Lately I have been thinking about purity.
Maybe because my definition and understanding of purity before marriage is very conservative compared to what is widely preached in the Christian circles.
Some of my favorite writers and preachers have been discussing what I consider to be a rather liberal interpretation of purity.
When we start discussing how to “tone down” expectations or why purity is legalistic and archaic, I think we have a problem.
Growing with the times
There’s nothing wrong with growing with the times.
But I am disturbed because in our world, “growing with the times” means getting rid of good old common sense and biblical standards.
In my opinion our world (the secular world, the one that needs Jesus) does not need a more liberal church or a more socially-acceptable Christian lifestyle.
It needs a church that is different, salty (Mathew 5:13)
You don’t change something by becoming an exact replica of it or taking on some of it’s characteristics.
I am yet to meet or hear of someone who got attracted to Jesus or Christianity because their friend, or someone they know to be a Christian, became like them.
Rather people get attracted to Jesus when they see you being like Jesus and start desiring that saltiness and light for themselves.
In other words, trying to tone down the message of purity or other biblical values/standards isn’t going to make the gospel more likable and acceptable to the world.
So, today I just want to unpack a few thoughts that have been circling my mind regarding sexual purity before marriage.
1. The discipline of sexual purity is not just for singles.
Most people can’t wait for their wedding night. (And for good reason!)
But guess what, all the restraint and discipline we exercised before marriage?
We don’t throw it out of the window once married.
The discipline of waiting was just practice for the effort it takes to protect, thrive and grow together with this person God gave you.
Someone needs to remind us that you don’t go blind once you get married.
You still see other people that might look more attractive than your spouse. Especially on those days your spouse us being so unlovely.
You still get hit at. You will still have days when you wonder about your choice.
Some days your man will make you mad and that nice guy in the office will be all ears about it.
Marriage does not make you blind and unless you have some discipline and boundaries going on, you will make a big mess.
If you can’t make a good single – sexually, financially, emotionally, mentally – you’ll make a terrible married in all those areas.
I am not being harsh here, just being real.
We all have the potential to change even after marriage (you better have the potential to change after marriage!).
But why wait till marriage to get your character and heart straight?
Trust me, it’s more painful to change in marriage because there’s this other person in your life and your choices and flaws make a bigger ripple.
It’s much soooo much easier to change when it’s just God and you!
Hear me single sisters. Marriage doesn’t fix a lack of discipline or care-free living problems.
If anything marriage will magnify all these problems you have.
As you wait on God and trust Him for a mate, know that your discipline and patience and learning to work with God is not in vain.
God does not waste experiences.
You’ll need everything you gleaned as a single person. You will not throw out all the lessons of discipline on your wedding night.
You’ll just engage another level.
The purity walk is not all about boundaries.
There’s so much more to the single life than avoiding sex.
But sex (or purity) is what I am stirred up about.
We live in a sensual sexualized society and many Christian singles have picked up all sorts of ideas that have made waiting well a nightmare.
The same precious singles walk into marriage and find a hot mess there.
Because all the previous wrong choices and pushing of borders messed up something on the inside; their thinking, expectations, mindsets, hopes.
The bible says you can’t scoop fire into your bosom and leave unscathed.
Its going to affect you, your past. Whether you believe it or not.
Allow me to break it down.
Kissing, making out, cuddling (insert anything but physical sexual intercourse)
It’s not possible to do that, with a person that you already like and have strong feelings for, without having your sexual embers stirred up.
It’s not possible to be all over the other persons goodies without starting to lust after them.
Now in the western culture (and even where I come from), they say it’s possible to do that – get physical and still keep your sexual sanity together. I don’t understand how that’s possible.
You know why that’s so sad?
Because we play with fire before marriage and hope the smell of smoke will not assail our nostrils after marriage.
We hope our sin will not find us, that our unrepentant hearts will sail through marriage without a sprinkle.
But sin is sin.
God forgives, but there’s a whole lot of changing that has to take place on the inside for us to walk in total freedom and victory on the other side of the altar.
A precious woman of God put it this way
“I had gone so long in unhealthy relationships & having sex outside of marriage that I felt guilty for those first couple months being able to have sex within marriage.
I was used to beating myself up after disobeying God that I took that bad way of thinking into my marriage. I had to remind myself that God was with us and that He honored our marriage covenant.” Heather Lindsay
Mark 9:47 says
“If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell..”
If something is causing you to sin or something is exposing you to temptation, cut it off.
Your body will cry, your boyfriend might break up with you, your friends will think you are crazy, maybe even your church teaches a different type of purity.
But cut it all off.
I have been learning, especially since moving to a new culture, that God holds me responsible for the truth He reveals to me.
It doesn’t matter what is acceptable or socially cool within the Christian circles. What matters is what He says is good for me.
So we must cut off that thing He convicts us about.
3. Address the real issue. You.
There’s a reason you like making out with your boyfriend, a reason you think God is “withholding” good things from you, a reason you want to listen to culture and self more than God.
And that’s the bottom line, here.
The problem is internal, not external.
There’s always a reason behind why we do what we do.
When you find yourself constantly pushing borders, making wrong choices, repenting and then doing the same thing all over again, you need to stop and address the issue from the root up.
Here’s where I was a few years ago.
I had issues from here to heaven with men, had all sorts of reasons why I thought men were bad and why I could never submit to a husband. (long story for another post)
But girlfriend, my real problem was not with these external authority figures.
It was within.
And unless I fixed me, unless I allowed God to pour healing on my brokenness, I would become a people-pleasing, depression prone, manic-workaholic for life.
I would be looking at my husband, my earthly authority like he just stepped off the wrong bus from the moon.
I would forever be in rebellion, seeking to undermine his authority, saying yes with my mouth but cursing him in my heart, battling for control and running him to the hills every single day of our married life.
My leaders, my pastors, my male bosses, my husband, are not the problem.
And until I take my crazy self to Jesus and stay at His feet every single moment of my life, everything around me will always look like a problem.
Here’s the challenge, sisters.
Until you let Jesus sort out your heart, everything will be a problem in this single walk.
It’s not your boyfriend, it’s not your pastor, it’s not your dad, it’s not your church putting archaic rules on you.
It’s you, period.
Until you take your mess and brokenness to God, you are going to be bleeding all over the place and then being mad with the only Person that can help you – God and every standard and protection He’s put around your life.
Becoming one flesh
God did not create you to become one-flesh with several different people.
Genesis says that God saw it was not good for man to be alone, so he made him a suitable helper. (2:18)
One man, one woman. Who become one-flesh.
I used to think of the one flesh-union as sort of gluing together of two people.
Then I read this book (Aff link) Myles Munroe that describes the one-flesh as a fusion, not just a gluing.
“One flesh” is not simply the “gluing” of two people together but rather the “fusion” of two distinct elements into one. If I glue two pieces of wood together, they are bonded but not fused.
They remain two separate pieces of wood, and sufficient heat or pressure will break the bond. When two elements are fused into one they become inseparable. A force of sufficient magnitude may destroy them, but it can never disjoin them.
A man and a woman who have become “one flesh” under God’s design for marriage cannot be separated without suffering great damage or even destruction. It would be the spiritual equivalent of having an arm or a leg torn from their bodies.”
You see why God doesn’t want you having sex or engaging in foreplay (kissing, petting, making out et all) with all these guys? Or this one guy who isn’t your husband yet.
Because in doing so, you are becoming one flesh with that person – connecting not just in body , but in mind and soul.
You are giving of yourself to this person and when you up and go to another, a part of you and a part of them is destroyed and fractured and dies.
That’s not God’s design, it’s not His plan!
That’s why He wants you to wait well, because He knows why He created sex (and the foreplay that leads up to it).
Cos it’s meant for something deeper. It’s meant to happen within the safe environment of the a lifelong committed relationship called marriage.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Allow me to wrap up my thoughts with this:
We can’t just teach sexual purity only. We must teach the whole gospel.
We must mentor the whole person, not just pick an area and make a big fuss. I get that.
In fact it’s the same in marriage, you can’t isolate the bedroom. You got to work on your whole marriage, in order to have a sizzling sex life.
So to have a healthy sexual walk as a single person, the rest of your life needs to be working.
Someone needs to pouring into all of you, not just part of you. I get that.
The reason I zero in on sexual purity is because we are becoming that generation that views high standards and values as archaic and legalistic.
We don’t want to hear the practical side of the gospel, we just want grace.
We don’t want anyone to tell us what to do, we want to do whatever.
We think God is okay with poor choices, low-to-non-existent values and standards, and weird determination to fit into the world.
We don’t want to name sin, we want to leave it up to “personal revelation”, conveniently forgetting the Bible doesn’t have a problem calling it out. (Ephesians 5:3-7)
That’s why I am focused on purity.
Someone in our generation needs to speak up because it’s a sensual world and unless we continually say something, all the good voices will be drowned out in the cacophony and people will continue to walk into marriage all broken up. And continue to live broken up.
So yes, we need a wholesome word on purity.
But let’s stop asking teachers and mentors “to stop with the sexual purity gospel”.
You don’t become whole by throwing out part of the solution.
The gospel is both grace and practice. You can’t talk about faith without works.
Anyways, I pray I said something that helped you.
I am not trying to judge if you have fallen or are struggling in your walk.
I know how it is like to feel beaten down when all your trying to do is stay up.
But I want to encourage you to pursue God, to raise your standards, to cry out to Him and ask Him to Help you.
He wants to help in every area of your life.
But you must put your hand in His and allow Him to help you!
The longer I am married, the more I understand the importance of a wholesome walk with God before marriage and it’s effects after marriage.
Ps: Incase you are wondering, there are other ways to connect with a potential mate sans getting physical.
Like mental connection, talking, doing things together, serving God and others.. building a genuine friendship!
You can’t test “compatibility” before marriage. And marriage is a very good cure of that compatibility thing. “Compatibility” is a choice, it’s not just something that miraculous happens on two people.
You make intentional choices towards staying one-flesh.
Pps. In choosing purity, you are not trying to earn God’s love or favor. We love God because He first loved us. Augustine said “For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them”