We were on a tight budget and, as adults, we could easily see that the scant amount of time there was not worth the money. So we spelled it out carefully and gave them the choice—no more of these so-called field trips. Instead, if they wanted to, we would save money for a year and “do it right.” Four nights in the Disney campground (the hotels were out of the question), complete with all the transportation around the park and free Disney movies every night at an outdoor theater with park benches to sit on. Four 4-day park passes and supper one night in the castle, plus all the special shows they never had time to see before, like the Main Street electrical parade and the laser show at Epcot, and a souvenir of their choice at any park shop.
What made the choice difficult? For the next three years, when their classmates piled into the buses, they stayed behind. Usually I showed up at the school to take them out for “early dismissal,” but the next day they endured questioning about why they did not go to Disney with the rest of the group, and listened to the stories about all the fun they had. None of their classmates ever did understand, even when the boys told them the whole story. Why not do both? they wanted to know. It is always hard to tell your friends that you are not as well off as they are, especially when you are young and don’t really understand it yourself. Yet the boys thought about it, and made the choice. “Doing it right” was by far better, they decided.
So we saved for a year, all of us. The boys picked up aluminum cans and coke bottles, and even set aside birthday money, which we had encouraged grandparents to send instead of gifts—they knew the plan. $700 later, we had the vacation of a lifetime, and the boys felt even better because they had helped pay for it. Don’t tell me that having Cinderella lean over you during dinner is unimportant to a twelve-year-old boy. You have never seen such bashful blushing in your life.
Growing up is all about learning to make choices. If you miss that valuable lesson, you may face a life of misery that could have been avoided. Learning to weigh options, both their pros and cons, is the key.
Just think about sin for a moment. Sin is pleasurable or it would not be a temptation. But weigh the choices.
A life of purity will give you a renewed mind, Eph 4:22-24. A fresh, optimistic outlook on life can get you through a world of trouble.
The decision to remain pure will lead to better relationships with those you deal with and the self-respect that comes with self-control, 1 Thes 4:1-8. Self-control is not a prison—it is freedom from things that rule your life; it is you making the choices not your appetites. That is empowering.
Pure living will give you not only the hope of a life to come, but hope for the life now too, 1 Tim 4:7,8. It promises you that God will never forsake you, Heb 13:4-6, and will cause others to glorify God, 1 Pet 2:11,12. And talk about comforting—living a pure life leaves you unafraid to stand before God and give an account of it, 1 Pet 4:1-5.
And the other option? Let’s see, a life of impurity could give you STDs along with ensuing pain and infertility and possible death, cirrhosis of the liver, ulcers and other stress-induced conditions, a suspended driver’s license, a criminal record, a broken home and family who won’t talk to you any longer, fair-weather friends who leave when you need them the most, a ruined reputation, financial ruin caused by alimony and child support payments, and gambling debts you can never repay, not to mention those eternal consequences which include facing the wrath of God, Col 3:5-11, and the second death, Rev 21:8.
Hmm. Doesn’t really sound like such a difficult choice to me.
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked unto the recompense of reward, Heb 11:24-26.