Purity in the Heart and Home
“Raising Pure Children in an Impure World”
There is no question that we live in a very dark and wicked hour. Our society is continually growing more evil with time. Everywhere we turn we are faced with immorality, lust, perversion, sensuality, and obscenity. It is very difficult to go to your local grocery store or Wal-Mart without being bombarded with this flagrant display of sin. Nevertheless, we must remain pure and holy and we must teach our children to stand against the evil of our day. We must warn them against the schemes of the devil, and his plot to destroy their purity and desensitize them to evil. Purity of mind, heart, and action is so important to the happiness of our homes. As you read this article, may you prayerfully consider the responsibility that God has put before you, seeking His wisdom, as you prepare and train your children for a life of purity and godliness in Christ Jesus.
The Bible says in Titus 1:15, “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled…is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” The purity of a child has much to do with his spiritual development. Lets take a look at Webster’s definition and see what purity involves.
Pure: spotless, stainless, free from what weakens or pollutes; containing nothing that does not belong, marked by chastity; freedom from foulness; cleanness, innocence, without spot, not tarnished, free from anything improper, including improper motivations; not spoiled by improper speed or corrupt words.
What a definition! And from a dictionary! How far the church has fallen in the last century. We hardly know what those words really mean. And yet, throughout scripture the Spirit of the Lord witnesses to us about the need for utmost caution in this area.
“Blessed are the pure in heart….”
“…whatsoever things are pure… think on these things”.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure…”
“…keep thyself pure.”
-1 Tim. 5:22
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
-2 Tim. 2:22
“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
-1 John 3:3
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
-1 Tim. 4:12
As a mother of growing sons and daughters I am deeply concerned about the matter of purity and modesty. Much of what our children learn about purity comes from us: what we believe and live, and what we have taught them from the time that they were very small. If our hearts are pure and chaste, our children will find it so much easier to be pure. Purity of heart and mind, as we see above is a command throughout the New Testament.
Children need a reserve, a sense of modesty and shame. Reserve involves purity and chastity of one’s heart and affections. Since the reserve that we have will be the foundation for the training that we impart to our children, what does the word really mean?
Reserve: to keep oneself for future use; lay up and keep for future time; something in the mind which is withheld from disclosure; restraint of freedom in words and actions; caution in personal behavior, this may proceed from modesty, bashfulness or prudence.
God has intrinsically built into the child a natural restraint, thus parents have the privilege and responsibility to nurture and to protect their children from those influences that would break down that reserve. Once a child’s reserve is broken down, there is very little possibility of restoring it fully. The child has also lost an important safety device that God intends he should have during his childhood and young adult years. If that reserve is nurtured and not destroyed, children will be uncomfortable or embarrassed in the presence of impurity.
One of the first steps to leading a life of purity and likewise, teaching our children, is to check or own attitudes toward this subject. Many of us were raised in very morally loose and immodest homes and therefore we consider this to be normal. The Bible says…
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Our past experiences and the way we learned about such things as the “facts of life,” must be taken to the cross. We must seek God’s forgiveness and commit ourselves to personal purity. The world is full of the doctrine of hedonism and self-indulgence — “do whatever feels good.” It has crept into the churches all across our country until we hardly know what true reserve and purity are. Purity has been so watered down that many of us are not rooted and grounded in these precious safeguards for our life, our marriage, and our children. Many believe that their loose standards of modesty (individually or as a family) have not hurt them. But they are indeed unaware of the damage it has already caused. We must be cleansed in our mind from the philosophies of this world. God has a plan for our children to be taught through His Word. He has a standard and a protection that He has granted to each child. Let the Lord take your past indiscretions and use it to make you more sensitive to the temptations and passions that our children will battle in this sinful world.
We want to give our children the utmost care in training in the early years of their lives, that this protection that God has provided might be nurtured and not in any way spoiled. Where do we begin? We start by preparing our children in purity at the earliest age. Every area of our lives must be guarded with the utmost concern, as well as our children. The Bible says, “ the light of the body is the eye.” Therefore, we should pay careful attention to what we see. You should always examine books that your children read. They should never be allowed to go into a library and pick up just anything without our approval. You also should not read questionable material and think it will have no effect. Your children should not be allowed to watch just anything on TV because it seems “innocent.” You must always be on guard especially out in public. Your sons must learn at a very early age to be guarded against immodesty. It only takes one image for Satan to continually bombard their precious minds. We must also be ever so careful about what our children hear. One of the most infamous strategies of the devil is to constantly barrage us with godless music everywhere we go. There are some stores that I will not even bring my children to because of the blasphemous music. I do not want their minds corrupted with that filth. You say that seems a little extreme. I ask you how often have you had to war against something that you have heard or seen? How much more can the devil use it on our children if we allow them to go unshielded?
We need to have a really good grip on these very important truths if we are to transmit them to our sons and daughters. We know from experience that more is “caught” than “taught.” Relationships are another very important and sensitive issue to shelter your children in. We should begin to teach them about proper relationships just as soon as they start making friendships with others. It is important to teach our children to relate to those of the opposite gender with carefulness and propriety. Little ones may play together in sweetness and innocence but we need to guard their playtime. We can only be sure that pure, clean words and actions happen in their play if we carefully supervise all that they do. Teach them to be reserved and self-disciplined at home. Watch carefully over brother and sister relationships. Help them to show proper respect to each other and they will find it easier to relate to others correctly.
One thing that I have noticed with parents is that they will allow seemingly innocent recreation to slip by, completely unaware of the foolishness they are breeding in their children. Choose things for your children that are profitable to the kingdom of heaven and productive for their growth in Christ. What you allow your children to be captivated with as children will only strengthen and grow and when they are young adults it will hold their hearts.
Keep open, friendly communication with your sons and daughters. Speak freely about the issues of moral purity, social reserve, and respect. This openness encourages them to come to you with their problems. Alert your young folks to the fact that not every person that they know will have the same standards. Tell them to quickly let you know if they ever find themselves in a puzzling or distressing situation with another boy, girl, man or woman. Continually keep them accountable as to their purity of thought, life, and actions. Pray with them and for them about this purity.
We need Josephs and Daniels and Esthers in our day and we must be the ones to instill these moral and spiritual qualities. Who knows whether we will have to watch our youth be taken from our homes, by ungodly men and women to places that we cannot help them and guide them. Let us be vigilant and careful. Let us invest time and prayer and teach our youth to be strong, pure and upright.
I have only scratched the surface concerning practicalities of training our children in purity and godliness. I pray that as you seek the Lord for your family, the Holy Ghost will convict you of anything that is impure or leavened in your life or home. May we all learn and grow in Jesus as we train young men and women for Christ.
Editor’s Note: It has been several years since I first penned this article, and my children were much smaller at the time. I can distinctly remember the burden and concern that was upon my heart for protecting my small children from the sights and sounds of this wicked world. Years have gone by now, and I have older ones that have been raised up in that protected environment. This having been my experience, I am all the more convinced of the urgency of keeping our children protected. However, through the years, I have learned this alone is not the sole solution to keeping our children. Prayer for the souls of our children is paramount. As Jesus said, our children must be born again. J.C. Ryle said it so well when he wrote, “It is not enough to keep boys and girls at home and shut out every outward temptation. They carry within them a heart ready for any sin, and until that heart is changed, they are not safe whatever we do. Bad companions are a great evil to be avoided as much as possible. But no bad companion teaches a boy or girl half as much sin as their own hearts will suggest to them, unless they are renewed by the Spirit…if parents were half as diligent in praying for their children’s conversion as they are in keeping them from bad company, their children would turn out far better than they do.”