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"And God blessed [Adam and Eve].  And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth...'" (Genesis 1:28).
My family recently received a puppy from my grandparents.  We were initially excited... and then we remembered how much time and attention a puppy demands.  Add two young children to the mix and the puppy, which we called Rosie, became too much for us.

There were several times Rosie was found digging in the flower garden.  Typical, right?  No matter how much time I spent training her, she simply couldn't be trusted out of my sight for more than two minutes.  She always found herself back in the flower garden, trampling our fragile plants into the dirt.

No amount of training and discipline taught Rosie to stay out of the flower garden, at least not when she was only a few months old.  I was fighting against the natural order and make-up of puppies and was losing the battle.  I had to find alternate means to keep my flowers safe, such as changing her environment (which meant not leaving her unattended outside).

If we can learn this lesson with dogs, why can we not learn this lesson with adolescents?

When a boy or girl goes through the natural occurrence of puberty and begins to change and grow, they are experiencing the natural order that God created in preparing children to "be fruitful and multiply".  Yet, parents and teachers and "experts" say to the eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one year old: "Get an education.  Travel the world.  Get a good paying job.  THEN, if you want to get married, get married."  The saddest thing is that Christians have been influenced by this anti-God thinking and are saying the same things.

Only, Christians typically add one more rule to the list: "And don't have sex until your married."

They might as well say to a pyromaniac, "Here's a box of matches, but don't start any fires."

Let's just take an example of a typical adolescent named Jimmy.  Jimmy is a Christian and is eighteen years old.  He lives with his parents, has his own video game system, his own car that his parents gave him for his birthday, and is a decent student in school.  He is approaching high school graduation and everyone is assuming he will go to college.  He isn't too sure what he wants to study, but he is pretty sure he should go to college (although he doesn't know why: more education?  Make more money?  Experience new things?).  He goes to college and lives the next four years of his life growing his debt, playing video games with his roommates, and enjoying many of the luxuries of being on his own for the first time in life.  During school, he meets a girl that he likes.  Everything inside Jimmy (and the girl) screams to fulfill the first great commission given to Adam and Eve by their Creator.  But then there's this whole Christian thing and they must put off the idea of physical intimacy and even marriage until they finish their degrees and find jobs.  We'll stop there in our story.

Just think about a few things here:

1) Why is getting a college education so important?
2) Why is making "enough" money so important before getting married and starting a family?
3) Why is travel and "finding yourself" so important to do before getting married?

Every parent has goals for their children.  But the goals between Christian parents and secular parents are very similar.  Get an education.  Get a good job.  Do what makes you happy.  Get married and have children.  And, usually, the goals are in that order.  Typically, then, that means when you first get the natural desire to marry and reproduce you are in your late teens, and when you can finally fulfill that natural desire is when you have a degree and a good job to provide financially for your new family, which is, let's say, when you're twenty-five.  That is seven years, at least, of denying the flesh and being ultra self-controlled to behave in a chaste manner that is pleasing to the Lord.

But the primary goal of the Christian should not be to get a good education, to make money, to travel, or to "find yourself" (that is, in any sort of thing other than Christ).  The primary goal shouldn't even be to have fun and be happy.

It is time that Christian parents saw reform in their thinking of what is truly important in life.  Education and money are not it.  If we can learn to change the environment of dogs to fit the natural order, then we ought to change the environment of adolescents.

And now we come to the finish line:

I am a proponent of young marriage.  By the time a young man or young woman is eighteen, they should be ready for marriage.  If, indeed, they are called by God to join in such a union, they should be equipped to answer the call.

Sexual sin runs rampant across the landscape - even (dare I say, "especially"?) the Church - simply because we are fighting against the created order and not altering our lifestyles and goals to fit God's design for adolescent bodies.  Adolescents were meant to procreate.  That is what the natural, created order of God would tell us.  Why, then, do we fight against God's natural order in His creation?

Please hear me: I am not saying chastity is not right; it is.  All people everywhere are called to flee from and to fight against sexual fornication, which includes any form of premarital sexual activity.  Those who engage in such behavior are sure to receive their just reward.

Additionally, we must fight against sin and lust and promiscuity always, but we also ought to be wise in what battles we choose to fight.  What I mean is that if adolescents are meant to procreate, then they should be equipped to do so by entering marriage with skills and character qualities they learned during childhood so that they can fulfill the created order under God's rule of marriage.  Is a desire to have sex with each other a good grounds for marriage?  Of course not.  That is why young men and young women must be prepared in all other areas, so that when they are adolescents, the young man will know what to seek for and the young woman will know how to discern and choose the best suitor.  Better yet, the young man will know how to honor and love his wife and the young woman will know how to honor and submit to her husband.

In making a commitment to marry, natural affections and desires are not evil.  I know many Christian singles who begin their story of affection toward another Christian single with, "She's cute and fun, but what I really find attractive is her personality and her love for the Lord."  I myself was one of these Christian singles.  What we mean when we say things like this is, "My natural desires and affections I feel in my body are bad and only spiritual matters are good."  That is like saying to your child, "I see you fell off your bike and skinned your knee, but I can't help you right now; I'm reading my Bible."  The physical is not bad.  It does, however, need restraint, which comes from a renewed mind (Romans 12:1-2).  If a young man and a young woman enjoy each other's company, are naturally attracted to one another, and their parents believe marriage would be good for them, then they ought to be married.  Parents ought to take an active role in helping their children find spouses.

I was not chaste until marriage.  I wanted to be and knew beyond the shadow of a doubt I should be, but no matter how much I beat my body and tried killing the flesh, I didn't win.  For a decade I fought, and when finally despair set in, I lost.  At least half of all my Christian friends today are in the same boat.  Regret is not a fun companion.  Apart from the Lord's mercy toward repentant sinners, there is no hope for man.

Therefore, let us fight wisely and train our children in the way they should go.  Let us pursue God-centered goals and not worldly lusts of education, money, and happiness in any other thing except Christ.

"But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:9).