We can all too easily get ourselves in a tangle when it comes to purity. I think there are many of us, Christian lads who are ashamed that we’ve not yet had sex. This shame is reduced when we’re with other Christians. But the moment we’re hanging out with work colleagues or acquaintances, there’s always the chance we try and pretend we’ve gone further than we have just to spare our own blushes.
Perhaps you’ve been in the kind of scenario I’m about to describe. It’s a work drinks party and you’re part of the group. The night is drawing to an end and many people are loose tongued thanks to ample supplies of alcohol. Someone starts by asking everyone in the group to detail how far they’ve gone. It becomes a game where you are supposed to impress with your sexual prowess (whether its actually true is not really the point). I remember being in such a situation and wanting the ground to swallow me up. It was humiliating, or at least it felt humiliating to be put in that situation. I was a Christian who, while not being blemish free in regards to purity nevertheless, had not had sex with a girl. It became clear, because I sort of mumbled something about ‘wanting to wait’. The looks of surprise, scorn and sympathy are clear to me even now. Many present just couldn’t comprehend why on earth I hadn’t had sex.
Let’s face it, society tends to despise the word ‘virgin’ and the word itself has a weird and slightly creepy ring to it. It’s not socially cool to head into a group of worldly wise people and declare proudly that you have yet to lose your virginity. And yet many Christians are virgins. Faced with pressure from the world to conform to another pattern altogether, what are we to make of this fact?
At the end of the day I have been called to live a life of meaning and purpose, in a relationship with my creator God. That relationship, which involves His blessings and my obedience, is the most fulfilling part of my life. Whatever else I encounter; at the heart of who I am is my identity as a child of God. And if I’m a virgin because I’m waiting until I’m married, should I really be ashamed of living life the way God intended? Not at all! There are more important things in this life than how much sex you have.
So why are we ashamed of purity then? Well aside from the fact it runs countercultural to the world around about us; I think it is because we don’t take time to properly appreciate the amazing benefits of purity. We can become so caught up with our feelings of embarrassment, shame and fear we forget that purity is a great and good thing.
I should add, if you are reading this as an unmarried Christian who has had sex already, perhaps before you were saved, or even subsequent to being saved, let me say I’m not trying to judge you or argue you are worse. We’re all sinners, and actually we’re all sexual sinners. Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount that sexual sin begins in the mind. I might not have physically had sex, but we all have in our minds the capacity to sin sexually. The bible urges us to be captivated by Christ, rather than the lusts of our own bodies. Being constantly caught up with His all surpassing excellence is what helps us to stand firm and grow as people and as Christians.
And purity is nothing to be ashamed of. We are called of God to live holy lives that bring glory to Him. That should be our great and grand aim in life, to honour the Lord. What He has done for us in the gospel is so amazing; our lives should flow from our gratitude. Now being holy is not some chore but a beautiful thing. Sexual purity is an expression of obedience and reflects God’s plan for how we are to live. Everything God commands is for our good and that includes the limits and the boundaries within which sex is included. If we take the time to try and understand purity for what it is – an expression of obedience to the living God who is pure and perfect, there is no reason to be ashamed.
I’m not saying we should head into the office or university and shout to all our fellow peers that we are virgins and proud. Rather I’m saying we shouldn’t so easily adopt the world’s mindset. Life is about so much more than having lots of sex. Remember: if God says don’t, there is a really, really good reason why He says so. In fact, I think it’s not too far to say that sex, enjoyed in the way God intends, is the most fulfilling expression there is. When you are asked the question: how far have you gone? Or you feel the pressure to lie to cover up for your lack of experience; I think you should be honest. Obedience to the One who is all wise is not wasted energy. Let’s not be ashamed of purity, especially in a world that is increasingly abandoning any concept of sexual morality.
I’m going to have to work hard in my own life to practise what I’m ‘preaching’. It can be tough, when you want people to like and respect you to be so honest. Our stance on sex runs so contrary to the world’s we are inevitably exposed when we take a stand. But God has promised to always be with us. That’s His grace soaked promise to us each and every day. Being pro-purity does not make you boring, old fashioned or un-cool and it’s time we started believing it.
(Photo: John ONolan)