Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart [Book Review]

If you’ve followed Girl Defined, you may be under the impression that Kristen and Bethany have lived perfect lives. But, in perhaps their most relatable book yet,  Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal get real about their own sexual sin and talk candidly about their imperfections.

From a racy, crumpled up magazine flitting across their neighborhood street to “Christian” romance novels littering their library shelves, the innocence of their childhood became a muddled mess during their teenage years. Struggling with lust, erotica, masturbation, and fantasies, they felt trapped in secret sin and shame.

And, they’re not alone.

Girls from all around the world have written into their ministry about their struggles:

“Lust is something I struggle with on a daily basis.”

“Lust is a problem almost all girls struggle with but is so infrequently talked about in the church”

“Lust is not spoken about. We girls are confused and frustrated. We need someone to talk frankly with us and to help us understand what the Bible says about this issue and how we can live pure lives before the Lord physically as well as mentally and emotionally”

The struggle is real. But the point of this book isn’t to relate to the struggle. No. It’s to point us toward the One who can help us overcome. Jesus died for our sins, including our sexual ones.

1 Corinthians 15:1-3 says, Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT SEXUAL SIN?

The world is obsessed with sex. It’s everywhere. Unimpressed due to overexposure, many people have come to view sex as boring and cheap. Kristin recalls how she once witnessed a man falling asleep during a movie sex scene he was watching in the airplane seat next to her! She was trying hard to ignore the sexual foreplay flashing on the tiny flat screen. Meanwhile, he was nodding off, unimpressed and completely bored!!

We shouldn’t be surprised! When we view sex as something to consume instead of something to cherish, we wind up empty, unfulfilled, and bored of what we’ve seen. One click. One look. One time. It’s never enough.

It’s only when we recognize sex as something sacred that we truly cherish it instead of exploit it.

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME SEXUAL SIN??

From their first peak at erotica to their unrelenting battle with lust, Kristen and Bethany take us on the journey of overcoming the sexual sin in their own lives. And we can too. How? Not by trying harder or by doing better but by recognizing who Jesus is.

  • HE IS THE HERO OF OUR STORY

“With his hands and feet nailed to a cross, Jesus bore the weight of the world’s sins – including our sexual sins – on HIs shoulders. Every lustful thought. Every glance at porn. Every indulgence in sexual fantasies. Every immoral relationship. All of it. Jesus died in our place so we could be forgiven.” (Page 67)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to fix things myself. I mess up. I make a mistake. And I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone else. I think it’s faster and easier to do it myself than ask someone else to do it.

I’m not the only one. Ever since the Garden of Eden we’ve been trying to solve our sin problem on our own. Caught up in the shame of their sin, Adam and Eve stitched together fig leaves to hide their nakedness. But the flimsy leaves could not cover up the shame of what they had done. They needed a hero to come and save them. Just like Adam and Eve, we are too broken and flawed to make things right. Jesus is the hero we need.

  • HE COMPLETELY FORGIVES OUR SINS

“We say we’re forgiven, but then we continue to carry shame and guilt into the future as though we’re not. When we do this. We show a lack of understanding about the authority of God’s forgiving grace.” (Pg 176)

Sometimes I ask for forgiveness, but I don’t feel all the way forgiven. So I ask for forgiveness again. It’s embarrassing to admit, but as a kid I used to say “sorry” like ten times before I believed the person forgave me. It would get SO irritating that the person would eventually end up exasperated and blurt out “I FORGAVE you already!” They would get irritated because my disbelief meant I believed something about them – that they were unforgiving. You see, believing we are forgiven means we believe God is who He says He is. He is forgiving. In order to overcome sin, we must believe that he has forgiven us and given us the power to overcome. We need to stop trying to earn our forgiveness and believe that we’ve been forgiven. We need to walk in the freedom we’ve received instead of tiptoeing around our victory too afraid to declare that the battle has been won.

  • HE IS THE ONE WE SHOULD CHERISH

“The more we focus on Christ, the easier it will be to embrace His design for our sexuality. If we genuinely want to become women who overcome lustful habitual sin and thrive in freedom and purity, we must learn to cherish Christ above all else.” (Pg 191)

I love being loved. And you probably do too. We were wired to experience intimacy, not just with our future husbands but in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He loves us better than any man can. And when we find our fulfillment in a relationship with Him, we stop looking for other things to fill us up. Worship, prayer, and journaling are the ways the authors suggest cherishing Jesus Christ in your day to day lives.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

From front to back, the authors are candidly honest yet gracefully tactful about the details of their own sexual sin. If there is one thing you’ll get form this book, it’s that you are not alone. We all sin. We all have sexual struggles. And we all have the same solution – Jesus Christ. Written for older teens and college girls, this book includes practical resources for the Christian woman who wants to reclaim purity in her life.

Citing works and including quotes from notable authors such as Dr. Juli Slattery, John Piper, Dannah Gresh, Tim Challies, Timothy J. Keller,  Greg Smalley, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Jackie Hill Perry, Rosaria Butterfield, and so many more… you’ll gain a wealth of knowledge from Kristen and Bethany as well as numerous other influential authors!

Me trying to take the perfect photo with the book, but real life got in the way. And by “real life” I mean the cuddliest kitty. Good thing this book is about being real…

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