As a former Waiter for True Love…or is it True Love that Waited….or is it Lover that Truly Waited? Anyway, as a person who lived through the True Love Waits phenomena, I think we may have gone about the right thing the wrong way. I really believe with all my heart that we MUST change the conversation about purity. And I believe that there is no better generation to do that than ours.
I've been a part of the same conversation more times than I can keep track of. All of them had this in common: "Well it doesn't really matter anymore anyway, I've ruined it for my wedding night. What's done is done, so it doesn’t matter now." This is the moment that breaks my heart. This moment where a friend feels like they have been moved across a proverbial line and separated into the “damaged goods” category from the evangelical culture (particularly women). There’s this devastating lie that is so easy to get caught in: the lie that a person has no right to seek purity again and redemption because of failure once or even because of failure a thousand times. I’m heartbroken over what we’ve morphed purity into (and for that matter what we’ve morphed Jesus into). These conversations are what pushed me to see purity through the big-picture, lifelong, biblical lens that it was intended. Because the mindset that it pleases God to white-knuckle it until our wedding night is deeply lacking.
Here is where I think we’ve missed the point: Purity isn't about your wedding night.
Your virginity isn't about your wedding night. I really believe that, I really do. We are missing such a huge piece of the puzzle when we reduce purity to one night of our lives. Yes, of course...of course to enter your wedding bed for the very first time with your husband is what God calls us to, and it is absolutely the best for us. For those who have lived in obedience to that call, the blessing is rich and real. But please, please hear me now...God wants our purity. God wants our hearts. God wants our lives. God does not set the bar at VIRGINITY. God's plan and hope for us is not just VIRGINITY, it goes so far beyond that. God's plan and hope for us is that we would die to ourselves, be sanctified by Him to walk in closeness with Jesus, and to abundantly enjoy God to His glory forever. We have to stop with the Christianese-Virginity-End-Game. A wedding night is a beautiful time as two people become one...but it is not the end of our purity journey. Purity must be diligently pursued and guarded especially during singleness. Sex is so important and so precious--it's worth fighting to protect for your marriage. Sex shouldn't be taken lightly...but purity isn't solely about “doing it” or rather, “not doing it.” When purity is built up and focused solely on our wedding night, it all crumbles if ones virginity is lost before that night comes. And frankly, we cheapen the gift of purity when we only cash in for one purpose.
And if purity were simply for the purpose of donning a white dress without guilt then what would that mean?
There's just simply nothing left of purity that God has to offer if you have sex before you are married? You just get your V-card revoked and kicked out of the club? It's all just ruined for you?
No. Purity isn't just for the virgins. Purity isn't just for the wedding night. Purity definitely is not just for singles. Purity is for the glory of God. Purity is for our good. Purity is a process and a filter for our lives...not a box to be checked off. Purity is for every last one of us. Cherishing your virginity is pleasing to God, but what about everything else? Or what about life after fornication? What about life after the wedding night?
Concentrating all our virginity efforts for our wedding night can easily lead to a dead end. 99.9% of people are thinking about themselves and their new spouse when they think about their wedding night. We think about sharing that first time together, about having a clean slate and no looming past casting a dark cloud of guilt over us. What may have started out of devotion for God, can easily be warped into self-serving good works for our spouse and ourselves. For people like me, virginity can turn into a little gold star for being a good little Christian girl. That's not about glorifying God at all...that's about me, about me patting myself on the back. It's not that I didn't want to obey God, it's not that I didn't believe that His way was best. But in my innermost heart, my motivation was to earn and keep God's favor or love...a shameful endeavor. God's love is constant and pure and never-ending, nothing I can do or not do will change Him. I can tell you from my own experience when purity becomes a drag and not a joyful submission...that's kind of the tell-tale sign that your motives are messed up. Purity isn’t easy, that's why I say "joyful submission" because it's really hard...and it should be hard, especially when you are in a committed, loving relationship. *free advice: if you plan to marry someone and don't have to fight to protect purity...you should really ask some questions, physical attraction is a good thing!* Purity shouldn’t feel like a big ole buzz kill of what you can’t have. Purity shows you all that you already have, and the abundant life He offers.
Our conversation needs to change from a one-time commitment to purity into a constant dialogue in community. We have to think about purity as an investment. We have to think about each victory over lust as a blessing and act of living worship to God (Romans 12:1). We have to walk in faith and build up others in the faith that Jesus is SO much better than ANYTHING.