The Fight for Purity

Today's guest blogger is AJ Singer. I have known AJ for some time, and know her to be a woman who is passionate about God's purpose for single women in the church. She has a particular focus on repentance from sexual sin and the importance of purity in the church at large, and the Christian single in particular. 

The fight for purity is an internal war with external ramifications. It is not any less difficult or complicated than battling any other habitual, life dominating sin, such as an eating disorder. Eating disorders are difficult to deal with because you still have to eat. You can’t just abstain from eating. You have to learn new behaviors, regulate food intake, and practice self-control on a moment by moment basis. However—you still get to eat, and can learn to enjoy food in a God-honoring way.  A married woman fighting the sin of masturbation still has sex with her husband—Scripture is pretty clear to married couples about the necessity of coming together frequently to avoid sins and temptations such as these! You must learn self-control and to be others oriented (in this scenario, husband oriented) in this, but at all costs, you fight for purity in your marriage relationship.

What about the single woman fighting for purity?

There is no regulating this—you cannot measure how much or how little you masturbate. You can’t have “just a little bit” of this in your life. You do not have a spouse to fulfill physical desires. The expectation is radical amputation of all sexual activity. You cut it off. You throw it away from you, and you run as though your life depends on it (because, honestly, it does). You never participate in self-gratification again. There is no room for the sin you once enjoyed, and unless the Lord moves you into a marital relationship, that feeling may be something you never experience again. This can be very difficult to accept, especially if you have had a long standing habit of this sin. Sometimes the fight is overwhelming, and it may seem akin to trying to bail out the Titanic with a Sippy cup. It is easy to believe your efforts are futile and worthless (especially when reality has the upper card), but you keep bailing out the water cup by cup because it’s the right thing to do. You fight even when you think the battle is lost; you act in faith, believing it is not. You have to realize this as a spiritual battle, because victory makes no sense in the material world.

Some people are blessed with an immediate shift in thinking, and no longer struggle with this. For the majority, though, it isn’t that way. This internal war might be the most difficult battle you have ever been in; it is akin to trench warfare. You gain an inch, and fall back a foot—tomorrow, you might move forward a few feet. The key is to never stop fighting.

Your theology in these moments matter greatly. If your theology stinks, your obedience to Christ won’t be any better. Dividing the Word of God rightly is essential to winning this battle.  You have to do more than know good theology, though—you must be willing to put it into practice (radical amputation) and live it out (believe it to be true and act on it in faith) moment by moment.

Do you ever find yourself here? This may be a sin you’ve been fighting for years, and you are battle-weary; you may have recently learned this is sinful behavior, and you are struggling to stop. With any life dominating sin, it takes a lot out of you—but the battle yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness that is inexplicable unless you’ve tasted it.

Scripture commands you to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5) to the obedience of Christ. I suggest you write out the entirety of Romans 8 and begin memorizing it to help in this battle.

Reconcile your desires with the sovereignty of God.  He has allowed this to be your reality, and it is good. How is it good? It is good because all that God does is good, for your good, and for His glory (Romans 8:28). This is the perfect way for the Lord to teach you what you need to know. Maybe you need to learn that He is more than enough, and this is how He is teaching you this hard truth. Were there another way to teach this to you, He would have used another way. No trial is wasted on error. It is perfectly designed to mold and shape you more and more into His image.

You have to lay your desires as a sacrifice on the altar before the Lord, willing to never pick them back up again, because it glorifies God to do so. Lay it down; walk away. This might be repeated a lot at first, but over time those trips to the altar with this particular sin become less frequent because you stop trying to hold onto it.

Learn to cry out to the Lord when it feels impossible to walk in purity, or when you just don’t want to fight anymore. There may be times where you just pour your heart out before the Lord with seemingly inconsolable tears—trusting that He will meet every need, in His time, in His way. At moments you might think it is more than you can handle, but Scripture says it is not (1 Cor. 10:13). Choose to believe what Scripture says is true over how you may desire to interpret it. Be a good theologian.

You have to put your hope in Christ alone. Proverbs 13:12 says Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Instead of focusing on that which has been deferred or prohibited in your life, place your hope in something that does not need to be deferred. Placing your hopes in marriage to fill the void of companionship or ease the tension or longing within will always fail you. Christ must always be enough (married or single).

And never forget this one unchangeable truth: the war is already won; Christ is the victor. Rest in His victory, and move forward in it.

“Because of who you are in Christ, you have the ability to change, and even greater than that, you have the God of the universe assisting you, caring for you, loving you.”
Quote by Julie Ganschow, taken from The Process of Biblical Change

About AJ: AJ's writing comes from experience--after 19 years of struggling with sexual sin on multiple levels she has experienced the freedom only Christ can give. Her writing comes from a biblical perspective on overcoming habitual/life dominating sin. It is her heart's desire for others to experience the forgiveness and freedom found through the Word of God and transforming work of the Holy Spirit on the heart level. If you wish to contact AJ regarding today's post, please comment on this blog and I will get you contact information for her.