The Standard of Dating Is Purity
An early morning talk show recently sponsored a contest for engaged couples to win an all-expense-paid, televised wedding and dream honeymoon. All the finalists were on the show and they were announcing the winner the day I happened to tune in. The emcee enthusiastically explained that all the couples had been told to come with their bags packed because the consolation prizes were trips to a romantic resort for each couple. They were to be whisked away immediately right from the TV studio to the airport. This prize did not involve separate accommodations, but presupposed the couple’s comfort in co-habiting. I was (naively) shocked that a major, mainstream show so comfortably affirmed pre-marital sex. It wasn’t a sleazy, bachelor/bachelorette show, but a mainstream sun-up show. This is the world we live in now and these are the mores our children are encouraged to espouse. In order to live out the standards of God, they will have to be aliens and strangers here (I Peter 2:11, 12). How can we prepare our teens to be happy and confident walking this narrow path (Matthew 7:13, 14)?
For parents, this must not be about enforcing rules to control their purity, but about helping them develop convictions of their own to inspire their purity. When, from their earliest years, our children learn to trust that God’s way is best for them, that God’s commands spring from His love, that we will reap what we sow and the risk is not worth it….when these godly ideals inhabit the hearts of our teens, safeguarding their purity makes sense to them. It takes focused spiritual parenting from as early in our children’s lives as possible to help them love and trust the will of God rather than resent it or feel restricted by it. Consider the following verses:
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.
David definitely didn’t see the Word of God as burdensome or boring or embarrassing. Our children’s perception of God and His will is the foundation of their attitudes toward our direction regarding their life choices. If our children respect and trust God they’ll be more inclined to accept His standards of purity. So, from God’s perspective, how pure is pure? I Timothy 5:1, 2 answers this question as Paul instructs the young, single evangelist, Timothy:
…Treat younger…women as sisters, with absolute purity.
This is a high calling that flies in the face of our current culture. It will take a lot of preparation in our children’s hearts before they reach the teen years to help them rise above the standards of their peers and the media. If this preparation has not occurred, Plan B must be developed prayerfully and with much individual counsel for every family to help their teens embrace godly behaviors.