In America 40% of all babies are born outside wedlock. In New Zealand it’s nearly 50%. Today childbearing women of all ages tend to have fluid relationships, sometimes moving in and out of relationships and dragging their kids with them. So for teenage girls in our churches, purity goes against the flow. Friends, teachers, and media all around them tell them virgins are losers and no one waits for marriage anymore.
In recent years I felt a definite nudge from the Lord to address the issue in our mission church. Maybe you’re thinking about holding some classes in your youth group or having a purity weekend. Today I’m going to share the main ideas I covered with my girls in four weekly sessions.
Knowing my Heart: Who am I in Christ?
Some of the first girls to lose their virginity are girls with very low self-esteem. Also, Christian girls who have already lost their virginity may feel that they have ruined God’s plan for their life. They may feel like trash. So I felt this was a good place to start talking about purity.
A close look at 2 Timothy 2:20-22 tells us that a wealthy house has all kinds of containers. Some, like a tin can, hold trash. Others, like a crystal goblet, are used for honored guests. All are useful, but some hold a position of honor. If we keep ourselves pure we can be one of God’s treasured vessels. The way we dress, the movies we watch, the things we thinks about, our relationship with guys, can determine what kind of vessel we are for God.
God made me special and has a special plan for my life (Psalm 139:13-16). God loves me so much he sent Jesus to die for my sins (Romans 5:8). He wants me to live a pure life. I need to build my relationship with Christ day by day. This will help me keep my purity and keep me from desperately grasping for any guy who will be my boyfriend.
Sharing my Heart: Different Ways to Date
When I was a teenager, Christian leaders basically said, “You should date a lot so you can figure out what kind of person you want to marry.” I was not really in a position to date because there weren’t many Christian guys in my circles. Even in Bible college a lot of the guys all decided to date a few popular girls. If you never dated you felt like a real loser.
Today Christian young people and singles have more choices. We talked about marriages in the Bible (Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, common biblical marriage patterns). Then we talked about contemporary dating: common dating, Christian dating, arranged marriages, courtship, and making up your dating model.
Then we talked about some good principles with whatever model you choose.
- Build your relationship with Christ first.
- Bring wise counsellors into your relationship.
- Don’t start too young or get too serious or too physical too fast.
- Start by becoming good friends. Don’t confuse love with hormones.
Guarding My Heart: Tips to Protecting Your Purity
Sometimes Christian teens want to remain pure, but it seems nearly impossible. We began with some of the lies Satan tells:
- God is keeping something good from you. (Really he’s protecting us from hurting our relationship with him, getting STD’s, having our hearts broken from someone who isn’t committed to us, from pregnancy and abortion.)
- Virgins are losers who can’t get a guy to like them.
- As long as you don’t “go all the way” you can do whatever you want before marriage.
- Saving yourself for marriage worked long ago, but no one does it today.
- Today it’s impossible to save yourself for marriage.
While it can be hard to keep yourself pure, these tips make it much easier.
- Make a promise to God to keep yourself pure and live for him.
- Replace wrong thinking with right thinking. Keep your mind pure.
- Dress modestly.
- In a relationship with a guy, stay public, stay vertical, decide how far you will go in advance. (This comes from And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh.)
- Build your relationship with Christ.
- Make yourself accountable to someone you trust.
Giving My Heart Away: Looking Ahead
Love is blind. When we’re in love, we feel like we are thinking clearly. The media says: Follow your heart. Sounds good, but what this usually means is: Follow your hormones. Rely on your emotions. Gary Chapman calls this period the “in-love obsession” and says it lasts about two years.
Young girls need to look ahead and think about what they really want in the one they want to marry. Some things, like being athletic or good looking, may be whims or preferences. But they need to think about the things that are most important to them. They should avoid dating anyone who doesn’t have these things. Once they start dating and that guy makes them feel special, it will be hard to think objectively about him. We’ll talk about the qualities of a guy who will be a loving spiritual leader.
I found my girls eager to talk about these things and agreeable to what I said. But I sense they need to talk about these things, with a Christian teacher as well as Christian peers. I believe it helps them to voice the desire and necessity for purity with others who will support them in that decision. It’s not easy to go against the flow every day. We need to challenge unbelievers and support Christian teens. Do the guys need this too? Certainly, but this time I’m working with girls.
Dannah Gresh’s book
Free printable Vows of Purity for guys and girls
My Art Spotlight Mysteries shows a fictional example of a couple dating carefully, with an eye on purity. There are some careful kisses before marriage and a mention of “thinking like a married man” that points to the marriage being consummated. Purity, different methods of dating, and relationships are clearly mentioned in the second and third book. In book one they just get to know each other.