I never imagined that I would publicly chime in on this subject, but it’s absolutely necessary. I see far too many women asking questions that not nearly enough people (with influence, and within the church) are willing and able to answer with certainty. Additionally, I hear far too much unwholesome talk among women (and men) who claim to believe in God, but undermine His word and His authority.
This blog post is dedicated to the single, dating, engaged, or married woman who knows that she’s saved by the grace of God; who desires to glorify God, above all else, in her mind, body, and spirit; whose sexuality -in its entirety – is in need of redemption and sanctification.
As a single woman in my 30s, I’ve lived long enough to know that God can and will keep you. Here are my no-nonsense tips on protecting your purity. No matter where you are in your walk or what mistakes you’ve made in the past, there’s something to learn here.
Purity (n.) – freedom from adulteration or contamination; freedom from immorality, especially of a sexual nature.
First things first. Here’s where I stand biblically:
- I firmly believe that the Bible is the authoritative word of God – the Creator of man and woman, and the entire universe. (Genesis 1; John 1:1, 3; Colossians 1:16) I also believe that because we were created by God, we are subject to Him and the boundaries He has set for us.
- In essence, we belong to God, and His instructions are for our good. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- If a man and a woman join together in marriage, then their bodies belong to one another. (1 Corinthians 7:4) Even then, they do not cease to belong to God, as marriage was created by God for their good, and ultimately, for His glory. Therefore, marriage pleases Him. (Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5:25-27)
- Adam and Eve were the first to enjoy the marriage covenant before God. In that, God intended for them to be joined together as one flesh, as husband and wife, in an exclusive, God-honoring relationship. (Genesis 2:21-25)
- With that said, sex is meant to be enjoyed between one man and one women, within the confines of marriage alone. Any other way is not only harmful to you (and others), but also dishonoring to God. Any other way is sexually immoral (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Ephesians 5:3)
- Sexual immorality should be put to death (Colossians 3:5)
Still with me? If you believe these things, then read on. If you don’t, then you’re free to read on as well; but I encourage you to study these scriptural references. Additional ones are sprinkled throughout the remainder of this blog post, so look into those, too.
Okay. Here are some practical ways to protect your purity:
Know Your Body + Discipline It
Dear woman of God – you cannot change the fact that you are a created being with sexual urges; and if you cannot satisfy those urges within the confines of marriage (e.g., your spouse is unavailable), then discipline is required. (1 Corinthians 9:27):
- To start, I highly encourage you to chart your cycle. That is, your entire 30-day cycle – not just your menstruation. This information is helpful for all women who want to understand their God-give body and how hormones contribute to their sexual urges. Having these urges does not equal sin or perversion. Acting on these urges outside of the confines of marriage is where the trouble lies. I know for a fact that my body acts the same way at the same times each month, so it’s no surprise to me when my hormones start screaming about making a baby. Intellectually, I know what’s going and that the moment will pass, so I politely decline and go about my holy and unmarried business.
- After you begin to understand your body and when your sexual urges are most likely to intensify, make a plan for how you will get through those times each month. It might sound like a lot of work, but honestly, it will become second nature. Once you know when you’re most likely to be tempted, be on guard with a plan and remember your why: obedience. (Matthew 16:24; Philippians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 15:14-18) A plan might look like avoiding idle time and/or certain people and places; having an accountability partner or friend who checks in with you and spurs you on in the faith; engaging in activities the feed your mind and your spirit rather than your flesh; exploring more creative outlets; getting active or doing something to serve others; working on a passion project. Whatever works best for you. Fill that time with the things that satisfy you holistically. Making this a lifestyle choice rather than a on-time, once-a-month thing will make it easier to win the fight for purity daily. (Matthew 26:41; James 4:7)
Learn Your Triggers + Set Personal Boundaries
The word of God instructs us to make no provisions for the flesh (Romans 13:14) and to flee from temptation. (1 Corinthians 6:18) With that in mind:
- Be completely honest with yourself about your triggers. Name the specific things that lead you into temptation and re-evaluate your decisions around those things. As I mentioned before, it could be certain people and places. It could also be certain television shows, movies, magazines, books, social media, or unwholesome conversations. Even if you can’t avoid these things altogether, it is completely within your control to limit your engagement and choose not to indulge. Put plainly, whatever causes you to sin, cut it off. (Matthew 5:30; 2 Timothy 2:22)
- I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to set personal boundaries. This point is closely linked to the previous one in that what might be “okay” for someone else to engage in (without falling) might not be okay for you; and there’s nothing wrong with that. Once you identify those things and set boundaries around them, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your choices. You answer to God, not them. The people within your circles should be required to respect you and your boundaries. Anyone who crosses those boundaries and/or makes light of them does not respect/love you, and frankly, they’re being used as a tool of the enemy. Even the people you call friends. If they call you a prude or question you about things that don’t sit right in your spirit, then they need to go. (Titus 1:15; Romans 6:13)
Lean Into the Helper (Holy Spirit)
I need you to understand something. More than anything, the fight for purity begins in your mind. (Romans 12:2) The enemy desires to distort your view of your sexuality and that of fellow image bearers. He will inundate you mind with thoughts that you feel you have no control over. This is a lie. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) If you are in Christ, then the Holy Spirit is your Helper and will lead and guide you in the way that you should go. He will also provide a way of escape when you are tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13), but it’s up to you to be receptive. (1 Peter 2:11) Don’t ignore His leading. If you do, expect to continue to fall.
- If impure thoughts are feeding your sexual urges and causing your to fall into temptation, then I highly encourage you to enter into an extended period of fasting a praying – and don’t do it alone. Some people like to fast from specific things (e.g. tv, social media, etc.), but I’m talking about a traditional fast from food. During this fast, the time that you would typically use to fuel your body with food should be dedicated to prayer, study, and worship. Whether it’s for a few, consecutive weekends or during some other period of time, get into the habit of disciplining your flesh and feeding your spirit in this way, and commit to it. I guarantee that you will begin to replace those impure thoughts with things from above (Philippians 4:8; Psalm 119:37) and starve out those urges. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
- Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17) With that said, what does your community look like? It is important to surround yourself with Spirit-filled people who will get in the fight with you; who will speak life over you and your personal struggles; who will pray and walk alongside you; and who will be available for those unexpected calls for help. (Proverbs 27:17) If there aren’t any Spirit-filled people within your circle that you know and trust, then it’s time to change that. It will put you one step closer toward freedom from the shackles of impurity. (John 8:34)
Seek Discipleship + Counseling
You may not want to hear this part, but from what I’ve observed, one of the best ways to tackle a specific stronghold in your life is to seek out holistic discipleship. (Colossians 1:28–29; Titus 2:5; Titus 2:12) This provides an opportunity for a trusted spiritual leader to invest in you and your walk with Christ in more ways than one because, at the end of the day, God wants to redeem and sanctify all of you – past, present, and future.
For example, you might be struggling with self-control as you attempt to resist sexual temptation; but where do you lack self-control or discipline in other areas of your life? This information is truly telling, but you’ve got to be honest with yourself about it. If you become more Christ-like in multiple areas of your walk, then it becomes much easier to release the stronghold(s) in others.
Whomever disciples you, in essence, becomes a sources of accountability; and ideally, that person would also lead by example.
If not discipleship, I also suggest Christian counseling with a licensed professional (woman to woman). With professional help, it’s possible to identify the root cause of specific behavior(s) that you engage in and learn to manage them. I’m no expert here, but this goes back to the battle for your mind. Whatever it is that you need to do to get to the root of your struggle, please do it as soon as possible. God will meet you where you are, and He will be your strength. He has blessed the world with people who are equipped with knowledge that can empower and mature you; that can get you from a place of “I can’t…” to “Actually, I can… I can bring my body under submission.”
There’s Grace for the Journey
You might be asking yourself, “Do I need to do all of these things to practice purity?” My answer is, “Maybe… Maybe not.” I don’t know the details of your personal struggles in this area, but anyone who believes in the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit and desires to walk in obedience will not make excuses for why they cannot obey. (Romans 8:7) You might need to try one or a combination of these things, but it’s entirely up to you; and if you fall, please remember that there’s grace for you on your journey. (2 Corinthians 12:9) It will take some time to undo the damage that sin and perversion creates in your heart and mind, but we are not without hope. I need you to trust and believe that. (Hebrews 4:14-15; Psalm 73:26; Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 21:1-2)
If you are reading this blog post as a Christian influencer or leader of sorts, please ensure that you are not leading God’s people astray or further toward confusion. It’s not okay. Many women and men are out here struggling with impurity for no good reason at all. Do right by them and teach them, or direct them to someone else who will do just that.