Monday, September 12, 2011

Letter to My Teenage Self: pursue purity

Youth is a beautiful thing; it’s a time for experimenting, learning your voice and making mistakes. Okay, the rest of your life is also for those things too but people expect you to have more wisdom later in life. This week Kingdom Bloggers are invading my site (new posts EVERY DAY). We’re writing on what we would say to our teenage self, knowing that we’ve gained some experience and [hopefully] wisdom. You’ll hear from Joyce Lighari, David Johndrow, Tracy Chiara, Tony Cradic. David normally begins our week and introduces the topic but because I’m hosting on my site, I get to do the honours. David will be writing on my normal day – Wednesday. Enjoy the week; be sure to welcome my guests to the site.

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Dear 15-year old Self,

I'm 3rd from left.
It’s intriguing to review the past, and think ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’, but there isn’t a lot I would change. You are going to challenge God, your parents and the status quo. You will do it fast and furious (we still do everything fast and furious) but in everything God will show up WITHOUT FAIL.

I could tell you that your resolve to not smoke, drink, do drugs or have sex will make a spectacular belly flop in the Blumenort Pits (the location for most of the activities) before you reach your 16th birthday, or I could tell you that you will ignore parental advice and decide to marry an unbeliever you’ve only known for a year in Las Vegas. I could tell you those things but I’m not going to. 

Smoking, drinking and drugs are counterfeits of the true pleasures that come from God. You will learn this. You grow out of those bad choices because they are birthed from curiousity, not because you need an escape. Life is pleasant and we are favoured by God to receive many, many blessings. 

The Man you marry is awesome and fantastic; despite your young age, impulsiveness and stubbornness - you made a great choice. Oh, and your stubbornness? You will need it. It will develop into tenacious faith which will help you through the desert experience in your 2nd year of marriage.

What I would like to teach you is that purity is not about keeping away from something - in this case sexual activity - but it is about pursuing something greater. Jesus said, blessed are the pure, for they will see God. Pursue purity, at the cost of everything else because that is what makes it priceless.

The teaching you received about sexuality could only accomplish and maintain outward behaviour. It perpetuated a guilt complex and created a sexual prison that naturally made you want to rebel from. Rebellion from stale, negative thinking is scriptural, although the form our rebellion took could have been chosen better – a lot better. Law keeps people in line because of fear of punishment but grace is above the law. Purity is grace; it works, not because fear of punishment but anticipation of reward.

The reward is a pure marriage bed. Every person you’ve ever slept with comes with you in your marriage bed. A king-size bed isn’t big enough to accommodate that many people. It’s long and tedious work to put them out. God is faithful and he will do it, but in the interim, you miss future blessing you could have had because you are busy dealing with the past.

Instead of saying no, learn to say yes. Yes to purity, yes to right-thinking, yes to excellence. These are things that will bear the right fruit in the right season.

Oh, and one more thing: don’t put a tattoo on your belly, it stretches when you are pregnant and never looks good again.

Enjoy the journey; there is joy behind every dark cloud.

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