Chapter 13 – Purity

Purity enhances physical intimacy in marriage. Purity saves all the sexual desire God hard-wired into men and women for the perfect context, where it can be expressed without shame. Put bluntly, purity equals the best sex possible over the course of a lifetime. However, when sexual desire begins to be aroused or expressed in impure ways, either through thoughts or actions, it diminishes the power of God’s gift and introduces underlying guilt. 


To learn more about purity, let’s turn to the book of Proverbs. Proverbs identifies three factors that affect purity for men in particular, but they are applicable to women as well. The first is modeling and counsel from a father figure or mother figure. The second is purity in women. The third is a satisfying sexual relationship in marriage. Let’s briefly look at each one.


First – Father Figures and Purity

Nothing sets a man’s feet on a course for sexual fulfillment like a father figure who models purity and respect for women. The primary voice that speaks in the early chapters of Proverbs regarding sexual purity is that of a father speaking to his son. Here’s how a few of these passages begin:


“My son, if you will receive my words…” (2:1)

“My son, give attention to my wisdom.” (5:1)

“My son, observe the commandment of your father.” (6:20)

“My son, keep my words, and treasure my commandments within you…” (7:1)


It is human nature to be conformed into the image of whatever we spend the most time beholding. This is why, in order to be changed into Christ’s image, Hebrews 2:12 commands us to fix “our eyes on Jesus” and why 2 Corinthians 3:18 commands us to “behold [Jesus] as in a mirror”. Jesus is our mirror – the more we behold Him, the more we become like Him.


One of the ways men can behold Christ is by observing His attributes in a father figure who is older and more mature. When a father models sexual purity, it creates an association between masculinity and purity. It connects courage with overcoming lust. It demonstrates that purity in a depraved world is heroic rather than something to be mocked. 


Second – Purity in Women

It is interesting that one of the characters in the Bible who helps men overcome lust is a woman. The early chapters of Proverbs call men to depend on Wisdom, personified as a woman, in this battle. For example, Proverbs 7:4-5 says:


“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call understanding your intimate friend; that they may keep you from an adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words.”


Women of purity break the power of lust in men’s lives like nothing else can. Why? Because they expose the devil’s counterfeit for what it is – cheap and inferior.


There is an attraction a man feels for a woman of purity that goes way beyond sexual gratification. Godly sexual attraction is part of it, but it goes deeper, down to the person she is in her heart. Feminine purity calls to the masculine soul in a way that makes him want to be something more, something better, something greater than he is right now. He wants to be worthy of loving and serving her, of being her covering and protector. He realizes it would be an honor to be chosen by her.


A stark contrast exists between godly beauty and worldly beauty. There is nothing more beautiful in the world than a woman who knows with confidence that she is loved passionately both by God and by her covering, such as a husband or a father. She radiates. It is so different than the world’s version of beauty, which is based on seduction and vanity, is devoid of character, and quickly fades away. Godly beauty grows greater with time rather than diminishing.


A Dream about Wisdom

I am a dreamer. I have multiple dreams every night and always remember them when I first wake up. Occasionally I have a dream that feels significant and has a biblical message. I will share a few of these in this book. My understanding of scripture is that dreams can sometimes come from a spiritual source, such as God or the enemy. I think it is possible that one or more of the dreams I will share came from the Lord, but it also certainly possible they came from my own soul.  


During one season I was frequently tempted by lust. To combat this, I began regularly reading from Proverbs. I noticed the exhortation to call Wisdom my sister and listen to her counsel regarding purity (ex. Proverbs 7:4-5, 9:13-18).


Then one night I had a dream. I was introduced to a seductive woman. When I went to shake her hand, she aggressively offered herself to me. However, I roughly pushed her aside and said, “Sorry, I’m married.” As I did this, I saw a godly woman who I thought of as a sister standing off to the side, watching. She was proud of me. I felt that her presence helped me resist the temptation.


As I prayed about the dream, I felt the message was that women of purity change the atmosphere around them. They empower men to step up and choose noble thoughts and noble actions. They inspire men to treat women with honor and fidelity.


Third – A Satisfying Marriage

Proverbs 5:15-19 says:


Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well… Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love.”


God delights in passionate intimacy between two of his children who are married.

The passage above attests to this, as does the entire book of Song of Solomon. Christians should be known for our esteem of sexual intimacy more than any other group since we are the ones most capable of seeing it for what it is – a wonderful gift from the Creator.


Sex as God created it is pure and shameless. It is far superior to the substitute offered by the enemy. The first time a young man sees a naked woman, the image is etched in his mind forever. Imagine if this image was his wife on their wedding night.


The world says sex is not exciting unless there is some degree of perversion in it. For some married Christians it takes years of pursuing purity to detoxify our minds from thinking about sex the way the media portrays it, but the perseverance is well worth it.


We Were Created for Monogamy

The world tries to tell people, especially men, that monogamy is not natural. When we are no longer excited by the person we are with, they say, we should find a new partner. This is a lie. God’s design is not that find a new person, but that we continually find a new relationship with the same person.


Relationships are not static. They are always changing and growing, either closer or farther apart. Intense sexual desire is a gift that drives men to pursue their wives hearts, which causes the relationship between them to grow deeper. As the relationship deepens, sexual enjoyment heightens. Emotional connection and sexual connection reinforce one another.


Sexual desire can be a tremendous source of grace during conflict. If there is a rift in a marriage, sooner or later sexual desire will become a strong motivator to do some repair work. This may seem like a questionable motive, but a spouse’s need for physical connection is valid just like the need for emotional connection is valid.


Purity and Spiritual Vision

There is link between purity and spiritual vision, which is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The passage could apply not only to seeing God in heaven after we die, but also to our spiritual vision in this life. Paul called this having “the eyes of our hearts” opened in Ephesian 1:18. It includes things like:


·         Having and accurate perception of who God is

·         Seeing others through His eyes

·         Seeing sin through His eyes

·         Being able to discern what He is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around us


One of the ways we guard our spiritual eyes is by guarding our physical eyes, especially when it comes to movies, television, the internet, and other forms of media. Looking at sexual immorality and other forms of evil dims our spiritual vision and makes us less able to tolerate God’s presence in our lives. This is why Isaiah 33:14-15 says:


“Who among us can live with the consuming fire [God’s presence]? Who among us can live with continual burning? …He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil.”


Overcoming False Shame

While the need for men to guard their eyes cannot be overemphasized, another part of the battle against lust is recognizing when the enemy tries to heap false condemnation onto us. Once at a swimming pool I inadvertently saw a woman in a bikini that hardly covered anything at all. It wasn’t on purpose and I immediately looked away without looking back. But I still felt ashamed.


I said to the Lord, “What’s wrong with me?” Instantly I felt Him reply to my heart: “There’s nothing wrong with you. I created you to be attracted by what you just saw. The thing that’s wrong is your culture, which tries to induce men to lust rather than safeguarding marriages and purity.” When the Lord spoke this, the false shame I felt immediately lifted.


There is a reason all the eternal rewards listed in Revelation 2 and 3 are for those who overcome. In this age, purity does not come easily or naturally. The culture, spiritual beings, and our flesh are all set against us. Overcoming is the only possible way to escape lust and grow in purity.


The Heart Follows the Will

In 2 Samuel 13, a man named Amnon was in love with a woman named Tamar. She was willing to marry him (vs. 13), but he didn’t want to wait to have sex with her, so he forced himself on her. Afterward, verse 15 says, Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her.”


While this is an extreme example, the principle applies to countless relationships – the emotions of our hearts follow the choices of our will. The truth is, when a man uses a woman for sexual gratification, he devalues her in his heart. Or when a woman uses a man’s attention and pursuit to feed her vanity, she devalues him in her heart. This can have serious long term repercussions for their relationship.


When Jenny and I were dating, we thankfully abstained from sex, but I nevertheless chose to violate a boundary I previously set for myself. I repented after we were married, but years later God convicted me that this choice contributed to the breakdown of my marriage. It devalued our relationship in my heart, which helped me elevate my ambitions above our marriage.


A Dream about Lust and the Kingdom of God

A few years ago I had dream with three parts. In the first part, I faced a minor sexual temptation, but chose to say no. When I did this, I suddenly found myself in a small coed community of believers. We were all good friends and very joyful. The scene was full of laughter and pure conversation. I thought that it felt a little like heaven. 


In the second part, I faced a stronger sexual temptation, but once again managed to say no. Suddenly I was flying over a breathtaking landscape. I felt ecstatic. This felt far more like heaven that the last scene!


In the third part, I faced the strongest sexual temptation yet, and I gave in. I woke up feeling both ashamed and disappointed that I missed out on whatever would have happened next if I had not given in. The dream was powerful message to me: The extent to which I could experience the Kingdom of God in my life was related to overcoming lust.


(God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13), but he does test us. Sometimes His tests include allowing the enemy to tempt us. One possible interpretation of this dream is that it was from the Lord, but He intermittently allowed an evil spirit or my own flesh to tempt me. Another possibility is that it originated in my own soul and contained a biblical message.)


A Nation in Danger

It is right for Christians to be righteously offended by our culture and media’s satanic attack on sexuality. It is destroying families, ruining lives, damning souls, and is close to toppling our society. Sexual immorality destroys nations. It has happened many times before in history and it is happening again right now. A nation cannot survive unless the family unit remains intact and the family unit cannot survive the dismissal of all sexual moral standards. 


Children today are conditioned from an early age to believe there is nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage. It is so painful to see an entire generation of precious preteens and teenagers being tricked into giving away one of the most incredible gifts they will ever receive before they are even old enough to understand what is happening. They are trading a lifetime of mature oneness for an endless string of shallow sexual relationships and painful breakups. 


Virtually everything the media portrays about sex is a lie. They claim you can enjoy promiscuity with no guilt, no shame, and no consequences. There will be no damage to your character or your capacity for a committed relationship. There will be no hindrance to your ability to build a marriage and family with one person after having built a long history of intimate memories and experiences with other people. What a deception!


I recall a couple of enormously popular sitcoms in 90’s. The basic message of these shows was this: Sexual immorality is fun and harmless and marriage and divorce are trivial things. The creator of one of the shows even publicly stated that he intended it to be a secular humanist attack on Judeo-Christian values. Nevertheless, the shows were extremely popular among Christians (myself included). Many believers still watch them regularly today and own the DVD sets. A church I was attending even frequently showed clips of one of the shows for humorous effect. Since the characters were charismatic and the story lines were clever, apparently the moral filth it promulgated could be overlooked.


I don’t mean for this to sound judgmental; I am guilty myself. But I am convinced we in the church have contributed to what is happening. Many studies have shown that sexual immorality is just as prominent and accepted among those who profess to be Christians as those who don’t.


We are the spiritual gatekeepers. As the church goes, so goes the nation. When we agree with Satan through our choices, it not only gives him dominion in our own lives, but there also is nothing to hinder him from fully pouring out his influence on the culture at large. It is possible that America could be severely judged for the sexually immorally content we are filling the world with unless there is heavy repentance in the church for our agreement with it. 



One pastor said it well. When a woman came up to him and asked, “What do you think about sex?” he replied, Sex is the most wonderful thing on this earth, as long as God is in it. When the devil gets in it, it’s the most terrible thing on this earth.”


Sexual desire is one of the strongest forces in life. It is something we all feel and is the center of many people’s thoughts. If the church fails to recognize the power and glory of sex, the consequences are staggering. How many people has Satan claimed forever because they were unwilling to surrender their sexuality to God? How many of them might have been saved if the witness of the church convinced them that God’s plan truly is superior to the enemy’s? If Satan can use his counterfeit to draw so people into his kingdom, cannot God draw people with the true version when it is glorified through His people?



It is so important for spouses to recognize that their marriage has an enemy. In the next chapter, we will talk about spiritual warfare and its impact on marriage.