A few weeks ago I got a phone call from one of my girlfriends announcing that she got a boyfriend. I asked her what she intended to say to him about how they will protect their purity. She continued to tell that they have already talked about it and that they are “taking things slow,” and he “values” her virginity just as much as she does. This got me to think about two things:
- What does “taking it slow” mean?
- What do people think is the difference between “purity” and “virginity”?
Couples all over the world will claim they are “taking it slow” but what does this really even mean? Does it mean the same thing to both of them? Where do the physical boundaries start and end? Does “taking it slow” mean only kissing? And what kind of kissing? Kissing standing up is totally different and not nearly as stimulating as kissing each other while lying on the couch.
I think when many people today discuss protecting one’s purity, they confuse “purity” with “virginity.” The value is placed on whether or not one is a virgin, not if they have compromised any other part of their body or mind to maintain their virginity.
As a result, in many cases, one is technically physically still a virgin but has compromised their body, mind, and heart to maintain their physical virginity. Consequently, failing to protect their purity. There is much more to living purely than abstaining from sexual intercourse. Purity is a lifestyle. It is an everyday mode of being. Purity is not a choice. It is an instruction from God.
God created sex as something good. Genesis says He created it for us to enjoy and to reproduce, “to be fruitful and multiply.” This is why He has given us body parts that were specifically made for sexual pleasure and baby making. However, God reserved sexual intimacy for the marriage relationship, and it is approved and blessed by God only in this context. Sexual activity represents a deep and powerful level of intimacy and vulnerability. By God’s intention, the only relationship God designed to thrive on and sustain this level of intimacy, is a godly, devoted marriage between man and woman, husband and wife.
All physical intimacy between man and woman was created by God. Physical intimacy (holding hands, touching, sex, etc.) is natural. Of course, it feels good. It is natural for a man and woman to want to further explore the nakedness of one another. It is natural to be stimulated or aroused by the sights, sounds, touch, or even smells of one another. I believe this is why it is so hard to live purely, because it is a constant fight against our flesh, of what is natural. However, we have to remember that purity is a sacred gift from God.
“Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And has given us this task of reconciling people to him.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17-18)
When we surrender our hearts to Jesus we share in his glory with a renewed knowledge of God, a transformed way of thinking and behaving that begins to reflect God’s purity, His holiness, His spiritual wholeness.
So, what is the truth about sex and purity? God created sex; therefore, it is natural, but God gifted purity. Therefore, it is supernatural. The only reason we are called virgins is [that] we have not had sex, thus we have not progressed in the natural timeline of humanity. The only reason we call ourselves pure is [that] God called us pure. The definition of purity is to be morally clean without blemish. The only way we are morally clean without blemish is because of the blood of Jesus. Through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the Cross, He calls us pure. Impurity is something that is unacceptable to God. Therefore, by logic, purity could be defined as something is acceptable to God.
So then, are you pure if you have never had sex? Not if you’ve been cheating the system in other ways. If purity was only based on sex, then after I got married I would no longer have to strive for a life of purity.
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?
I never understood the value of my purity until I freely gave it away.
I compromised my body, my mind, and heart because I was more concerned about how it felt and what my boyfriend at the time would think of me if I said no. I always grew up with the desire that I would wait until my wedding night to have sex. After college, I started dating a man in my church. We never really discussed boundaries…I mean, why would we? He was a Christian. I was a Christian. No worries there, right? (Newsflash: Christians aren’t immune to temptation!) Discussing physical boundaries never took place until the heat of the moment when we potentially crossed lines. The temptation to further explore one another’s bodies was constant and the pressure was great.
In my mind, I always thought I would never do more than kissing before marriage. Just like all temptations, when we flirt with it for so long, it is only a matter of time before you do something you never thought you would do. I let him touch me in places that belonged to my husband. Lies of the Enemy bombarded my mind. I became more concerned with the question, “How far is too far?” rather than understanding what God meant by purity. We Christians love the already defeated game of, “How much can I get away with and still be a Christian?”
I was alone, ashamed and had no one to talk to. I was so confused because I still had my virginity. I grew up in the church and so many of the teachings on purity [were] about being a virgin for your husband. So, why was I so consumed with the shame and disappointment as if I had had sex? Even though I maintained my virginity, I gave away my purity. It was clear to me that my actions in that moment were not acceptable to God’s standards. When I chose to be impure, I butchered the gift of purity in which Jesus died for. I realized that if I did not value my purity, a gift God gave me, then did I really value what Jesus did for me on the Cross?
I learned a lot about the difference between purity and virginity during this season of my life. Purity is a way life, and my virginity is something I give. What mattered, was what I chose to do with what I now knew about the value of my purity.
I wondered a lot how my future husband and I would protect our purity before marriage, and if I really had the strength to fight it. This was when the Lord began challenging me with the idea to not kiss my boyfriend until he was committed to me enough to be my husband.
My first response to the Lord was, “Absolutely not. What kind of man would even want to be with me once I told him we cannot kiss?”
However, as the Lord began to soften my heart I chose to take a huge leap of faith — I decided to wait until I was engaged to kiss my husband. (Let’s get things clear here before you go jumping to conclusions — I’m not saying kissing is a sin or that everyone has to wait until marriage. I’m simply telling you my story and how God chose to challenge me to trust Him more.) I made this commitment before my husband and I were even dating. The funny thing is that God was already dealing with my husband about waiting to kiss his future bride. When Rony and I chose to not kiss, God introduced us to so many new avenues of romance that I never knew even existed. It truly awakened something special.
The choice to protect my purity, a gift that God gave me, began in my mind and in my heart first. Sometimes we have to get to a point where we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep us from compromising.
So, I would ask you — Are you willing to do whatever it takes? Are you willing to destroy any DVDs, magazines, websites, etc. that keeps you tempted to pornography and hurts your marriage or lack thereof? Are you willing to stop talking to someone who continually causes you to lust? Are you willing to set physical boundaries with the person you are with, even though the world would say it is not normal?
Are you willing to pray and truly listen to what God has to say to you in his Word, or are you too afraid to even go there with Him? Often, we deliberately choose to avoid God’s Word because we know that it may say something we don’t really want to hear. Some portions of Scripture can be so clear that it’s almost frightening. Let’s take 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 for example:
18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
In conclusion, we must be willing to do whatever it takes to protect ourselves from falling into the sins of our biggest temptations. Purity is now!
For a followup post visit, “I Kept My Virginity, But Not My Purity: Part Two”