The unprecedented struggles with anxiety and suicide that younger people endure today are thoroughly documented, but they cannot be thoroughly diagnosed in a culture that refuses to consider the consequences of its presupposed ideas. Placing on children the burden of godhood creates unbearable pressure. They feel it acutely as unbending reality refuses to yield to their personal truth. We often admonish them to “get out of your head,” but we’ve made that life-giving exodus literally unthinkable. Chaining them to unrelenting self-reference in understanding themselves and all of reality, we’ve bound them as solitary slaves to the irrefutable dictates of a self-defined life.
The common expression “my truth,” meant to empower individuality, actually breeds isolation. Standing immovably in personal truth prevents fellowship based on mutual submission to the truth. This cultural scenario is so perfectly satanic. Our enemy will call us a god, gut us, and leave us to die alone.
Children in our day face deep insecurity about personal identity. When they face doubts, whose words will they trust to tell them who they really are and what they’re really worth? So many children define themselves by the cruel things others say about them, or by their own words in times of quiet desperation when self-understanding goes dark. Despite what Satan has always told us, Scripture’s call to lean not on our own understanding is liberating. And especially in our day, it’s lifesaving.
The very first page of Scripture defines our children as image bearers of the true and living God. Just three chapters in, they’re told in mystery-cloaked language unveiled in Christ that they are worth the life of the Father’s beloved Son to seek and to save. That Son, the true God-man, calls us not to self-definition but to self-denial. And in Him, self-denial yields self-discovery.
Cleansed from sin and re-created in Christ, we live our truest, fullest life, led by the written Word of the self-existent God who knows us, and all things, definitively. Jesus Himself looked to the Scriptures to lead Him through life in this world. Not even God incarnate wanted to self-define. And that’s the best reason there is, and the truest encouragement we can give our children, to trust the Scriptures: Jesus did the same.
A life lived believing in Jesus and believing what Jesus believes—what more could we want for our children, and what better could we imagine? The Scriptures light the path to such a life.