How to Pursue Sexual Purity
“Purity is freedom from adulteration or contamination” as defined by dictionary. Or “freedom from immorality, especially of a sexual desire.” It’s being innocent, clean, unmixed, spotless, genuine, sincere, absolute. Free from guilt and free from mixture. We must maintain purity at all cost.
We esteem purity too little and desire it too late
Purity is the practice of Christian life. Only the pure in heart will see God (Mt.5:8). We are commanded to be holy (Lev.19:2). Paul tells young people to “pursue purity‚” (2 Tim.2:22). What does it mean to be pure? I like how Judah Smith defined it “Purity is being without mixture.” It’s being in the world but not letting the world be in us. Like a ship that is dry on the inside while being surrounded by water on the outside. God called us to be pure and blameless in this crooked and twisted generation. When a Christian stops living in purity he is like the Titanic with water on the inside. Not only he will fail to reach his purpose but he will hit the rock bottom.
Purity is being in the world but not letting the world be in us.
God told priests to wear trousers to cover their nakedness when they would come into his presence. Trousers? Really? God wanted priests to wear underwear when they come to him. At first, that sounds weird. In fact, God was clear that if they don’t, they will die. It does not stop there, “It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.” Exodus 28:42. We are a royal priesthood to God today. This statute applies to us as well. The issue of wearing underwear has a powerful principle. Underwear is what you wear under what people see. Under the robe of righteousness and garment of praise. Underwear is like purity. Purity is what people don’t see. God wants us to walk in purity if we want to live in his presence. The presence of God dies when your purity leaves your life.
Purity opens a way for habitation, not just visitation in God’s presence.
Purity is the issue of the heart. It’s more than physical. There is a huge focus in the Christian world on the importance of virginity. That’s very important. God’s standard is purity, not virginity. Virginity is until you get married but purity is for life. Virginity is physical but purity is emotional and mental. It says, “pure in heart” “clean hands and pure hearts”, so purity is a heart issue. It’s like underwear – people don’t see it. Purity is not visible to the public. It’s a private inward issue. It’s possible to be a virgin but not walk in purity but it’s not possible to live in purity and not stay away from sexual immorality.
I was a virgin until my wedding night but I did not live in purity in my heart. Due to pornography as a teenager and even losing battles to lust in my mind after that caused me to sin in this area. Yet, I was still a virgin. I was proud to be a virgin but in God’s eyes and according to his standards, I was a failure. I had to change my standards from keeping holy, (virginity) to walking in purity of heart – which is way more difficult than abstaining from sex.
How do we walk in purity?
- Recognize that being a virgin does not make us pure. It’s a good start but God’s standard is a purity of heart and mind. Renew your mind to God’s standards. Pure heart (speaks of the mind) but clean hands (speak of the physical). Purity is an inner issue while virginity is physical.
- We need purity to be in God’s presence and we need God’s presence to live pure. Holy Spirit is holy. His presence helps us to become holy. He came to help us with living holy from the inside out. When we are close to him, he produces a “fruit” of that holiness and self-control. The fruit grows naturally and without effort. Purity should not be hard because it’s a fruit of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. Our focus should be living in his presence, the result will be purity.
- Purity must be pursued. Paul told Timothy “pursue purity.” Purity will not happen automatically. Purity is not a point we reach, it’s a pursuit. Actually, it is an ongoing pursuit. It’s a pursuit after Jesus, something that you don’t retire or graduate from. When we stop pursuing, purity will no longer be part of our life. Many people are lazy, they park their Christianity beside their doctrinal beliefs, instead of emotionally and mentally following hard after God. Purity is not possible without the pursuit of Jesus. Believing in Jesus is not enough to be pure.
- Stop flirting with lust. Paul said to Timothy “flee youthful lust.” Sadly, our generation today flirts with lust. We see how close to hell we can get without going there. Scripture does not tell us to see how close to the sin we can come and still keep our salvation, it exhorts us to run from lust. Joseph is the perfect example of that. He did not flirt with Potiphar’s wife, he ran from her. Flirting with lust leads to falling into sin. Some fight with lust, Bible tells us to flee lust. You can’t win against lust, don’t even try – flee. That’s the only secret to beating lust.
- Purity must be pursued in a community. Paul tells Timothy to flee lust, pursue purity with those who call on God’s name. You can live pure in a vacuum. You need community and accountability. Sin and satan operate by separating us from the community of those who walk in purity. The church is a body where each member helps the other. My eyes help my feet. My hands help my eyes. All my organs work together to accomplish what the head wants. If we want to live in purity, don’t skip church, don’t miss small groups, get a mentor, and find an accountability partner.
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