriage without accepting the responsibilities and making a commitment. Who has the right to tell you it’s wrong? Anyway, you might die without ever enjoying these things if you don’t do them now.”
This sounds very much like “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Such a philosophy leads to a miserable life, prison, or the morgue, and ultimately ends in judgment. Notice what God’s Word says. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37-39, NKJV).
Satan promises the best first. He puts the reward up front and disguises the hard work and heartache as something else. God says just the opposite. There had to be Christ the Suffering Savior before there could be Christ the King. The cross came before the crown. Responsibilities come before privileges. Even though He has given those who know Him eternal life, it is reality that we still live in sinful bodies on a sin cursed earth. Anyone who thinks rewards and privileges should be first, and responsibilities should come later, or maybe never, is only fooling himself and is greatly deceived. Yet God’s Word warns us not to be deceived. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7, NKJV).
In view of this, I have often reminded young people of the following two principles: Anything worth having is worth waiting for, and anything not worth waiting for is not worth having. We believe it is our responsibility, as Christian school educators and as parents, to teach children and young people the biblical principles upon which they can build their lives, including the principles which deal with these lies of Satan. Regardless of all the changes in society, the Truth has not changed and never will change. God’s Word stands firm and is our guide for life. “Forever, O LORD, Your Word is settled in Heaven” (Psalm 119:89, NKJV). “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, NKJV).