AMH series // Time for the Sex Talk
I remember the day when I received my purity ring. As a thirteen-year-old girl, I was mesmerized by the glittering of the garnet stone in the sunlight. My parents explained to me what it meant to be pure, and how the ring was a symbol of a commitment.
I don’t think I fully got it. Even though my parents did their best to help me understand the holistic design for purity, my young mind oversimplified the concept of purity and made it solely about the physical aspect. As a brand new teenager who hardly even spoke to boys, I thought that the whole “purity deal” was easy. Of course I would be abstinent! I had been taught that sex before marriage went against God’s Word. I didn’t think that I would need a reminder of my commitment to purity.
Starting with the heart
When we think about purity, we tend to focus on our outside actions. After all, that’s the part we can see and address. It’s harder to deal with purity of the heart. The church recognizes the brokenness that the world’s casual view of sex brings. But instead of focusing on helping people to cultivate a pure heart, we sometimes lean toward emphasizing just abstinence. Sex before marriage is wrong. Make a commitment to save yourself for marriage. Slip a purity ring on. This will help you to have successful relationships.
While abstinence before marriage is absolutely biblical, we’re missing part of the picture. Sexual purity isn’t just about the physical aspect. It’s also about the heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Our actions come from what’s in our hearts. In general, the church tries to fix the symptoms, but sometimes neglects the heart.
Getting to the root
Imagine that you have a horrible sinus infection, so you go to the doctor. He gives you a nasal decongestant so that you can feel better, and hopefully get back to you normal life. But he doesn’t give you an antibiotic to kill the pathogens that are causing your congestion. The symptoms are alleviated for a while, but they eventually come back. How frustrating would that be? No one would want to go to someone who simply dealt with the symptoms. But that’s what we have tended to do. We haven’t gotten to the root of the issue of the sexual revolution. We haven’t identified the pathogen and tried to get rid of it. In some cases, we’ve just been putting band-aids on the issue, in the hopes that by promoting abstinence, we will free our culture of impure sexual behavior.
I know that my younger self missed that part of the picture. I thought that my ring was reminding me to save myself for marriage. And it was. But that wasn’t the only purpose it served. What I needed was a reminder to keep my heart and mind pure. If I didn’t guard my heart, what actions would follow as a result?
“Every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit,” Matthew 7:17-18.
Influencing your actions
Since we have so much technology at our fingertips, it’s so easy to fill our minds with content that is contrary to the Bible. We listen to music that endorses relationships that aren’t honoring to God. We watch movies where the protagonists sleep around. And before we know it, similar thoughts start filling our minds as a result of what we have put before our eyes and ears. When we fill our minds with trashy messages, how can we expect to honor God when our minds are filled with untruth? How can we expect to have relationships that are God-honoring? How can we expect to see good fruit come about? It’s easy to think that what we watch, what we listen to, and who we spend our time with don’t influence us. We think that somehow we are above it.
But the mother who cheated on her husband won’t tell you that she just woke up one day and decided to leave her family. The girl who attended church all her life won’t tell you that one day she just woke up decided to have sex with her boyfriend. It’s the little decisions we make, day by day. It’s a slow fade. It starts by listening to that song. Then looking at that image. Then being in an unhealthy relationship with that guy. Before you know it, you’re in so deep that it’s hard to return. But you’re never too far from God’s redeeming love. No matter how far you’ve gone away from God’s design for purity, His grace reaches farther.
Sister, I urge you, be careful with what you allow into your mind and with what you let fill your soul and inner desires. Guard your heart. Don’t be enslaved to the world’s cheap version of sexuality. God’s design is so much better, but it’s not easier. It’s hard to live it out because it goes against the culture. It may go against what your friends believe. And it’s a whole lot harder than just being pure in your actions. It’s a discipline of the mind. But when you live out God’s design, it is so much better. You won’t need to live in regret. You can live in freedom in knowing that you are honoring God with not only your body, but also your thoughts, which is the place in which your actions are born.
Curious to learn more about our sexuality and why God calls it holy? We’ll be covering objectification, temptation, and God’s holistic design for purity. Follow the blog or join us on facebook and instagram for the month long conversation.