Saturday, July 9, 2011

Training Teens in Biblical Sexuality

By Jennifer Matlock - to read the entire article, click on the title!!!

Part One: The What and The Why

Let me be the first to say that I am not, by any means, an expert on the subject of training teens in Biblical sexuality. My oldest child is only 14, and there are at least three more behind him. We’ll see in about 15 years whether the seeds I’m trying to plant end up bearing the kind of fruit I’m hoping for. But I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts and plans for helping my kids navigate the rough road of adolescence, particularly the sex part.

When it comes to teaching our kids about sexuality, we would be hard-pressed to find a topic more difficult or embarrassing to discuss. Parents are led to believe that talking to kids about sex is difficult, awkward and unrewarding. We get conflicting messages about when to do it, what to say, how to say it and why. Then, we’re told that even if we do talk to them about it, the choices they make are not going to be based on what we’ve said, but what they see on TV and hear from peers. And ultimately, all those choices are beyond our control anyway, so why even bother?

The What – Sexual Purity
I want more for my children than just being able to claim that they’re a virgin when they marry. That in itself is a higher standard than a huge majority of parents hold their kids to. It also tends to be the general standard of the church. The typical stand on sexuality from the church is “don’t have sex until you’re married…oh, and don’t date non-Christians.” The great majority of churches never go beyond those vague rules

In today’s sex-saturated culture, getting to your wedding day as a virgin is not only difficult, it’s exceptionally rare. The reality of our morally ambiguous world doesn’t allow for JUST a “Don’t-have-sex- before- marriage” worldview. If this is the only standard we ask kids to aim for, they’ll end up teetering on the edge of a cliff, one slip away from the thin line that separates actual sexual intercourse and all other sexual activity. Many teens (and even pre-teens) today are even turning to activities like oral sex, anal sex and mutual masturbation to avoid ‘losing their virginity’.

I want more for my children than that. GOD wants more for them than that. As Christians, we’re called to live a set-apart life – not just sexually, but in every aspect of our lives. When it comes to relationships and sexuality, a set-apart life includes sexual purity.

God knows our hearts. When He said that “among you, there should not be a hint of sexual immorality” He didn’t mean to make sure that on your wedding day you need to be able to pass the ‘by the book’ virginity test. He is asking us to remain sexually pure and save our whole sexual self for marriage, only marriage and nothing but marriage.

There is a huge difference between ‘technically a virgin’ on and ‘sexually pure’. My hope is that I can teach this to my children in a way that they not only learn it, but they internalize it and claim it for themselves.

It’s going to be a battle. Today, kids are growing up in an era where hookups, sexting, booty calls and ‘friends with benefits’ are all seen as normal among teenagers. Those who admit they want to be a virgin when they get married are considered to be freaks. Someone who aims for more than that – for sexual purity – is laughed at and mocked.

The Why (train children for sexual purity)?

What’s the big deal? Isn’t that whole ‘purity’ thing outdated and archaic? No, it’s Biblical.

People try to push that aside saying, that stuff in the Bible only really applied to Bible times. No, God’s word is living, breathing and ALWAYS relevant. We live in an utterly perverted, completely corrupted culture. It’s a culture of hook-up, shack-up, break-up. It’s a culture of self-worship. In fact, we justify not quite following God’s commands by doing the exact thing that got humankind into sin in the first place. We look at His laws and say “Did God really say…” just as the serpent said to Eve.

The problem is that all too often, we look at the boundaries that God gives us and see them as obstacles instead of protection. Many people say “God just wants me to be miserable” or “He doesn’t want us to have any fun.” The truth is, when God says “Don’t…” what He’s really telling us is, “Don’t hurt yourself.” Biblical principles are in place to guide us to a life of fulfillment and joy.

Our response comes down to a very direct challenge: “Do we believe?” Do we believe that the God who created us really knows what’s best for us? Does He understand the desires we have? Can we trust that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and – more importantly – is better at providing for us that we are?

Surprisingly, training teens for sexual purity is a lot more about answering those questions than having the ‘awkward conversation’ or running through the unbelievably short and vague list of dating rules for the Christian teen. We have to train our children to understand God’s character and their relationship to Him if we want them to take sexual purity seriously.

To see the rest of the article, click on the title - great job Jennifer.

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