My 26 year old daughter recently celebrated her two month anniversary of marriage and I remembered something very valuable that I could share with my blog readers: my daughter waited until marriage before having sex! That is her picture that I’m sharing with everyone along with the story of how she was able to preserve herself until marriage – from her mother’s point of view. One day when she has the time, I’m sure we will hear from her about her journey from sex-free singleness to marriage.
Yes, I’ve had something to do with it but my daughter and her siblings really had everything going against them. They are products of a divorce, a mother who went on welfare for a time and who never remarried with no consistent father image in the home and with two older brothers who were nothing close to being father images but could be considered very menacing to their sister’s prospective boyfriends. Poor to most of their lives and just having the bare minimum to get by with in life but survived with great help from their grandparents, other relatives and the grace of God. So how did my daughter manage to make it to marriage as a virgin?
As a parent, have you ever taught your child something and they took that information and ran with it? For example, I taught my children the basics of computers. They took that information and ran with it doing things with the computer that I can only imagine!
Well, the same with my children and their spirituality. I introduced my children to Jesus Christ. I shared how they can become saved and on their own they made a commitment to Christ. My children took that information and ran with it! They developed a faith in God far surpassing anything I could imagine and with their own resolve they were determined to remain obedient to Christ until marriage. One so far has succeeded!
My daughter confirmed a study that was recently done by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (pdf file) that said the primary reason for anyone abstaining from sex was for religious or moral reasons (see page 18 on link and graph on page 33). It was her own faith and moral convictions combined with her own choice of spiritual counselors and a future mate who shared her convictions that led her to decide to wait.
But how do we get a child to that point? What is a parent’s responsibility in their children living morally upright lives? I want to share a few things that I’ve done that was a jump-start for my children. There’s no guarantee but a promise by God if we:
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I have two girls and three sons. All five of them know Christ and yes, they all have quite differing lives and levels of faith in Christ. But they ALL know HIM! I wasn’t a mother who had a daily regiment of bible studies, regular church or prayers. Heck, I don’t even like praying aloud so my children have never even heard me pray before! They just know I PRAY and believe God hears me! Our lives were very chaotic being a single-parent family. But teaching them about Christ and how to become saved, applying biblical principles into everyday life situations, and then finding a strong bible-believing-teaching church that the kids liked was the key.
So here are my tips in raising a child that will take their faith and run with it! (Borrowed from my post No Condoms No Pills! Part 2)
- As a parent and leader of your children, you yourself must have a strong spiritual foundation and that foundation must be in Jesus Christ:
As a parent, we must first be an example to our children. It starts with us being born-again and then being guided strongly by the word of God, the Bible. (Please check the link on my blog where Pastor Miles McPherson has an excellent page and video on becoming a Christian - Know God) If our children see that we aren’t following God, then why should they? Children are going to do what we do and not as we say!
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11
- Lead your children to Christ! The children need Christ in their lives to have the power and conviction to live a life after God.
Every parent’s primary goal should be that of leading their child to Christ. It is our responsibility to share the gospel, but if the child should reject God, at least a parent can stand before God and say, “I tried.”
“. . . ‘You must be born again.’” John 3:7
- Find a strong bible teaching church that has a very vibrant youth department where your children will be comfortable in.
With the myriad of great churches here in San Diego to choose from, I asked around and the church I attend now is the one church that I heard people talk about the most for the youth. Sure enough, my children enjoy it immensely and love their youth pastors. These pastors have come to our aid when the children needed strong counseling. (And incidentally, I enjoy this church too!)
“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, . . .” Hebrews 10:25
- Make a “NO SEX” rule like you make other rules in the home. Whether your kids believe in Christ or not, you make this the rule in your home.
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18
I told my children that sex is for marriage, and if any of them break that rule and I find out about it, then they will suffer consequences. I told them I better not see any condoms or pills as those are things they want to save for their marriage if they need to use them. Yes, many parents give up teaching abstinence because in their minds it is IMPOSSIBLE to abstain from sex. It isn’t if we don’t give up the hope in teaching them!
- Teach them “what says the Lord!” They must know that it’s God’s rule first above yours. And that a sign of their love for God is by their obedience.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15
- Seek “Purity” conferences – I don’t remember the name of the one I sent my children to here in San Diego, but it was a one day, all day event. The parents drop the kids off and they along with other children hear Christian leaders and they get to join in pretty fun events. This one day event I took my children to seemed to have the greatest impact on them regarding sex.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;” 1 Thessalonians 4:3
- And if your child should have sex, do share with them God’s forgiveness of their sin as well as your forgiveness of them.
Do let them know that they still have to experience the consequences of their disobedience to you since that is a house rule. Their consequence of breaking God’s rule, He’ll handle His way with your child. But show them love and acceptance as God shows us love and acceptance when we have sinned and ask forgiveness of Him. (I’d settle any day for a parents consequence than God’s!)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
If a child is not a virgin, teaching them abstinence is still a worthwhile goal. Just as Christ who came to the aid of an adulteress who was being condemned by people and said to her:
“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” see John 8:1-12 for whole story.
Raising children in our society is tough enough but now it’s getting even tougher on raising godly children. Our society is growing daily in tremendous animosity towards the bible and God’s biblical commandments for His creation. It’s to the point where many are even trying to disguise themselves as “Christian” while encouraging ungodly lifestyles. The clue to these false Christians is that God’s word is rarely found in their lives or coming from their mouths. They preach and teach their from their own wisdom while looking down upon God’s wisdom found in the bible.
So parents, just gird yourselves up and teach your children the way of our Lord and not the world’s! You won’t produce perfect children, but faithful children you will have!
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16
This post was updated and title changed on 11/4/2011 – was titled “Abstinence = No sex tapes, no babies, no STDs, no welfare!”
Resources (This list will continue to grow as more resources are added)
Wired for Love - 6 part series by Pastor Miles McPherson on dating
Take the Purity Pledge! – Pastor Miles McPherson
Sexual Immorality and your Sanctification by John MacArthur
Abstinence Works – Jim Burns and Homeward Center for Youth and Family