“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
I read Elisabeth Elliot’s “Passion and Purity” in high school because a friend gave it to me. It’s been a long time, but I remember my big “takeaway” was about surrendering all things to Christ.
Ughhhh — surrendering is not easy. And I hate it when people (especially those holier-than-thou ones we all know) act like it is. I hate it even more when I try to be that fake goody-two-shoes type that isn’t just a hypocrite but also a sorry excuse for righteousness.
This post is supposed to be about purity. That’s nearly impossible for me to write about because I have never — as a dirty, sinful human — ever been pure. On a purely human (intentional pun there) scale, I might have a gold medal. But I think that depends on who you ask. Sure, I’ve had some bumps and bruises along the way, but I’ve never been that bad by society’s standards. Most people would say that I’ve been really good. Yay — I got a human purity award that doesn’t exist!
To give you a little foundation, I don’t believe sex before marriage is okay. I believe we should take purity seriously. I believe we should treat our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, and we shouldn’t “set our minds on the flesh.” God’s pretty clear about how He feels about purity.
But I grew up believing that “my goodness and purity” were things I had to guard.
I don’t have any goodness apart from Christ. My righteousness is filthy rags. My very best is dirty, impure. If I haven’t given my life to Christ in surrender, then “my purity” is still my own and is utterly worthless. It’s only by the blood of Christ that I am made pure, because He covers me with His righteousness.
Have you ever just stopped and thought about the fact that you were dead — doomed — before Jesus? Without Christ I am dead. Without his goodness, I am dirty.
It doesn’t make sense, and yet it is true.
No amount of human cleanliness will rid me of my sin. How many times have I condemned other girls? Believed they were less because their purity was “ruined”? How often have I idolized my fake purity? How many times have I hated myself when I have failed?
No degree of physical purity will cover up the dirtiness in my heart.
So why do I try to be pure? Out of obedience to Christ. Surrendering is an active, daily, very real thing, and that’s why I groaned about it not being easy. Like I said, I’m a sinner. Elisabeth Elliot struggled too, but she actively prayed and sought wisdom. We don’t just struggle against the flesh — which is weak and dies — but against spiritual forces. Purity is more than physical. That’s why we need an active Savior, who redeems us fully, daily.
No matter what you’ve done — or haven’t done — Christ can redeem you. He doesn’t want our fake purity medals or crowns; He wants our broken hearts.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:16
Editor’s Note: Rebekah is a contributor to this blog, but isn’t the only writer whose words you may see here. To read more posts by Rebekah or to see the other writers, visit the authors’ categories in the menu at the top right corner of the screen.