With the Valentine’s Day holiday in sight, today we begin our seven day journey to explore God’s Word on the subject of romantic love as it pertains to parenting.

Valentine’s Day can be fun to celebrate, especially with younger children—crafting heart cards and decorating cookies together, and talking about special ways to communicate our love to family and friends. Then, as our children grow into an increasing awareness of the opposite sex, love takes on new meanings. For pubescents and teens Valentine’s Day can stir any number of thoughts and emotions: feelings of romance, dread, desire, confusion, and anxiety. A once seemingly innocent holiday can become complex for parents.

Since young people often pursue love based on feelings and emotions, it’s important for us, as parents, to teach our children God’s will, concerning matters of the heart. For example, although it’s wonderful to celebrate Valentine’s Day, this holiday is but one day a year; God created love to last a lifetime!  God is love and the creator of love. Therefore, as with every other issue, He is our greatest parenting resource!

Throughout this study series we will examine truths that will equip you as a parent to help your child view romantic love from God’s perspective.

God is always most concerned about the condition of our hearts

Proverbs 4:23 tells us: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Everything of value to the very core of our being is found in our hearts. Since it is difficult to correct the consequences of an unguarded heart, it is of great significance for us to introduce this principle to our children while they are young. Be proactive by teaching them about guarding their hearts prior to experiencing personal interest in the opposite sex. Even though your child may not be able to comprehend the potential enticement or feelings or emotions, convey to him the significant purpose in guarding his heart.

Here’s an analogy that may provide better understanding of this principle: My mom lives in a gated community. As you arrive at the entrance, there is a large gate keeping anyone from freely entering. As you stop at the gate, a security guard emerges to ask where you are going. When I tell him my intentions, he writes down my license plate number. Without asking any further questions, he opens the gate and I’m in. Entrance into the gated community is that easy.

Teens Guard Your HeartPlease don’t miss this: Once inside the gate I have the freedom to go anywhere I want. The same is true for everyone else who is given admission. What if the intentions of others are not above reproach? Even though they might eventually be caught, they could do a lot of damage before they are apprehended. The same is true for matters of the heart!! Unless a safeguard on your child’s heart is already in place, much damage can be done during adolescence.

Explain to your child that God is most interested in the condition of his heart and that he has the ability to withhold access to it. This means that even though he may encounter emotions that could persuade him to act in opposition to God’s principles, he doesn’t have to embrace them. Although he may have thoughts that oppose the character of Christ, he can choose to replace them with truth rather than act on them. Discuss with your young person the consequences of unguarded thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Lovingly teach your child that a person with a well guarded heart will stand firm on biblical truth rather than be swayed by emotions. One who has a safely guarded heart will rely closely on the promptings and convictions of the Holy Spirit and will settle for nothing less than God’s best. We are sometimes blindsided with personal feelings and emotions, but a mind set on faithfully following God’s truth will be less likely to stumble into temptation.

Parents, what are you doing to instill the desire for God-ordained love in the life of your child?