(Photo by Samantha De La O)
By Ashley Scriven
To be pure or not to be pure? There really is no question. Put that way, most of us would say that we want to be pure. So, what’s the issue? Why is it that we often struggle to pursue purity?
The world is constantly throwing temptation at us. Temptation is all around us, in movies, advertisements, music, and even through our friends. The world is skilled at making impurity seem appealing. We are exposed to impurity so often that we become used to it and even begin to justify it in our minds. We forget what it really means to be pure, because immorality is so normalized in our culture. Oftentimes, we might not realize that we are compromising our purity when we watch a movie with sexual innuendos. Most of us think that purity only means not having sex until we are married. However, God has a very high standard of purity and even sex violates it.
We might convince ourselves that if everyone else is doing it then it must be okay. I used this line on my mother so many times when I was growing up. She had strict rules about what I wore, and what I watched because she wanted me to be pure. She wanted me to fit into God’s standards and behave in a way that pleased Him. I didn’t want to disobey God, but when everybody else was watching that thrilling movie, I didn’t want to be left out. In my mind, I was not compromising my purity by going to watch a movie with a sex scene. After all I wasn’t doing it. However, that was a lie from the enemy. Letting a little impurity taint your mind is more than enough.
Being pure, according to Scripture, means being set apart. We are to be in the world but not of the world. This can be very lonely at times, and it can be intimidating. We worry that if we don’t give in to the pressure to have sex, we will end up alone forever. If we don’t watch that R-rated movie with everyone else, we will be shunned. The desire to fit in is oftentimes stronger than the desire to be pure. This is natural as human beings, because we crave acceptance and friendship. Purity goes against everything the world stands for, and often we will be forced to stand alone. We wonder if being pure is even worth it.
Why is purity so important? Well first off, God wants us to pure in our relationship with him. God is not a kill-joy. He doesn’t forbid you to avoid certain movies and music, or wait until marriage for sex because he enjoys watching you feel left out. He has a purpose and a reason. The Lord has plans for his beloved and he needs us to be ready to be used in his service. If we let impurity fill our hearts and minds, we won’t be ready to do the Lord’s holy work.
In the book of Ezekiel, the Lord tells Israel that he has set them apart and they are to depart from their wicked and impure ways. The Israelites were afraid that if they followed in the Lord’s rules and ways, they would be utterly alone. However, God promises that if they devote themselves to being Holy and pure that He shall dwell with them. “My dwelling place shall be with them and I will be their God, and they shall be my people,” (Ezekiel 37:27).
Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh, coauthors of the book, “Lies Young Women Believe,” understand the struggle of wanting to be pure while wanting to fit in. Talking about the frustration in not participating with the crowd they say, “Loneliness is an inescapable reality in a fallen, broken world….but if you will set your heart to see God and His will above anything and anyone else, you will never truly be alone, and you will never lack true joy.”
Every Christian girl battles with purity in this world. You are not alone. It may feel like it when you set yourself apart and don’t join in with everybody else. It is a painful process. It’s okay to feel frustrated as you focus on guarding your heart. However, remember that those earthly pleasures last only for a season. You are keeping yourself pure to gain everlasting rewards from your Heavenly Father.