Purity encompasses more than just the absence of bad behavior. The presence of “something good” is what defines purity. We fall short of achieving purity because we often aim to just erase unwanted behaviors.
This is common in the area of sexuality. You can attempt to remove every last trace of sexual sin without ever achieving ultimate sexual purity if there isn’t “something good” at the heart.
What is Purity?
What’s the “something good” needed? It’s love. To be sexually pure, learn to love. I don’t mean romance, falling in love, or even making out when I say “love” (though all these are great when real love is present).
Jesus said, “No one has a greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends”(John 15:13).
When you truly love someone, you offer everything you have to them for their benefit. This is what the old traditional marriage vows paraphrased: “Forsaking all others, I voluntarily give myself fully to you, for your good, no matter what, for life”.
Compare this to a lot of what is presented as being sexually or romantically normal today:
- a quick hookup since sex is such a pleasurable experience, both physically and emotionally.
- Sharing a sexual selfie because it makes you feel good to attract attention (i.e., get lots of likes).
- Friends with benefits
- Use of pornography with masturbation and fantasy.
Learning to love, however, is learning to sacrifice your life for another. We all need to develop our love, no matter where we are in life (married, single, divorced, virgin, non-virgin, young, old).
This view on the pursuit for purity gives us something to strive for rather than just something to avoid. It serves as a useful standard in all aspects of every relationship.
Parents, you can help your children uphold love and to test what is being passed off as “love” around them at school, in the movies, and in the music. In fact, everywhere, by going on this path with them instead of just telling them to “wait till marriage.”
And for all of us, Christ is both our model of a life lived in love and our ultimate means of purification as we grow into people who truly love.
If you want to hear more about Purity and the negative impacts of “Purity Culture” check out 3 Myths About Purity Culture here.