Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Staying 'Pure' in a Sex-Crazed Culture - Belinda Elliott

True Love Waits. You’ve heard it before, and maybe you even signed a pledge card promising that you would “wait” until you were married to have sex. Sounds simple enough, right? But in today’s culture it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

Purity, is not just about abstaining from sex until you are married. It is a mindset that encompasses every area of your life.

In our sex-saturated culture, how do you live a life of purity? There are several key steps, St. James says.

Pay attention to how you dress.

Though dressing modestly isn’t the only aspect of living a pure life, it’s the one people often think of first, and with good reason. The clothes you wear send a message to the people around you.

“I think a lot of girls feel like, in the name of fashion, they need to show tons of skin. But that’s really hard for our brothers in the Lord. It’s hard for them to keep their minds pure when they see so much skin,” St. James says. “I think sometimes girls say that they are waiting (until they are married to have sex), but they are dressing in a way that is completely opposite.”

Dressing modestly doesn’t mean sacrificing style, she says. And contrary to what some girls think, a lot of guys find this attractive.

“The girl that dresses modestly, to the right kind of guy, is actually way more attractive because there is more intrigue,” St. James says. “You can still dress cute and modest. It’s just a bit more challenging. You have to get more creative.”

Be careful what you watch.

Living a pure lifestyle also means guarding our minds and hearts, St. James says. We do this by closely monitoring the things that we watch and listen to. Watching movies that have steamy love scenes or listening to music with questionable lyrics can desensitize us and make immoral things seem “not so bad.”

"All of us are really impacted by what we see and what we listen to, so keeping those standards high is really important,” she says.

Spending daily time in God’s Word is also important. As we seek to fill our minds with what God says about these issues, we will be more likely to live out those principles. 

Set limits in relationships.

When you are in a dating relationship, discuss with your significant other what is appropriate and what is off-limits.

“I’m pretty boundaried when I’m in a relationship,” St. James says. “My boyfriend and I would talk about things like keeping a shoe in the door, or not being in a room alone at night. We would just make sure somebody can walk in at any point and that we are accountable there.”
Have someone hold you accountable.

Having accountability outside of your dating relationship is crucial as well. St. James said that friends, relatives, and church members are all places where teens can find accountability. She said she has relied on all three of those to keep her accountable.

“I have friends that will ask me the tough questions, and I also have had my family very involved in my life,” she says. “I think when you start falling out of fellowship, the temptation in the area of purity becomes a hard thing to battle.”

Pursue a vibrant relationship with God.

All of these areas are really an outgrowth of a close relationship with God, St. James says. Maintaining a vibrant relationship with the Lord is the most crucial factor in living a life of purity.

“If I know my Daddy, God, my Papa, is looking out for me and wants my best and He says that purity is important, then I’m going to wait,” she says. “If I’m wanting to please Him with my life, then that’s going to be the biggest motivation because I don’t want a cloud of sin to come in between me and God.”

It also boils down to a matter of trust, she says. We can trust that God’s way is the best way for us, or we can choose to trust that what the world tells us is best.

“I think when we know that God loves us and He’s got the best plans for us, then we will want to live His way. I think it’s when we doubt the heart of God and doubt His love for us that we have a really hard time with living His way.”

Excerpts form the book "Pure" by Rebecca St. James

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