Verse of the Day

Monday, March 8, 2010

Purity Rings and Other Things

Many of you can relate to this: you keep "bumping into" the same Scripture verse... repeatedly, for a period of time. You know it's time to spend some time thinking about just what the Lord wants you to hear.

The verse for me is Ephesians 5:15-16 which says, "Be very careful, then, how you live--- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." I keep rehearsing in my mind "redeem the time, redeem the time."

In the Halvorson household, we are dealing with many teenage issues. One of those issues is purity. And I'm not just talking about sexual purity, but purity of mind and of spirit. Undoubtedly, we are bombarded with unpure and often times flat-out ugly messages from our culture, encouraging us to do just the opposite of what the Word would consider pure. How do we help our young people remain pure? How can we help them steer clear of the evil they face on a daily basis? How can they learn to live lives that honor and glorify God?

I don't think the answer is simply slapping on a purity ring and hoping for the best. I see many young people sporting purity rings and acting in quite unbecoming ways. Being "pure" is not just about not having sexual intercourse or being a "technical virgin." The answer seems to be about teaching our young people not to waste time. They have to be directed firmly and continuously to the Word; they need to study it, digest it, and learn to live it. They have to see the Word lived out in our lives. "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word," (Psalm 119:9). Our children need to learn that delayed gratification is often appropriate; we simply can't "go with the flow" and "trust our hearts." Our hearts will lead us straight into the ditch, resulting in compromised standards and broken hearts. "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

I've never been a much of a fan of church youth groups, but because my kids honestly just needed some new friends, we decided to allow the kids to join. Well, much of the experience has been wonderful. I have seen my kids learn to delve into the Word. Our church has an awesome youth pastor who challenges the kids, emotionally and spiritually. Yet, I still see some problems. It's flat out difficult to remove the raging hormones from the youth group scene. Kids see someone who is cute or whatever, and simply "forget" all of the lessons mom and dad have attempted to teach them through the years. Many of these so-called Christian kids are acting no different from the rest of the world.

What also makes youth group so difficult for kids attempting to live a pure life is that many of the kids come from families that are simply not on the same page. We don't want our kids to date; we believe entering any type of relationship without commitment is just plain wrong. How can I support my 15 year old son in a dating relationship? What is he going to do, other than jump into an emotional (and potentially physical) relationship with someone he has no true intention to marry? Why waste the time? Why waste the emotional energy? Why "practice" at love? Isn't teenage dating just a selfish exercise in doing whatever makes a person feel good? I would certainly rather see my kids preparing for their future spouses by using their precious youth to learn the Word. I want to see them serving people and the Lord. I want them to develop their God-given talents so that they can be prepared for future work and future serving.

Raising godly children in a promiscuous world is so tough. I am so thankful that we have a God who gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit so that we could constantly pray and ask for direction and wisdom. I do know that the Lord expects believing parents to train up their children and to equip them to be His disciples. Warning our children about the spiritual and emotional dangers of premarital relationships must be part of our message.

I just read this Scripture, and it certainly speaks to this discussion. Not only does it cover relationships, but all kinds of other "activities" that so many kids waste their lives pursuing. We must study the Scriptures with our children so that they can make good decisions that will honor both the Lord and their future spouses.

Proverbs 31

The Sayings of King Lemuel
1 The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.

2 O my son, O son of my womb,
O son of my vows,
3 do not waste your strength on women,
on those who ruin kings.

4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine.
Rulers should not crave alcohol.
5 For if they drink, they may forget the law
and not give justice to the oppressed.
6 Alcohol is for the dying,
and wine for those in bitter distress.
7 Let them drink to forget their poverty
and remember their troubles no more.

8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.

A Wife of Noble Character
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

(italics are mine... how can she bring her future spouse good all of her days if she has not remained faithful before meeting him?)

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