Today we listen in on the Word of Life Podcast where Brian was a guest with host Jonathan Phillips to discuss how Satan is attacking and deceiving our youth today. What are our students doing to make it easier for Satan to deceive? Why do so many young people doubt their salvation? How can we best equip our students to stand up against Satan’s attacks and stand out for Jesus in our world?
Satan has always been at work, but is it getting worse?
Statistically, teens are twice as likely to be atheistic, but statistics don’t tell the whole story. This generation, Gen Z, is different than the previous Millennial generation, which is exciting. Some statistics have worsened, but the danger in losing this generation has not changed.
What are the best or common ways Satan attacks our students?
Satan is a liar (John 8) and loves to deceive (Genesis 3). His deception is most at work in the world system and students need to know the truth of the scriptures to combat this. Be sure to teach students that they are in fact being deceived.
On media: Whether Satan’s influence is direct (demon possession and impression) or indirect (visible through the world system), his influence is overwhelming. Media, such as graphic Netflix shows, violent and addictive video games and participating in games that meddle with the supernatural, can desensitize us and take us down paths we never intended. This can open the door for Satan’s influence in our lives. We need to face the reality of a spiritual battle (2 Cor. 10).
How can we best share Christ with others who are embedded in both the direct and indirect influences of Satan?
Focus on the belief in what Christ has done. Many students believe the gospel is a set of rules and guidelines, but until they believe in Christ, biblical rules don’t actually apply to them. Share the gospel in the context of what God has done. The main point of the Bible is God’s story of redemption, and a relationship with Christ is only possible through the belief of His work in redemption. We have confused religion and spiritual experiences into just experiences, when the gospel is really about belief.
How can we help Christian students who are being attacked with doubt about God, faith and their salvation?
Doubt is the number one thing students deal with spiritually. Ask the student, “Who are you trusting in right now at this moment for your salvation?” That is what matters. If they are trusting in Christ now, they are a believer. When Satan tells us we are not worthy, the answer is in the sufficiency of Christ and what He has done for us. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, and John 10 tells us that there is nothing we can do to lose our salvation.
Saying the prayer of Salvation:
Prayer is God’s design of the way we communicate with Him. A prayer of salvation expresses the belief that is taking place in your heart. The words do not save, but leading someone in prayer can be good, as long as you make clear that the point is what they believe in their heart.
What does belief/faith/trust really mean?
Spurgeon explained doubt to be like a foot in the air that can either take you a step forward or a step back. Doubt can lead you to take a step of faith or lead you to a struggle. In John 20, Jesus does not rebuke Thomas for doubt, but for unbelief. The difference is whether we fill our minds with truth or allow outside sources to feed our feelings of doubt.
Trust means, “putting your weight on.” As the classic chair illustration shows, trust is putting all of your weight onto something. It is all or nothing. Putting all your weight on Jesus is saying that you can’t do it and that He is the only way to salvation.
Is Satan in religion?
Sure. Satan loves anything that points away from Jesus. Satan is very much in the concept of many paths lead to God as long as it is genuine and no one should tell anyone else what their path is. The object of belief has to be correct. Truth is important and our culture rapidly devalues truth.
Gen Z is the first post-Christian generation and has always lived in a world of relative truth, and often they see right through it. This brings hope in the midst of the scariness of the culture.
Social media is so integral in the lives of students that it must be addressed in any conversation. Satan loves social media. It is not all wrong, but it is certainly a huge source of deception for students.
In our human nature we desire relationships so there is something to be said for being present, wherever you are at. However, social media sets the precedent that face to face interaction is no longer required to spend time with someone, and social skills such as picking up on facial and vocal cues are degrading.
Other issues include the public-ness of anything students send or post, leading to a lot of posting regret. Pornography also creates issues in future physical sexual relationships with their spouse.
Students fully know they overuse and are addicted to their devices, and it consumes not just their time, but their mind.
Parents also know the struggle of addiction to devices, yet we must still choose to live by example for our children. Show that we live in a real world with real people and we should live with compassion.
Technology will always be there and get worse, and Satan is in it all. If he can’t get your soul (if you’re already saved), he will fight to get your attention away from Christ as much as possible. Repeat Rom. 10:17 (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God) to yourself daily and examine where you spend your time and put your mind to.