“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13).
My daughter just turned 13 last month! Thirteen. Ten plus three. No matter how I say it or write it, it still lands with gravity!
She is a young woman now, no doubt. Really she has been for almost a year, but as her Dad, I waited for this significant milestone to celebrate with her the passage from childhood into adulthood. While my methods and thinking are far from perfect here, I want to share a little about the rite of passage I shared with Meaghan on her birthday in hopes other Dads will far excel me in helping themselves and their precious daughters transit the difficult waters flowing into adulthood.
I began the evening by bringing her a bouquet of flowers and asking her to honor me as my date for the night. And she said “yes!”
Whew – step one accomplished!
Next, after she got fancied up for her date, we spent some time at home alone and I seized the moment to discuss what I called “The 4 S’s of Purity” with her. After that serious time, I gave her a poem I wrote for her and we dried up our tears and set out to enjoy a feast at Cheddar’s. And yes, we ate the whole Monster Cookie! But here, let me hone in on those 4 S’s because I think Dad’s (and Mom’s) need to be leading out in these discussions with their children. These 4 S’s will help our children grasp true purity and pursue genuine holiness by God’s powerful grace. Here they are, as I essentially gave them to Meaghan:
1. A right view of the Savior. This is where purity begins! Only Jesus is perfectly pure and if we ever forget our desperate need for Him and His infinite worth, it is certain our purity will suffer dramatically. Our children must come to see Jesus as the one and only King of their hearts! Jesus is the Husband of husbands, the Lover of our very souls. He is worthy of every ounce of effort we give towards pursuing purity and guarding our hearts, and so much more. So, is it likely a young woman would give her body and emotions away to a young man outside of marriage if her mind was stayed on the worth of her Savior?
2. A right view of Satan. We have a real enemy, and he is crafty, deceitful and makes impurity appear so attractive. The Bible says “Give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph 4:27). Our daughters (and sons) must get this! They must submit to the protecting wisdom and grace God gives them through their parents. We must explain why we simply will not allow our teen children to be alone with the opposite sex, or to go into dark movie theaters with a hormone-enraged boy, or attend school dances where far too little supervision is present and far too much groping occurs. Our young men and women must know Satan loves those little windows of opportunity teens so often give him and he uses them to “devour” them. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” There is a war on! Be alert children! Stay vigilant sons and daughters!
3. A right view of Sin. This “S” goes hand-in-hand with the above. Satan and sin are like peanut butter and jelly. They love sticking together! Satan so often finds us easy targets. Why? Because we are SINNERS! If our sons and daughters are to grasp true purity and fight for it God’s way, then they must keep a biblical view of sin ever before them. How many young people in our churches would have still decided to have sex or go to “third base” with someone if they went into that situation fully aware of how their own sin behaves? Odds are they would not even be in a position to have sex with someone in the first place if the Bible’s view of sin were at the forefront of their minds. Like Satan, sin is so very deceptive. It masquerades and hides in dark corners, lurking and waiting for us to grow lethargic or weary in the battle, then it pounces! “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). “Let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12). “Pride goes before destruction” (Prov 16:18). The Apostle Paul teaches that sin uses our physical bodies to do its dastardly deeds: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness” (Rom 6:12-13). This is God’s instruction to Christians! We have His Spirit and Word empowering us to choose to submit our own physical bodies to God for righteousness. This is “fighting sin 101” for believers concerned about purity! We must know our enemies (Satan and sin) and not be “ignorant of their schemes.” No man or woman is immune to committing sexual sin. And our daughters especially must hear from Dads (or other Christian men in the church) just how strong sexual desire and temptation is in the hearts of men. Men, we must be transparent here for the glory of God and the good of our daughters! We know how it feels to be dominated by hormonal urges, so let’s warn our girls! God help our children keep a right view of sin. Would it be likely for a Christian teen to get hooked on porn or have sex if that teen were constantly reminding himself or herself that this very filth God hated so much that He crushed His Son for it? Our impurity got Jesus nailed to a tree and abandoned!
4. A right view of Sex. Contrary to how many Christian parents have tried to teach this to children, we need to make sure our children hear us say, “Sex is good. Sex is wonderful. Sex is a gift from God” (see Song of Solomon). But we also need to make sure they know that like any good gift from God, we can sinfully abuse and misuse it. Sex God’s way is for a husband and his wife, period. God designed sex for pro-creation (Genesis 1:28; Malachi 2:15). But God also designed sex to be the most delightful physical and emotional experience on this earth, to be enjoyed by husband and wife as a foretaste of the sheer ecstasy that will one day be ours when we see the King of Glory face-to-face. The “one flesh union” is only a sign of Christ’s union with His blood-bought Church (Ephesians 5:25-33). God put the desire for sex in us, and it is strong (1 Cor 7:1-5). God also gave us a desire for food. But our good desires can ferment if we allow sin to control them. So, let your children know their desire for the opposite gender is in fact from God. It’s OK for young women to be attracted to young men or vice-versa! Just like it’s OK for a young woman to desire food. But, we must solemnly warn them, that allowing that desire to turn sinful will be like sitting down to a meal of nothing but cake icing. At first it may taste sweet, but the end result will be vomit. On the other hand, saving one’s self for a husband or wife will prove to be one of this life’s sweetest rewards, as God is honored and “the marriage bed undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4).
After Meaghan and I discussed these 4 S’s, I gave her a purity ring but told her to wear it not on her finger but on a chain. Two reasons: One, purity is never to be flaunted. Rather, it lives in quiet, peaceful submission to King Jesus. Two, by wearing the ring on a chain, it lies close to her heart as a reminder that purity is always a matter of the heart. And last time I checked, only One Person has the power to save and sanctify our very hearts (inner lives, will, mind). His Name is Jesus.