As a preteen girl, I wrote letters to my future husband. In those letters, I often wrote the words, “I am staying pure for you,” or, “I am keeping my purity to be a gift to you on our wedding day.”
During my teenage years, I read a plethora of books on Christian dating that taught me to think through my purity this way. They motivated me to remain pure by promising that it would keep my wedding night special, protect me from guys who would use me, and reduce future marital issues. At youth group, we all spit in a cup, threw some dirt in it, and the youth leader told us that this is how we would appear to a future spouse if we slept around.
Looking back, I wish someone had given me the greater, real reason to remain pure: To obey our holy God.
Where Other Motivations for Purity Fall Short
Motives like I grew up learning may seem helpful, but they fall short. Where does a life of singleness fit into this picture? When you strongly believe you’ve found “the one,” how will you wait for the wedding night? What will keep you pure during your engagement?
Yet aside from all these questions, a greater issue cracks the foundation for our purity: Where does our love rely?
If our eyes are merely set on saving our purity for a future spouse, we must ask, who has a higher place in our hearts? Are we banking our hopes on the gift of a future spouse or on our holy Savior who is the source of every gift?
Though I spiritualized my pursuit and longing for a husband by writing prayers, reading Christian dating books, and wearing purity rings, my heart was distant from God Himself. My heart was set on this ideal man I had dreamt up rather than my sovereign God who saved me from condemnation and recorded every one of my breaths. I used the Giver to get His gifts.When our heart is set on the ideal spouse that we dream up rather than our sovereign God and loving Savior, we use the Giver to get His gifts. Click To Tweet
Pressing On for God’s Glory
Our focus should be glorifying our Savior. Question and Answer 1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” We glorify God by obeying and believing His law, and over and over again His Word declares that we are to remain sexually pure.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous,” (Heb. 13:4 ESV; see also 1 Thess. 4:3–5; Matt. 5:28; Col. 3:5).When our motivation is loving God, we can remain pure no matter what: in the midst of singleness or when we are happily awaiting our wedding day. We’re no longer driven by securing our future, but glorifying God. Click To Tweet
When our motivation is loving God above all else, we have reason to remain pure no matter the circumstances. Even in the midst of singleness or when we believe we’ve found the one and await our wedding day. We’re no longer driven by securing our future, but actively glorifying God today.
When We Falter
This change in foundation not only changes our walk in obedience but also gives us hope in repentance. If our focus is placed on creating a perfect marriage or giving a gift to our future spouse, our sin leaves us at the mercy of human hands. We’ll believe we’re broken, damaged, and unlovable by some people’s standards—a dirty cup of spit.
But when God’s glory is our heartbeat, we realize the greatest evil isn’t that our future sex life is ruined, but that we sinned against God. We repent first and foremost to Him for disobeying His law. To the nonbeliever, this is a terrifying reality. Yet, the Christian receives the greatest hope. We are robed in Christ’s righteousness, not our own, and we receive forgiveness based on Christ’s work, not our own goodness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9 ESV). The consequences for your sins were paid for on the cross. Christ bore every drop of God’s wrath in your place so you don’t have to.
Brother or sister in Christ: Press on, in every relationship, with God’s glory as your goal. And when you lose sight of it and step off His narrow path, return in humble repentance and accept His lavish grace. Though everyone else may forsake you, your Savior never will. In Him, you are whole and lovely, and that is what presses us on to walk in purity.