My eyes lingered a little too long. My mind wandered a little too far. Instead of fleeing the temptation, I gave into my lustful fantasies. A wave of discouragement washed over me. I had failed… again. That’s it! I told myself. That’s the last time I’m going to give into my lust. I recommitted to myself that I would walk the path of sexual purity from that point forward. But like clockwork, several days would pass, and I would fail again. On and on this cycle spun, leaving me more exhausted and weary with each new failure.
Looking back on my younger self now, I can see how unhelpful and unbiblical my mindset toward purity was. Somewhere along the way, I had bought into the idea that I could embrace a life of perfect purity. I viewed purity as an area of my life that just needed a little more determination and hard work. If I committed to purity, I should be able to stick to my commitment. Right?
It sounds good.
But here’s the major problem with my mindset back then.
I was pursuing purity from a works-based “perfectionist” mentality. I was viewing purity as another goal on my daily Christian achievement list. I just needed to “work” harder to accomplish it. But here’s the problem. Purity isn’t primarily a daily challenge to be achieved through hard work and gumption. Purity isn’t a battle to be fought with determination alone.
Purity is a heart issue. Sexual sin is a heart issue.
The only way to find lasting victory for a heart issue is to seek help from the One (Jesus) who transforms hearts from the inside out (Psalm 51:10). Purity is not only a physical and mental battle — it’s a spiritual battle. It’s a battle against sin and the flesh. Our hearts have been corrupted by sin, therefore we can’t pursue a perfect life of purity in our own strength.
As Christians, here’s what we need to understand (excerpt pulled from Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart):
“If we, as women, want to embrace purity as God designed it, we must first acknowledge the fact that we are very imperfect. In and of ourselves, we are completely impure and unable to change that. ‘The fact is that none of us is 100% sexually pure—we have all missed God’s ‘plan A’ of perfection. Our purity according to Scripture is determined by the blood of Jesus Christ, not by our sexual choices. There are not some women who need Jesus more than others. As the Bible says, all of us have sinned and are ‘dirty’ before God. It is only Jesus’ atoning death on the cross that supernaturally presents us as a pure and spotless Bride.’
That must be our starting place. We must acknowledge our need for Jesus.
We must accept His perfect righteousness in place of our very imperfect lives.
Once you’ve accepted the fact that you are imperfect and in need of Christ’s perfection, it will totally change your focus. Instead of striving to live up to some impossible standard of perfection, you will recognize your need for Jesus. Your entire life is about accepting His grace and walking in that new identity. You are no longer just an imperfect woman. You are an imperfect woman with a perfect Savior. He equips you to fight the battle. He offers you forgiveness over and over again. He gives you His identity as a daughter of God (John 1:12). Your life’s aim is about worshiping your God above all else. 1 Peter 1:16–17, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
Did you catch that? We are imperfect women with a perfect Savior.
Fighting sexual sin isn’t about being perfect, but about looking to the One who was perfect on our behalf. It wasn’t until I understood my need for Jesus in the battle for purity that I began to change my tactics. Instead of “trying harder” or “shooting for perfection,” I began humbling myself and seeking God’s help.
I memorized verses like Psalm 51:10 and asked God to change my heart’s desires: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” I began praying more regularly, asking God for the strength to honor Him that day. My mindset changed from viewing purity as a “Christian task” to an area of my life that I could honor and glorify God in. Ultimately, pursuing purity became less about my perfect report card, and more about loving God with my whole heart (Matthew 22:37).
Did all of the sexual temptations go away?
Nope (and they never will). But I had learned to fight the battle against sin with the right heart posture. I wasn’t looking to myself anymore, I was looking to God. And by His grace working in me day by day, I began to see a lot more victory in my life.
As you wrestle with sexual temptations in your own life, I pray you will choose to fight the battle with the right weapons. Don’t chase after Christian perfectionism, but rather pursue a daily relationship with the perfect Savior. Ask God for the daily grace and strength needed to walk in holiness and honor for His glory. Spend time with Him through His Word and prayer. Cultivate a genuine love for Him in your heart. The greatest weapon against sin, is a greater love for the Savior.
If you desire to grow in your understanding of purity and sexuality, you will really enjoy reading Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. I hope this book blesses you!
Let’s chat below.
- Have you ever told yourself to just “try harder” when it comes to purity? What happened?
- What can you do today to pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus?