From Innocence to Purity

(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.

Newborn Jude

Jude as a newborn!

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!

Psalm 119:9


Resources:

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

10 Comments

  1. My favorite quote: “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.”

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  2. I never differentiated between innocence and purity…interesting.

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  3. THANK YOU Ellen! I really needed to read this. I have been guilty of wondering how I could speak to my children about being sexually pure when I wasn’t before marriage. It is so easy to focus on what you will say when they are older and ask you, “so did you wait?” But this post gave me a new perspective – to focus on what I can do today to point their hearts to purity so that I do not have to be fearful of those questions down the line. “Train a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it”… I never realized that this principle is a matter of defense against worldly influences. I love this blog!

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  4. Ellen has I Blog! and I get to follow her!! Oh Happy Day!!!

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    • Hey Tami- How are you? Would love to see you and your family sometime. Glad to see you on the blog!

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  5. I love your quote: A person gripped by purity can face corruption victoriously because such a person will not – cannot – let himself fall for what is false.
    I am amazed at the wise words you have been anointed with Ellen! Thank you for sharing them!

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  6. What a great topic to blog about. I get to teach my 5th graders about “Healthy Choices”; ie: changes in puberty and the conception/growth of a baby. Believe me, at 10-11, they are very much aware of “sex” and it’s influence in their lives, even if they don’t fully understand everything. Last week, when I asked my class how many of them felt uncomfortable talking about this topic with their parents, the overwhelming majority of them said they did and would not talk about this with them. When I asked them where they would go if they had questions, these were the responses: 1. Google it. 2. Ask Cha cha (where you text a question and someone sends back a response.) 3. Ask an older brother or friend.

    I know that my students have hundreds of questions about these topics (they asked me many of them), but unless an adult takes the time to sit down and give them the facts, they won’t get accurate information. In my opinion, these conversations need to start early and happen more than once. It may be uncomfortable, but I think it would be more uncomfortable to find out that your child (yes, I mean your 11 year old) is looking at pornography or is sexually active.

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  7. On a topic unrelated to my last comment: I once had a conversation with an older, Godly, married woman on the topic of premarital sex, pleasure seeking behavior, etc, and how many young couples look for (and get married for) the wrong things when choosing a mate-how we sometimes believe the lie that sex is the ultimate pleasure. I’ll never forget what she told me:

    “There are pleasures to be had in marriage that are much better than that early passion; some things which you don’t get to experience until you’ve been married to that person for 20, 30 or 40 years.”

    I like that.

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  8. I love this blog…it’s so tempting to think that ignoring the topic of sex will lead to purity but the picture of filling a sponge with pure water so it cannot take on anymore really makes sense. The goal should be to fill our kids with good/pure ideas about sex, not to guard them from the concept entirely.

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  9. All I can say is “Wow”. And in true Ellen fashion, this is exactly what our family needs at this very moment. In the last 48 hours, I was contemplating the very issue of innocence and purity; had a discussion with a close friend about this very topic. God is working his amazing work through Ellen. Thank you!!!

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