(Feature photo by Sarah Komisky and photo of Karissa and family courtesy of Karissa Nunes)
By Sarah and Selma Komisky (as told by Karissa Nunes)
At seventeen, Karissa Nunes went to Hungry for a mission’s training program that eventually led her to take the next step to go to Costa Rica in 2009. Here is where she knew she would be called to be a missionary. It was at this program that she met her husband Cody, got married, and went together to serve together in Celje, Slovenia. Enduring and witnessing many wars, regimes, and social and political ideologies like Nazism, Socialism, and Communism, Slovenes aren’t easily influenced by emotion. Therefore, relationships are results of deeply intentional investments of time and consistency. But, as Nunes confessed, “once a Slovene calls you friend, you have a friend for life.” Coming back a year ago to the States, the couple along with their two children, serve together at Calvary Chapel Morris Hills in New Jersey. They both hope to plant a church on the mission’s field in the future.
Here, Karissa shares her thoughts on the subject of purity. May you be encouraged by them.
I think that purity is a matter of having the right perspective. A common mistake within the church is that virginity and purity have become synonymous, with the emphasis heavily leaning on remaining a virgin until marriage. As a young believer, attending youth conferences, girls retreats, and reading Christian material geared towards young women, I was often taught that saving my virginity was the greatest gift I could give my husband and the best way to honor God. I was encouraged to be modest and was offered ways to maintain my purity, like courtship, letters to my future husband, promising him to wait, a ring with a commitment paper to sign, and was even told that God would bless my sex life if I stayed a virgin. This inadvertently created a mentality in me and many of my peers that our value to God was directly connected to what we did with our bodies. However, purity is not defined by physical contact or lack thereof, nor by rings, or by waiting to kiss until marriage. Purity is much more meaningful and yet simpler than that. It’s the intentional pursuit of becoming more like Jesus.
1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy because I am holy.’” Purity is living day by day running after Christ. It comes from the weight of the revelation of the price that Christ paid on the cross for our sin. We chose to die to ourselves and deny immediate gratification to our desires, not because we made a commitment of virginity to our future husbands, but because the sin would not be worth the separation from God that it causes. When the motivation for purity becomes centered on virginity, it can open the door to the slippery slope of questioning “how close can I get to crossing the line and still be pure?” It can also be condemning for those who have already lost their virginity, either by choice or by force.
Our journeys in life will not always be easy, there may be pain and there may be mistakes, which is why we so desperately need Jesus. Purity is living a life that worships Christ in deed and in thought, it is not limited to one’s virginity or browsing history, rather it is walking in the light of Christ’s redemptive love and maintaining the cross in our perspective as we make decisions day to day. One passage that I have come back to time and time again throughout this past nine years is Romans 12:1-2, “… I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” I hope that you may find the same encouragement in these words as I have and I pray that you will allow the years ahead of you to shape you into a strong woman who loves Jesus fiercely.