In this bible study series with the youth group, we talked through ways that we get brainwashed by the world. Here’s the problem… In the culture we live in with influences from media, music, and peer pressure, we are told how we should live in order to fit in. And more than that, we have that little voice deep inside of us constantly nudging us to live the way of the world.

But we don’t need to accept that.

God calls us to live different.

In this 3-week bible study series, we explore the many ways the world would want us to live and compare it to how God says we should live. We challenge the youth to not get sucked into the way the world thinks, but to stand up and think for themselves and use wisdom greater than us to decide how to live.

Week 1: Darkness vs. Light, There Is No Gray

The focus of the first lesson is to consider how the way of the worlds thinks compared to the teachings of Jesus. We have that voice telling us to live the way of the world, but God calls us to live differently.

We started by discussing what brainwashing is… It’s a form of manipulation, torture, and mind-control. Our desire is for all of us to think for ourselves, guided by wisdom. Right living gets down into all of the choices we make, every day. And we don’t want to just change our behavior, we want to change our hearts.

The key verse for this lesson is 1 John 1:5-7 that tells us that we walk in darkness or we walk in light. There is no in-between. There is no gray. So we need to choose which way we will walk, knowing that even walking in the gray is ultimately walking in the darkness.

Week 2: Which Way Will You Choose?

This week is a pretty heavy one. We explored 9 ways we get brainwashed and the lies that the world’s way tells us to live. Then we compared each of those to passages that give us wisdom and truth to live by.

For this one, more than outlining details of the discussion, I want to highlight what happened during the lesson. With nearly every one of the items we discussed, the youth (almost unknowingly sometimes) continued to prove that they’ve bought into the lies. For example, before I even shared the first point, one youth was trying to make the statement that I (a parent in the room), “didn’t even know (a popular dance).” Then I revealed the first item that the world would want them to believe that, “my parents are stupid.” I know that the youth making that statement didn’t call me stupid, but he/she was calling out my ignorance and that I couldn’t possibly know something that they know. (For the record, I do know the dance move they were referring to.)

But point after point, the youth highlighted how they’ve already bought into many of the lies of “the world’s way.” And they expressed how difficult it is to not believe some of these things because, “that’s what everybody at school says.”

Needless to say, it was a challenging lesson for everyone.

And the key verse for this week was Romans 12:2… Don’t conform, transform.

Week 3: Grace Is Greater Than Sin

The final week of the study wraps things up by feeding them some more encouraging truths:

  1. Know that God loves me (no matter what)
  2. Keep nothing in the dark (there is no gray)
  3. I am forgiven (there is nothing beyond forgiveness)

The key verse for this lesson is Romans 5:20-21 which tells us that God’s Grace is greater than sin. We can trust in that and take hope that when we stand in His Love and Wisdom, we’ll be okay.

Final Thoughts on the Brainwashed Bible Study

My heart for doing this study with the youth is to challenge them to not just go the easy way of the world. Rather, I want them to stand up and think for themselves, and to rely on Wisdom to help them make better decisions in their lives. Even with this, they don’t need to live up to some standard or expectation they think I have on their lives. I want them to look to Christ and find peace in who they are in Him.

I pray that this study challenges them, in the best ways. And I pray that it sits in their hearts, causing them think for themselves when confronted with decisions they make every day to either walk in darkness or light. May they chose light. And may they love Jesus so much, that it pours out to everyone around them. Amen.