Every third Sunday of the month, our youth group splits up into small group. The boys go with Lyle and do a lesson, and the girls go with me. Last month we girls completed reading through and discussing Being a Girl Who Leads by Shannon Kubiak Primicerio. After we completed this book, I asked the girls what they would like to study next. They chose to study the topic of purity. The girls wanted to investigate what the Bible really says about purity, and last night we started our first lesson on purity.
Purity: Part 1 – Purity Defined and the Pressures Against It:
In today’s society we often only think of purity as abstaining from sex until marriage, but purity encompasses much more than that. Purity covers every aspect of our lives, whether it be our thoughts, speech, clothing, or relationships.
So then what is purity? The dictionary defines purity as freedom from sin or guilt; innocence; chastity. In reading through the many verses on purity in the Bible, I wrote my own definition of purity: A calling to live a holy life in our actions, hearts, and minds.
Following are the verses that our girls small group studied last night:
1 Thessalonians 4:7 says, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” As I studied this verse, I couldn’t overlook one of the key words – call. Purity is God’s calling on all of our lives. He desires for us to be pure. After all that is why He provided a way for us to cleansed white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
Ephesians 5:3-4 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out-of-place, but rather thanksgiving.” This verse teaches us that there should be no impurity of any kind. Purity does not pertain to merely sexual impurity. Purity is a matter of the heart.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” We must be pure of mind. Eventually what we think begins to come out into our actions. The more we hear cursing in the music we listen to or the movies and shows we watch, the more those words will pop into our heads, and eventually those words will begin to slip from our mouths.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” And Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” And Matthew 5:27-28 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” All of these verses have one thing in common – the heart. Purity must start in the heart. Our thoughts and actions cannot be pure unless we purify our hearts first.
Staying pure in all aspects of our lives can be difficult due to both our own internal pressure that comes from our sinful natures and from external pressures. The purity of teen girls today is under attack. Media and today’s society views purity as a weakness, or uptightness, or archaic. Although girls and women today combat these attacks we must remember that we have something far more powerful on our side to help us stay pure. And that is God and His word. Psalm 119:9-10 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.”
As our teens go through their daily struggle to stay pure we need to help them to remember this prayer: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)