The Truth About Purity and Grace
“I am waiting for, praying for you, darling. Wait for me too. Wait for me, as I wait for you.” These lyrics by artist Rebecca St. James became my anthem when I was twelve years old, listening to the WOW Hits 2002 cd my great aunt gifted me. Culture didn't admire sexual purity. Even girls my age would talk about it like it was the best thing in the world. But to me, waiting until marriage to enjoy sex for the first time was my ultimate desire.
So I waited.
Six years later, the summer before college, I met a guy.
He was a Christian, played guitar, and everything I thought I wanted. He also told me he was waiting until marriage, and that purity was important to him. My heart was sold!
But even with the knowledge and desire of what we both wanted, temptation crept in. We pushed boundaries, thinking that, as long as we didn’t go too far, we were safe.
Five months into our dating, we were no longer sexually pure.
I kept telling myself that he was The One. We talked about our future together, and he would say “when we get married in a couple of years”. Was it really wrong to give my future husband my virginity before we actually got married? I believed that it wasn’t.
In those early months, I was so intoxicated with him and the thought of being a wife that I didn’t pay attention to the little red flags that popped up.
Soon after our first few trysts, I started to notice how controlling he was, and his lack of motivation to do anything. Since I just started college, this concerned me.
However, I didn’t want to break up. I wanted more than anything to have this relationship work out, and the last thing I wanted to do was admit that I was wrong.
I tried everything I could think of to make it work. I planned dates, I bought us a devotional or two to do together, I even decided that we wouldn’t have sex anymore. But despite my attempts to live purely, he took it all as rejection and me controlling him, so he got angry. He would threaten to leave me if I told him something he didn’t like, I didn’t agree with him, or I didn’t do what he wanted me to do, and he’d withhold all affection (innocent or otherwise) if I didn’t want to have sex.
After some time, I broke down and decided that the best way to keep him from leaving me was to no longer fight his advances, but embrace them. I even tried initiating several times. But after every tryst, we didn’t cuddle or even talk. I started to feel used.
But despite how I felt, I still wanted to make the relationship work. I was determined to work it out with the guy I lost my virginity to.
I wish I could say that I got up the nerve to finally leave him. I wish I could say that I told him off and moved on with ease.
But I didn’t.
It finally ended when I desperately cried in pain on the phone, begging him to stay. He told me that I never loved him, and it was over.
This sent me into a downward spiral. I was so convinced he was The One, and I let myself get carried away. I also believed that he was right. I didn’t really love him because I didn’t listen to him or do what he wanted. I believed that I ruined the relationship, and, because I gave myself away to him, no good man would want me.
I felt so low, depressed, and was severely heartbroken, that I seriously contemplated suicide.
During this time, God brought light into my life. He brought old Christian friends back into my life that inspired me. One of whom has become one of my closest friends.
She prayed with me and talked me up from my negative talk. I also became more involved in my church and started counseling, where I learned that the relationship I was in was abusive.
I finally started to realize how terrible my ex treated me. I deserved to be treated better. But I still felt horrible about myself. I felt embarrassed and used. In my pain, I cried out to God. “God, please keep me from falling in love again until the one You have for me comes. I felt like I was ready to be a wife. I know You called me to be a wife. But I was so wrong before. I don’t want to go through this pain ever again. Lord, protect me. Protect my heart, and renew my purity. In Jesus’ name.”
A few months later, something very unexpected happened. I met Tim. This man was everything I ever dreamed of. He was kind, smart, funny, knew and understood God’s Word, and was cute to boot! We would have long, intellectual conversations about the Bible, our culture, how we grew up and what our life goals were. Needless to say, I was head over heels for him.
During one of our conversations, I learned that Tim valued purity and was waiting until marriage. How wonderful! But this made me feel terrible. He was pure, and I wasn’t. I told him that I once wanted to wait until marriage too, but I unfortunately gave myself away to someone. Upon telling him, I was certain he would break up with me. Why would he want to be with someone that was used? But he didn’t break up with me. Instead, he looked me in the eyes and told me he understood.
Slowly, I began to open up to him about all of the abuse and what all I had done. At this time, I still felt like the fall of my past relationship was my fault. Every time, I expected Tim to turn away and not want me anymore. Instead, I was faced with his open arms, love, and acceptance.
One night, I asked him why he so easily accepted my past mistakes. That’s when he told me something I will never forget. “Purity is more than just physical.” He went on to explain that while it’s important to honor God with our bodies, the purity of one’s mind and heart is the most important.
Psalm 119:9 says “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.”
God’s Word doesn’t just command us to flee sexual immorality. God commands us to do so much more, including repent from our sins, forgive, strive for holiness, and love others.
I went to scripture and learned that our holiness has nothing to do with who we are, but rather everything to do with who Christ is.
Hebrews 10:10 says “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”
Jesus also called us to purity in a multitude of ways. He calls us to purity by transforming our mind: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2).”, our heart: “God blesses those whose hearts are pure,for they will see God (Matthew 5:8).”, our body: “Run from sexual sin (1 Corinthians 6:18)!” and even our thoughts: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).”
I also had to relearn and study what love meant. Because I believed that I didn’t really love my ex because he said so, because I didn’t do what he wanted, it was vital to realize what it actually means to love someone.
That’s when I was reminded to look to scripture to learn what love is.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Reading these scriptures changed my life and self-image completely! While I may have made a mistake, God forgave me when I repented, and through His Son, I am clean and pure!
Since then, I have seen God work in miraculous ways in my life, such as confirming that Tim was my future husband.
When I realized that I was in love with Tim, I reminded God of my prayer a couple of years prior (the one I mentioned earlier) where I asked God to keep me from falling in love until I met my husband. I prayed for God to either break us up if we weren’t meant to be, or to hit us over the head with bricks to show us we were. Needless to say, hours later, a woman who was visiting our church (a complete stranger) prophesied over us, telling us that God blessed our relationship, and that we would have a beautiful relationship and ministry together.
If that wasn’t a direct answer to my prayer, I don’t know what is!
Have you made a mistake and feel like you’re now worthless? I want to remind you that God doesn’t think you are worthless. He bought you with a price, the death of His only Son, Jesus Christ. And because of what Christ did on the cross, no matter the mistake, you are pure and worthy of His grace, love, and best for your life.
Amanda is the writer of ButterfliesinmyTea.com, a small blog and social media ministry that inspires young women to discover truth and find joy and purpose in their home, relationships, and in living for Jesus. Sign up to receive Christian living inspiration in your inbox and you'll also get a copy of the Prayers for Your Home ebook for FREE. You can also find Amanda on Facebook and Instagram.