The decision to practice purity until marriage was one of my immediate struggles when I first considered following Christ. Sexual purity was a cross I knew I must be willing to bear as a Christian. Unfortunately, relationships go hand-in-hand with sex today. To announce that you are practicing abstinence, refraining from sex until marriage, for most people is to narrow your prospects down to little or none. As opposed to God’s guidelines for relationship, today sex is considered a “given” in love relationships. The tension I felt between my desire to please God and my fear of sexual and romantic isolation was unbearable. The woman who desires to live for Christ cannot ignore the role purity plays in her affections toward Him.
Before Christ takes the throne in our hearts, we (women) tend to be ruled by our strongest desires–to unveil our beauty, to be loved unconditionally, and to be engaged in something bigger than ourselves. These desires and legitimate needs are not bad in-and-of themselves, but when they are pursued in our desire to please self and reject God they become self-destructive.
We think we’ve got relationships all figured out, but by the time we realize we don’t we’re too skeptical to ask God how we should do “romance” and “relationship.” We ask ourselves: “Can I trust God to give me a spouse? Will God’s way really work?” I’m not reading your mind, girl. I’ve been there. I was so doubtful that I could have a God-fearing, handsome, and reliable husband if I did things God’s way. But trusting God –not myself– paid off, and it can pay off for you too if you’re willing to prioritize your relationship with Jesus and trust Him for your future spouse.
Why Should I Practice Purity When I Feel So Lonely?
Romantic relationships influence you from the inside out. This is why God told the Israelites not to intermarry with pagan peoples. Our romantic feelings for someone tend to make us dumb at times. Just ask Adam. Even the serpent in Genesis 3 recognized this vulnerability when He first tempted Eve, who then turned around and tempted Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. Purity will help you keep your good sense when it comes to spiritual matters.
If you think you can date someone who doesn’t love the Lord, engage in something as intimate as sex, and emerge with your faith and affections toward God unscathed then you need to wake up, Sister! Here’s a short list of Bible dudes that have messed up BIG TIME because of the influence of their sexual partners:
- Adam [He allowed his wife Eve to persuade him to disobey God, and introduce sin into the world. Ouch. (Note that Eve is not foreign to who God is. Even Christian women –and men– can influence their love interests to sin.)]
- King David [He had Uriah killed so that He could take his wife, whom David was having an affair with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11).]
- King Solomon [He started worshipping idols, and building temples for them thanks to the persuasion of his pagan lovers (1 Kings 11).]
Adam was born perfect, Solomon was the wisest man to ever live, and King David was a man after God’s own heart, but they all fell! Face it. You don’t stand a chance! You’re best bet is to avoid sexual sin altogether.
Sometimes our feelings of loneliness are misinformed. We think all of our problems will be solved if we are in a relationship. Sex and romance are glorified as soul fulfilling. Because of this we often have a tendency to equate being in a relationship with our personal worth and satisfaction in life. This attitude sets you up for the okey-doke in 2 ways:
- You’re held hostage by your relationship status.
- You devote yourself (physically and spiritually in sex) to a relationship that can neither fulfill you nor make you feel unconditionally loved.
Just because you’re in a relationship with someone now, doesn’t mean you’ll always be together. Speaking from my own experience, just because you have sex with someone –even if it’s the first time for both of you– it doesn’t mean you’ll get married. In fact, statistically speaking, you increase your chances of not getting married or ending your marriage in divorce as your number of sexual partners increase.
The world practices false advertising when it comes to relationships. Pop stars, poets, and movies sell you romance with the promise of security, unconditional love, and fulfillment, but in the end our way of romance fails to deliver. As long as two people are together, you can guarantee that at some point pain will be involved –because people are not inherently good or perfect. As soon as one of you doesn’t feel adequately stimulated or becomes bored, you’ll hit that ole dusty trail and be looking for the next victim.
Practicing purity is a practical way to remember that your worth and identity are found in Christ, not your relationship status (Col 3:1-3). Once this becomes a reality in your life, the world’s unachievable standard for relationship loses its power in your life. God designed relationships to flourish as we grow in our understanding of Him and His love and grace towards us (Eph 5:21-33). Your relationship with God equips you to demonstrate the grace your spouse will need in marriage. Likewise, your future husband’s relationship with God will help him store up the grace you’ll need in marriage. (Think of showing grace like your capacity to forgive wrongs and love each other despite your flaws.)
5 Ways God Makes His Love Felt As You Practice Purity
Instead of solidifying our relationship, having sex with my boyfriend only intensified the pain I felt after we broke up. The pain felt like a boulder that had crushed my heart into millions of tiny unrecognizable pieces. My first reaction was to replace that broken relationship with a new one, so I’d forget the pain. God rescued me in my depression and loneliness by making His love feel as tangible to me as the person I used to sleep beside. Here are 5 ways that God makes His love felt as we practice purity.
Through answered prayer, I could see in measurable ways how God was changing my heart and perspective about “relationships” and boundaries. Speak privately with God about any pain, loneliness, anxiety, temptation, or depression you feel as you seek to do relationships His way (Ps 61:2). (I encourage you to pray these things out loud in a private place. This will help you work out your feelings and let out some of the pain.) Ask God to comfort, delight, and satisfy you with His love. Ask God to educate you on how to do “love” and “relationships” His way through His Word. Pray that He will provide female friends that will support you, hold you accountable, and encourage you as you practice purity.
Reading God’s Word
Reading God’s word was like reading His own proclamation of His love for me, which He demonstrated in Jesus Christ. The gospel is God’s standard for love, which exceeds the standard of the world. The Bible also instructed me on God’s design for relationships, and Biblical womanhood and manhood. When I started focusing on becoming a mature Christ-follower, I naturally became more like the woman that would attract the godly man I desired. And with my identity in Christ, I could call off my search for a Messiah, which vastly increased both my pool of prospects and future relationship’s survival rate.
Meditating on God’s Word
Meditating on God’s Word protected me from me (Psalm 19:7–9). Instead of focusing how you feel or how things seem bleak for your romantic life at the moment, why not focus on God’s promises? Don’t waste your time having a pity-party or engaging in bad self-talk. The worst time to rehearse your thoughts is when you’re depressed about something. Break the cycle and start focusing on solutions by conditioning yourself to remember God’s word when you’re tempted sexually.
Let’s say you’re lonely, so you start thinking about calling up that guy (or girl if you’re struggling with same-sex attraction) that will help give you some sexual relief. Well instead of lingering on that thought, whip out God’s truth and start meditating on it. Like 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 for example:
“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and His ways.”
Redirecting our hearts to God’s truth when we feel tempted helps us avoid pulling the trigger on sexual sin. Download the worksheets and print out some scripture cards to help you start doing this immediately.
Did you know that having a support system could double your chances to reach your fitness goals? Just having a buddy running with you doubles your chances to reach the finish line. Well the same is true for spiritual fitness (Pro 27:17;Job 16:20-21)! You’re more likely to succeed in practicing purity when you have someone in your corner, encouraging you and even relying on you too!
God blessed me with two Christian friends that were going through breakups at the same time as me. He used the college pastor at my church to link us up, and we’ve been best friends ever since. We were able to encourage each other, go out and have fun together, to pray for each other, cry with each other, study God’s word together, and even just sleep over each others’ houses when our pain became too much for us to bear alone. Their Christ-like love for me is one of the major ways God kept me from slipping into sexual sin and really made me feel loved despite my pain.
Seizing New Opportunities
Shortly after I became a Christian God blessed with the opportunity to go and live in Japan—this was a dream come true for me. It was a sweet, sweet, blessing for me after going through a painful breakup and heavy depression. Thinking back on all of the road trips I could’ve taken, countries I could have visited, time I could’ve spent honing my skills, and people I could’ve made time to help and encourage, I get irritated at how wasteful I was!
One of my biggest regrets concerning my singleness is the amount of time I wasted moping around because I didn’t have a boyfriend. There is more to life than sex and romance! They’re great gifts—I’m a witness to that—but don’t have tunnel vision! Start writing out your bucket list and knock some of those things out girl—before you have kids and before you’re clearing debt for two people (Ec 11:9)! Ask God to lead you in your decision making, to show you which goals He wants you to accomplish and which He doesn’t, and to bless you as you endeavor to please Him and have fun in life!
Purity When It’s All Said and Done
The object of this article is not to learn how to pimp God and get a spouse. You’ve got the wrong gospel, my friend. The point is that purity is a safeguard designed to lead us into God-planned and God-centered relationships that delight us and leave us in awe of God’s ingenuity! God wants you to enjoy sex. Sex is a good thing, but only when we enjoy it God’s way—in the context of a God-centered union between a man and woman. When you commit to practicing purity because you’re fulfilled in Christ, sex becomes more than a three-letter word, and that’s what you really want, isn’t it?