“It was finally here—Anna’s wedding day, the day she had dreamed about and planned for months. The small, picturesque church was crowded with friends and family.
Sunlight poured through the stained glass windows, and the gentle music of a string quartet filled the air. Anna walked down the aisle toward David. Joy surged within her. This was the moment for which she had waited so long. He gently took her hand, and they turned toward the altar.
But as the minister began to lead Anna and David through their vows, the unthinkable happened. A girl stood up in the middle of the congregation, walked quietly to the altar and took David’s other hand. Another approached and stood next to the first, followed by another. Soon, a chain of six girls stood by him as he repeated his vows to Anna.
Anna felt her lip begin to quiver as tears welled up in her eyes. ‘Is this some kind of joke?’ she whispered to David.
‘I’m…I’m sorry, Anna,’ he said, staring at the floor.
‘Who are these girls David? What’s going on?’ she gasped.
‘They’re girls from my past,’ he answered sadly. ‘Anna, they don’t mean anything to me now, but I’ve given part of my heart to each of them.’
‘I thought your heart was mine,’ she said.
‘It is, it is,’ he pleaded. ‘Everything that’s left is yours.’
A tear rolled down Anna’s cheek. Then she woke up.”
This heart wrenching story from Joshua Harris’ book, I kissed dating goodbye, is an amazingly poignant example of what can happen to your heart, mind and maybe even your body when you move quickly from one relationship to the next, or even from on crush to the next. How many guys (or girls) could you line up next to you on your wedding day? I am going to talk about several different aspects of purity today. Purity of mind, heart and body.
Firstly, purity of your mind. It’s just as important as purity of your body.
So, what is a pure mind? Well, in my opinion a pure mind is a mind that is not full of bad words or impure images. Basically, a very innocent mind. A mind that has not taken in any, or very little, impure material whatsoever. Ways we can make our mind impure would be things like watching suggestive movies or TV shows, listening to music laced with cursing or sexual references and being around people who have foul mouths. Do you remember that Sunday school song, “Oh be careful little ears what you hear…oh be careful little eyes what you see?” This is very true. Be careful what you see and hear. Things stick with you longer than you would think. Especially song lyrics or funny, inappropriate scenes. If you don’t find such things funny, I envy you as my mind has too many impure influences to where I know what almost everything means, and I find lots of slightly inappropriate things quite entertaining. It is important to keep our minds pure so we can be free of nagging thoughts, and having bad things stuck in our heads. Also, God wants us to keep our minds pure. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…” To me, the other part of that would be to not let any unwholesome talk enter your ears. How do I know that my mind is impure? Well, by the things I think about. By the first thing that pops into my head. By whether I’m quicker to tease or quicker to build others up. By my movie choices, book choices, music choices. I do try to be careful, but in an impure world, it’s hard to shut everything out. So what are some ways to keep our minds pure in this world then? Well, be careful what movies you watch. I know it’s hard, but cutting out some of the things you watch could mean the difference between an impure mind or not. Also, it’s hard to gauge the ‘badness’ of a movie, so stay away from bad words, suggestive material and Hollywood making sin sound fun. Be careful with the music you listen to. You know how easy it is to get a song stuck in your head? Just make sure the song you get stuck there, for aaaggeesss, doesn’t have cursing or inappropriate references, or you’ll have those stuck in your head too. Now, this one is harder because we are supposed to be salt and light to unbelievers right? Try to avoid spending too much with people who swear every ten seconds and who are full of impure phrases. They will sick in your brain. I know. Been there, done that. So, my point is that keeping you mind pure is important. What you think about comes out in your behavior, and as Christians, we should try to be good examples. So, what does God say about this? Ps 101:3-4 says, “I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate, they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.”
Now, purity of your heart.
So, is purity more than just being physically pure? I think we can safely say yes after we discussed having a pure mind. But there is more. Besides having a pure mind, we need to have a pure heart. Pure desires and pure intents. Also, pure actions. Are my actions pure? Ok, so a good way to think about and decide if your actions are pure would be to think of the outcome. Am I doing this to gain something? Am I seeking attention? If this works, what exactly will happen? If you and you only are going to gain from you action, then you may need to rethink your plan. Also, if this thing that you’re going to do will be a major attention magnet, your action may be selfish and impure. And here’s a biggie. If this works, what will happen? If what will happen makes you blush to think about it, then I can almost guarantee that your action, however harmless it might seem, is probably selfish and impure. Another part of this pure actions thing would be, are my intents pure? I think I would be harder to define this, because your intent may be fairly harmless yet it comes across totally different. When it comes to someone of the opposite gender, I think we need to be extra careful about having a pure intent. What would he or she think if I did this? Would a friend really do this to someone, or just someone trying hard to get into a relationship? It is hard to do this, as guys are hard to read (and so are girls), but it’s always better to be on the safe side. So then I guess the next part of this would be, is flirting impure? Well, what is the purpose of flirting? To get someone to like or notice you. I flirt, and I know that for some people, it’s really hard not to flirt. But, I guess to be completely pure in everything and every intent, flirting would have to go. I honestly think that I would really struggle with this, because I flirt without even noticing. But, I think it all comes back to intent now. Are you trying to flirt with this person, or are you just trying to be friendly? These two things can look very similar, but as long as you know, and hopefully the other person knows too, that you’re just being friendly I can’t really see a problem. Just be smart. Don’t say stupid things just to sound cute. So, what does God say about this? Matt 5:8 says, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, they will see God.” 2 Tim.2:22 “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” And, Ps 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
And now possibly the most important, purity of body.
Ok, this is the messy part, the explicit part, the part that might make you squirm. The part where we talk about…gasp…sex. When we think of being pure, this is what we think of and being pure in this way is very important. In any relationship, it’s important to have boundaries. The better your guardrails are, the less likely you’ll fall off the cliff. What are some appropriate boundaries to have in a relationship where you want to honor God with your body? Well, here’s a good idea from Rebecca St James. Never go into a room alone with someone of the opposite gender and close the door. This will eliminate temptation, and you will avoid even the appearance of evil. Also, following from that, never do anything with someone if your dad was in the room. Imagining he is watching you will most definitely help you to maintain your boundaries. And He is watching you. Your heavenly Father is watching your every move. Remember that. So, what does God say about this? In 1 Cor 6:12-13, the Message version, it says, “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing what I thought I could get away with, I’d be a slave to my whims. You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no reason for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body!” This world is telling everyone to go have sex because it’s fun. Be the one with morals. God wants his best for you, and giving away the most precious gift you have before marriage is not his best for your life. But what happens if you have made mistakes in the area, no matter how big or small, in any aspect of purity? Well, don’t lose hope. I know from personal experience that these kinds of mistakes are painful. You go through stages of pain. The stage of feeling totally ok with what you did, the stage of intense guilt, the stage of anger and so forth. But, to move on you must ask for forgiveness from God, forgive the other person involved (if it was two sided) and forgive yourself. Then just start over. Try and learn from your mistakes. My mistakes have hurt me, a lot, but I learned from them, and they drew me closer to God.
So you may be thinking, why would I want to do this? Well being completely pure in your mind, heart and body leads to a life of little or no regrets. There won’t be an altar moment where you realize your heart is partly given away to someone else. There won’t be that thing that you said that you wish you could take back. Also, there won’t be any awkward explaining to do to your new spouse, or anyone. You remember Anna’s dream? Well, after she had it, the first thing that she felt was anger. Then she remembered all her secrets, her past. Don’t you want to be able to look back on your life and be proud of your past? Even if it was ‘boring’ that’s better than having been in a situation that haunts you for the rest of your life. So on a final note, what does God say about this? In 1Tim 4:12 it says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”