Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamed of having a prestigious career. There has always been something in me that has desired to have the status of a successful career woman, a woman who has done something with her life. Intelligence and prestige had become so important in my life. Being a wife and mother didn’t really appeal to me all that much. Honestly, it was pride in my heart that told me that being a wife and mother wasn’t good enough. Sure, eventually I wanted to have kids. But in my mind, the end-all goal was to be successful and to make a name for myself.
You know you’ve messed up. How could anyone love you anymore? No matter what you do, there is nothing that can atone for your mistakes. Yet your husband comes and pursues you, like you are priceless. What kind of love is this?
Our culture has taught us that to love someone you need to accept them, all of them. Tolerance is key. The Bible teaches us the contrary. Love does not tolerate blatant sin. If someone, particularly a fellow believer, has a consistent sin issue: gossip, pride, anger, sexual immorality of any kind, slander, etc. it is our duty to say something.
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.
My phone background during my 10th grade year read simply, “Love Never Fails.” As a kid who grew up in the church, this reference to 1 Corinthians 13:8 seemed pretty cut and dry. However, as my friend picked up my phone, read my background, and said casually yet confidently, “That’s a lie!” my perspective shifted.
One of my good friends and I decided we were going to change the meaning of New Year’s resolutions for ourselves. We decided to do one thing every day that scares us. We realized that we were letting fear control our life choices - fear of what others think, fear of failure, fear of rejection. Do I take a chance at failing and do this thing in front of me, or do I ignore it and go on with my life? This is much like Jonah’s situation.
Over Christmas break I watched the film The Greatest Showman in theaters. Any fans? P.T. Barnum is an excellent example of someone with a gumption for greatness. I had a film student open my eyes to this theme throughout the film. Hugh Jackman’s character showed initiative, resourcefulness, and sometimes shrewdness to make it possible for his entrepreneurial dreams to come true.
“Honey, if your friends were jumping off a bridge would you jump too?” Sheepishly we mumble a no and usually go pout for a little while as our brains catch up to our hearts and we realize that our parents might maybe be a little bit right.
Few of us actually care about what is true by God’s standard. Our sinful human nature wants to believe a truth that is popular. A truth that looks “close enough” to God’s truth but justifies something we previously knew was sin, or a truth that is more “enlightened” than God’s truth because it is more “loving” and less “judging”. We like playing God and defining truths like these. They are more comfortable truths. We enjoy living a deception that makes us feel better about ourselves and others.
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.