(continued from Part 1)
The songwriter asked, “Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?”
Your child may think, “Purity? I don’t think so, no way!”
Parents, these thoughts are daggers pointed at the hearts of your kids. It is foolish to ignore them. It is equally foolish to answer these questions by simply enforcing rules and being angry at wrong behavior. The pursuit of purity is a choice to live. To reject purity is a choice to pursue death. There is no middle ground!
You see, life is about control. Will you be controlled by the Spirit of God or by the desires of your flesh? Again, there is no middle ground. This is what Paul is teaching us in Galatians 5:16-17:
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other so that you don’t do what you want.
Romans 6:20-21 frames the issue in terms of control:
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
These words speak of an epic battle for control for the lives of your children. Following God by living a life of purity is a path that marks teenagers as social misfits in our culture. So, to desire to be controlled by purity that flows from God’s Spirit is not a popular or easy thing to pursue.
As a parent, you have to get this! Psalm 73 unveils the emotional battle your kids face. The boundaries of purity contrasted with a culture that mocks purity can lead to a response of bitterness in your children. The Holy Spirit EXPLICITLY warns about this when he directs the psalmist to say:
Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside…
Is being pure worth it?
Why would a desire to be pure result in bitterness? Because when your teenagers, like the psalmist, consider the apparent success, the excitement, the good times of the culture around them compared to purity the challenge can be overwhelming – they are missing out on the good things life has to offer.
Bitterness comes because your teenagers are only looking at the beginning of the video of a life of destruction. Their enemy does not want them to see how the video ends – only how it begins! These mocking challenges almost destroyed the psalmist.
This moral struggle was real. These words were written to help you understand the deep struggles your teenagers face as they view a godless culture that does what it wants. You can’t deal with this bitterness and envy simply by enforcing rules and being disgusted with the evil of the bad actors.
So what do you do?
You begin by making true purity attractive for yourself! Lead your children to the beauty of biblical purity by honoring it as a lifestyle you embrace. Re-read the definition of purity in the last post. Make your home a refuge for your children’s hearts. Let them see that the nearness of God is your good, that purity is worth the cost!