"I believe you carry purity," a fellow student said to me at church a couple years ago. I nodded my head and smiled politely. It wasn't the first time I had heard that. People often said things like that when they prayed for me or encouraged me. I was hoping to hear something like remarkable intelligence or incredible boldness. Truthfully, I was kind of disappointed to keep hearing purity.
I didn't mask my true feelings too well though, because the student saw my reaction and said, "Not the 'Aw you're innocent, good job,' kind of purity. But the kind of purity that can change the world."
That caught my attention. If there's a kind of purity that can change the world, I will take it.
As I dove deeper into this idea of purity, I began to realize it's actually an invitation into freedom. We can sometimes get caught up in all the "no's" of the bible and think that God is just another authority figure looking down on us and waiting for us to please Him. The truth is, God doesn't say no to certain things to take away our liberty, He actually says no to protect it.
God invites you to partner with Him to keep yourself free.
God wants freedom for you, not bondage. He wants you to wake up in the morning and feel hope and expectation for what's to come, not regret about the night before. He wants you to find the man or woman of your dreams and feel loved by them, fully loved, because you learned to receive love in its purest form. He wants you to live your life knowing that who you are is enough. He wants you to be in places of influence, walking out the deepest dreams and desires of your heart, without worrying about anything stopping you.
Sexual purity is a subject that can trigger shame for some people, but it's not actually about what you did or didn't do in your past. Your mistakes don't disqualify you from carrying it. When you asked Jesus to come into your life and His blood washed you clean, you were called to become a carrier of freedom. Your past mistakes cannot be held against you or disqualify you anymore. Purity is evidence of God's redemption story in your life. It's deciding that nothing's going to hold you down, nothing's going to hold you back, and nothing's going to steal beauty, wonder, and goodness from your life. You're free to live abundantly.
Purity may not get a lot of credit in our culture, but it is something worth fighting for. I see it in the faithfulness of a man who chooses to go home every day to his wife and kids and be a father and a husband. I see it in the courage of a young girl who asks her date to take her home after the dance, even though he's dreamy, because one day she's going to be someone's wife and he's going to be someone's husband. I also see it in the young lady at the altar with tears in her eyes, asking a kind Father if He restores innocence that's been lost, and finding that He does.
It may take every ounce of courage you have to live counter-culturally. It may take strength you never realized you possessed to say no to things the world places at your fingertips. If you do, you will definitely change your own life, and you might even change the world.