The word “purity” can stir up all manner of thoughts and emotions. It’s that important. The subject carries a great deal of weight, but sometimes I don’t know if we fully treat it as such.
I’ve led youth in one form or another for the past 17 years. It has brought me such joy seeing each student leave the group for college and step into their destinies. On the other hand, it has at times brought such sadness to see girls become pregnant as teens or not long after they’ve entered college.
Mind you, it’s not just with teens that I have witnessed this. I’ve had close friends who in their 20s and 30s have, despite walking in intimacy with the Lord, experienced the same situations. It breaks my heart every time.
There is immense grace for every girl, boy, man and woman who falls short of God’s standard for purity. But it makes me wonder what purity truly is and what it is not. Somewhere along the way, we have missed it. Culture has surely missed it.
There is a call on each of our lives. It is a call to live pure lives in the midst of a highly sinful world. Purity doesn’t mean perfection. God doesn’t expect perfect lives, but He does expect holiness. We are to be holy as He is holy.
Purity is not easy, but it is possible. I reflect on my life as I get closer to 40. How have I lived as an example of Christ’s standards?
I’m no expert when it comes to purity, but I have a story just like you have a story. I can’t assume what has worked for me will work for you. It is up to us to seek God’s hand when it comes to the lives we lead.
I’m 36, never married and a virgin. This is a strange phenomenon to most, Christian and non-Christian alike. I was born out of wedlock. Growing up, I was surrounded by promiscuity, from friends to cousins to adult family members. I saw teen births from high school classmates. At the core of who I was, I knew that was not what I wanted from my life nor was it the pattern that God intended.
“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
My high school was all-girl, so that definitely made not having sex easy. College could have been a whole other story. I became a Christian during my sophomore year. The Holy Spirit arrested my heart and gave me a vision for my life. I truly believe that was the game changer. He gave me a greater calling than any earthly pleasure. He gave me a desire for what He desires.
I surrounded myself with a core group of believers. I studied the Word. I was rooted in a local church. I began to develop my spiritual gifts and walk out ministry. I engaged with and witnessed to my classmates. I got involved with campus organizations. I joined my school’s gospel choir. I made the most of those years.
“ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
It brings me joy to say that my almost 20 year journey with the Lord has pretty much looked like those years. I realized that staying pure wasn’t just about my body; it is just as much about my heart and mind. I also realized that purity, in some respect, is a community effort. I ask questions of spiritual mothers and I admit my struggles to those who hold me accountable. I pour into the next generation by affirming God’s purpose for them and speaking His truth to them.
The enemy would like nothing more than to isolate us and plant lies in our minds that would eventually lead us to sinful and destructive lives. I haven’t given him that opportunity. I pray I never will. I have filled my life with the things of God.
I’m also extremely intentional about environments that I’m in, movies that I watch, books that I read, and the music that I listen to.
It may seem cheesy or unrealistic to do this at my age, but friends, there is a war going on in heavenly realms. It is a fight to distract believers from our purpose of furthering the gospel and building the kingdom. At times it appears as though the enemy is advancing more and more each day.
I think as we get older, we become self-sufficient and believe we can handle things on our own. But we can’t. I can’t. I desperately need the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to empower me to think right thoughts and live a life of holiness, a life that honors God.
The fight for purity is just that…a fight. But we do not fight alone. With God on our side and surrounded by strong community, we have already won. We stand in complete victory.
How have you fought for purity?