In Defense of Purity: A Young Woman’s Role in the Church

Sexual purity has been a popular topic recently. And while sexual purity has a deep impact on our souls, it is not the only type of purity we are called to. If we are to live purely, we must defend all areas of our purity. James writes,

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”[2]

The stains of the world include materialism, greed, gluttony, sexual immorality, and many other sins. In order to maintain our purity against these things, we must recognize that attacks will come from all sides. If we claim to be sexually pure but are addicted to human praise, our purity is incomplete. Only when we surrender all areas to Jesus can He make us wholly pure.

In this world of permissiveness, a life that is wholly pure is hard to believe. Not only is it tempting to be slack in holding ourselves to a standard of purity, it’s hard not to doubt others who do.

When I see someone consistently refusing temptations to speak idle words, idolize possessions, or act out of greed, however, I am called to a higher standard. A life that is visibly pure in all areas is powerful. Those outside the church don’t deny it. But we as Christians are more apt to brush it away because we know how hard it is to be pure. Seeing someone’s pure life can make us uncomfortable. Convict us.

What is a young woman’s role?

Young women of our churches have a formidable mission. Titus calls older women to teach the younger women—and he calls both of them to be pure.[1]  My own struggle against unkind thoughts and other forms of impurity has forced me to see that purity does not come easily to anyone. Jesus’ redemption from our fallen nature enables us to live purely. But once our purity is redeemed, we must defend it, or we will lose it and fall back into our old ways.

How can we defend it?

First, we must recognize that purity is a gift from God. Many young women of the Church, myself included, hesitate to protect purity in word and deed because we feel we’ve already lost it. How can we speak against gossip when we ourselves think unkind thoughts? But Jesus has restored our purity to us, and it is spotless. Therefore we should not be ashamed to defend this vital part of our walk with Christ.

Lastly, we must remember that though redeemed purity is a gift, it is not passive like a piece of china on the shelf. Purity hates that which mars it, and moves actively to protect itself. The Church will lose its purity if its members ignore the filthy influences creeping in. Because we as young women are called to be pure, we must act against the things that would take away our purity, and those of others.

What about submission?

How does this call to action coincide with our call to submission? We demean ourselves and the men around us if we believe submission means passivity. God has ordained the headship order so that each role is filled in the best way possible. No matter what role we fill, we are commanded to speak the truth in love, put away lying, and let nothing corrupt proceed from our mouths.[3] We must be willing to humbly speak when we witness gossip, foul language, sexual perversions, angry words, or anything else that erodes the purity of the Church. This doesn’t give us free reign to reprimand our brothers and sisters. It is rather a sobering responsibility to bring each situation before God and allow Him to direct our willing hearts. Discretion and kindness must mark everything we do.

We are called to represent the beauty and purity of the Church, and not only symbolically. If we properly fill our roles within the Church, God will use our influence to shape His Kingdom in ways we can hardly imagine. But we must be willing to work with our brothers in Christ, not below or against them.

Defending purity is never easy. Our human nature is drawn to things beyond our boundaries. Even if we ourselves are determined to fight against wrong thoughts or conversations, we will still feel pressure from others to loosen up. In order to stand firm, we must surrender our own claim to purity and recognize it as God’s gift. We must understand that purity cannot be passive. We must remember to defend the whole of purity, using kindness and discretion.

 

 

Sheri Sheri Yutzi is a storyteller who believes that words hold unimaginable power. She’s passionate about writing life-changing literature for people of all ages. She edits for Daughters of Promise, an Anabaptist women’s magazine, and is working to get her first two young adult fantasy novels published. In the meantime, she writes short stories and articles for blogs and online magazines. She grew up as a conservative Mennonite and still practices that way of life. She lives with her husband Dan in Huntsville, Arkansas, and attends a small church in town. You can find Stories of the Stars, her short story collection, on Amazon.

 

[1] Titus 2:3-5

[2] James 1:27

[3] Ephesians 4:15,25,29

One thought on “In Defense of Purity: A Young Woman’s Role in the Church

  1. Thanks for pointing out that “purity” encompasses so much more than just sexual morality! The two have become virtually synonymous, and I think it impairs our understanding of verses like “Be an example of the believers in… purity” or “Keep yourself pure”.

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