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Giving the Seventh Commandment to Our Children

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Episode Synopsis

Jani and Heidi discuss the why and the how of teaching your children the beauty of sexual purity, with practical hands-on activities to help you give your children what their young hearts need as they enter their teen years.

Audio Transcript

Jani: Welcome to He Restores My soul with Jani Ortlund and Heidi Howerton, where you can find encouragement for your busy life through God’s renewing mercies.

Hello, everyone, welcome. I’m here with my friend Heidi Howerton.

Heidi: Hey guys ,as always, it’s good to be with you today.

Jani: We’ve been working through a series on the 10 Commandments, we hope you have found them helpful. This is our final episode on the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.” Now we would think that this is a commandment just for adults. But Heidi and I both believe it’s important to begin teaching this to our children at a very young age from the time they can start listening and understanding and we’re going to talk about ways to do that today. We must teach this commandment well to our children. Somehow, we can teach them about stealing and lying or envy but when it comes to spiritual purity, we get tongue tied. I think our children need to see and hear from a very early age, what God’s loving plan is for them, because his way is so foreign to our culture. Edith Schaefer is one of my Christian heroes and she wrote in one of her books, “What can unclean mean when a person lives in mud, and filth?” Sometimes I feel that’s what our kids have to live in in today’s culture. I wonder if you try to model sexual purity for your children even from a young age.

Let me tell you a story about my friend Julie, who is starring as Maria in her local city’s production of The Sound of Music. She has a beautiful voice. She’s a beautiful young mom of six children. She faced a hard decision when her director instructed her to kiss the captain in one of the scenes where they are falling in love. Now, Julie and her dear husband, John are really trying hard to raise their six kids to love God and follow His ways. Their children have been taught that mommy and daddy love each other, and they don’t flirt with another person. Julie knew that her children would come to the play to see her and they’d have a lot of questions about her kissing the captain if she did, whether it was acting or not. So this is what Julie did. She talked with the director explaining her dilemma and they finally decided on the captain kissing her hand, which was a compromise accepted all around. I admire Julie for doing that. She was modeling sexual purity for her children.

As children grow and develop an awareness of the sexual union blessed by God and marriage, they have to hear that sex is more than just a physical tension that two people release when they have intercourse. Sexual intimacy is a precious gift that is to be treated with tenderness and awe. Through it you expose not only your body, but your very soul and over exposure will damage you in ways that are not always discernible at the moment of passion. Your kids need to know that.

Have you ever tried to separate two pieces of paper that are glued together? You have to rip and tear and destroy both pieces to separate them. Well, wrong things get stuck together when you have sex outside of marriage and trying to get them unstuck rips apart part of your soul. Train your children in the value of waiting. Help them to understand what their virginity is. Help them to see that their virginity is a priceless treasure they will someday offer to their spouse. Tell them that the love and attention and extramarital relationship brings is too high a price to pay for their purity. Teach them to treasure their sexuality as much as God their Heavenly Father does. This can be hard and Heidi and I are going to try to give you some ways to do that today.

As your child learns to trust God, in other things, he’ll be able to trust God here. God made romance and he knows best how it works. I have never counseled one woman who said, Oh, Jani, I wish we hadn’t waited until we were married to have sex. I really missed out. But I’ve wept with many who were broken over the loss of their purity outside of their marriage bed. You see, our children need to develop a sense of honor that surpasses their impulses. Let’s begin training them at a young age. Help them to learn a lifelong pattern of sacrifice, of self denial, of purity, of putting others before themselves, and putting God above all. If others ridicule them, pity the mockers, and remind your child that on his honeymoon, he will have the blessing that those mockers will miss out on.

You see, God is calling our children to himself. God, not sex, is the ultimate human experience. God honors those who honor him. Does your child see this lived out in your life? Now if you have sinned in this area, or if your child has, then you know the shame and regret that follows, I want to tell you that there is a God in heaven who makes all things new. He is your Creator, and he can become your re-creator. Don’t give up in shame and dread. Through Christ, God is reconciling all sorts of sinners to himself, letting those old pass away and making us a new creation. (2 Corninthians 5) You don’t have to keep looking to your past. Look to your future and see God in His mercy opening up a new tomorrow for you. The way into that new tomorrow is through repentance and faith. In repentance, you turn away from your sin and turn toward God.

What does this turning away look like? Well, where are you being tempted? Maybe you need to give up your favorite TV shows, where you keep imagining that you’re the one in that handsome actors arms. Perhaps Heidi, as you’ve mentioned, to us, it’s your reading material that sends you into someone else’s bed or maybe you even need to change your job if a relationship there, either in fantasy or reality, is leading you into any form of adultery. And then as you turn away from your sin, turn toward God. Seek Him in the scriptures and through prayer. In faith, take that sin you have committed and lay it before your Savior. Let him carry your burden away. Let him bear it on the cross for you. He will give you or your child a bright, new hope for the future. He is the one who tells us in John 8:11, “‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.'”

Heidi: I like Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Jani: Yes, that’s so good Heidi. Well, let’s close today by talking about how you can teach this commandment. “You shall not commit adultery” to young children, or even your adolescent children. You’re going to need some materials for this. Let me just tell you and you can think it through and then also look on our website to see this written out. You’ll need your Bible and a marker. You’ll need a paper and glue. You’ll need a bucket of water with dirt settled on the bottom, unless you could go outside and find a puddle. I’ve never been able to. Then you’ll need a picture of clear water. Please know that this is an age sensitive topic. So adjust these ideas as appropriate for your children. Explain adultery to your kids as fully as your children can comprehend. Younger children can understand the wrongness of physical contact with someone other than a marriage partner. Older children can begin to understand the great mystery and sanctity of marital intercourse. So first of all, review the first six commandments and then read Exodus 2014 and write it on your big red heart. Go over it with your kids, get them to learn it. Then take two pieces of paper and glue them together. While they’re drying, read and discuss Matthew 19:4-6. Talk about how love unites two people in a very special way and how that union is good and is from God, but wrong things get stuck together when you love and kiss, or if your kids are old enough to mention when you have sex with someone you are not married to because love glues you to another. If you separate, that person takes some of you with him and you both end up torn and hurting. You need to read Malachi 2:15 and Proverbs 4:23 and discuss what it means to guard your spirit. You can also use these verses to help your child hear God’s counsel to him: Psalm 119:11, Psalm 119:37, and 1 Corinthians 15:33. Again, you can find these on our website. Then use that bucket or puddle to talk about the true condition of every human heart. Things are hidden in our hearts until a temptation comes along and stirs things up. Then you. dear mama or aunt or grandma or teacher, take that stick and stir up the water and see how it gets all murky. What will happen if you leave the water? Is the dirt gone? Or is it just settled to the bottom until it gets stirred up again? Then pour the dirty water out, using it as a symbol for turning away from sin and temptation. Rinse out the bucket and pour in fresh water and read John 4:13-14.

Help your child to begin to develop an understanding of his very own soul needs. Each human being has inner longings, soul thirst, which only God can truly satisfy. Older children must hear from us that sexual union is more than mere physical pleasure, as wonderful as that is. Marital love is a gift from God to be treated with tenderness, and with awe. Read Hebrews 13:4 together with your older childre. Tell your children about the rewards of waiting and the painful disasters of playing around before marriage. Surround your child with as many healthy marriages as you can. And pray for your child and for his life partner’s purity.

Well, these are our suggestions. We hope this has been helpful in how best to teach the seventh commandment to your children. Heidi, I’m wondering, would you close us in prayer praying for the children who are represented through our listeners?

Heidi: I’d be happy to.

Heavenly Father, what a joy it is to come under you today, under your teaching and under your commandment. Thank you for the ways and the things that you’ve taught Jani and for speaking through her to teach us. God I pray for all of the children that are represented in our listeners. Dad, would you fill these precious children with your Holy Spirit? I pray that your Holy Spirit would put a longing and understanding in their hearts for purity in their relationships with others, for purity as they even date or interact with their future spouse. God, I pray for their spouses as well. I pray that you would fill each of their spouses with the Holy Spirit right now God, and that you would put in their spouse’s hearts, purity. I pray that you would protect these children, Lord as they grow. I pray for us moms and the dads and the grandmothers and the aunts. Lord, give us your wisdom. How do we teach our children about sexual purity? How can we communicate your love for them? How can we communicate the treasure that sex is in the way that you designed it? Lord, we feel weak and we don’t know how to do this, but you do. And so I ask that you would equip us, but you would help us to teach it well. Jesus, we love you. Thank you. for being with us here today, in your precious name, Amen.

Thank you for joining us today. This podcast is generously funded through Renewal Ministries. If you would like to discover more about Jani and Ray’s ministry or make a donation, visit their website at renewalministries.com. If you have a question for Jani, or would like to learn more about this podcast, please visit our website at herestoresmysoul.org.

Thank You

Thank you for joining us today. This podcast is generously funded through Renewal Ministries. If you would like to discover more about Jani and Ray’s ministry or make a donation, visit their website at renewalministries.com. If you have a question for Jani or would like to learn more about this podcast, please visit our website at herestoresmysoul.org.

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He Restores My Soul with Jani Ortlund seeks to encourage women with God’s renewing power for their busy lives. Episodes include relevant biblical teaching, stimulating gospel conversations with other Christians, and “Ask Jani” sessions where we talk about what’s on our listeners’ hearts.

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