Parenting

Making Abstinence Realistic

| by Focus on the Family

By Heather Koerner | From Focus on the Family Blog

On Monday, a friend and I were talking about the birds and the bees.

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It turns out President Trump's budget has $2 trillion error in it:

Obviously, both being mothers of two kids, we weren't in need of a whole lot of knowledge. Rather, we were talking about our girls and wondering aloud how to have an ongoing purity discussion with them and at what age certain information is appropriate.

"You know what I want to do?" I mused. "I want to emphasize sexual purity, but also give her some real strategies to make it happen."

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It turns out President Trump's budget has $2 trillion error in it:

My friend nodded her head. "Yeah, like what to do in certain situations and what situations just to stay clear of all together."

I thought about that conversation today when reading about Bristol Palin. Bristol first came under media scrutiny for her out of wedlock pregnancy. She is in the headlines again for an interview she gave with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News in which Bristol declared that abstinence was "not realistic at all."

Some are disappointed with Palin's comment. Others see it as further justification that abstinence cannot be expected.

But, as Dr. Albert Mohler writes today, Christians need to be less concerned about whether abstinence is realistic and more concerned about making abstinence realistic in our lives:

"The real issue for Christian teenagers and their parents is not to debate whether sexual abstinence before marriage is realistic or not. The larger and more important issue is that sexual abstinence until marriage is the biblical expectation and command. Once this is realized, the responsibility for everyone concerned is to ensure that expectations and structures are in place so that abstinence is realistic.

"The debate over whether abstinence is realistic or not misses the more important issue -- abstinence must be made realistic."

But what strategies are effective? What should a single person do to be intentional about their purity? One resource I've enjoyed is Randy Alcorn's The Purity Principle. In a chapter titled "Guidelines for Singles," Alcorn acknowledges that while Scripture warns against man-made rules, the Word does call us to live wisely, "exercising God-honoring common sense." He then goes on to share a list of guidelines he used with his own family.

But, more than the guidelines, I especially appreciate the beautiful and accurate picture Alcorn gives of why obedience to God's sexual standards is not just required, but glorious:

"Sex wasn't invented by Hollywood, Madonna, or some pervert in an Internet chat room. Sex was created by an infinitely holy God, wreathed in blinding light and glory, surrounded by radiant, holy angels. The goodness of sex stands or falls with the goodness of its Creator.

"...Sex is the means by which children are conceived and marital intimacy is expressed. Both are very important to God. When sexual union takes place in its proper context, in a spirit of giving, the Creator smiles."

But we must also remember...

"Sex is incredibly powerful; it's able to do immense good ... or immense harm...The most magnificent gifts of God, taken outside their God-intended boundaries, become utterly ruinous. So it is with sex. Its potential for great good has a flip side -- potential for great evil."

As long as fire is contained in the fireplace, it keeps you warm. But if the fire is "set free," the house burns down.

I've walked through the smoldering ruins of people's lives devastated by immorality...I cannot forget such scenes imprinted on my soul.

In contrast, to embrace purity is to lay claim to a magnificent gift. Purity is incomparably beautiful...like the fragrance of a rose after a summer shower."

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