Purity After “I Do.”
I recently read an article entitled “Christians, Stop Staying Pure Until Marriage”. Needless to say the title caught my attention. The author was basically saying this: as Christians we are constantly commanded to stay pure before marriage but we fail to mention purity after marriage. Purity is not something that is “lost” on the honeymoon night.
This article hit me hard.
I’ve actually thought a lot over the years about what we are told before marriage about sex: don’t have it. With this mentality, people before marriage get as close to this line as possible without falling off the cliff.
What if we took a different approach before marriage, which would change our mindset after marriage?
The author was dead on: purity goes with us before and after marriage. Purity is a lifestyle. We are called to holiness whether we are married or not. This takes “don’t have sex until you’re married” to a whole new level. Practicing absolute purity is something that transcends marriage. If you live a life of purity before marriage, purity after marriage will be something you have already been living.
I’m even more convicted of this in light of the current best sellers and now movie Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, I said it, and yes, I am going there. I will admit that I have not read the books nor have I seen the movie. I guess one could therefore argue that I cannot speak to the contents. And I would argue I don’t need to see the movie to know it has no place in my life. I don’t need to eat a rotting apple to know it will make me sick.
This is a bit of a tangent here but I am tired of us justifying our actions, our choice of books, movies, and television shows. I’m tired of us telling each other, “It’s okay” when really we need a good verbal beating. I am speaking to myself just as much as I am challenging you. It’s time to step up. Sex within marriage is a beautiful gift. Let’s be real: it’s awesome! As Christians we need to fight with everything we have to keep the sanctity of this gift instead of cheapening it to what the world has made it in to.
So, what does purity after marriage look like? Just like the attitude of sexual purity when single, it is much deeper than, “Don’t have an affair”. To me, that is the same thing as saying, “Don’t have sex” before marriage. Purity in marriage looks like this:
- Keep God first. Before you close your browser because this is cliché, read it again. Keep. God. First. Incase we forgot, we are here first and foremost to love God. While this is easier said than done, keeping this as our first priority really does simplify a lot of things. Putting God above all means it is our desire to do what pleases Him even when it’s hard. I’ve found myself torn between two choices countless times, choices that never should have been debatable in the first place. Striving to serve my God makes those tough decisions for me. It never even goes to the jury.
- Keep your spouse second. This is about service. It is easy to blame your spouse for not doing fill-in-the-blank, but actually your actions are independent of their actions. This has been a difficult concept for me to grasp. We choose to love even when our spouse does not deserve it. Do you know why? Because when we were sinners Christ died for us. We are called to love people in spite of their shortcomings. And chances are your spouse loves you despite your junk. Serve your spouse by keeping them second. If you are uncomfortable speaking to that person, watching that movie or sending that text in front of your spouse that is a pretty good indication you are not serving them in love.
- Purity is a choice. It is a way of life. From what you put on in the morning, to what you watch on TV, to what you dwell on, to what you say to others, to how you carry yourself-it all reflects the level of purity you have in your life. Purity is about holiness. We serve a Holy God. We have a higher calling than just following a couple rules. We choose to be pure. We choose to be holy, one action at a time.
With all this being said, I am FAR from perfect in any of these areas. Believe me, I know it is hard to put this into practice. It makes a nice A, B, C list but living this day in and day out is hard. The good news is our God would not call us to something that is impossible. We have the Holy Spirit living in us, and we struggle with all his might. Paul tells us in Philippians that we really can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, absolute purity included.
Yes, brothers and sisters, it’s time to stop staying pure until marriage and time to start living a life of purity no matter what stage in life God has called us to. It’s time to step up. It’s time to live a life of purity.
Stop staying pure until marriage, and start staying pure even after “I do”.