(Part 2 of 4)
If you read last week’s post about sex and patted yourself on the back because you’ve already committed to saving yourself for marriage, then great! Now I want to challenge you to go one step further: to chase chastity and pursue purity, not just as a technicality of being a virgin until marriage, but as a way of life. Even if you are no longer a virgin, you can still aim to live a pure life, that’s exactly what repentance allows you to do.
Purity should always be your goal. Period. If you have dreams of getting married, going to the convent, or staying single in the world, whatever the circumstance is, you have to always pursue purity because it’s what we are called to do as Christians.
Saint Paul writes, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel [body] in sanctification and honor.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)
The words of Saint Paul sound simple, but like any other commandment, it is always easier said than done. What does sanctification even mean?
In the Greek language “sanctification” is translated to “holiness.” So in a nutshell, to sanctify means “to make holy.”
Some may think being holy means not having sex before marriage. That they can jump from base to base, making sure they don’t hit a home run before there is a wedding band on their finger. We have somehow drawn lines in the sand that we won’t cross, but the problem is we start pushing our lines and sin becomes a snowball effect. Purity is not a box you check off because you haven’t had sex yet, it is an attitude you live by, and even if you’ve had sex you’re not eliminated from pursuing it (repentance makes all things new). Purity of heart and mind is something you struggle in pursuing, and it brings you closer to God. You turn to Him and bring your challenges to His feet, and say “I can’t, but you can, and I’m going to let You help me.”
Chastity is also not something you chase because you were promised that if you do, you’ll have an amazing sex life in marriage. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that's not always a guarantee. Sometimes sex can be rocky at first. Sometimes it might take months or years for you and your spouse to have a great and holy sex life. There is even a very small percentage of women that might not even have a desire for sex due to a chemical imbalance, its called hypoactive sexual desire disorder. So in simple terms, a marriage with a great sex life is not the “reward” for remaining pure. Live a pure and chaste life because it is the right and holy thing to do!
Also I do not want you to think that marriage is the answer to stop worrying about purity. I’d argue that there are still challenges you have to overcome to keep your marriage pure and holy. Sex and purity within marriage are heavy topics that we might get into when you, my unmarried readers, are a little older.
Listen girls, I know that female sexuality isn’t always talked about in a positive and healthy way, but we cannot deny that these feelings and desires exist. It’s totally normal and okay to have them, but it’s not okay to feed them or act on them. There will come a time when you can fully express those feelings. My father of confession used to always tell me that I have the rest of my life to fulfill all those desires when I get married, so I just had to be patient and wait. I used to joke around with my friends when I was dating my husband and say that all those years of the church making us fast really come in handy. All that fasting really sharpened my self control, and ultimately helped me control my actions during that time.
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself “What is tempting me to defy my purity and chastity?” or “What is making me desire sinful things I know I should stay away from?”
For me it started with what I was surrounding myself with, and what I was allowing my senses to take in. It was movies I was watching, music I was listening to, unfruitful conversations I was having about impure things, or just the desire to be wanted. There were many more triggers, but those are the first few that came to mind. (A future blog post will discuss practical ways to stay pure.)
I cannot deny that I had a desire to feel wanted, beautiful and fill insecurities I had. At times I muted the voice in my consciousness that told me what I was desiring was sinful, and I did it anyway (I wish I hadn’t). I had a hard time realizing how precious I was in the eyes of the Lord. I chased the validation of boys, and failed to see the only real validation I needed was His, which I always had.
Purity calls for not only sanctifying our bodies, but also our thoughts and desires! I know how hard this is, trust me, I’ve been there. Have hope that you can overcome anything by the grace of God. His commandments are not meant to be burdensome, it's the opposite actually, His commandments are liberating. They free you from living a life of bondage to sin which has eternal consequences as well as earthly ones.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:3-4)
This is the second post in a four part series about purity & relationships.
Part 3 - Embracing Singleness
Part 4 - God's Timing is The Perfect Timing