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10 Things Purity Was Never Meant To Be

By: Bethany Beal

I was her. I was the teen girl reading Christian books on modesty, purity, and relationships. I often read my favorite books over and over again. I loved learning and I loved striving to understand God’s design for my life as a Christian girl.

I wore the purity ring. I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I saved sex for marriage. Etc. etc. etc.

I was that girl.

Fast forward to our modern day and I guess some would consider me a direct product of the “purity movement.” As a product of that generation, many often wonder how it’s impacted me and how it’s impacted my brand new marriage.

To be totally honest, I’m doing great. My marriage is great. I had a wonderful honeymoon and very much enjoy being intimate with my husband.

So what’s the big deal?

Why am I talking about purity and sharing about my upbringing?

Here’s why.

In recent days, there has been a lot of talk amongst Christians about those who grew up in the “purity movement” and how it’s impacted their lives. In listening to these conversations, it’s very clear that purity was not/is not being viewed from a biblical perspective. Due to some of these wrong and unbiblical perspectives, many young women/women have been negatively impacted as a result. So what do we do? Do we ditch purity and toss it out because it didn’t work for some of us?

To be honest, I don’t think purity is to blame here. I think it’s us. We are the ones who have twisted (or been taught to twist) God’s Word and have attached our own ideas (often unhelpful) to purity.

Instead of ditching purity as an outdated/unhelpful/hurtful concept, let’s reclaim it. God’s design for purity was never meant to be what we (as humans) have often turned it into.

Here are 10 things that I believe purity was never meant to be:

1. Purity was never meant to define you.

Our worth and value have absolutely NOTHING to do with how “pure” or “impure” we have been. Our level of “pureness” does not define us. God says that we are all impure before Him. Romans 3:10 “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one.” We are all at the foot of the cross and in need of a Savior. We all need Jesus. Every single one of us. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are His loved Child. That is the only definition that truly matters.

2. Purity was never meant to be a God.

God is the only One worthy of our worship. In fact, He commands us not to worship anything other than Himself. Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” Don’t allow your “good works” or “good lifestyle” to become your God. Don’t worship the concept of purity. Don’t allow that to become an idol in your life.

3. Purity was never meant to be a downpayment.

Purity is not about sticking a quarter in the gumball machine and getting a reward. Do not embrace purity as a downpayment on a future husband, great sex, or a life of ease. That is not what it’s meant to be. I wrote a post titled, Why A Husband Isn’t Your Reward for Staying Pure I would strongly encourage you to read it. 

4. Purity was never meant to be a badge of honor.

If you view yourself as more holy than others, that is pride and it is detestable to God. Your desire to embrace purity should be out of a humble heart to honor the Lord. Purity is not about a badge of honor. It’s not about you and your good works.

5. Purity was never meant to be about pleasing others.

Purity is not about living up to some other person’s standards for you. It’s not about gaining approval or being good enough for someone. God does not love us according to how “pure” we’ve been. He loves us because He is God and He is love. He chooses to love us unconditionally. Do not get caught up in living your life to please sinful humans.

6. Purity was never meant to be a terror.

If purity has been held over your head as a terror that you need to measure up to, I am sorry. Purity was never intended to be a bad and scary thing. Purity was never meant to be a tool to shame people with. That is not God’s design. That is a sad distortion by humans.  

7. Purity was never meant to be a people divider.

There should never be categories of people. There should never be the “pure” and “impure.” We are all impure and broken before God. We all need a Savior equally. We all need Jesus equally. Choose to love others unconditionally just like God loves you. And choose to accept God’s saving grace and unconditional love in your life.

8. Purity was never meant to be about you.

Purity isn’t about you. It’s just not.

9. Purity was never meant to be your salvation.

Salvation has nothing to do with good works. It’s all about grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

10. Purity was never meant to be just about purity.

If purity is your end goal, that’s the wrong end goal. Your bullseye in life is all about living for Jesus. It’s about having a personal relationship with Him. Purity is simply an overflow of that love and desire to live according to God’s good design for us. Don’t ever make purity just about purity.

Whether you grew up in the midst of the purity movement or not, I think it’s so important that we view this concept through a biblical lens. Don’t allow your own sinful heart, or sinful messages from those around you, to define your view of purity. Dig into God’s Word for yourself and choose to make that your final authority on this issue.

Remember that our entire lives are to be lived for the glory of God.

That includes everything to with sex and our sexuality. Our desire to embrace purity should be with the focus of living it out for God’s glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” That includes purity and everything else about our sexuality.  

I want to challenge you to do a personal study on the topic of purity. I challenge you to figure out what lies you’ve been believing about purity and then come up with biblical truths to combat those lies.

In fact, you can start with the ten things I listed above. Write them down and then write down ten biblical truths to combat them. That would be a wonderful start to your personal study on the topic.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

What is your view on purity?

What lies have you believed about purity?

What messages have you been taught about purity?

How can you realign your heart with truth?


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10 Responses to 10 Things Purity Was Never Meant To Be

  1. Sea Star says:

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve been listening to the purity talks over at Authentic Intimacy (thanks so much for introducing me to her!) so I really enjoyed hearing your take on it. And you’re so right. Any pain people experienced, it’s not God’s fault, or purity’s fault, but mistaken teaching’s fault. I grew up Christian but not totally immersed in purity culture, so it’s interesting for me to hear this stuff like this. I need to know where a person’s coming from if they react negatively to “God wants us to embrace purity in our lives.”

    My view on purity is “Therefore, just as He who called you is holy, you also must be holy in all your conduct.” (1 Peter 1:15). I obviously can’t live up to such a standard without God’s grace covering me and helping me along the way.

    I think, if I have believed any lie about purity, it has been one about pleasing others. Talking to my own Mom about struggling with desires and striving for purity, she responded in almost surprise. “I didn’t think you cared!” I’ve never been one to go on about how cute some guy is or how I felt when he brushed my arm, but is that because I cared about purity or because I didn’t want others labeling me as a ‘boy-crazy girl’? Honestly, both reasons could be more or less my goal over the years. I need to stick to just one.

    I am happy to say I was taught purity in a very biblical way! (Thanks Mom and Dad!) It wasn’t about my worth, or pleasing God via works, or as a means of securing a perfect future husband. It was taught as one of many ways we as Christians walk in the Spirit and obey/love our God.

    Realigning my heart with the truth comes most notably with Bible reading and prayer. But these conversations also help. Your blog has served as such a great reminder on this and other topics. Thank you for that! And this is also a great study topic for those girl groups at church. 🙂

  2. Shanae B says:

    Super mega thank you for this post!!!!! I can’t really think of any lies I believed on this subject, I thankfully had a good teaching/view of purity from the get go, but I know many who didn’t (either on themselves or on others). I totally agree that people did/had made a god of purity, purity rings, and the I kissed dating goodbye book. Saying it/they ruined their lives, it’s kind of a blame shift (like in the garden of Eden). It truly depends on how you view/use it. I was one of the only girls in the church I grew up in who made it past age 15 and then to graduate high school still a virgin. I was also not allowed to date till after high school (which did help a lot!). People tried to use my choice in this to sham those who didn’t, and to say I was holier then those girls. These girls falsely felt/thought I shared such views which inturn made these girls despise me and even spread lies and rumors to “get even” or defame my reputation. Regardless of the fact I did/said nothing of the kind. Completely by God’s grace I’m a 30 year old single who’s still waiting! People are totally trying to guilt and shame me currently because of “the purity movement” negatively “affecting” my life (aka I’m still single). Thanks so very much for bringing this subject up!!!

    • Happy says:

      I applaud you! Great job for staying in his arms and not letting the lies creep in! We need more of you! But… you are fearfully and wonderfully made! And the only one who’s just like you!❤❤❤

  3. Kate says:

    As a rather sheltered homeschool student, I didn’t really know what purity meant until I started college. Of course my parents taught that we were supposed to be pure and made sure that we knew we would be loved and welcomed at home regardless of our mistakes. Now that I’m in college, I have to be more intentional about purity, and this post is super helpful! Purity is important to me because I love my guy friends and I don’t want to hurt them spiritually or disrespect them. I love being pure because it is a way for me to show how much I love them, that I am willing to sacrifice my immediate gratification for their well-being and out of respect for their dignity as beloved sons of God.

  4. Angel S says:

    Such an important topic Bethany! And one that has hit a nerve with me. I know what purity was meant to be. But I grew up in a home and went to a college where purity was wielded as a weapon and requirement for allowing to continue in that home or college. Even though I made it to marriage a virgin, the distortion both from what those around me pushed and what I myself in my flesh thought made me better, continues to be something I work through and hope to communicate to my daughter differently. And I for one am grateful for Josh Harris’s fresh take at the topic. I know it’s brought a lot of healing to me.

  5. Tia says:

    that is such an important contribution, bethany! i really enjoyed reading it and realize that i agree with you on every point. Especially the point that purity must not be terror! Keep it up! I’m looking forward to the future posts!

  6. Chelsea Ejimakor says:

    Nice post, Bethany

  7. Krystel Lumacad says:

    love this!

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