(Essential Principle # 4)
Psalm 24: 3 – 10
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart and who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek Him who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
I still remember nestling my three children protectively as newborns. All children come into the world as innocent babies with no concept of the world around them and there is something about a newborn child – their innocence and utter dependence – that a mom wants to guard and cherish. Indescribable changes rise up in a woman the day she becomes a mother. A fiercely protective and abiding love captures her heart while hopes and dreams for the child’s future begin to fill her mind. While a mother envisions a noble future for her child, she also fights fear that her child will be unable to remains undefiled by the world. With a youth culture that focuses heavily on sensuality, parents of adolescents today often wonder if it is even possible. Unless a family lives in some remote area completely isolated from media and stores, adolescents are exposed to sensual enticements on a regular basis.
The truth of the matter is that you cannot and must not keep your children innocent, because innocence will not protect them. Innocence will shield their hearts but not transform them. They must move beyond innocence to something far more powerful and victorious – a heart gripped by purity.
While we are all born innocent, no one comes into the world with a pure heart. Purity is something that is formed and has “character to back it up”. (Oswald Chambers) A pure heart is attained over time through determination and choice. A pure heart forms the only impregnable shield against immorality. A person gripped by purity can face corruption victoriously because such a person will not – cannot – let himself fall for what is false.
So how do we move our children from innocence to purity? Start as early as possible to fill their minds with what is true and good and beautiful before the culture dumps its ideologies into them. We hear often that the mind of a child is compared to a sponge. The duty of a parent is to fill their sponges with living, fragrant water. A dry sponge set out in a rain storm will soak up lots of water, even the polluted kind. But if the sponge is already slopping wet, it cannot take in more. The only defense against sin is to be wrapped up in and saturated with the purity of Christ – to have a heart and mind that comprehends God’s plan for a man and a woman early on. Start when your children are young to teach them what the Bible says about sex and marriage and about living virtuously. Be the authority on the matter or someone else will take your place and it will likely be peers during the adolescent years. You cannot afford to put it off.
Parents who previously made poor decisions themselves often find it difficult to be open with their children about sex. They exclude themselves as the ones to teach their own children, because of guilt and fear. If you feel disqualified from previous mistakes in your own life, get over it! Be prepared to be their primary influencer even if your child makes a mistake. Some will. Sexual sin is painful and its tight grip is difficult to shake. But it can be done! David committed grievous sexual sins and yet wrote many Psalms with a pure heart before God. Guilt and shame are tools Satan uses to condemn and shackle us. Christ came to set us free from our sin and it is His message we must embrace and proclaim to our children, not our own fears and shortcomings.
Children are “like arrows in the hand of a warrior” (Psalm 127:4) and a pure heart must be the target. To send the arrow flying straight toward the mark, the arrow must be purposely directed. Children do not grow up and simply follow God on their own. They need faithful instruction and godly examples within their homes. They need to be mentored and discipled within a loving and faithful marriage. Kids need to understand and see the blessings of a covenant marriage and God’s beautiful design for a man and a woman. When their hearts and minds are filled with thoughts and images of living, active, life-giving truths, they will be able to identify and flee from life-depleting falsehood.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your Word!
How and When to Tell Your Kids about Sex by Stan and Brenna Jones
Book Series by Stan and Brenna Jones:
- The Story of Me 3-5
- Before I was Born 5 – 8
- What’s the Big Deal 8 – 11
- Facing the Facts age 11 -14
Questions Kids Ask about Sex by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health