Sunday, February 10, 2013

Oh Noes! Not a Valentine's Day Post!

     As is most apparent by now, Valentine's Day is just about upon us.  Usually viewed as a romantic holiday for couples, what can Valentine's Day offer to those of us who are single?  Does God have a lesson for us to learn about relationships, even before we engage in one?  Yes.  There are many topics that could be shared about relationships to a single person.  In fact, I had trouble just narrowing down what topic I wanted to post!  So what do we need to learn before we engage in a relationship?  You guessed it... purity.  

     Now before you close the page on me, this isn't a post about a list do's and don't's, telling you what's too far and what's not, or even how or when you should go about finding a relationship.  This is so much more than any of those things.  Purity is something we don't just carry with us outside of a relationship; it's something we take with us our entire lives.

     Before we go any further, though, let me tell you what purity is not.  Purity is not a boundary or a "do not cross" line.  It's not simply physical, and it's most certainly not something we can brush to the side.  What is purity then?  The best way to view purity is as a direction.  We walk in purity, not around it, not across it, and definitely not over it.  Purity is not allowing lust to get in the way of our pursuit of God.  We walk toward God, not swaying to the right or the left, and not getting sidetracked by that guy or that girl we might like.  This is the direction of purity. 

     So now that we know a little more about what purity is, how do we, as guys and girls, walk in it?  Let me start by outlining what our responsibilities as guys are.  To know how we can best walk in purity involves knowing how those of the opposite sex are wired.  In his book, Sex is not the Problem (Lust is), Joshua Harris outlines this: "Their [a girl's] desire is often rooted in emotional longings.  They're stimulated by touch.  They're excited by being pursued."  So how can we interact with those of the opposite sex purely?  We stay away from doing what would distract a girl's attention from God and protect her from those who do!  Now be careful with the last part of that statement.  I'm not saying we should try to control someone's choices.  But as those who are trying to follow God and live in purity, if a brother in Christ is acting flirtatiously with a sister in Christ, being accountable to each other as Christians (1 Corinthians 5:11-13), we can politely advise him to stop.  We know the world will not protect a girl's physical, emotional, or spiritual purity, so we as Christians must protect our sisters from those who are simply out for the chase.

    For the Christian girls, you have some responsibility here too.  How can you walk in purity?  One important way is to not be someone who encourages her brothers in Christ to chase after her.  Not every guy knows their responsibilities in purity, not everyone has read Joshua Harris's book, and certainly not everyone has read this post, so you can't expect everyone to act in a godly way.  Whether you realize it or not, the way you dress, speak, and act can all have a humongous effect on a guy's heart.  So don't be the girl who provokes others to pursue her.  As Joshua Harris's wife Shannon says, "There's a big difference between dressing attractively and dressing to attract."  This goes for the way you act too.  What is truly attractive to a godly man is a girl's character and not her appearance or flirtatious behavior.  

     This has been a pretty long post, but I hope that it reminds you to always pursue purity by first pursuing God, and keeping your brothers' and sisters' purity in mind with how you act.  For us singles on this couple-centered day called Valentine's Day, remember that God has someone saved for you.  You have to save yourself for them.  Until then, God is asking us, "Will you 'be Mine'?"