Is Purity Worth the Cost? (Part 1)

Posted on · Posted in Culture, Godward Orientation

Is it worth it to be pure? People have been asking this question for thousands of years. The pursuit of purity seems to be out of touch with a life of enjoyment. Purity means dull, boring and unexciting, at least that is what conventional wisdom believed for millennia. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a commercial shouting out the value of being pure and decent? 

A songwriter felt this tension 3,000 years ago. In frustration, he complained that fat cats got whatever they wanted. God and biblical morality were mocked in his world, very much like they are today. People lived for pleasure and suffer no harm from their lustful pursuits. The songwriter observed that people were not only enjoying sin but getting rich in the process. Again, very much like today!

Hear his words of envy in Psalm 73:

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
I get nothing but trouble all day long;
every morning brings me pain.

The songwriter who wrote these words did so under the direction of the Holy Spirit. These words along with the other thoughts at the beginning of Psalm 73 would be a great blues rant. Far too many from Christian homes are totally buy into the idea that all they get from Christianity is pain, trouble, and boredom. 

Parents, it is hugely important that you at least grasp the issues your kids face. Trying to sell purity for purity’s sake is a non-starter. Psalm 73 speaks pointedly of the frustration that your children face when purity and moral behavior are expressed as keeping rules and laws. 

The Holy Spirit’s alternative is the pursuit of purity based on a relationship with Christ that is rooted in gratitude and grace. Our songwriter resolves his frustration when he sees God for who he really is. In the second half of the psalm, he is able to take a step back and see all that is real, not just the temporary rush of pleasure. I’ll have more to say about this in an upcoming post.

But for now please consider why is the pursuit of purity see boring and stupid to your kids and maybe, to you as well? It might be that the pursuit of purity is seen and nothing more than keeping rules. The “don’t do this, or you’ll get in trouble” reasoning is an open invitation for your children to believe that being pure is not something to desire. But instead of keeping rules try thinking about purity this way:

Purity is a dynamic expression of godly character. It radiates through the whole person. Purity is rare. Purity is not simply the absence of lust. It is the embodiment of all that is special and honorable. It is a vibrant quality. It is at once all that being made in the image of God encompasses. Purity is the essence of what is noble and praiseworthy about the human spirit.  A person is not pure because of what he was, but because of who he is. True purity produces peaceful contentment that cannot be duplicated by lust and self-gratification! True purity flows from having your identity genuinely rooted in Christ. The pursuit of purity is one of joy, beauty, and excitement.

Continue reading Part 2.

Related resources:

Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage

 

Time for The Talk

Time for The Talk

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.