Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Purity (Spiritual Diet Pt2)

I've been thinking about purity. I have two beautiful daughters and I pray for their purity often. They are still very young and I want to protect them from the negative influence of the world as long as possible. God has been speaking to my heart a lot lately about purity. He has been showing me how purity is so much more than physical.

Psalm 24:4 says:

"Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ? Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God
his Savior."

When we are saved we are purified before Christ. Our sins are washed clean. This purification must be a daily act of obedience.

I pray for my daughters to remain pure and to save themselves for their future mate. What a beautiful gift. But purity has to start in the heart. It should be something we strive for in all areas of our lives. There are so many ways in which all of us should strive for purity.

I've been thinking about all the ways the world influences us that can lessen our purity. One time I was talking about this and someone said, "Yeah. But we can't escape it. It's all around us and is going to influence us one way or another. We just have to do our best and choose our battles." That's exactly what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to come to a realization that we will have to make concessions to society because it isn't going to get any we small thing at a time, until we are so sucked into "the norm" of society that we begin believing that it's okay.

The struggle is huge. How do we survive in a world that is so media driven. Do we remove the television from our home? There has to be a balance. So we resolve to do better and get a handle on things. We limit the TV time, we pay close attention to the shows and make wise choices, we limit computer time, etc...and then life takes over and we start slipping. Just one time watching that show won't hurt them. The kids say, "We know that they are disrespectful at times to their parents and we promise that we won't talk that way even though they do." What???? I have actually fallen for that line before, I'm ashamed to say. I thought, "Wow, they are getting it." Sadly their parents weren't at that moment. Anything to get 30 minutes of time to cook dinner or get some things done...even just 30 minutes to take a nap.

Television, movies, books, computer, words, conversation, activity choices, and music! The list is endless. More and more my children's friends are listening and watching and mine wonder why we don't want them to. They constantly ask "what's wrong" with a program or "what's bad" about that song? It's hard to explain. Sometimes I think, "nothing....really wrong or bad"...just not something I want being stamped in their subconscious that becomes part of their soul.

So many things are targeted at MY GIRLS. My girls who haven't reached puberty, yet the things marketed at them are drenched in subjects that are way beyond American Girl dolls and dress up. It doesn't take long either. Only a matter of minutes. My girls watched the Disney Channel every night one week. They were allowed to watch one show. Before I knew what happened, they knew the names (real names) of all the characters and would speak about them as if they knew them personally. I had NO IDEA who these people were. It was quite humorous....until I realized that they couldn't remember what 9X4 was and got quite "sassy" when I suggested they stop what they were doing until they could learn their 9's!
So many of these television programs feature children/teens speaking with sarcasm and "sassiness" that gains laughter from the audience. Is that seemingly innocent humor really modeling purity for our children--teaching them to respect their parents and authority in their lives? You may laugh and say, "It's really not that bad." And then you hear your child throw out a quick sarcastic remark to you or another adult and you wince with alarm and think, "Where in the WORLD did they learn that? I never taught my child to speak that way!" But we did.

We want our daughters to not be consumed with their looks and with the opposite sex. We want their identity to come from Christ....and yet the programs they watch are consumed with boy/girl relationships, what is cool, who can come back with the quickest cutting remark, and fashion that makes eyes immediately focus on their body. That "cute" little pair of sweatpants with something written on the backside invites everyone to look. That low-cut shirt invites others to look whether they intended to or not.

This battle is exhausting. It requires constant action. It requires us to provide an alternative...not just pull the plug. I found myself saying, "No, we aren't going to watch go find something else to do." That's not parenting. So I am trying very hard to find alternatives, and that requires me to be involved and a participant in the alternative at times---like reading a long novel that is interesting to their ears and minds, but too hard for them to read and understand on their own. Yes, that requires less time to do other things, but I know the efforts are eternal. One glimmer of hope came this past week. We had not watched TV at all that week and they asked to watch a movie. We let them stay up and watch one. After it was over at ten o'clock, my 8 year old asked I would read a chapter or two out of the novel I had been reading them. I told her that it was too late and we needed to get to bed. She paused for a moment and said, "Well, maybe instead of watching TV tomorrow night as our free time, we could read three or four chapters out the extra long story time!" Ah........the fresh air of success. Music to my ears.
My time with them is fleeting fast. It's half way over and it's only just begun. I want them to remember....

"...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." ~Philippians 4:8

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