By Caitlyn Bailey
Living in a society obsessed with sex makes purity a difficult road to travel. Everything seems to become harder when you choose to live a life according to the Bible. As Christian women, we have certain standards to live up to that are not from this world. One of our standards is to live a pure life. To really understand what purity is, one must turn to the Bible. According to the teachings of the Bible, purity means to keep your life free of worldly desires that are not from God. One of the worldly desires that surround us is sexual immorality. When breaking down purity, sexual morality is a huge part of it. One must protect their mind, heart, and body in order to prevent sexual immorality from occurring.
The Bible states numerous times to abstain from sexual immorality. But, it also states that he “…who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). In God’s eyes, impure thoughts are just as bad as actually acting upon them. This means as children of God, we must do everything in our power to hold ourselves and others up to the Biblical standard. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).
Even though we have the biblical definition, we need to understand what exactly it means for our lives. After speaking to a few of my friends, it got me thinking; how can one live out a life of purity in the real world? Yes, you can abstain from your sexual desires, but there is so much more that goes into it. The world we live is a sex led society that promotes the exact opposite of how we are called to live. There are many things in my life, and the lives of those around me, that have helped them stay on the path of purity. Here are just a few ways to help:
Have a physical reminder. For girls, this may be a purity ring, and for guys, this may be as simple as a note. One thing I have done is write sticky notes. On these sticky notes, I have reminders, such as bible verses and quotes, to remind me to stay true to the morals and standards of my life. I have hung these sticky notes up around my room in places I often find myself. There is one on my mirror, and it says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). I look into that mirror daily and read the reminder to not let the world turn me into something I am not. For I am a child of God, and I need to live a life that reflects that.
Live with the mindset of loving your spouse before you are with them. When talking to one of my dear friends, he said “To live a life of purity means to truly love your wife before you even meet her”, and it really got me thinking. He is so right in many ways. We all need to live a life that respects your future spouse, even if you are not with them now. By choosing purity, you are taking a step towards starting a healthy relationship when that time comes. One way to live this out is to list out the spiritual and mental traits you would want for your ideal spouse. Using those traits, look at your own life. Are you living a life that reflects these? You should not want your future spouse to live their life in a specific way that you are not willing to do as well. For example, if a trait you chose is having biblical knowledge, then you need to be willing to live that out in your own life as well.
Dressing in a way that reflects your decision. It is really hard to tell someone no for their advances, especially when your revealing outfits say another. Your outward appearance should reflect the decisions you have made internally. For girls, I get it, I really do. It is extremely hard to find clothes that do not accentuate your body. You can wear flattering clothing while making sure your goods are not out for the world to see. For example, look for dresses, skirts, and shorts that come close to your knee than your butt. On the other hand, it is a little harder for our male friends to show their decision through their clothing. But for males, it goes with how they hold themselves within their clothing. Which, this means when one posts revealing shirtless photos on social media, they are presenting themselves in a way that is not pleasing to God. 1 John 2:16 states, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” Modesty is not just about how you dress, it is about how you present yourself out to the world. One of the best things I ever bought was a long sleeve shirt that just simply says “I am a Christian.” Every single time I wear it out in public, I consciously think about how I am portraying the words upon my shirt. In turn, this causes me to look at the way I present myself out into the world. If I am having to change what I am saying, or even how I am acting, then I should not be doing that when I am not wearing that shirt. The same concept applies to our lives. Live as if you have the words “I am a Christian” written across your shirt.
Write it out. Something I find extremely helpful is writing. When I am stressed, overwhelmed, overthinking, or even just anything, I write out my prayers from time to time. It is so nice to be able to look back and to actually see where God has worked in your life. Very recently, I actually started a journal that will be given to my future spouse. It is just about me, and what is happening in my life at the moment. So far, one thing I have written about is how hard it is to live out these choices. Every day, I spend time with some of my closest friends, and many have chosen differently. They do not mean to, but it makes me feel very inadequate to the world’s standards. But, one thing we have to remember is “it is worth it in the end, and we are made to do it. We will be rewarded for it in Heaven”, as said by one of my dear friends. A few nights ago, I was really struggling, and I just poured my heart out onto the small piece of paper. God never said the decision to follow him would be easy, but it is so worth it. Who knows, maybe I will never be married. But, the decision to live a life of purity is looked at favorably in the eyes of God.
Try your hardest to respect yourself and your future spouse. One of my other dear friends said this, and it made me stop in my tracks. Isn’t this the entire point? That choosing to live a life of purity is respecting yourself and your future spouse under the word of God. But, you need to remember you are human. We will make mistakes and God knows that we all mess up. In the Bible, even the Apostle Paul points out, “For we all fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Paul is right, none of us are perfect nor will we ever be. However, that does not mean that once we screw up, that it is all over. For the Lord, our God will never leave us. We just need to realize what we did was a sin, and repent that sin. If you have made the choices that interfere with living a life of chastity, you can choose it now. It may not be easy, but it will be so worth it in the eyes of God.
It is never easy when making a commitment of any kind, especially when it is about something as serious as purity. But, it is worth the wait. One biblical example is in Joshua 7 and 8. Achan, in Joshua 7, was killed for stealing the goods that God said that the Israelites could not have. God wanted the Israelites to enjoy the goods at the right time. In Joshua 8, and after, the Israelites were able to keep every good they received from God. The point is God is not saying no forever, but he is just saying not yet. Right now, if you are giving up on purity, you would be settling for less than what you are worth. For you are “…worth far more than rubies…” (Proverbs 3:15). By waiting, you are honoring what God has for you. You are saving yourself for a beautiful experience within the boundaries of marriage. God looks favorably on those who follow what he sets out for us in the Bible. Always remember that you will be rewarded by God for staying pure.