I have a sexual purity pledge card in the most visible place in my house, I rarely can miss it, I also wore a Purity badge that faded with time, perhaps I should make a new one. The thought of this article for the last few months has brought a lot of memories from the chastity campaigns some years ago when I was in 2nd/3rd year. I truly appreciate the engagement through Focus Kenya about sexual Purity in campus after which the transformation in our lifestyles in campus changed, may the Lord bless FOCUS.
There is also a story I have heard as I was growing up, that a bride on her wedding day should wear white to signify that she is ‘pure’ and on one occasion when I was much younger, I attended a wedding and the bride was in a cream dress and I asked why and I was told that she was ‘impure’ according to the standards of the white dress analogy. That was to say she had had sex before her wedding day, so she was not a virgin. So for the ones who had not ‘messed up’ they wore sparkling white dresses and the rest can do any other color of their choice.(Well at least that is a belief I heard growing up). And then am here, seriously asking myself, now that white means Purity, does Purity mean Virginity? And if so, is Virginity really the end goal?
I have had a number of reflections so far as this matter is concerned:
- The goal of Purity is to honor the Lord- 1 Cor 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” As a Christian, the goal to purity should not be so that I just ‘save myself’ for marriage or so that I be a ‘good’ person, it is that as I pursue the Purity of my body, I am directly honoring the Lord and that should be my life purpose, to live a life worthy of giving God glory.
- Virginity is not a synonym of Purity. Neither is Purity a white dress. In a world where bodies are currency, we cannot continue to make them unintentionally as currencies all over again by preserving them only for a particular purpose. This analogy also tends to assume that the body that has never had sex before marriage is better than the body that did therefore undermining the work on the cross. Virginity does not equal Purity, but it can be a form of purity only in a physical sense. Its like a physical status, that may not necessarily reflect the status of the heart. It is possible to be a virgin who is living a very impure life, it is also possible to have lost virginity and yet be renewed by the blood of Christ and intentionally make a decision to live a pure life. Purity is a state of the heart, it will be determined by whether your heart is fully transformed by Christ and live a life of honor to Him. But when we focus on virginity as the only manifestation of purity, we negate the value of Purity that can only come from inside-out. It is wrong to call ourselves pure yet we are locked into lustful thoughts, addicted to pornographic content on our phones and so on. Matthew 5:28 ‘But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.´ That is God’s standard! Way beyond your physical actions only. Whenever I read this verse it reminds me that Purity is beyond any physical action but rather a state of the heart, how pure am I at heart that should be my greatest concern rather than feeling very ‘pure’ because I have not yet done ‘it.’
Recently I have been thinking about this: why is it that after all the ‘rules’ among the christian circles regarding purity we still have the highest number of sexual misconduct among Christians? There is a lot of: how should I greet the opposite sex, should I hug them or not? And we even go ahead to explain how long the hug should be (if it was necessary in the first place), where should we go or not, should we touch or not, should we do this or do that! I can not list them all- they are so many, yet sadly even after all this, we wake up everyday to shocking news- that so-and-so has fallen sexually and therefore has to step down from ministry for a period of restoration. Is it that the laws are failing us or do we have difficulty in obeying them or really we have concentrated too much on washing the cup from outside like the blind pharisee in Matthew 23:26. “You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.” We might have become too legalistic, only setting physical boundaries which really do not reflect the state of our hearts- I would think that even a handshake with a heart that is full of lust is sin. The heart of the matter is the heart! Brethren,“Above all else, may we guard our hearts, for everything we do flows from it.” I think I should put a disclaimer here that I am not necessarily overlooking the need for physical boundaries, I am only trying to disqualify that they are what we need to remain chaste, from the abundance of the heart will flow this boundaries, it doesn’t have to be a list of dos and donts rather there should be an automatic obedience to the word of God if my heart is taken care of. May the Lord help us! In one of his articles John Piper says and I quote:
“Christians are not “winning” if they arrive at their wedding day free from sex but saturated with lustful thoughts. Church, are we really so misguided to think we are “winning” if we refrain from sex before marriage but can’t look at someone of the opposite sex without turning them into objects? Sexual purity must begin with a pure heart and mind. If we begin anywhere else, we risk dangerous outcomes. We risk allowing something as noble and righteous as virginity to become an idol. We risk telling a generation of young people that “how far can I go?” scenarios are ok as long as you don’t have sex. And, most importantly, we risk making light of the cross. Christians need to celebrate virginity. We need to pursue it. But let’s not allow virginity to be the “win.” If we teach that God’s design for sexual purity begins with the heart and mind, virginity will be a natural outpouring.”
And I agree with him, virginity will be a natural outpouring from a heart and a mind that is pure!
- Sexual Purity is not outdated or traditional or irrelevant in our current generation. Purity reflects God and no matter the generation or the world we are living in, the Word of God can never become outdated. I actually believe that sexual purity is more relevant and necessary in this current generation than ever before. May the spirit of the Lord continue to work through our hearts helping us to have self-control and practice it by choosing to do what is right. Refusing to create boundaries in the name of entertaining ourselves is an abuse of the Grace of God. 2 Timothy 3:1-5… ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people!’
I also have another set of special reflections for those people who have fallen sexually before marriage:
- Purity was never meant to be a people’s divider– the ‘pure’ and the ‘impure’ people is a man-made theology. Forgive us! We are all impure and broken before God. Personally, I have struggled with lust and sin in my life and He has set me free from it, Praise the Lord! We all need a Savior equally. We all need Jesus equally. Those of us who call you messed up are really struggling with our own messes too, but we are not more special before God than you as much as we sometimes make you feel so. There is just a word for that- it’s called Pride.
- You are not loved any less by God because you had sex outside of marriage. Sin is messy. But just because you’ve fallen into any sin, even sexual sin, does not reduce the Father’s love for you. There is absolutely nothing you could do to diminish His love for you He desires you and your love relentlessly.
- Purity is not concerned with the past, it is a Virtue that exists for the present. Virginity may concern about your sexual history, Purity does not but you will have to make a choice, choose a new lifestyle and break off from the sexual patterns you had before and allow God to make you new. To be pure it is necessary that your heart be directed to God. In his eyes, the repentant prostitute is purer than the lustful virgin. You need to remember that your worth lies in how God sees you, not in how others see you or even in how you sometimes see yourself. Seek Him. Pursue Him with your whole heart and He says to you, ‘I won’t condemn you. Go and sin no more!’
- The journey to restoration might be difficult- Our Judgements will sometimes knock you off, you will at times also disqualify yourself from the race but the battlefield is just in your mind, Fight! Remain in the fellowship even so, remain in the family of Christ, and Fight the negative thoughts and emotions! Fight darling! The Lord will grant you victory! You are not alone. Soak yourself in the word of the Lord and claim what He says about you, fill your mind with His promises and have Faith.
- Take a deliberate turn around- it is only a mad man who after noticing that they are headed in the wrong direction can decide to still go ahead with the same route. Simply because Church is full of critics should not cost you your future. Today can be the first day of the rest of your life and the decision about that completely lies in your hands. No matter how far you have walked into Sin, you can always turn around. “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay”– Ravi Zaccharis. #Breakoff! And run as much as you can towards God.
- Give the Lord your heart, He will restore you completely- Courage is putting your life in Gods’ hands even when your hands are trembling.
As conclude writing this am more convicted of this more than ever before;
- My life should be lived for God’s glory. My desire to embrace purity should be with the focus of living it out for the glory of God. My life should not just be a reflection of how well I follow the rules, but how much I love Jesus. If He has wanted me to do something, I want to do it too, simply because I Love Him and through His grace I can do it.
- Our motivation for purity should be rooted in a desire to honor God not so that because of it I can get a good husband and give him a gift of virginity or that I should rush into marriage to fulfill my lustful desires and sexual temptations. I need to be pure now and to sustain my purity even after marriage, the end of Purity is not marriage, it is a race till the Lord calls me home and my life goal is to hear Him say, “well done, good and Faithful servant, welcome Home!”
- Purity is a state of the heart, may I be diligent to guard it will all diligence.
- I should pursue purity, not just virginity- I should therefore examine the intentions of ALL my actions and things that I allow to my heart, it is simple, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If this will mean staying off a series movie that is being cheered all around, then so be it. Sometimes we think if we are not keeping up with what the rest are doing/watching/going we will die, yet the hululaboo dies faster than it started and another one starts-Vanity! I definitely have a choice, I owe no one ‘to keep up with whats new.’
- Treating others with absolute purity means learning to honor the person both emotionally and physically.
- The Word of the Lord is a sure anchor for my soul.“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.”
- I don’t choose to avoid sexual immorality in order to be pure, rather I should do it because I am pure.
- My purity pledge card/ring does not necessarily have the power to make me pure, rather it should be an outward symbol of my inward commitment towards purity. It is a reflection of my clear understanding of God’s grace and forgiveness for any sins committed, a symbol of a heart of humility before God and dependence on Him for strength, and a regular reminder of my personal commitments and boundaries before the Lord. The pledge does not have “special powers” to protect me from making unwise choices neither does it elevate my worth in God’s eyes.
Therefore may I live fully in obedience of His desire for my life that, “I shall love the Lord my God with all of my heart and with all of my soul and with all of my mind” (Matthew 22:37).
So help me God!
(I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback, and any questions that you might have concerning this in the comment section below)
I would also love to walk with someone(preferably ladies) who are desiring to live a life of Purity & also one that feels you would want to stand with someone to heal from your sexual past- in prayer and accountability as the Lord graces us- 0706889422. I pray that we will be a renewed generation- ready to honor the Lord with our entire lives.