“Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” -1 Timothy 4:12
Ah, yes. The topic no one wants to talk about, but the most important topic of them all, especially for single disciples. So, what’s the secret? How do you stay pure in a world that is constantly barraging you with sex?
“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping your word.”
- Psalms 119:9
That’s it, folks. How do you stay pure? By staying close to God.
“Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” - James 4:7&8
I wish I had something more earth shattering to say in this blog, but it’s as simple as that. Keep your mind on “things above” (Col 3:2) and your mind won’t stray.
But what does straying even mean? Does a thought that crosses your mind count as sin? A feeling? An urge? Well, not necessarily. Impurity comes about when you act on your temptations. Because, there is a difference between temptation and sin.
Think about it this way, if you were on a very strict diet and you saw a massive chocolate cake across the room, you would probably have the thought “I want to eat that” cross your mind, right? But, is that thought sin? No. The sin manifests when you consciously make the choice to stand up, walk across the room and take the first bite. There is a distinction between conscious actions versus fleeting thoughts.
That’s one silly example, but let’s make it realistic.
If you saw someone attractive across the room and you had an impure thought cross your mind like “I want to kiss them” and did not act on said action, than you conquered the initial temptation. But, sin can still creep in. If you decide not to physically go over and kiss them, but picture kissing them in your mind and let yourself dwell on this lustful thought- this is where temptation becomes sin.
“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” - Matthew 5:27-28
The body is not the only thing that defines purity, but also the mind and the heart. This is a common misconception with many disciples that if they are simply abstaining from sexual encounters that they are automatically pure. That’s not necessarily true. If your heart and mind are constantly caught in lustful fantasies and daydreams, than you cannot consider yourself to be pure.
This is most important for people who struggle with an addiction to pornography. It’s a gross topic, but porn is so easily available now that it’s that much harder to stay pure. If you are a disciple and are watching porn that is sin. Plan and simple. If you are a disciple and you masturbate, that is also sin. If you fantasize about sexual acts with someone, look at their body in a lustful way- this is all sin. Thinking about sex, or trying to stimulate it for yourself- this is all as sinful, biblically, as the physical act itself.
Jesus took time out of his short ministry to speak about purity, so clearly it is important.
Sex is meant to be reserved for the consummation of love between two married people. “Married” being the key word there. The Bible expressly condemns sex outside of marriage. Paul speaks about this in 1 Corinthians 7 where he talks about how not all people have to get married, but if you cannot control your urges than you should to spare yourself from sexual immorality.
But, and let me be clear here, marriage is not solely meant for sex. On the contrary, it’s meant to strengthen one another and to build a family. If you are marrying someone just to have sex with them, than you do not understand biblical marriage. You are to spend the rest of your lives together as one flesh. Don’t use the marriage bed as a release but as a way to rejoice in the love you both share and your future together.