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Practical Christian Theology

“Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues.” ~CS Lewis

I was a young teen when my dad assumed a new pastorate in the Alleghenies. After the first Sunday evening service, parishioners gathered around my parents in an informal welcome—some indoors eating, some outside talking.

One youth, slightly older than I, the son of an affluent businessman, walked another girl and me to his pretty, shiny two-door convertible coupe and suggested we go for a joyride up into the hills, some miles away, so he could show off his car.

The other girl was game, but I wasn’t. “I’ll have to ask my parents first.” By now it was nightfall. And we were new in town. I couldn’t go miles away, in the dark, with a stranger, for who knew low long, without letting them know where I was.

He laughed mischievously, pressuring us to come. “What they don’t know won’t hurt ’em.”

The language of a thief. How could you ever trust someone like that?

He started the car, the other girl climbed in the front passenger seat, and I crawled in behind. Without telling my parents. Hoping the ride would be brief, fearing it wouldn’t be brief enough, I was anxious the whole time we were gone, though it turned out to be nothing more than what he’d said: a joyride. All he did was spin his wheels and waste time showing off, as youths do.

I admired his car. It was a beautiful royal-blue-and-white reconditioned and well-maintained 1930s classic—a straight shift—and he knew how to play with the foot pedals to stall the engine. On the way back, when he stopped the car, feigned a breakdown, pulled off his shirt, and popped the hood, I was onto him. In my cop voice, I ordered him to close the hood, put his shirt back on, and get me home. His eyes popped. He didn’t know what to do with an assertive person.

As soon as we returned, I jumped out of the car, leaving him alone with the other girl. He was spouting something about the reflection of the moon in the dashboard clock.

She’s buying this? No, she’s enjoying this. She’s as lawless as he is.

Well, as James Dobson says, “guys lie.” But I didn’t think churchgoing people should. So, I kept my distance from that boy who played a musical instrument in church and never missed a service. Yes, bad people come to church and just stay bad.

Not two years later the fellow was trapped in a situation with a certain tall, long-legged, blonde-haired majorette. His own parents had to strong-arm him to the wedding chapel; a few months later his daughter was born.

That kind of loose, full-of-himself, reckless fellow still exists. He may talk about a joyride; but while you’re thinking car, he’s thinking something else.

One would think that young ladies these days, reared on television and film, would be more savvy. They’re not. Cinema—and sometimes life, with all the broken and makeshift relationships—has exposed too much behavior that they think defines adulthood.

After her custodial parent had a bastard child with a live-in lay, I was shocked to overhear a junior-aged girl say, “I want to have my own baby.” That’s the kind of nurture her upbringing was providing.

When I was young, being grown up was a wallet and keys; nowadays, it’s flesh. Young people think they have to be immoral to show they’re adult.

And no one, it seems, knows anything about virtue, morality, or ethics—unless he’s been reared in a godly home and been saved early. Do you know any chaste sinners? I don’t.

Parents and church leaders should “teach young women to be sober, to love their husband, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husband … the young men likewise, to be sober-minded” (Titus 2:4-6).

Chaste means pure: pure in heart and pure in body.

If you keep yourself (1 John 5:18)—maintain your integrity—you won’t have to worry about what other people are thinking or doing, or what the devil is up to, because he cannot touch you without you giving in.

Most young people hope to marry someday and have a family, but there is a natural order to how a relationship should develop, and the physical part of that relationship should be saved for marriage. If a fellow or a girl wants to become too physical too early, break it up. The person who would even contemplate opening that door has already shown what s/he is. If s/he is loose before marriage—outside of marriage—s/he’ll be loose after marriage. So break it up. Back away.

In the Victorian Era, fellows didn’t even hold a girl’s hand before engagement. Some couples didn’t even kiss before the wedding. And if you snicker at that kind of prudishness, then you’re already too loose in your thinking. Sober up.

Some young persons, I’ve heard, would welcome a return to the Napoleonic, Victorian, or Edwardian Era. They wish things were like they used to be, when girls didn’t show any flesh above the ankle and weren’t expected to look like Barbie dolls. Why do you think books like Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and Pride and Prejudice are popular today? Because people long for an era when life was sane and virtuous, when persons spent more time nurturing their mind than their body, when life had order. That is the reason why some young people have come up with campaigns like Choose to Wait , Saving Yourself for Marriage, Wait for Marriage, and Waiting Till Marriage. They realize that the absence of chastity has gone too far.

One teenage girl observed, “I think it’s very sad that sex is no longer considered special and sacred. Sex is an act of love. In my opinion, this subject shouldn’t be taken so lightly by so many.”

You cannot control other people, but you can control yourself. You can live godly even in “this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11, 12).

If your high school sweetheart can’t keep his hands off you, break it up. If your college or university wants to devote student orientation to distributing contraceptives, find another school. If your intended prefers filthy movies and filthy images, he’s bad news. Find someone else. Have standards of decency and live by them.

“Premarital sex defrauds the future marriage partner of the person with whom you are involved. You are robbing that person of the virginity and single-minded intimacy that ought to be brought into a marriage. Thus, sexual impurity is as much a social injustice against others as it is a personal sin against God.” ~Sam Storms

Copyright © 2014 Alexandra Lee

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