(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
Purity by Definition
By Melissa Valle
You may have heard the word so many times you might as well get it tattooed on your arm. You’ve gone to the conferences at your church about the topic. You’ve had the same talk every year at high school summer camp about it.
What is it?
What is it not?
Why is it important?
Purity is not just about abstinence or refraining and restriction. It is not meant to cage you in. Rather, it is supposed to set you free. N.D Wilson shares that “we should strive for holiness, but holiness is a flood, not an absence. It is a way to devote yourself to the Lord not just with your body but with your spirit. It is allowing your Creator, the one who knows every freckle on your skin, to save you for the one. To acknowledge that God Almighty knows you better than you know yourself. He knows what’s best for you and thus should take control of your own body. That is quite relieving to know our flesh and even our hearts are so deceitful and weak, but by leaving it up to God this takes the worry off of our shoulders. He knows sex out of marriage breaks hearts and how after the moment, the shame and guilt begin to drown you and lose sight of the light. God’s truth has never meant to close you in, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32, NIV).
It is important that we live out a pure life because we are called to be a reflection of our Lord. 1 Peter 1:16-17 reads, “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.”’ Though we are limited because of our flesh, we can be certain our radical lives and motives affect how others see Christ. They will wonder, why we are living a life with such focus and purpose, which can lead us to share about our Savior. This sets us apart from our culture. Romans 12:2 warns us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Adults can be a guide to the youth, as they lead by example of what a life of purity looks like. For the youth, value your purity and embrace it, because it is a gift God gave you for this specific time of your life. It is a gift that He wants you to share with the right person.
To those who have lost their purity and feel shame and hopeless; remember God’s love is unconditional and he loves you even if you can’t love yourself. Know that the Almighty Creator of the mountains and vast oceans looks at you and sees you as his most prized possession. Reflect on James 1:16-18 and repent. Keep pressing forward to God and your new walk in purity. You are allowed to be a masterpiece and a work of art at the same time.