I came across this blog about purity not too long ago that immediately caught my interest. Its focus was on the difference between virginity and purity. Never before had I pondered the difference. I always thought they were one and the same.
As I approach the final two months before my wedding, maintaining purity is on my mind more now than ever before. But in reading this blog over several times, it occurred to me that purity is far more than abstinence. Purity, as it turns out, is much broader and more complex.
“If purity was only based on sex, then after I got married I would no longer have to strive for a life of purity,” the author, Danielle Renfrow, wrote.
This was such an eye-opening thought for me. Am I the only one who never made that distinction between the two? I never thought about it that way. We are called to be pure and holy because God is holy. It is our gift from God the Father through Jesus.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:14-16).
While abstinence before marriage is part of purity, it’s not the whole picture. Like the Scripture above indicates, we are to be holy in all our conduct. The blog’s author points out that purity goes deeper than our actions to the heart of the matter — our desires. Are our desires pure?
“Sexual abstinence is good, but your purity is NOT defined by your abstinence. It goes all the way back to the heart of the matter. Before you were kissing, before you were holding hands, before you were flirting – What were your intentions? What were you thinking about? What was your flesh saying? What were your desires?”
Instead of being concerned about “How far is too far?” we should be asking ourselves what our intentions are. It’s not limited to saving sex for marriage. It goes way deeper into issues of the heart. The author chose to save her next kiss for her fiancé rather than a boyfriend. My fiancé and I recently took a different approach.
To ensure our desires remain pure, we agreed on a two-week fast from most physical affection, including kissing. Our goal is to find more fulfillment in God than we do in each other. We came to realize that collectively, we needed to focus a little less on each other and a little more on God. We want our marriage to be rooted in serving Christ together.
In the middle of planning a wedding, quiet time can tend to get shoved into a corner. With an intentional shift in priorities, I’ve spent more time reading Scripture and praying this week than I have in a while, and I’d have to say the fast has been really good for us. It’s helped me redirect my attention to God and focus on going through each day with Him, and it has encouraged us both to make God a larger part of our lives and our relationship.
The author calls purity a way of life, and I think she’s right. She says that purity is a gift we are given from God, and our virginity is a gift we give. Abstinence before marriage isn’t the prime indicator of purity. Once we marry, we’re not off the hook. We should daily be striving to live above reproach in all we do, going through every day with God and setting our minds on things above.