Living in Purity in an Impure World
- Tuesday, July 23, 2013
To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven -Karen Sunde
I’ve spent a lot of time lately contemplating sexual purity. Before I was married, I held to very high standards of purity. I never allowed myself to be in a situation where I might be tempted to compromise my standards. I filled my mind with scripture every chance I could, and I made sure I never looked at anything improper. I was very cautious about the types of books and magazines I read and the movies I saw. I followed the scriptures that say Flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18) and I will set no evil thing before my eyes (Psalm 101:3).
After I was married, I recognized some hints of sexual immorality in my husband. Whether it was the occasional dabbling in pornography or talking about women in a manner that made me uncomfortable, I was repeatedly told “that’s just the way men are.” I knew that men were wired to be visually oriented, and eventually I became convinced that this “minor” sexual immorality was unavoidable for men.
Since my divorce, I have begun to realize just how much my beliefs toward purity had become skewed during my marriage. I wondered if remaining pure until I was married again was really necessary—really what God expected of me.
About a year ago, I was introduced to the book Every Young Man’s Battle. I was visiting with a pastor friend who recommended I buy it and take my teenage son through it so that he does not repeat the mistakes of his father. I bought the book and read it myself so that I could determine if it was something my son needed.
As I read the book, my eyes were opened to just how much my belief system had been warped by my husband. Not only does God want us to maintain our sexual purity, but He says that it is possible—even for men. His word gives us examples of those who maintained their purity (Joseph in Genesis 39) and those who compromised their purity (King David in 2 Samuel 11). He says that even looking lustfully at a woman (or man) is the same as committing adultery with that person (Matthew 5)! God’s standards are so much higher than mine had become!
After reading the book, I committed to walk in absolute purity before my God. Not only do I want to model that purity for my three children, but I want to save myself for that special someone so that I can present myself pure and give myself fully to him.
As I strive to keep myself pure in mind and body, I pray that my future husband is doing the same. The longer I travel this path, the more I realize exactly how important purity is—especially in light of what I’ve walked through.
You see, I have a trust issue. Because I caught my husband cheating on me, I am finding it very difficult to trust men. As a matter of fact, I’ve determined that I will NEVER trust a man again. Men have proven to me that they are not trustworthy. But, my God has proven COMPLETELY trustworthy. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that I only commit to a man who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Even though I will never trust a man again, I WILL trust God who is in a man. I WILL be able to give myself to the man that I know God has ordained for me, to the man who is seeking to be all God created him to be.
I’ve chosen to take my purity to extreme levels—even in the Christian realm. Nearly two years ago, I prayed that God would not bring ANY man into my life unless it was the one He has ordained for me. I seem to have a built in discernment that causes me to be almost repulsed by most men. I can tell within a very short meeting whether I am even interested in pursuing friendship with them—let alone a dating relationship.
In the very brief time I was on a dating website, I realized that it was a complete waste of time—perhaps even antithetical to what God would want. After meeting a single individual from the website, I realized that the very nature of online dating sites allows you to pursue multiple men/women at the same time. By pursuing even friendship with multiple people of the opposite sex, you are placing yourself in a situation that allows you to lead people on, allowing them to think that you are interested. It is actually allowing you to practice infidelity rather than practice commitment and faithfulness.
I know my opinion is just that—an opinion. Many—perhaps even most—will strongly disagree with me. Online dating sites CAN be used as a great way to meet people. I even know several couples who are happily married after meeting online. But, it is probably rare to find the people who use them to meet one person at a time. A year after I initially signed up for a dating site, I don’t think I could ever be actively involved in one again. (Here’s the caveat…God can use any method He wants to bring the right person to you…including an online dating site. As I’ve said before, I truly believe that God led me to the dating site in the first place, and I did make a great friend through my involvement.)
So, what does purity look like for me—and hopefully for my future spouse?
1. I pray daily that God will cleanse my mind of even the hint of sexual immorality. I pray that he will allow me to keep my mind focused on Him and my eyes from looking at anything impure. I was recently invited to see a very popular movie. I immediately noticed that it was rated R, so I dug a little deeper to see why it was rated that way. I noticed the theme of the movie involved infidelity (which if you’ve ever lived through it, there is nothing entertaining about it). Then, I noticed the language. My entire being was repulsed by the thought of sitting through a movie like that, so I declined.
2. I am contemplating all male friendships and whether they are appropriate. I don’t want to lead any man to believe that there might be a possibility of something—now or in the future. I don’t want to find myself in a situation where I have given the wrong impression and suddenly I’m faced with the uncomfortable position of saying no to any type of advances. I find that it is safest to simply avoid being alone with men.
3. I pray daily for my future husband, that he is seeking God and giving God every part of his life. I pray that he is keeping his relationships pure. I pray that he is repulsed by dating websites, by women who would lead him to temptation. I pray that he protects his eyes from looking at women lustfully. I pray that he is practicing fidelity by focusing every ounce of his energy on God and his family.
4. I pray daily that my future husband has a passion for marriage, an overwhelming desire to be in a committed, covenant relationship. I pray that he recognizes the value God places on the marriage relationship and how it allows us to grow in holiness. I pray that his heart will be pierced by verses such as Proverbs 18:22: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord and Proverbs19:14: Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
5. I pray that God will prepare me for marriage, that I will be the wife of noble character that is worth far more than rubies (Proverbs 31:10). I pray that I would be cleansed of all emotional baggage that I carry from my past, that all wounds would be completely healed. I pray that God would give me the strength to trust Him so that I can trust the man whose heart is completely his.
God created marriage to be pure, to develop holiness, to reflect Christ’s relationship with his Bride (the church). God says that it is not good that the man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). He wants us to have companionship, to learn to love more completely. Marriage is designed to sharpen us, to teach us to love unconditionally, to allow us to give and receive love freely. Marriage—done right—makes us more like Him. Love cures people—both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it (Dr. Karl Menninger).
I pray that my heart is so lost in God that a man has to seek Him to find me!
I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love. -Henry Ward Beecher
Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three kids who loves God passionately. She delights in taking the everyday events of life, finding God in them, and impressing them on her children as they sit at home or walk along the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). Her greatest desire is to be a channel of God’s comfort and encouragement. You can read more of Dena’s experiences with her Great I AM on her blog Dena's Devos.
Publication date: July 23, 2013
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