Category Archives: purity

Part Two: A Mother’s Plea for Purity…

Part Two: A Mother’s Plea for Purity…

I never intended on writing my former post; it simply wrote me until I pushed the publish button. That being said, I never intended on writing this follow-up post, but I sense I’ve struck a chord in some of you. That being said, all the chords that I struck weren’t necessarily in tune with mine. I’m OK with that; thus, some further thoughts and, perhaps, some further ones after these. I’m content to follow this chord wherever God leads. My heart is in the right place … next to His … next to yours. Thank you for the privilege of your moments here. I don’t take them lightly; I consider them a gift from God. Shalom!
“After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome and FIGHT FOR YOUR BROTHERS, YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS, YOUR WIVES AND YOUR HOMES.’” (Nehemiah 4:14).

Five years ago, I walked into a local gas station to purchase my forty-four ounce Diet Coke with two teenage sons in tow. That day, I got more than a caffeine jolt; I got a reality jolt—pornographic magazines in full view and within easy reach of any customer. While I was over-filling my cup, I watched my sons catch a whiff of the “yuck” as they passed by for a sniff.

It made me mad. Hopping mad. The kind of mad that stirs a mother’s protective heart and moves her to action. After taking the boys home, I returned to the store and spoke with a manager. I explained to her that I wouldn’t be doing any more business with them until the pornography was removed to an isolated location. At least that way, customers would have to be more intentional about their sin. I further explained about how hard it was for me to raise Godly young men and that this store was making my job more difficult by advertising the “yuck” in such blatant fashion.

I’m not sure if she or the other curious onlookers, who couldn’t help but offer their ears in the matter, really “got” what I was saying, but as I left the premises, I did so knowing that I had sown a seed on behalf of the kingdom … on behalf of the cause of purity. And friends, that’s really the root of the issue.

Purity of heart and life.

My former post focused on how we dress, but really our dressing is only one facet of the issue. Purity encompasses all components of our daily life. Our eating, our drinking, our dressing, our conversation. What we watch, what we read, what we speak, what we hide. How we do, how we don’t, what we will, what we won’t.

Purity is an intentional pursuit. It never happens by accident. Our human nature doesn’t default toward cleanliness. Most days we default toward our fleshly pursuits because most days we operate out of our emotions rather than our will. Purity isn’t based on how we’re feeling; feelings are at the root of most impulsive reactions. Instead, purity is based on the willful decision to act contrary to the flesh.

To walk away, stay away, and refuse the way of a wayward heart.

To follow after, to follow further, to follow harder toward a sacred heart that belongs solely and fully to a Lover who bled long and wide and high and deep for its cleansing.

And until we get that, until we understand that purity is a pursuit rather than an occasional by-product of our salvation, we shouldn’t be surprised when wayward glances and rebellious steps become the norm rather than the exception. Both in us and in those that we love.

Men and women. Boys and girls. Sons and daughters. Nieces and nephews. Grandchildren and the neighbor’s children. All of us stand at risk where purity is concerned. None are exempt from the wily schemes of an enemy whose sole intent is to steal, kill, and destroy. Thus, we must be vigilant in our pursuit of purity. And to be frank, our kids aren’t wise enough to keep to that road on their own.

That is why our Father has put them under our influence, and while I have not always been a perfect parent, I’ve always been a willing one. It is my privilege to be a mother … a woman of profound persuasion in the hearts and lives of my children. At the ages of almost twenty and eighteen, two of them have reached adult status. The others trail a decade behind. Still and yet, they are mine to parent, and for as long as I have breath, I will always go to the mat on behalf of their holiness.

You can be sure that there are others who are willing to seed their hearts to the contrary; I’m well aware of those others. Outside influences continue to interrupt the process of my children’s sacred shaping, but I am vigilant to root them out and to keep them at bay. Madea is alive and well and kicking in this season of their lives.

But there is coming a day and has come a day when my children will walk the fruition of their early shaping. I won’t be there to watch them choose and to guide their hearts as they go. Those moments will be theirs to manage. But they won’t approach them or enter into them without knowing how their parents feel about those moments. Why?

Because in the “now” we are willing to open up our mouths and our hearts about everything while they are yet still with us. We are content to say “no” while others are easy with their “yes.” We are willing to activate parental controls while others are willing to look away. We are consistent with our guidelines while others are consistent with their inconsistencies. We are fervent about our faith journey while others are fervent about their fleshly wants. We are serious about our parenting while others are serious about themselves.

We simply and profoundly are committed to our responsibility as the keepers of a sacred trust—our children. Some days it looks a whole lot like “baseball bats” and “because I said so.” Some days it wraps more tender with an “I’m sorry” or “I could have done that better.” But all days begin and end the same. With love as our guide and with purity as our goal.

For their sake. For our sake. For the kingdom’s sake.

Friends, our homes are worthy of a vigilant fight. If we won’t wage the battle for them, then we can be sure that the enemy holds the upper hand against them. And when it comes to the enemy and his intention, there is never an occasion when he is for us. His agenda always roots to the contrary. Of that, I am certain.

Thus, let us strengthen our frames and steady our feet for the sake of our homes. Never apologize to anyone regarding your personal pursuit of purity and the steps that you are taking on behalf of your loved ones to know the same. Don’t be afraid. Don’t back down. Don’t settle for the easy way out. There is no easy way when it comes to purity of heart and life. Thankfully, we don’t go it alone. The Lord is great and awesome and will fight alongside us to bring us to our final and perfect end.

It seems a long season to get there, but it is but a breath from now, and our God is worth every hard and difficult intention that we walk in our “current” for his name’s sake.

Keep to it, friends. See to it. Our salvation draweth nigh.

In the name of the God who created us for a kingdom, and of the Jesus who died for us so that we could share in that kingdom, and of the Holy Spirit who keeps us to the road until we reach that kingdom, may all glory and honor and praise be His, now and forever more. Amen. So be it.

As always,


Copyright © March 2009 – Elaine Olsen

UPDATE: I can see that this post has opened up yet another issue as it pertains to purity…pornography. It has touched our household in many ways over the years. I know that many of you are trying to raise up your children with the truth of all things pertaining to purity and sensuality. Thus, let’s offer one another some practical resources for walking this thing through. What has worked for you? I will try and compile some of these things for a further post, but I need your input. Write it in the comment section or send me an e-mail. Let’s help one another here. As a mother of 3 sons and a daughter, I don’t have the market on wisdom here, but I have the passion to see all of us succeed at our responsibility of “training up a child.” Let us NOT FEAR; let us armor up for the fight! Our knees are the best posture for the road ahead.

A Mother’s Plea for Purity…

WARNING: For the faint of heart and weary worn, this may not be the post for you today. I’m a wife and a momma, and I’m sportin’ a “tude” tonight. May God cover my words with an understanding that exceeds my fleshly bent toward some ranting and raving. You’ve been warned, friends…

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and the wearing of gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NAS).

We watched her walk across the room—me and three of the “boys” belonging to my household. I call them boys because when it comes to the matter that I am about to discuss, men are quick to make that leap into their boyhood wonderings and wanderings of the heart. I don’t imagine them meaning to, but as I watched them out of the corner of my eye watching her out of the corner of theirs, my emotions began their usual flare up and before long, the claws came out, and I was ready to pounce.

On her and on them.

An adult Christian woman walking her stride with some pride and some pomp and some “full of herself” was enough to send me over the edge. She should have walked better. She certainly knew better, and while I’m confident that my “boys” had little intention of having their eyes being inclined in her direction, she had every intention of them being there. Snuggled tightly in her golden Saran Wrap, there was little doubt as to the impression she intended to create. Even though her flesh remain covered, the lines beneath that covering drew a fitting tapestry that left little to the imagination. When she dressed for the evening, she did so with the objective of being noticed.

Mission accomplished, and none of us are the better for the viewing. At least not on the front side of such a moment.

Now, before you think I’m jealous … before you chalk this up to a legalistic way of doing life with Jesus … before you hand me your “this is the fashion” or “everyone is wearing this” … before you offer me your objections, you need to know this.

The reason my emotions are strong, the reason I can say that we women dress with intention, is because I am a woman who dresses with intention. And in a season past, I was a woman who dressed with only one intention in mind.

To be noticed. To hold sway over a man’s eyes, a man’s heart, a man’s propensity to lustfully and heartily sin because my need to be “thought about” reasoned itself more necessary and more important than any momentary transgression on his behalf. I know. Yucky. Sleezy. Dirty. So unlike what you might imagine me to be.

Thankfully, I am no longer that person, but I was, and I know some yuck when I see some yuck, and it breaks my heart. Not just for the women who are wearing the yuck, but for the “boys” who are being caught in the crossfire. And lest you think your “boy” is too old for the yuck, think again. I’ve known men in their eighties who aren’t afraid to approach the yuck and to boldly ask the unimaginable.

So what’s my point? Why go here on a day when you, perhaps, were expecting something a little more clean, a little more righteous, a little more holy?

Because this is an issue of cleanliness, righteousness, and holiness.

What we’re wearing today says a whole lot about Who we’re wearing on the inside, and I don’t mind telling you that when the night’s festivities came to a close, I sat down with my “boys” and had a frank discussion with them about why a woman wearing golden Saran Wrap is probably not the kind of woman they need to seek as a life-partner. Not because she’s not worthy of the love and grace of heaven, but rather because she’s not ready to be their bride.

A woman who is not first dressed as the bride of Jesus Christ is not going to be able to wholeheartedly and fully love them in the way that God has purposed. They won’t be able to love her in return, at least not in the way that she deserves. Yuck breeds more yuck, and what God has in mind for our hearts is a purity that stands in stark contrast to that yuck.

Unfortunately, yuck is the order of the day. You don’t have to vision very far to witness its glaring assault. Not just on the computer, at the movies, in the magazines or on the television, but sometimes in the very places that we tout as sacred. Shame on us for thinking that we hold the market on purity just because our churches, our schools, and our universities carry the name of Christian. We don’t, and it’s time that we seriously consider the truth that God is walking amongst our lampstands, seeking those who are willing to uphold the tenets of our talk with the tenacious and intentional purity of our walk.

Purity is not an accidental pursuit. Yuck doesn’t happen without intention, and if we’re going to truly market our lives toward kingdom value, then we are going to have to be more vigilant about the message we’re sending via our flesh. We are the carriers of an extraordinary kingdom. Better start dressing like it.

So, what do we do? How do get past the Saran Wrap and the fleeting glances that dance their damage into the hearts of the innocent?

We speak our faith to those who sit under our yoke of influence. Boys and girls. Those who are dressed with their yuck and those who are entreating the yuck with their minds. We don’t chastise and beat them with our Bibles and our pharisaical approach to doing life with Jesus; rather, we tenderly and truthfully speak our Father’s heart in the matter. We don’t just make rules; we explain the merit and the purpose behind the rules. We remain vigilant to the task at hand and not balk at the first sign of resistance.

We tell them how to appropriately dress—not with the bawd and brash of lustful living, but rather with the gentle and quiet of a heart hidden in Jesus Christ. We assume nothing as it pertains to their knowing the correct posture of a sacred dressing. Rather, we teach them—show them through our actions, our words, and, most importantly, through our willingness to invest some time on their behalf.

Too many of us are content to grumble, to marinate in our emotional “hot,” and to leave the teaching up to someone else. Is the subject too touchy, too yucky, too seemingly “not necessary” as it pertains to your life? I understand. It’s hard to know how to combat the ever-increasing yuck that is accumulating in swift order. But if we don’t at least try, then we have resigned this battle and conceded this portion of our kingdom influence over to the enemy who is more than willing to seed and breed the yuck at every angle until Saran Wrap is the order of the day and our lusts become the deliberate conversations of our heart.

Time for talking things out, friends. Time to start uncovering the deepest needs of the heart in order to bring about the sacred covering of our flesh. The clock is ticking, and this generation of boys and girls is in desperate need of some training by some saints who are willing to speak the truth in love, and to live the truth all the more.

Would you be willing to do your part? To walk to the closet and open up your heart for examination in the matter? Today, within your reach, there is someone who needs to know the appropriate cloaking of purity. Your someone is not mine, but all someones are important and precious in the sight of God.

Indeed, this may not have been the word you were looking for today. It wasn’t what I was looking for; still and yet, I believe there is some merit in the saying … at least for this momma who is trying her hardest to raise some godly men who will view women as the treasure that they are rather than the trophy that so many of them are trying to be.

Purity is a commendable fight and one that is worthy of my tenacious resolve. I pray that you feel the same.

Thanks for listening, friends, … yuck and all. I will get to my promised post about the “theology of the one” in my next writing. As always,


Copyright © March 2009 – Elaine Olsen

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