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As the apostle Paul said to the Corinthian Christians, I now say to you that "I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness” (2Cor. 11:1).  By indulging in this foolishness, I hope to illustrate a point for you.

Suppose that you were told that there are certain things you are just not smart enough to do.  How would that make you feel?  Would you want to prove that you are smart enough?  What if only smart people were allowed to drink apple cider vinegar and you weren’t considered to be smart enough?  Suppose you were told that only smart people could suck on lemons, play shuffleboard, watch C-SPAN on television, or go to foreign-language movies and that you don’t qualify.  Then suppose that everywhere you looked on television, in magazines, and in advertisements you saw handsome men and beautiful women having the time of their lives drinking apple cider vinegar, sucking on lemons, playing shuffleboard, watching C-SPAN, and going to foreign-language movies.  Even if you had no interest in doing those things, would it be tempting to do them anyway just to prove that you are smart like the handsome men and beautiful women you saw?

The point of these foolish examples is to demonstrate the psychology that is used to tempt children, teenagers, and adults to engage in behavior that is even more foolish.  Our culture has labeled certain activities as "adult” or "mature,” and this has the effect of causing people to participate in those activities to prove their adulthood and maturity.  Alcohol and tobacco companies use this psychology to prey on young people.  They place advertisements that tell young people they are not old enough to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes rather than telling them that these things are wrong, evil, and harmful.  Likewise, casinos, gambling websites, and even state lottery commissions tell young people that they must be eighteen years old to play, and this only further entices young people to engage in bad behavior.  The same mentality is used to promote television shows and movies, for when these are given ratings of "TV-MA” or "R”, many people are attracted by the curiosity of seeing something forbidden to younger viewers.  Even fornication is encouraged in this way, for governments have created an artificial, arbitrary "age of consent.”  The implication of this "age of consent” is that fornication is not wrong as long as you are old enough to make a good decision.  The attraction of all of these things is enhanced when appealing characters in TV shows and movies are shown drinking, smoking, gambling, or fornicating.

In truth, those so-called "adult” or "mature” activities are nothing but sinful works that destroy the body and the soul.  The way these activities are portrayed to young people in our culture is deceitful and dangerous.  It is purely the work of Satan when young people are led to believe that alcohol and drug use is glorious and fun.  Instead, they should be taught the Scriptures concerning the sinfulness of such behavior (Prov. 20:1; 23:19-21; Rom. 13:13; 1Cor. 5:11; 6:9-10; 1Pet. 4:3) and shown the worldly consequences of it in the jails, hospitals, and graveyards.  It is also a wicked lie when smoking is portrayed as an admirable, adult activity rather than a cruel, harmful master (1Cor. 6:12, 19-20).  Instead, let them see the reality of lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and other ailments that destroy the temple of the body.  Gambling is likewise falsely promoted as a fun way to get rich, but young people should be told that God has warned of the dangers of the love of money, greed, sordid gain, and bad company (Prov. 15:27; Luke 12:15; 1Cor. 15:33; Col. 3:5; 1Tim. 6:9-10).  Regarding profane TV shows, filthy movies, and pornography, let young people understand the damage that is done to their hearts, their relationships with others, and their relationship with God when they delight in such evil entertainment and provoke their own lusts (Prov. 10:23; 14:13; 15:21; Isa. 66:3-4; Matt. 5:27-30; Rom. 14:22; 1Cor. 13:6; Jas. 1:14-15).  As for fornication, while our culture rejoices in all kinds of sexual deviancy, let our young people know that God condemns all sexual activity outside of godly marriage (Ex. 20:14; Lev. 18:22; Prov. 5:1-23; 6:20-7:27; 22:14; Rom. 1:26-27; 1Cor. 6:9-10, 12-20; Heb. 13:4).  Let them know the misery of sexually transmitted diseases, the travesty of children born outside of marriage, and the scourge of abortion that takes the lives of more than one million unborn babies every year.

If anyone wants to be a mature adult, then let him recognize the truth of God’s word concerning these and all other things.  Speaking of God’s word, the Bible says "solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (1Cor. 5:14).  The apostle Paul wrote about the wisdom of God’s word, saying, "Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature…” (1Cor. 2:6).  Whereas the world has labeled evil things as activities for mature people, the Scripture says, "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1Cor. 14:20).  Indeed, it is acting, speaking, and thinking according to God’s word that makes you a truly mature adult.  Participating in the so-called "adult” activities of the world just brings you misery and separates you from God.

Stacey E. Durham



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