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.
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.