Saturday, July 23, 2011

purity: culture vs. church

inspiration: a topic that i'm quite passionate about: purity

the next chapter in our small group study book is entitled "In Search of a Soul Mate: Finding Mr. Right". i, along with the rest of the group, am excited about this section because i'm pretty sure we could spend hours upon hours upon hours discussing relationships, marriage, men, etc. (and chances are we will and i'm excited about that!).

granted, this wasn't meant to be an all-inclusive chapter of everything related to relationships, marriage, etc., but as i was reading through it, the last section (the topic was chastity) really brought up a lot of thoughts into my mind.

it seems like the word is almost archaic in today's culture and almost taboo in the church world, but it's something that's vitally important to anyone and everyone that wants to get married: purity.

i mentioned before that i am passionate about this, simply because i think it is an important part of any Christ-followers walk with Christ, especially for those who want to get married. but if i'm being honest, i think the way it's presented in both the culture in which we live and in the church, is pretty ridiculous.

in society that applauds the "sex sells" marketing scheme, purity is seen as an "archaic" and probably "old-fashioned" way of life. why deny yourself the pleasures that you could be engaging in? i recently heard the lyrics in a song: "Give me everything tonight / For all we know we might not get tomorrow". it's easy to think "no one is practicing it, so i guess it doesn't matter"

i can legitimately say that there were only around 18 weeks of the entire K-12 education that i received in my public school system that were devoted to sex education. and those 18 weeks were in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. sure, they taught "abstinence" and the physical consequences of sex before marriage. but never once in those 90 days of education were the emotional and certainly not the spiritual implications of "sex before marriage" discussed. because as far as the "teen living" course materials were concerned, purity was only physical. it was all about the physical repercussions of our actions: pregnancies, STDs, etc.

and on the other hand, it seems like "purity" is a taboo in the church world, too.
i've heard many sermons about relationships and marriages.
i've heard countless times "don't have sex before marriage".
but purity begins farrrrr before sex; yet, heard very few sermons on the importance of purity BEFORE marriage.

this bothers me. a lot.

i commend pastors like Greg Pinkner (whose series "Love, Dating, Marriage, and Sex: Dating starts with "D" and so does "Devil" that i heard back in Feb of 2010, changed my life!) and Andy Stanley (who recently did the "New Rules for Love, Dating and Sex" a couple months ago) who are willing to step up and speak on issues regarding purity and sex and dating. who are willing to say "listen up single people, this is important!"

granted, these aren't the sermons that are going to appeal to most 20somethings. but i believe all 20somethings need to understand the gravity of the situation. i can boldly and honestly say that even though i'm only a mere 22 years of age, that i wish i had realized the importance of true biblical purity before. and i know there are lots of young women (and perhaps men, too) that feel the same way.

i recently read "Every Young Woman's Battle" by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn.
it was an incredibly powerful book that spoke greatly into my life (going back to the "I wish i had known this before..." comment). it's all about the importance of remaining pure before marriage and how the battle for purity starts long before "the panty line" as they put it.

no one is immune to struggles of the flesh.
but it goes far beyond just the physical.
emotional and spiritual wounds are caused when we compromise ourselves physically.

Proverbs 4:23 commands us: "Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life."

purity is about guarding our hearts, not just our flesh.

when we allow ourselves to become entangled in the "dating world" with no intention of getting married, even if you don't ever engage in sexual activities, you're still compromising your purity. you give pieces of yourself to someone when you engage in those relationships.

shoot, you don't even have to "date" to allow yourself to get emotionally attached to someone.
but once those relationships end or dissipate, we feel that heartache because it's like you've been bonded and then torn apart.

imagine velcro. it's ability to attach itself to another piece of velcro lasts for a while; but once you've attached and detached that same piece of velcro multiple times, eventually, it loses its ability to attach itself. the same goes for us: we become numb to relationships and it becomes harder and harder to attach yourself and bond yourself to someone when you've allowed yourself to be attached/detached over-and-over-and-over again; and marriage is meant to be a bond that mirrors Christ and His Church!

we are called to guard our hearts in relationships so we can maintain the ability to experience true love and respect and to have that special bond of intimacy with one person because we are meant to reflect Christ and the church.

not because we want to avoid pregnancy or STDs.
not because sex is evil (after all, God created it and wants us to experience it).
but because in remaining pure honors both our future spouses and God as well.

(i'll step off my soapbox now)


  1. Nikki, this post is amazing. Thank you for sharing your heart. May I share this with my friends? I especially like the velcro reference. I've always warned my kids of giving away themselves a piece at a time but you've put this in more "now" terms that I can share with my girls. Love you!