Be pure in heart, abstinence will follow. We can't remain physically pure if we're not remaining spiritually pure.
There are many things that I can say I refrained from growing up.
I never smoked weed.
I wasn't a partier.
I never did the Pokémon thing.
I never got arrested.
I never got into Justin Beiber.
And I never had sex.
Don't be mistaken. That entire list boasted many opportunities. But even in my ultra independent-spirited adolescence I had discretion enough to understand the adverse implications from participation. Now before you label me as pompous or self-righteous please understand that though there is a list of things I abstained from, there is an even greater list of my guilt.
Sure, I'm 31 and still a virgin...but I have by no means practiced purity. How come?
Because I was chasing a title, not a lifestyle. I was more interested in telling my wife on our wedding night that I was a virgin...but less interested in telling her that I had done my best to stay pure.
I was legalistic. My mentality was that I'd give her a check-in-the-box but not my entirety.
Was that love?
It was not.
Be pure in heart, abstinence will follow. We can't remain physically pure if we're not remaining spiritually pure. Like many sins it boils down to pride. Pride is the foundation. Pride makes us feel entitled. Pride convinces us that we're above instruction. Pride causes disobedience and irreverence to He who is holy.
By the grace of God I will be able to tell my wife that she's my first but because of my rebellion I won't be able to say that I waited for her to engage in intimate relations that, in my opinion, should be reserved for marriage. And that's huge.
Gentlemen, hear me out! At 29 I wish so badly that I could say I abstained from impurity. My wife deserves it- so does yours, and she deserves it now. One-night-stands don't make you a man, they make you a slut. Ladies, if a guy isn't willing to honor your boundaries then he's not willing to honor you. Break up with him, let him grow and do not re-engage until he grows into the man of God who you deserve. You owe this to him.
Oh, and regardless of how platonic or friends-with-benefits-y these activities may be there will always be emotional investments paid in and these investments have a sinisterly way of resurfacing down the line.
"We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity–like perfect charity–will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help." -C.S. Lewis
Growing up we're taught that it's best to be proactive in regards to temptation. Don't put yourself in the situation where you would be tempted. But then we got older and thought we were stronger. Truth is, it's more childish to say "I'm a big kid" at 29 than it is to say it at 9. We may be "big kids" but we're still not bigger than sin and we're more susceptible to sin given the physiological/emotional desires that we develop as we get older. I've never understood the phrase "I'm old enough to make my own decision." We've always been old enough to make our own decisions. I made decisions when I was 5. That doesn't mean they were right then, it doesn't mean they're right now. Age differs, morality does not.
Accountability in everything.
Holiness in everything.
Grace in everything.
Still, there is redemption for us all.
My favorite story that foreshadows the gospel is Jesus' interaction with the woman caught in adultery.
they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” –John 8:4-11 ESV
Jesus was the only one who was justified to kill her. He was also the only one willing to pardon her.
Justified to kill her.
Willing to spare her.
That is the gospel message. God saw what was wretched, disobedient and in great conflict with his order of creation and thus He was justified to destroy it. But because of his love, because of the value that he held us at, because of his fatherly role in our lives...he looked on us with grace. What is more is that grace was not isolated to Jesus' pardoning the woman of her death. Grace was also in "go and sin no more" because it spared her of the implications of her sin. His accountability was a furthering of his grace.
You're single? Practice purity now.
You've already "screwed up?" Practice purity now.
You don't know what "too far" looks like? Believe me, if it's questionable then you won't regret erring on the side of caution. Practice purity now.
You don't have damage, you have a story to tell of restoration.
You're not used goods, you've been made whole.
Purity is a challenge but it is a gift.
Always remember that you're a beautiful creation made by a beautiful creator for a beautiful purpose.
For the gospel //