Pursuing Purity

In the last six months or so I’ve been involved in planning several different sessions (lessons and gatherings) for men, to challenge men to pursue purity.  The theme verse for all these evens has been

2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

We have focused on three key aspects: Flee, Pursue, With.

Purity in a visual saturated society is always a challenge. In order to keep the challenge of pursing purity rather than passively acquiescing or actively engaging in impurity, I want to recommend the reading of a series of post by Tim Challies. I’m including the link and a brief quote from each post.  They are appropriate for any man, good for young married men, and should be particularly help to young unmarried men who one day hope to be godly husbands.

Sexual Detox I: Pornifying the Marriage Bed

Pornography is inherently violent, inherently unloving. It is a perversion of sexuality, not a true form of it, and one that teaches violence and degradation at the expense of mutual pleasure and intimacy. It is about conquests, about conquering. It is the very opposite of God’s intention for sex.

Sexual Detox II: Breaking Free

God is infinitely more willing to deal with your sin than you are to commit your sin. You may love this sin and be committed to it, but if you are a Christian, God is more willing than you are to overcome it and destroy it. He will grant grace for you to put sin to death. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

What you need to do is to borrow God’s eyes and to look at your wife through that lens, through that filter. You need to replace lies with truth. And God has given you the Bible so you can do just that. Through the Bible we are able to borrow God’s eyes and to see the world as he sees it. And so in the next article in this series we will form a Theology of Sex, seeking to understand the purpose of sex, of purpose of sexual desire and even the purpose of unequal sexual desire.

Sexual Detox III: A Theology of Sex

God gives us sex because it has unique power in drawing a husband to his wife and a wife to her husband. He knows this because he is the one who invented it! He made it so that it is far more than the sum of its parts. We could describe sex in terms of body parts and hormones, but we would not be any closer to understanding it than if we were to describe a cake only in terms of its ingredients–flour and milk and eggs (or if we were to describe the Lord’s Supper making reference only to eating bread and drinking wine). Sex goes far beyond merely the physical and instead extends to the emotional, the spiritual. It is through sexual union that two are made one, that they are bound together; there is a mystery to it that can only really be compared in impact to the union of God’s people to God as they are grafted into him.

The purpose of sex, then, is to provide a unique means through which a husband and wife can know one another, serve one another, express vulnerability before one another, give and receive. No other area in marriage offers so much to gain and so much to lose. No other area in marriage so closely grafts the couple together. And no message could be further from what is shown in pornography!

Yet sexual desire, the appetite for sex, is not given in equal measure. It is typically given in greater part to men. Why is this? The answer, I’m convinced, goes right to the heart of the husband-wife relationship. God commands that men, husbands, be leaders. Men are to take the leading role while women are to follow. God intends that men take leadership even in sex and, therefore, he gives to men a greater desire for it. This way men can lead their wives, taking the initiative, taking care to love their wives in such a way that they wish to have sex with their husbands. Generally speaking, a man finds intimacy and acceptance through sex while a woman needs to first experience intimacy and acceptance before she can be prepared to enjoy sex. And so God gives the man a sexual appetite so he can in turn provide for his wife’s needs before she provides for his. His sexual appetite cannot be separated from his leadership.

Sexual Detox IV: Detoxification

Sex is not primarily about you. Wives may well testify that they have a better understanding of this concept than do their husbands. Yet even then, sex is not ultimately about your spouse. Sex is about God. While a husband may be motivated by desire to pursue his wife and have sex with her, he should be motivated ultimately by an obedience to God’s command that a husband and wife enjoy sex frequently.

Sexual Detox V: Freedom

The first of these is one of my favorite passages in the whole Bible. Proverbs 5:18-19 says, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” I love the sweetness of this passage. It calls a man to always find joy and satisfaction and intimacy in the wife God has given him. It calls him to recall the delight he had in the days when he and his bride were newly married and to live out of that delight. He has no right to go elsewhere, no right to “drink from another cistern,” to use Solomon’s terminology. And why would he ever want to? The verse both celebrates the gift of sex and the exclusivity of it.

My encouragement to you is to find a biblical basis for purity, a biblical basis for avoiding pornography. Some men can turn away from pornography by an act of the will. Some can do it by constructing walls of legalism and forcing themselves to live within those boundaries. But it is best, I’m convinced, to find freedom through the Word of God. We need to fight sin with God’s truth; we need to replace the lies we want to believe with what God says is true. Perhaps some of the verses that God used in my life will help you; perhaps he will help you find others. But in any case, go the Bible and find there both the foundation for purity and the wisdom that can help you moment-by-moment.

Sexual Detox: Recommended Resources

List of books and websites

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