What Purity Is and What Purity Isn't

There is a lot of confusion over the term purity. What does it really mean?

Is it simply being a virgin?

Is it just a matter of the heart and your good intentions?

Have you heard of the term meekness? It’s mentioned several times in Scripture, even in describing the character of Christ. To be meek means to bring yourself and your will under subjection and authority. Simply put: it's power under control. This goes hand-in-hand with purity. Purity is all about bringing your desires and the longings of your flesh into submission and under control. It’s disciplining your mind, heart, and body and training yourself to keep away from whatever has the potential to contaminate you. There is a new trend that has swept through the Church that tells us that as long as you don’t lose your virginity, you are still pure in God’s eyes. After all, He commanded us to abstain from sex, not all the other stuff, right? More and more, we hear of youth group get-togethers and outings that are really just a front for a making-out, orgy-style, flesh fest. Because teachings of purity are shoved to the side and never defined, it becomes a matter of whatever seems right to you at the moment. And that's where it gets dangerous.

I remember watching a couple make-out in front of me in the youth room of our Church while the youth leader stepped out for a brief moment. Youth group lock-ins were a fun way to sneak off and explore each other’s body. Playing fun youth group games like “Murder in the Dark” kept the lip-locking out of view. I saw more break-ups and relationship drama inside the Church walls than I cared to see, and all were done by the same group of young people who had signed abstinence cards alongside of me. According to them, they were still pure. Sure, they had offered up their body to be touched, grabbed, squeezed, and fondled, but their clothes had remained more or less on, so they were still on God's good side.

Were they right? Is purity just about retaining your virginity?

Or is there more to it than that?

Let me just say it loud and clear: Purity isn’t just a physical area, it is also a matter of the heart.

If you remain a virgin, but are constantly filling your mind with pornography, lusting after the bodies of celebrities or guys in school, then there is a problem with the content of your heart. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that to look at and lust after someone who is not our spouse is committing adultery with them in their heart. In the eyes of Jesus, simply looking and wanting someone’s body other than the body of our spouse makes us impure.

When I was thirteen I chose to pursue, not a few pure choices, but a pure lifestyle when I gave God the pen of my life. I wanted my body—my entire body—to be untouched and kept under wraps for my husband. I also wanted my heart to be pure. To sit and dwell on sexual fantasies and fill my mind and my heart with ungodly scenes and desires would do nothing but spread a thick layer of filth over my mind and my heart. It would no doubt create a habit that would later be destructive in my marriage. Our mind is a battlefield that we must fight to protect. Satan would love nothing more than to flood us with sludge and stain us with sinful thoughts. Purity is something worth protecting. And like anything of value, it should be preserved and kept clean.

I challenge you to ditch the cultural mindset that says "anything goes as long as you don't go all the way," and to set your feet on the path of righteousness, submitting your entire existence to the holy will of God. As you sow seeds of purity, you will reap the benefits of a beautiful and blessed life and marriage.


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© 2020 Kristen Lisemby Lee  ||   Where Joy Is