“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor..”- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
Freshly fallen snow is so beautiful. We stare at the crystal formations in awe. When untouched by animals or humans or air pollution, the undefiled glittery whiteness represents all that is clean and naturally pure. Most of the world’s fresh water comes from snow and ice.
Purity is a good thing, right? In our food, in our water, in our cleaning agents, we want the best, the most pure ingredients to promote health and sensory satisfaction.
But what about personal purity? Does it really matter anymore?
Victorian Purity Lost
During the 19th century years under Queen Victoria’s rule, much has been written about virtues and social manners. Fashionable folk cared about reputations and consequences of behavior. To be called pure was a compliment then. Today, not so much.
Did the Victorian community sincerely subscribe to a conservative pattern of sexual expression? Were discipline and self-control , keeping virginity taught and adhered to without struggle? Or were private lives recognizably flawed and humans more complex than public appearances let on?
What do we gain in throwing off past cultural moral or behavioral standards? Such freedoms produce challenges that snowball into the next generation. Presently, no one wants to be called pure for fear the label translates into quaint, old-fashioned, boring, uninteresting, naïve, uptight, legalistic, religious, or, heaven forbid, un-fun.
Devout followers of Christ struggle to embrace the biblical references to having a pure heart, pure thoughts, pure love. Many have bought into the cultural philosophy of liberation regarding sexual choices, only to regret and bear the scars of past errors in judgment. Memories, health issues, and sensual images invade the marriage bedroom and steal the joy of pure intimacy. What God intended to be simple becomes complicated.
Pure is Simple and Good
Pure means uncontaminated, unaltered from the intended pattern or formula. God’s call for us to be pure is to be without sin, to be clean and holy according to His definition. When pure, we are fully human like His original design at Creation. He provides the solution to our inability to maintain such a pristine condition through the sacrifice of His blameless Son Jesus on the cross.
When our spirit-man becomes re-united to God, becomes alive to His plans and intentions, we recognize losses of purity and feel shame and guilt. These emotions are powerful and demand a response from us. Too often we run from God, try to hide, try to rationalize or convince our consciences that purity is impossible and not to worry about falling short of the mark. Such strategies did not work well in the Garden with Adam and Eve and continue to leave us vulnerable to the Enemy of our souls today.
When a woman loses her virginity, when she chooses impurity in thought or deed, what should she do?
- We should change directions and run to God. Acts 3:19 (NIV) Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
- We should ask God to help us be restored to purity. Psalm 51:10-11(NIV) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Effects of Losing Virginity Before Marriage
“I don’t even want him to kiss me. He deserves better,” she tearfully said during our counseling session. “If he knew my history of sexual encounters, he might end our relationship.”
“He looks at porn all the time. I can hardly stand for him to touch me,” said the wife in our session, while the husband looked downcast and ashamed. “I have tried to quit, but it has been a problem since middle school. It is so hard to stop,” he whispered.
The Road Back to Purity
The world is a dirty, defiled place that casts shadows over our God-designed whiteness. To go through this earthly life without becoming soiled on some level, either through our own wrong choices or the evil act of another person is virtually impossible. While we can never return to a state of virginity organically speaking, we can reclaim our purity as God intended.
God provides the spiritual door for restoration through Christ. Healing for the flesh and mind can also happen, but requires diligence and frequently the assistance of trained counselors. Once we embrace the love and forgiveness Jesus offers, we must choose to live differently, walking away from impure behaviors with God’s powerful help. Our marriages need single-focus and pure commitment to survive the external pressures and temptations. Our children need to see what God can do through their impure parents to produce a pure love that protects and provides for a family.
Benefits to purity? Besides health to our relationships, there are more. Here are a few:
- Ability to recognize God at work in the world.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
- Blessings and release from past mistakes.
Psalms 24:3-5 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.
- Assurance for the future and freedom from guilt.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Take time to reflect on the level of purity in your love for your spouse. Are past mistakes interfering with God’s simple design for intimacy? Do you engage in damaging activities online or when alone or outside your marriage?
Consult a trustworthy friend, mentor, or counselor to receive the healing and restoration God wants for you and your marriage. Be brave and reach out for the freedom Christ provided for you. True love awaits you.