(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Pure and Simple: Part 2
By Iain Dick
In my last piece on purity titled “Pure and Simple,” I made a slight reference to my own story and how the purity Movement played a part in it – quick version; hardly any! I managed to escape it, for the most part. But here’s my story.
I was born in 1988, so my childhood was in the ‘90s, and my teenage years were in the ‘00s. This puts me in the center of the Millennial cohort, which was probably influenced by the last wave of the purity movement. Looking back at it now, I can see God’s grace as the movement didn’t have much say in my house. I grew up in a home where sex was not really talked about, and to be honest, I don’t know how I would have reacted if it was! My first memory of a sex talk was our sex ed class at the start of high school – we don’t have middle school, so high school starts at about age 11/12. By that point, puberty had started for me, and I’d already had other kids my age telling me things about sex that were stupidly untrue.
As a teenager in the early ‘00s, I don’t recall there being much conversation in our church youth group about sex and purity. This could be due to my not remembering, but it certainly wasn’t heavy-handed by any means. The first real glimpse of changing my attitude and behavior surrounding sexuality was when I was aged 19 – God had been leading back towards Him after I’d ‘tuned out’ of the church – I had heard some of my friends talk about how they were making a choice not to do certain things, in the name of sexual purity. So, naturally, I wanted to follow suit.
Side point: I think another aspect of grace on this was that being in the UK meant there was far less of a strong arm with the Purity movement. It reached us, but not quite to the extent, it did in the US.
My wife had a slightly different experience, as her parents gave her some books on the subject of sex and purity. When we got together when I was 20, we’d had different experiences in life that we brought to the relationship. The Joshua Harris book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” had a generation of young Christians fearing that vision of any past sexual partners standing at the altar with you when they would get married. But by God’s grace, when my wife and I got together, we were very open and agreed that as we approached marriage, any past ‘endeavors’ would be canceled out – like all sin is when we accept that Jesus has dealt with it.
I’m in my 30’s now. Have been married 10 years and have 3 kids. I’ve learned something about purity in recent years that has been ground-breaking: It’s about more than sex!
I touched on this in Part 1, but I truly believe that we as adult Christians need to see purity more simply. Seeing it as an honest, uncomplicated, undiluted, devoted love for God and His desire for you. The more we try to bend His Word towards our own means, the more we end up complicating the truth.
Matthew 6:33 (AMP) says “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.”
Purity is looking at any situation in life and asking yourself the question “Is this what God would have me do?”, or “What would Jesus have me do here?”. When looked at with His eyes, sure it’s true for sexual purity, but it applies to everything else too.
Particularly too, as a parent, purity is about teaching core beliefs. I firmly believe God has used every false story, missed conversation, temptation, misdemeanor, etc for my good. As my kids grow up, I now feel equipped and confident to have conversations with them that I didn’t have with my parents. It is my job, as their father, to make sure they are taught God’s true heart for their life, relationships, sexuality, and everything else – and not just what feels good, or what the world would have them believe about their bodies and sexuality.
I think 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) puts it perfectly, that “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…”