Thursday, February 10, 2011

one flesh.

over the past few weeks i have faced the topic of purity repeatedly. and i'm not saying this in a revealing moment of "how far to go" or something, i mean the topic has been at hand and i have had to defend or explain my reason for valuing purity to christian and non-christian friends alike. i've written on here numerous times about purity (like here and here.) and how i truly believe it is something so powerful and so sacred.

last week at youth we broached the topic of pornography. understanding that that is something that many people battle with but having stats and verses and biblical reasoning as to why pornography is destructive kind of just opened up my week to reading other articles about how destructive sex and our casual view and acceptance of sex as a society really is. then this past tuesday at youth again we broke off into guy and girl groups, and the girls watched a video for women about God's incredible love, and what struck me most in the video (and this is probably attributed to my english- -majoring ways and love of words) was the speaker's description of the ways in which God loves us, how He loves us, what His love IS using words like God's love is EXTRAVAGANT, UNCONDITIONAL, SACRIFICIAL, EXTREME, SELFLESS, CRAZY, OUTRAGEOUS. we are completely undeserving, we are complete failures, but the Lord's love is so EXTRAVAGANT that it is "ridiculous, excessive, absurd, unrestrained"; the Lord's love is so EXTREME that it is "intense, sovereign, ultimate". truthfully, words don't even really convey the love of God. that would be too easy. that would be too human, and fathomable, which God is not. in awe of the vastness of God's love this week (which is a reoccurring thing in life - how can you not just... gawk sometimes, just be in awe, in certain moments?) but also really formulating, even just for myself, the importance and the meaning and the significance of purity in my life and in the lives around me, i started reading things in my bible and articles in relevant magazine. but most significantly, i found and read a letter i wrote last year that is meant to be for my future husband. might sound corny, but i read it and i was bawling through huge smiles. i know who i want to be and who i want to look like - not physically, i'm talking emotionally, spiritually - when i hand that letter to him, whoever he may be. i want what is in that letter to be true, especially in regards to the "i waited for you; i saved myself for you". as cliche as it sounds now, and as big of a mockery as it could be, those words are genuine. and until i hand away that letter, i don't want anything to jeopardize that commitment to myself, that preconceived commitment to my future husband, and ultimately, that commitment i made to God that i would remain "pure" as commanded numerous times in the Bible. now, pause, i don't want this to sound high-and-mighty at all, like "nah naaah nah i saved myself, God loves me more coz i'm sexually pure!" (ha! i just imagined me in pigtails as a child saying that, weird), if anything i think and i feel soooo blessed to have the privilege to be able to honestly be able to say that i am saving myself. i can think of tons of people who can't say that but who wish they could. that's also why this subject of purity is even MORE important to me, because it's so easily taken or given away - split-second, heat-of-the-moment kind of deal.

what's this all got to do with each other, you ask?

simple. God loves me soooooo much, sacrificed it ALL for me - for me, a sinner, completely undeserving - that it is worth it to me to obey His commandments, the rules and guidelines outlined in His holy book, and one huge commandment is to keep the body pure and holy as it is the temple of God.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. - 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
the Lord made sex as a gift to be enjoyed in marriage. and marriage itself is a gift. the union of a man and a woman in marriage is symbolic of the relationship between church and Christ. this union bonds two people as "one flesh" - "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."(Ephesians 5:31). furthermore, on the subject of purity in marriage, the Bible says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure." (Hebrews 13:4)

a good friend asked me yesterday if, as a christian, i am waiting til marriage to have sex, am i still allowed to do "other things" in a relationship. i didn't get the chance to actually answer her, but my response would be "no". the way i see it, and the way i believe it is indicated in the Bible, is that all things sexual remain in the context of marriage. and because i want to protect that blessing of marriage (if it will be a blessing in my life, that is tbd) and because i have the opportunity to give myself to only one person, to remain pure until marriage, i'm going to take that and shield it from anything that could destroy it. my greatest desire is to have a marital relationship that is pleasing to God and God honoring and because the Lord said that pure marriages will be blessed, i'm going to savour and protect that for ALL it's worth.

yesterday i was doing some (not-so) light reading when i came across this article from relevant mag about what they have termed, "the purity puzzle". the article says,
For Christians, purity is a direct command from God. We're told repeatedly that we must be holy like God is holy, that we must pursue things that are pure, good, honorable and worthy of God. Sex is good and honorable when within its God-given boundaries—one man and one woman within marriage—but when we take it out of its rightful place we distort that which was once pure and good, and we get burned in the process. We cannot pretend that sex outside of God’s design carries little consequence with it. Experience proves otherwise: There are millions worldwide who are paying for this casual view of sex with their very lives.
society scoffs at purity and abstinence. consider how the jonas brothers were/are the butt of every joke for their purity rings. but this relevant magazine article raises the question, do we scoff at it because we actually are insecure and wounded by sexuality?
The pursuit of sex has destroyed many people and many lives through sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies and abortions, infidelity, broken relationships and prostitution. [...] Yet as a whole society limps along and addresses our wounds as if they're not serious, continuing to encourage others to go down that same road littered with casualties instead of warning them of the danger ahead. We laugh at the anchored rope of purity as we head full speed toward the edge of the cliff.
and it's true. you can see the wounds and destruction of unwelcome, hurtful, unwholesome sex outside our windows, through televisions, in the lives of ourselves, of others, here and around the world. this casual view of sex is not new. paul wrote to the corinthians about their sexuality and promiscuity, saying to them,
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. - 1 Corinthians 6:12-17
the people of corinth think they can do whatever they want with their bodies coz they, just like the food in their stomach, will perish. paul corrects them saying that their bodies are not their own but God's, and that there are greater ramifications in their actions towards the body because it is not their own. they have greater consequences to pay when they injury or give away "their" bodies. the Lord wants to raise us up with Him; He loves us - His children - so much, that he wants to make us members of Christ. He wants us to be pure, not just as a depiction of the relationship between Christ and his beloved church (us) but so that we can enjoy happy, wonderful, loving, blessed, pleasurable (ohhhh!) marriages just like God planned and intended marriage to be!

God's role for us is not mediocre. He doesn't have small expectations of us. He knows very well that we are sinful, and lame, and needy, and ridiculous, but He loves us just the same. He wants to "raise us up"; He wants to bless us; He wants to give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4); His plans for us are greater (Jeremiah 29:11); His love is unfathomable; He wants to protect us and give us strength (Philipians 4:13); He wants to give us the best life possible; He wants to make us co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) - this is blowing my mind today!! because of Christ's incredible exchange i feel that protecting my own sexual purity is the least i can do in obeying God's commands. while i may fail at others over and over again, i don't want to mess this up. i want to treasure the sacredness of the gift of purity in an attempt to live out fully the plan God has for my life!

singing glorious, glorious One, You have saved us. honour and power and praise to the Savior. You are the answer, You are the answer.
this is the sound of the redeemed, rising up to praise the King.

if you're interested, take a few minutes and just read these articles from relevant magazine - i found them interesting:
the purity puzzle
redeeming sexual brokenness
talking about sex while dating
more than "damaged goods"
let's talk about sex

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