Elisabeth Elliot put it this way, “The love life of a Christian is a crucial battleground. There, if nowhere else, it will be determined as to who is lord: the world, the self and the devil, or the Lord Christ.” (1)
Elisabeth returned to the United States with her young daughter in 1963. She became a well-known author and speaker. One of her focus topics was sexual purity. She wrote a book entitled, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control. She wrote from the perspective of an earlier era when moral standards were clear and more biblically consistent. But she relates to those of the current culture as well. She presents God’s timeless standards of purity without hesitation or apology. God created the whole idea of marriage and put a boundary of protection around it. His design is for sex to be between one man and one woman within the context of marriage for as long as they both shall live.
When something is pure it is free of contamination by another substance. God values purity and we should also. Mental and physical purity prior to marriage is the best preparation for purity and faithfulness in marriage. It is more about honoring God and obeying His standard for holiness than about what we think will make us happy. Happiness and holiness go together. If we pursue holiness¸ we will get both. If we pursue happiness, we will get neither.
We live in a sex-saturated world. We need to put boundaries around what we put into our minds, what we do and where we go. Passion is good, and we need to understand that the boundary of purity protects the best passion. We need to know how to put the brakes on when we are tempted. Someone once asked Elisabeth about how to say no to sexual temptation prior to marriage. She said that it was actually a very simple answer -- not an easy to do answer, but a simple answer. There are two steps: Say no twice, once with the spoken word “No” and once with the body language of physically moving away from the situation. It is a simple plan that really works and becomes easier with practice.
Another purity protection is modesty. Have you ever wondered about the evolution of women's clothing from button up collars and floor length skirts to mini-skirts, short shorts, bare bellies, bold cleavage, and skin tight leggings. How did this happen and why? Back in “the day” the female anatomy was an exhilarating mystery to men …… because it was totally covered at all times. Women not only honored God with their modest attire, but they also maintained a kind of power and appeal that was truly attractive.
Modest attire helps us focus on the person rather than their anatomy. Fashion statements, especially immodest fashion statements, often work against what we say are our priorities. For instance, if a woman wants to be seen, heard, and taken seriously; distracting others by wearing immodest clothing will not help that happen. Being in style is nice, but we dare not care more about being in style than being modest.
In all of this it is important to let the authority of Christ direct our passions and our purity.