May 13, 2013

You Still Get to Wear White



It's such a small word with so much meaning and value behind it. A small word that can cause a heck of a lot of heartache if misunderstood, mishandled, or abused at the hands of another or even by our own: Purity.

Let's be honest, there is no legitimate place for purity in our culture and society at this point in history. If anything it's looked upon as archaic, moronic, and humorous (i.e. The 40 Year Old Virgin). We give little girls a small dose of it (maybe) in Disney movies and fairy tales for a short time, but these are then replaced with glossy magazines garnishing titles such as "5 Tips to Becoming a Better Kisser" (believe me it gets worse with the likes of Cosmo) and cheap romance novels, which really serve as the female equivalent of porn now. This is what the average church-going, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving girl has thrown in her face as well. (Unless she's living in the middle of nowhere, with absolutely no contact to any media outlet... but what are the odds of that really?) Christians are not immune to the sex-saturation that surrounds us.

The church's response generally has been the following: purity rings, True Love Waits rallies, an inordinate amount of books on dating/courtship (seriously, how many more do we need anyway?), retreats, conferences, sermons, sermon series, etc. The hard truth though is that these means of departing the value and beauty of purity hasn't made much of dent with the younger generations. This is not to say that God never uses these venues and tools to change and convict hearts, but one does have to consider their validity when we look at the stats of Christians who are having sexual contact with the opposite sex or/and living and sleeping together prior to marriage, the epidemic of pornography addictions, affairs, and more. All of which has lead to the majority of us harboring guilt, shame, and pain. When we've wallowed in that sea though and are tempted to just give up purity all together or settle for "always feeling this way," we desperately need to be reminded of some great truths...

We're All Sexually Broken & Impure. Let's start at the beginning. You and I... we... all of us, every single one, are sexually broken. When sin fractured everything at the fall, purity, in all it's facets and dimensions was too. If this is true (which I believe it is) then we've already, from the get-go, have failed in the so called "purity test," as we're born into iniquity and brokenness; by our own nature we're sinful. So nobody... and I really mean NO ONE gets to take home an "A" on their purity test. Not me, not you, nor the girl who waited to have her first kiss when she got married. You either perfect it or you don't. There's no middle ground that allows you to earn an amount of it by your own strength and willpower. Therefore, we haven't passed nor can we by ourselves. I'm emphasizing this because we need to realize just how equal we all actually come to this playing field. Purity isn't ours to possess except (and only) through Christ. You and I desperately need Christ's purity, for we have none otherwise.

What Comes After Failing in the Purity Department? The Gospel. The weight of your past is no longer yours to bear when Christ has taken you as His bride, for He has hoisted it upon His own back now so that you and I may walk in freedom, and walk in the purity He's gifted to us.

And it's here I want to dispel two lies I think we tend to tell ourselves when it comes to this subject of purity. First...

You're Not Doomed to a Horrible Marriage... nor are you unworthy of being genuinely loved and cherished by a godly man someday. Ultimately your purity isn't about your future spouse, it's about being purified and sanctified as Christ's bride.
You’re not being sanctified for him [(future) spouse].  If he exists, [he's] to help sanctify you for God.  If you get a husband, you’ll get to help sanctify him – for God. Clean up your act now, not so that you can be ready for some guy, but so that you can be ready when your heavenly bridegroom returns. ~Fabs Harford, 5 Notes on Dating for the Gals
No, this doesn't mean if you've sinned sexually in your past or are in a cycle of some sexual addiction that your sin will have absolutely no affect in some form in a future marriage, because sin does have consequences and it may mean there are issues that you and your future spouse will have to graciously work through. However, it also doesn't mean that a fantastic, Christ-centered marriage is now unattainable. Christ redeems everything, including your past and a future marriage. Sin is not the end of your story, God's redemptive power is. (Just as a side note, you probably wouldn't want to be married to someone who can't forgive you of your past, as that wouldn't be reflective of Jesus in your marriage... which is what marriage is supposed to be about.) And secondly...

You're Not Damaged Goods. To believe this is to reject the Gospel's power and work in restoring your brokenness. Christ doesn't see you as damaged goods. The very phrase "damaged goods" is business oriented and cold, diminishing a woman to a mere product sold at a market. You're a human being, made in the very image of God (the Imago Dei). From the moment you existed, He bestowed great value upon you; from the moment you entered into that covenant relationship He extended to you at the cross restored your standing before God. That means when God looks upon you and I, He sees Jesus, He sees perfection. Even if you are a Christian, and you stumble or sin sexually in some way, Christ still forgives and gives you grace, because a covenant with Him CANNOT and WILL NOT EVER be broken on His part.
A groom sees past the irregularities and blemishes, he sees beauty beneath the strains and stretches of what life has done to his bride’s body, he sees what he has chosen to be his—and He has called it good from the very beginning. And there, with that in mind, He presents us blameless, spotless, stainless to Himself. He reconciles what is broken and messy, and brings us whole to the Father for the eternal wedding feast... And only He can do it. ~Lore Ferguson, Blemish
You're not a good, not a product. Your a dearly beloved bride of the heavenly bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Continue the process of finding healing, restoration, and redemption in your purity, but do so resting on the fact that He's providing it for you and covers you in it. And when the day comes, you still get to wear that white dress. 
“Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord, "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." ~Isaiah 1:18

4 comments:

  1. Natalie, what an incredible post. I am floored at the truth running through this! "We're all sexually broken and impure" - how true this is! WE have all fallen, but the point is that we are forgiven, too, and we have the opportunity to be presented as pure before God once again. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this very timely reminder.

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    1. Aww! Thanks Jovita for the encouraging words =)

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  2. This topic needs to be talked about so thank you for sharing it!! So many girls need to hear this message!

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