Who would have thought that purity would be controversial?
Purity is just abstaining from sex before marriage, right?
Wrong. Purity is a right heart before God.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Purity is living the surrendered life of holiness before a Holy God, it is cleansing from sin.” quote=”It is living the surrendered life of holiness before a Holy God, it is cleansing from sin.”]
Purity is not all or nothing, once lost – forever lost. Purity can be rebuilt even after bad choices are made. Purity is about our actions, our thoughts and our words and how they reflect the nature of our Lord.
When it comes to purity, we love to lay down our laws. We love to have our lists of Do’s and Don’t’s to help others learn to regulate their lives according to the standard we set up for our own lives. The sad thing about this is that we are not the standard, Jesus is.
There are many bloggers recently posting about purity and how it ruined their lives, their marriages and their relationship with God. Most of the time, but not always, they claimed to once have a faith that they have since ditched. And they are preaching a lifestyle that rejects biblical ideas of purity.
Is purity a bad thing?
According to Webster’s pure means:
(1) : free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes
(2) : containing nothing that does not properly belongb : free from moral fault or guilt
[clickToTweet tweet=”Purity started in the mind of God and is exemplified in His nature and character. ” quote=”Like many things in creation, purity started in the mind of God. Purity is exemplified in His nature and character. “]
He is free from anything that pollutes, free from moral fault, free from stain or dirt.
When purity becomes a list of requirements, a set of standards, a way to earn God’s favor, then yes, it IS a bad thing.
But, like our sanctification in our salvation, purity is not about what we do, it is about who we are.
- It is looking heavenward in all we do.
- It is being consumed within the heart of God’s light.
- It is realizing that living the Surrendered Life means that every part of my life is under the authority of God’s direction.
Living in purity is NOT a burden, it is freedom!
Now, many of you may think that last statement is crazy, that I’m out of my ever-loving mind! Well, that would be true if I wasn’t completely confident in the grace of God! His grace gives freedom and joy as we live the Surrendered Life.
I am free from the power of sin over my life.
I am free from the burden of trying to be good enough.
I am free from the control of the flesh in my choices.
I am free to step into the power of the Spirit and live a life of purity.
I am free to joyfully serve the Lord of the Universe!
I am free from the fear of missing out.
I am free from the limitations of this temporal life as I begin to live more and more in the spiritual focus of my true life!
I read one blogger who said that she was so focused on purity (virginity) that she totally defined herself by it. To the point that she couldn’t enjoy sex with her husband because she was failing her pledge to purity and lost her identity.
Purity doesn’t define me! Jesus defines me!
When I look to anything, other than Jesus, to define who I am, I get sucked into bondage. When those things change in my life, I get overwhelmed with guilt and shame and lose my understanding of who I am. This can become so controlling in my life that to get out from under the incredible burden, I toss everything out and let my flesh rule my life. This is what we are seeing in those who have tossed out their faith when their circumstances fail them. And many of them have turned from faith to flesh. The fact is, when I put anything else besides Jesus as the defining focus of my life, I AM letting my flesh rule my life!
But if I set boundaries and rules in my life, how can that be the flesh?
Quite simply, we are ruled either by the Spirit of God in faith or by the flesh. My flesh is what controls my will power. I can have a lot of strong control in the flesh. I can lose weight with it, I can keep from stealing with it, I can bite my tongue when I want to lash out at someone with it. The flesh can have a lot of strength. But (and this is really important) it does not bring life or freedom! Only the Spirit brings life to us. Only the Spirit brings freedom and victory in us. And the Spirit is God in us filling us with His power, His strength and His truth.
God, who is the same yesterday today and forever, does not change like circumstances do in our lives. His definition of me never varies with situations or events. The purity I have in surrendering to Him is true and lovely and joy-filled because I am walking in surrender to Him.
So purity resolved upon in the flesh is not what God calls us to. That will come and go as the whim changes. But purity of heart and spirit as an outpouring of the freedom of grace through faith, THAT is constant and is the pure reflection of Jesus in our lives. THAT is something that can last us our whole life through.
How about you? Are you looking to circumstances, promises or any thing other than Jesus to define and direct YOUR life?
Seems like maybe too much of a big deal is being made about the “burden” of purity. It is never a burden to obey God’s word. However in my opinion there is also too much of a big deal being made by members of the patriarchal movement or what I call the Duggar mentality and their infliction of their “purity culture” standards on others. Thanks for sharing this post at Living and Learning With Our New Normal!
You are absolutely right, obeying God’s Word is not a burden. A challenge, sometimes, but there is such freedom in the obeying!
I agree that much of the church culture has skewed the focus, and even the meaning, of purity to be the end-all of Christian youth. This has caused problems for teens and young adults, leading them to a form of legalism that brings the bondage grace was meant to lift! Whenever we put a specific thing (thought, word or deed) above God Himself, we get off balance and fall into either legalism or license.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful response, Sylvia. And thanks for coming by today!
Excellent article Kate, thank you for these wonderful words of wisdom. The only promises I am standing on and trusting IN are the ones found in His word, Amen!
Amen, Linda, because His Word (like His nature) NEVER changes! Thanks for coming by and for your sweet words!
Good ol’ Webster’s! The older editions are often handy companions in study Scriptures, huh? Your piece reminds me that God didn’t send His Son for the folks who had their lives all together — and I am sorry for the misunderstanding — or bad teaching on what constitutes purity.
You bet, sister!!