Our family has been to Africa several times, to a children’s home for rescued kids and teens. We have met girls who were prostituted out by family members. We have met girls who became mothers at 13 and 14 because grandparents sold them for food. We met girls who were imprisoned for being homeless, and who were then used regularly by the guards.
They are pure.
They have found Jesus, and they know that what was done to them does not define who they are. And they know that it’s not just about God seeing them as pure because of what Jesus has done–it’s also that they don’t bear the responsibility for that shame at all. We live in a fallen world, and people acted towards them out of that fallen world. And they know that God has a new start, and a new future, for them.
A few months ago I published the anonymous story of a homeschooling blogger who, long ago, worked as a stripper. She used her body because it made her feel powerful.
She is pure, too. She is pure because she came back to Jesus, and she recognized that what she was doing was wrong. And God is helping her rebuild her life and her marriage.
Purity has received a bit of a drumming in the media lately. There’s been a stream of articles saying something like this:
When Christians preach abstinence, they make anyone who has ever made a mistake or anyone who has been assaulted feel like garbage. Like they’re goods that should be tossed aside.
I do understand this sentiment. Sometimes we phrase purity in the wrong way–as if you can be “tainted” irrevocably; as if these girls in Africa or this homeschooling mom can never, ever get back something precious, and they are ruined for life.
Can we resolve this?
I think we can, and that’s why I’m participating in Purity Day with a bunch of other bloggers to talk about how precious a thing it is. To me, it boils down to this:
Purity has far more to do with what you believe about God now than it does with what you’ve done with your body in the past.
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I am a mother of two teenagers, and so I talk a lot about purity. I really want my children to wait until they’re married to have sex–or even to get sexually intimate with someone else (because let’s face it; you can be intimate without intercourse). But this isn’t because I think they will be worth-less if they don’t wait.
It isn’t because I will be disappointed IN them.
It’s because I will be disappointed FOR them.
God’s design is for sex within marriage, because sex is so much more than physical.
God created sex to unite us in three ways: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. When we take sex outside of the marriage context we make it all about the physical, because you can’t feel like you’re one with someone that you are not committed to. It changes the very nature of sex. And then it becomes harder, when you are married, to experience deep intimacy during intercourse because it’s always been about something else.
That’s one of the reasons God wants us to wait–so that we can experience that real intimacy.
And it’s also because when we don’t wait for marriage to have sex, and share our bodies before we’ve committed our hearts, we can hurt ourselves. It’s easy to rationalize this away, and say, “if Christians didn’t make people feel guilty over sex they wouldn’t feel badly! The problem is with the church for making everybody feel guilty!”
I don’t think the problem is with God. I think the issue is that, at heart, we know that sex is a deeply personal experience. There’s a reason why we cover ourselves up when we go out of the house. There’s a reason that we dread internal exams at doctor’s offices. There’s a reason that we have nightmares about showing up at school naked.
It’s because nakedness ISN’T something we share with everybody, and we’re born with that instinct that it is something special, to be preserved.
And when it isn’t, we do tend to feel badly. We tend to feel shame.
Now Jesus doesn’t want us to live in shame; He came and died so that we don’t have to.
When we recognize the true nature of intimacy, and how much God loves us, we can recapture that purity, perhaps even to a greater degree. It’s not just about living by rules; it’s about understanding real intimacy. Once we understand purity and intimacy with God, we realize it’s so much more than just what we do with our bodies.
Yet many of us are living in limbo. We want to believe this, but we haven’t experienced that “deep connection” with our husbands in bed. It’s always seemed, well, shallow.
If you feel like you have had sex, but you’ve never made love, it could be that in your marriage you haven’t found that “purity” that God wants for you.
And I can tell you from experience that the physical side of sex feels so much better when the intimacy is also there! They’re both totally and completely intertwined. What I desperately want is for everybody to understand how beautiful it is to make love to their spouse–when you know you are united body, mind and soul.
That is His design.
But He also made a way so that even if we didn’t live up to it, or even if someone has snatched something precious from us, we can still find that purity, that innocence, that beauty in making love with our husbands. Jesus makes all things new. Jesus died for the shame that we felt, whether due to something we did, or something that was done to us.
- If someone assaulted you when you were small, do not let them steal intimacy from you now. God wants more for you.
- If you made mistakes when you were younger, Jesus already paid for them. Do not remain mired in that when He wants so much more for you.
- If your sexuality has been dented and scarred because of pornography or erotica, you can be remolded and rebuilt so that you can truly make love.
- If you’ve always felt like sex was dirty, and that purity meant never, ever thinking about sex, even once you were married, Jesus can call out your sexuality and help you to see ALL forms of intimacy as beautiful.
Everyday on this blog I read comments and get emails from women who are so broken. Porn has ravaged their marriage. Abuse has marred their sexuality. Erotica has damaged their ability to feel “one” with their husbands. And they yearn for that feeling of oneness, that feeling that they can truly make love to their spouse.
You can! But the route isn’t to say that purity doesn’t matter; the route is to say that it DOES matter. It matters greatly. But no matter how big your problems are, God is still bigger. And God wants to enter into that pain and to fill that void and help you experience real intimacy once again.
He’s calling you to get lost in Him. To revel in Him. And as we do that, we’ll develop a healthy and beautiful yearning for true intimacy with our husbands, because our spirituality and our sexuality are so connected.
If more people caught this vision, that intimacy and purity are something so beautiful, and so tender, we’d have less hurt in the world. And we’d have more beauty.
I don’t preach purity because I want people to feel guilty; I preach it because I want people to avoid pain, and I want people to experience true joy in their marriages.
We don’t experience that by denying that sex is a deeply personal experience; we experience it by coming to terms with what sex is, and going to God for release from our pasts and for a vision for our future. That’s something that God offers to all of us, whatever our background. He says, come to me and I will make all things new. He says, “for if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.”
Can you choose to be free today? Can you choose to walk in that–to leave behind the shame, and the guilt, and the porn or erotica or fantasies? Purity is the route to real freedom. And it is truly beautiful.
Join the Blog About Purity Day! Check out the other blogs participating here, and then share these posts everywhere you can.
If you want a new start with your husband, and a new chance to experience “making love” and not just having sex, I encourage you to try 31 Days to Great Sex. It isn’t “31 days of sex tricks”. It’s 31 days of learning how to communicate, how to dispell the lies we believe about sex, how to laugh together and flirt, and how to explore and have fun. Each day builds on the one before, and it helps you feel so much more connected. It’s the best $5 you’ll ever spend on your marriage!