Growing up in a Christian home, I was taught the importance of protecting my purity. When I was 13, I received a purity ring and made a promise to save myself for marriage and wait for my future husband.
And that’s a promise I have kept.
But I never realized until recently that there is another kind of purity I have to fight to protect: mental purity.
Mental purity is protecting your mind against impure thoughts, and in today’s world, it’s difficult. Sex is everywhere: commercials, television, music, books, the internet. We’re not only bombarded with images, but also a change in attitude toward sex. We’re told that it’s natural and we shouldn’t try to make ourselves wait. Virgins are branded as weird, unpopular, and unnatural, and some even make it their mission to change that status.
Information on sex is readily available. It’s not hard to access porn. Some even hide on the bookshelves disguised as romance novels. People talk about it freely, and it’s hard not to hear it. So it’s not surprising when we’re bombarded with impure thoughts, especially when we’re taught to view the opposite sex based on their body. Thoughts may seem harmless, but in Matthew 5:28 (KJV), Jesus says, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” If Jesus considers that thought adultery, wouldn’t any sexual thought that is not aimed toward our spouse be considered sin?
And what do we do about it?
I don’t think it’s wrong to be curious about something God created for marriage, but I think it behooves us to be careful with our thoughts. Our thoughts can lead to temptation, which can lead us down the wrong path. Maybe the best way to avoid impure thoughts is to try to avoid anything that may lead us down that path. Maybe we change the channel when a steamy scene comes on or during a commercial that uses sex to sell. Maybe we’re careful about what we read and avoid explicit material. Maybe we stop listening to music that references sex.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. – Philippians 4:8 KJV
It won’t be easy. It’ll require making a lot of changes in the way we live. Maybe even who we’re around. But we’re supposed to love God with all of us, including our mind (Matt. 22:37). So I think striving for mental purity is just as important as physical purity. And it’s worth the work.
This is an updated version of a post originally published on justjenniferpurcell.com.
Featured Image by Freshh Connection