Purity and chastity seem rare in this permissive, anti-Christian era of brave new morality. But, you are not alone. Some of us still value such things.
THE Topic – SEX
This week I am writing about a topic that I may thus far have subconsciously avoided. It is surprising to me that I haven’t written about it yet because it is a subject that is very important to me, and always on the minds of most single people – sex.
For a lot of people, it is a drive more powerful than hunger or fame and fortune. In fact, I suspect that a lot of people seek fame and fortune, in large part, in the hope that it will lead to more sex.
Sex and My Singleness
I believe my avoidance of this topic is largely due to my feeling that I never quite mastered sexual purity. My singleness ended up a mixed bag. On one hand, I did stay sexually pure in the sense that I did remain chaste. I never had sex with anyone while I was single. Honestly. I know that seems absurd to many people in this modern, permissive, anti-Christian era of brave new morality, but in that area, I was able, through well-placed guardrails, to remain celibate through my second singleness.
I wish I could end my story there, but there is more to it. Though I was able to reign in my outward actions, my inner thought-life is another matter entirely. If I hold myself to Jesus’ stricter standard of not looking at a woman lustfully, I failed miserably.
Even worse, I have to admit to you that I went through two periods where I regularly viewed pornography. I could offer excuses like having an extremely strong sex drive, or desperately missing the sex I had before as a married man. Although those statements are true, the bottom line is – I knew better, yet I indulged in it anyway.
Now, I didn’t write that as the beginning of a true confessions/memoir blog post. I write these things to let you know that we all face the same struggles. None of us are immune from that which is common to man. No matter how spiritual or well-adjusted we seem on the outside, inside we all have areas of strength and areas of weakness.
Purity – Three Thoughts
So, all of that being said, what do I want you to learn from my story? Three things…
First off, I was able to remain celibate. So can you. But it did not happen by accident. It was by design. Because I knew this was an area of weakness, I put guardrails in place to keep me safely on the road and stop me from falling off the edge of the cliff.
One good guard rail: never, ever, be alone with someone of the opposite sex, especially at your place or theirs. It is safest to assume that you are capable of messing up and be extra cautious. This is much more judicious than assuming you can control yourself and giving yourself the opportunity to mess up. This may seem impractical or a bit overboard to some of you. But, it is a simple matter of whether remaining pure is important to you or not. Is this something you want to insure or just a high ideal to which you pay lip service?
Secondly, I was able to beat pornography. Please understand that I come at this from a Christian standpoint, so, this may sound a little spooky and overly spiritual for some of you. But honestly, this is what got me away from porn – I realized that to engage in porn I had to deliberately shut off my God-consciousness. Purposely stepping away from God’s presence was, in my eyes, too high a price to pay.
You see, porn is not ultimately fulfilling. Like so many Earthly pleasures, it leaves you wanting more and more. Whereas the presence of God always brings with it a peace, joy, and fulfillment that you cannot find in anything else. I could not continue to shut out the thing that brought goodness into my life for that which only left me wanting. Fully embracing the peace, joy, and fulfillment is a much better choice!
I mentioned guardrails earlier. I love Andy Stanley’s teaching on ¹”Guardrails“. Another good way to beat porn is through the guardrail of accountability. There are apps you can install on your electronic devices that will send a list of websites you visit, to an accountability partner. That is a great guardrail to have in place.
Thirdly, I do still, despite now being married to a wonderful woman, have to constantly guard against lustful thoughts. Here again, I could offer excuses like a strong sex drive and women wearing yoga pants. But, in the end, I am the one responsible for my sexual purity.
The best strategy I have found so far is to turn those thoughts over to God. I cannot deny that a woman is attractive or that I notice. But, I can in that moment acknowledge God’s presence and bring Him into the conversation. In doing that, my mental dialogue tends to veer more toward thank You, Lord, for the beauty of your creation and steer away from more lustful, sexually charged thoughts.
I realize that what I am writing today is counter to what has become mainstream thinking in our culture. Things like pornography and casual sex are now widely accepted as normal and things like purity and celibacy are commonly dismissed as antiquated and passé.
But, there are still many of us to whom these things matter. There are more of us than you would think if you judge solely by what you see portrayed in popular culture. So, if you are a single who desires to stay pure, be encouraged. You are outnumbered, but not alone. There are more of you out there.
Your Story of Sexual Purity
Also, be encouraged that it is possible as a single person to live a life of sexual purity. It will, however, take some effort to get your mind right and get your guardrails in place. But, it will be worth it in the end. When you sit down with someone you are serious about and begin to share your life stories with each other, it will be a much easier conversation if you have been true to your beliefs in your single years.
Even if you have messed up in some ways, as I did, you can still live in purity from this point on. It is never too late to begin. It is never too late to change your storyline.
¹You can find links to “Guardrails” and several other valuable free resources here.
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