A Deuteronomy Life...
I've always been a big fan of Deuteronomy 6:1-9. It is the way we decided to raise our two kids -- one now an adult and the other almost there. We were never very good at figuring out formal family devotionals and sitting down every night like the John Nelson family did in the old Jule Miller filmstrips. We needed to find a way to teach our children the way of the Lord, so we chose the Deut. 6:1-9 way. We would speak of God, right, wrong, facts, lies, answers, and questions "along the way." That way the six year difference in our children's ages would not be a problem in teaching them as we could have age-appropriate conversations with them several times daily, together and individually, about the weightier matters of the universe.
An example? My truck was very dirty and Duncan, my son of 16 years, and I were driving around doing guy stuff when I commented that it really needed a good washing. A few miles rolled on and there were some teenaged girls waving about signs for a free car wash. Duncan said, "Want to wash your truck here?" I thought a moment and said, "Better not," and drove on. Duncan, being a good soldier, didn't ask why. He knows to wait. A few minutes later I said, "Let me tell you why I had to pass by those girls. You might have noticed that they weren't wearing much?" He said he'd noticed. Of course he'd noticed! At his age all a guy really is is a bag of hormones with legs.
"I know it would have been hard for you to be there without lusting," I told him, "but that isn't the primary reason I didn't stop. It was more selfish than that. You see, I may be of advanced age and my hormone level is more a memory than a number, but I don't think I could have stood there and kept my head clean. You understand?" Duncan nodded that he did. "Buddy, I still have bad thoughts. I don't need outside help to sin. I might think impure thoughts while I am at the self serve car wash, but the odds are better that I can keep my head clean there than where there are nubile girls wearing about as much cotton as one finds in the top of an aspirin bottle. So, I am choosing the easier path on this one."
We talked awhile about lust and how difficult it is to keep your mind centered on good things -- Philippians 4 kind of things. I told him it doesn't get easier. "Son, you might not think that lust is not all that big a problem in a guy in his late forties who works for God, but you'd be wrong. Think of me like an old dog with arthritis laying on the porch. Something in him wants to chase cars, but he knows the chances of success are remarkably poor, so he just quietly wuffs and dreams of days long ago. I still have to fight that old dog's dream every day."
We have discussions like this most days; sometimes several times a day. It is an "along the way" kind of teaching style that has worked well so far with our kids. Kara is now a Lipscomb graduate, married to a minister, happy and dedicated to Christ. Duncan is a rock of a young man, steady, thoughtful, strong and able to talk about his faith intelligently. I know that both of them have plenty of time to make horrible mistakes in their lives -- even life ruining mistakes -- but at least they will be equipped to do the right thing should they choose to do so.
Some have asked for some of my "man rules" I pass on to Duncan. Here are some of them. More if you want them.
1. When you enter a room, be the most polite person there. Allow no one to "out nice" you.
2. Be kinder to waitresses and waiters than they are to you. Tip laviously and offer kind words. Treat check out people and warehouse workers as if they were people placed in your path by God to lift up today.
3. Be the kind of man who, when he enters the room, allows everyone there to relax just a little bit more. Be the kind of man who, when he enters the room, those in the room know that they will not be mistreated -- by you or anyone else -- and that they will be shown respect.
4. Live dangerously, but not foolishly. Buck the world and its ways, but wisely. Choose your battles, but once chosen, fight them to the finish, fearlessly.
5. Fear is not an option. Ever.
6. A real man is God's man and is not afraid to meet God. Live your life as if its ending does not frighten you or keep you from doing the right thing. Don't be afraid of dying. Be afraid of not living for Christ.
7. Do what is right because it is right. You need no other reason.
8. Whatever you learn, whatever you earn, all is to be made available for the Lord to use. We are only in these bodies for a little while and, face it -- who ever washes a rental car? So don't be consumed by earthly things. They are too temporary to be of significance to us.
9. Live what you say you believe, and live it out loud.
10. Treat every woman on earth as your mother or your sister. If you don't want your mother or sister mistreated, don't mistreat another man's mother or sister.
... and there are others. More if you want them. Duncan says hello.