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5 Lessons Purity Teaches Us

Last Updated: April 11, 2015

Jessica Harris
Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris is the founder of Beggar’s Daughter, a ministry dedicated to walking with women who have an addiction to pornography. Telling her own story of porn addiction and struggle with lust, Jessica seeks to help other women find hope, healing, and grace. Jessica enjoys traveling and speaking on the topic of female lust addiction and how churches can minister to women who struggle. She resides just outside of Washington DC where she works as a teacher and serves on the Biblical counseling team in her church. She is the author of Love Done Right: Devos—A Journey From Lust into the Love of God.

If you had asked me to define purity when I was still a teenager, I would have told you it was simply this: “Don’t have sex before you’re married.” As the years went on, that definition expanded—don’t kiss a guy, don’t date a man you will not marry, group dating only, don’t sit within six inches of a man, only let him touch you if he is escorting you across a patch of ice or a pit of alligators—but only hungry ones.

Now, the message is different. As I stand in this moment of my life, surrounded by an overly sexualized society, I hear over and over again this message that women are sex objects, defined by our bodies. They say sexual “release” is only “natural” and that I am being a prude and will not be liberated until I just give in. I may not be “liberated” but I do consider myself educated, trained by purity in some of the most important lessons in life.

Purity has some important lessons to teach us.

1. Delayed Gratification

Yes, there is such a thing. Waiting is a foreign concept to most people. Porn does not teach us to wait. Porn is all about instant. It is constantly changing; constantly offering whatever might make you happy in this moment, right now. There is no waiting.

Purity teaches us a better way. It teaches us to wait patiently for what is best. More than that, it shows us we can wait.

2. Human Value

What price does pornography put on a woman’s body? Have you wrapped your mind around what pornography does to a woman? It reduces her to a collection of body parts, hidden behind a fake name and a layer of makeup, and sells her to you. She has no value.

Purity, on the other hand, teaches us to see other people as people. It teaches us to interact with them and to view like humans, fellow creations made in the image of God, not like sex objects at our disposal.

3. Selflessness

Pornography is selfish. The idea of casual sex is selfish. An affair is selfish. Masturbation can be selfish. We are selfish.

When we restrain ourselves and cannot act on those ‘natural impulses,’ though, we learn that our own wants are not really what is important here. We learn to respect others and to put their needs first. We esteem them higher than ourselves, and we find joy in serving others, not using them for our own personal gain.

4. Trust

It goes without saying that there is no trust in pornography. Nothing about pornography or any form of immorality says, “You can trust me” or, for that matter, “I trust God.”

A lifestyle of purity, on the other hand, develops in us a character of trustworthiness, because it reflects a trust in God. You cannot be pure without His help, without an outpouring of His power, and an extra dose of His grace for the times you will fall. To be pure is to trust God—that is what it all boils down to.

5. Sex isn’t everything, but it is something special

Listen to the world, and they will tell you otherwise. Sex is used to sell everything from body soap to beer. Whole TV shows center around sex. All of the gossip centers on love lives, or lack thereof. We are a culture obsessed with sex and it is casual. It is no big deal. The more you see something, the more boring it becomes.

Purity combats that attitude head on, not by calling sex dirty or by labeling it as “bad” but by embracing it as something good—very good. No, sex is not everything. Our lives do not, cannot and should not center around sex. There are two ways to embrace the waiting; with a white-knuckled grip for your wedding night or with a surrendered understanding that there are far more important things in life (just like there will be far more important things in marriage).

If you notice, none of those lessons are unique to the single person.

Having just celebrated my 27th birthday, still single, and (by the grace of God alone) still pure, I have come to realize something. Purity is not a goal or a list of guidelines. Purity is, in fact, a lifestyle and a process. It is not something that terminates on your wedding day. Purity does not end at the altar. It is a character-builder which instructs us long before marriage and should continue to instruct us long after we say, “I do.”

  • Comments on: 5 Lessons Purity Teaches Us
    1. Desiree'

      Hi Jessica!

      As an almost 37 year old virgin, I have just begun to realize the real true meaning of the word “purity.” I am now into my second FULL month of NO masturbation! & I am SO PROUD of myself! You said it best, when you said “by the grace of God alone.”

      I used to wonder if virgins actually felt like virgins & wondered what it actually felt like, to “feel like a virgin.” I never “felt” like a virgin, because I was so caught up in masturbation. Now that I am actually pure (free from sexual sin), for the FIRST time ever, I actually feel like a virgin. It feels so awesome! I can now talk the talk & walk the walk, all by the grace of God! NEVER underestimate the power of prayer! I pray all the time, for the Lord to take away these urges & to control my body that He created. He has been doing just that & so much more! How awesome is He!!!!!!!!

      We live in a sex sick world & sex is EVERYWHERE! We Christians, single & not, are supposed to guard our hearts & minds. That’s not an easy thing to do, when my eyes see it everywhere. In the end, it’s MY choice & I am choosing the Lord. I have a brand new much stronger & deeper relationship with Him. I am stronger now, than I have ever been. I am so totally in love with Him & I cry when I speak of Him. I even cry everytime I get on that intimate level with Him. He is my choice!

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