Love makes it okay to have sex. I’ve heard that line more times than I can count. But, no matter how good it sounds, I can’t find it anywhere in the Bible. In fact 2 Timothy 2:22 urges us to flee from youthful passions so we can pursue love instead. "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).”
As an unapologetic optimist, I used to assume the best about people which made me an unfortunate judge of character. Sometimes I honestly couldn't identify fake friends from real ones. But the sarcastic words? The little insults? They were the hundred paper cuts that eventually made me bleed. I had to learn the hard way that not everyone likes Ashley. And some people never will.
Sometimes, saying we can’t overcome sin is an excuse to avoid the hard work of sanctification and enjoy living in it a little longer. But more often than not, laziness isn’t the problem. We are scared. Scared of what lurks in the dark corners of our heart. Scared that if we dig too deep we will discover something about ourselves that we don’t like. Scared of being vulnerable. Scared of being found out. Scared of the shame of our own shadows.
Constant compliments. Special date nights. Lots of hand holding. It's nice to think that your love language will match up effortlessly with your significant other, but what if it doesn't? That's the case for my husband Joseph and I.
Sex is confusing. The church has overcomplicated it. The world has overcomplicated it. But it doesn't have to be that way. God's ways are actually quite simple. Our co-founder & director, Ashley Giovannucci, spoke about holistic purity with one hundred 6th-12th graders at the One Heart Youth Conference last weekend. She talked about failed attempts to navigate our sexuality - the purity movement of the 1990's, abstinence education, and the free love movement. And she ultimately shared how the simplicity of God's way brings clarity to our lives.
I can date whoever I feel like dating…I need a boyfriend… It’s not really sex… I can’t handle the loneliness of staying pure. Those are some of the sexual lies that the book bluntly addresses while tactfully counteracting them with truth.
When we think of the word “pure”, we tend to think of “perfection.” We can’t mess up. We can’t sin or make a mistake. But we forget about the other synonyms for the word like “authentic,” “plain,” “real,” “simple,” and “transparent.” Purity is deeper than a perfect performance. It’s more than a list of rights and wrongs. Purity gives us a crystal, clear focus.
I still wear my purity ring because marriage doesn’t fulfill our purity. It doesn’t cure impure thoughts. It doesn’t make us holier. If it did, then every verse on purity would only be for single men and women. But that’s certainly not the case! Last time I checked, the person you are before you get married is the same person who wakes up next to your spouse everyday…. bad breath and all. I had the same insecurities, the same internal struggles and the same need for purity the day before as the day after I said “I do.”
It’s your life. It’s your choice. But this emphasis on individuality comes at a cost. We’ve become lonely and isolated, so consumed with self that we become a stranger to the other. Is this really the gospel way of life?
Our culture gives us this unfortunate idea that we have to perfect ourselves. To truly be successful you need to eliminate all of your weaknesses. You need to hold your own. You need to keep it together. You need to be a completely well rounded person. But how boring, really.