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A Safeguard for My Innocence (Scholarship Essay)

Last Updated: June 14, 2021

Victory Stories
Victory Stories

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The essays below were written by one the previous years’ winners.

In 2-3 paragraphs, please explain how you use Covenant Eyes, and how it has impacted your life.

I’ll never forget the first time I found something inappropriate online. I was probably ten, and had never used the internet without my parents. At my mom’s law office, I was allowed to watch pre-approved movies or play games on the secretary’s computer when she was out. Many people used her computer, so I’ll never know who had been looking at the dirty images before I found them, but I was abhorred and felt utterly betrayed. But, even after this, I was rather upset when my parents installed a filtering software on my first laptop. Did they not trust me? Only recently have I come to appreciate their actions. While I might not purposefully seek inappropriate images, they are truly “all over” the internet and pop up unexpectedly. Surfing the web with friends who do not have filtering software taught me just how dangerous a tool the internet truly is.

Although we had some problems with our first filter, it protected my mind and innocence in a profound way. For the past two years, I have had Covenant Eyes on my laptop, and when I received a phone this past summer, I installed it on my phone. Voluntarily. The security and protection provided by Covenant Eyes, especially when researching for school projects, is invaluable. When you see an image like the one I saw at ten, you will never forget it. However, when you are protected from more scarring images, you can seek God’s healing. God can wash away the impurities with His light and bring your mind away from the dark places.

I am so thankful for Covenant Eyes. The teenage years are some of the most dangerous of a Christian’s life, where Satan tries to pollute our minds, pull us away from the purity of Christ, and set us on a downward trajectory. In these years we are most vulnerable. Although we may be considered “mature enough” to use the internet by the world, we usually lack the self-control and deep affiliation to light of a truly mature Christian. But in all my years of research for school projects, personal hobbies, and academic debate, I have never once seen such an image again. While many of my peers see or hear something dirty in every little thing, God’s work in my internet habits has kept my mind clean and ready to find pure beauty in every little thing. The safeguards, especially Covenant Eyes, which God placed in my life as a teenager have protected my heart and mind during some of the most dangerous years of my life, empowering me to become a better tool for God’s kingdom.

Part of the Covenant Eyes mission is to equip men and women to live lives of integrity, to assist people in their commitment to set no worthless thing before their eyes. In your academic, social, and spiritual pursuits, describe how you strive to demonstrate a life of integrity.

The heart is where it all begins. It is the source of evil in our lives, so the change for righteousness and integrity begins with the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. I cannot live in purity and integrity until God has changed my heart and made me desire integrity. But then I can put away sin and, in its place, seek God’s righteousness and integrity. But what is integrity? I would define integrity as consistently striving to serve God and glorify Him through Christlikeness in thought, word, and deed in all places at all times regardless of the consequences. Because of what Christ has done for me, I seek to follow in His footsteps and strive to demonstrate integrity in my spiritual, academic, and social pursuits.

Spiritual integrity is the foundation for integrity in all other aspects of my life. The way I treat God and my relationship with Him will impact everything I do. In my spiritual life, I strive to demonstrate integrity through giving glory to God and seeking Him above all else. When others want me to doubt my faith or God’s goodness, I hold fast to God’s promises. I strive to be constant in reserving all my awe for Him and never raising a person or thing to His level. However, I also strive to demonstrate Christlike integrity and give God glory through listening to those who combat my views, analyzing my view of God in comparison with the Scriptures, and being willing to change if God calls me to do so. My spiritual life and the value I place on Christ and Christlikeness are of infinite importance and will also impact my academic integrity and social integrity.

Raised in a Christian school, I have been taught by men and women of integrity and been encouraged by positive peer pressure. Here, integrity is lauded. My no-cheating record, the A Honor roll throughout high school, and consistent academic diligence are evidences of the integrity for which I strive. In academic debates, I strive to act in a Christlike manner. At Speech & Debate or cross-country tournaments, I want to represent Christ and my school through honesty and integrity in speech, actions, and manner. I seek to be unashamed to mention Christ in my resume or college essays. Making sure all my sources are cited in research papers, requesting that teachers remove points when they mistakenly marked a wrong answer as correct, and, above all, doing my best for God’s glory are all aspects of the academic integrity I strive to exhibit.

Social integrity is a bit harder for me. I tend to place my identity in people’s opinions or my reputation, and that makes me a people pleaser. However, since I have been growing as a Christian throughout high school, I do my best to show integrity and consistency in all that I do with other people. In all situations, I strive to exhibit Christlikeness and be a constant witness to His greatness. I seek to be consistent in the values I espouse and the beliefs I hold dear no matter with whom I am interacting. In addition, I strive to accept criticism well—to be ready to reprimanded, take comments to heart, and bear no ill will against those who want to help shape me into Christ’s image. Although it may sound strange, I believe running away is also an important part of social integrity. Just as Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife, so I must leave when social time becomes dangerous. During a camp last summer, I was talking with friends, when, all of a sudden, the conversation took an abrupt turn down a dark and inappropriate path. I stood up and simply walked away. I will never regret running away. Finally, I strive to avoid hypocrisy. If I tell others that they should treat a certain person with more kindness, then I should as well. From remaining firm in my standards to discerning when to run away, I strive to demonstrate social integrity in all my interactions with others.

Although I am a sinner, born ready to lie, steal, and hate, God has worked in my heart in amazing ways. Knowing His story as told in the Scriptures and what He did for me, I desire to live a life of purity—to put off the old man and take on the new. In an effort to reflect the Christ who took the penalty for my sin, I strive to follow in His footsteps and live a life of integrity. Integrity begins in the heart, but it ends with demonstrating Christlike integrity in all areas of life: spiritual, academic, and social. Although I often fail to reach them, these are my goals. This is what I strive to become. As I continue to grow, it will become easier. A tool is only useful if it has structural integrity. Just as any brittle tool is useless, so I am useless if I lack integrity. How can someone give witness to God’s glory and constancy without integrity? But, with God’s untiring help, I will one day be a powerful tool with strong integrity that He may use for His beautiful purposes