Parenting is often as much a challenge as it is a joy. Helping our kids resist the sexual temptations they face is a daunting challenge. Song of Solomon 8:9 states, “If she is a wall, we will build on her a battlement [the top of a castle wall designed for defending] of silver; but if she is a door, we will barricade her with planks of cedar.’ This verse points toward a helpful principle for facing this unique challenge. As parents, we have a responsibility to help build the battlements and barricades of truth that will help our kids to remain sexually pure, preventing “love from arousing or awakening” until marriage. The additional defenses that we can add to God’s command for sexual purity are biblical practices and principles that answer the questions “How?” and “Why?”
The most effective way to transfer the “how” to our kids is to transfer how we ourselves flee sexual temptation. Our kids likely share our propensity toward certain sins, and if we ourselves are faithfully fleeing sexual sin, we can uniquely help our kids. As we strive to flee temptation through faith in Jesus Christ, we can then specifically light the way for our children. We can also help our kids as a result of our own experiences of repentance by pointing the way back to the Lord for our kids in their failures. Conversely, a parent who is not fleeing sexual sin in his or her own life will find it very difficult to effectively help build the added defenses against temptation for his or her child. How to flee temptation and how to repent are essential defenses that parents can help build upon their kids’ pursuit of sexual purity.
The battlements and barricades of “why to obey” must also be built into our kids’ defenses. Our kids need to hear why God has so kindly provided His commands of sexual purity. Perhaps a few of these “whys” can help steer us as parents in the right direction of helping our kids:
- Less regret is better. Our children will not regret their decisions to avoid and resist all temptation.
- Delayed gratification is more satisfying. Delayed gratification in sexual intimacy will positively affect every other area of our children’s lives. In many ways, faith in Jesus Christ is a life of delayed gratification that will always be worth the wait.
- Family relationships are important. Sexual sin injures family relationships because of broken trust. Each child can participate in protecting the relationships of the entire family by resisting sexual sin.
- Sexual purity can be a great witness for Christ. The joy of sexual purity is very different than the brokenness, emptiness and drama of sexual sin. We should encourage our kids that sexual purity can attract others to the Gospel.
- Sexual intimacy is spiritual. We should teach our kids about the spiritual connection that happens in sexual intimacy. Don’t just teach them that sex before marriage negatively affects their relationship with the Lord. Make sure to emphasize that sexual intimacy in marriage can bless their spiritual relationship with the Lord.
Consider as many “whys” as possible and repeatedly connect them to your children’s sexual purity. Strive to instill these defenses in your children’s lives in light of Deuteronomy 6:7-9,“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Sit down regularly with your kids and teach them. Spend enough time with your kids so that you can take advantage of moments when they are particularly teachable. Help them look back on the events of their day through the lens of who God is and what God says. Cast a vision each morning that the Lord is with them and has already supplied all they need for faithfulness. Surround their lives with the knowledge of the truth—the what, the how and the why of sexual purity—so that they might believe that the ways of the Lord are wonderful.
These efforts will help our children think biblically and discern a clear path of faith. Our kids need us to walk with the Lord and to help them do the same, particularly in the area of sexual purity. We must add the battlements to our own lives and help our children do the same. If we build these truths and practices in their lives, our kids will have every reason to trust the Lord in the challenging arena of sexual purity. When our kids stumble along the way, they will know their way home. Help build the battlements and the barricades!