“Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues.”— C. S. Lewis
The Bible has a great deal to say about purity. Matthew 5:8 says, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. I Thessalonians 4:3-5,7 says, “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways…God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.” And I Corinthians 6:18—20 adds, “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
So many times when we talk about purity, we put it in terms of dos and don’ts. Can I go here? Should I read this book? Is it wrong to see this movie? Is this blouse too revealing? Should I listen to this music? Or we talk about purity as a series of options or choices. But purity is not primarily about sex, or what you do or don’t do, or about what you watch or read or what you say. Purity is not about you or your desires. Purity is about doing what honors God. Purity is about God.
God has a stake in our purity He has called us to be pure and He is glorified when we walk in purity. The real question is not “should I do this?” or “would I enjoy this?” or “will this get me in trouble?” but “will this honor God?” Will it honor God for me to spend time with this person? Does this addiction of mine dishonor the Lord? Will it reflect badly on the Lord if I go along with my friends? Will it dishonor God to not be completely truthful to my wife about my extracurricular activities?
Andy Stanley talks about putting up guardrails —warning systems you put up within your marriage. God has a standard for marriage and for purity. We need guardrails so we don’t violate those standards. No guardrails often leads to trouble because perhaps the couple wouldn’t have strayed into dangerous places.
Not too many spouses think, when they first get married, that they will not stray into dangerous behavior. But it happens. You think that it won’t happen to you.” “There’s no way! Not Me!” Think again —many who were as strong as they thought they could be, have weakened beyond their wildest imaginations, and have fallen. Even the most innocent of beginnings, with the best of intentions, can end up where you find yourself flirting with danger.
Married couples need to put those guardrails up before a dangerous temptation catches their attention. With no guardrail in place they strayed into doing what they they shouldn’t have. Whatever act could threaten your marriage is exactly the act you should be guarding yourselves by setting up guardrails to keep that from happening.
- Is purity realistic let alone possible in today’s culture? Why or why not?
- What guardrails do I need in my marriage/relationships this week?