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Let's Talk About the Damage Done by Purity Culture

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

Dear Bride of Christ, Regardless of Marital Status, Stop Demonizing Sexual Desire

I appreciate all the wisdom of the church, the elders, the pastors, and the ministers who dedicate their lives to helping others find Christ and His Kingdom. But here lately, I’ve once again heard the call “come listen to Me, I can answer your questions daughter, not them right now, I have something just for you.”

What was the questions I asked? I asked “why, am I still single?”; “Why are so many godly men and women finding it hard to find love that lasts?”; “Why are so many single Christians struggling with loneliness and all we're being told is “Jesus is enough”? Then we’re feeling like “bad” Christians because we know that there IS something missing after all.

I've been waiting and preparing my heart for marriage since I was 16. It's been a desire since I've read the Scriptures and I saw the Father’s design so clearly from Genesis to Revelation. There was a lot of ministry that got planted in my heart but one of those was marriage. I know that Jesus is going to fulfill those desires despite the challenges of our society. What the enemy has intended for evil, oh how it has turned for my good! This isn't about me asking for help or a public complaint.

This is me telling my story. I have been saved since I was 13, I'm now 37. I'm still serving the Lord, I'm still single and I'm still a virgin. All of which most Christians would applaud but here's the problem: the mental torment and battles that I, and so many others, have gone through needs a voice. I am hoping to provide that voice.

God showed me something while reading The Passion Translation last Fall: Matthew 19:11-12…basically, most people are designed for marriage, with few exceptions. Jesus stated these examples…"those born to celibacy (asexual maybe?)...those made eunuchs by others or some who have chosen to live in celibacy for the Kingdom of heaven, let those who can, accept this truth for themselves"

Earlier, in verse 4, Jesus said, “haven’t you read about creation?”, speaking sarcastically, because His audience would have memorized the creation story by age 13. Jesus paraphrased “the Creator made us male and female from the very beginning", meaning that sex was made from the beginning. I’m not sure why but I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking through this verse to my heart about the things warring inside me. See, in this verse of Scripture Jesus was talking about marriage and sex simultaneously, based on intentional God.

For so many years I had been listening to what other people were saying when it came to my singleness:

  • you’re not ready

  • he’s not ready

  • you have to be content in your singleness

  • seek ye first the kingdom

  • a virgin can care for the things of the Lord

  • Jesus can fill that void

  • put aside your desires and serve God in this season

  • you have to have self-control, marriage is not about sex

I took a lot of this to heart and tried my best to apply it to my life. Almost a decade later, I have to be honest, I did so to my own destruction. I know that’s a shock, and some of you may already be questioning my salvation because there is certain things Christians don’t admit, right? The advice isn't wrong, they are just very presumptuous and the last one is just stupid to even say.

The issue God has revealed to my “why” question is the truth right in front of us that everyone has been ignoring: We have stepped into a trap that the enemy has laid out in the culture, and because so many Christians have grabbed a hold of the culture, we're now caught up in that trap too.

The issue God has revealed to my “why” question is the truth right in front of us that everyone has been ignoring: We have stepped into a trap that the enemy has laid out in the culture, and because so many Christians have grabbed a hold of the culture, we're now caught up in that trap too.

The "trap" is, on one hand, you have a world of sin, and on the other hand, you have a Christian response that is extreme, aka "Purity Culture." Purity Culture tries to spiritualize singleness and makes sexual desire dangerous and fleshly. I think sex and sensuality are very much an intentional part of our creation. It's a beautiful thing, that all people, even singles experience. Satan knows this…that why he created a cultural principality against holy marriage; and it's working hard, every day and through every religious cliché.

In the book of Genesis, gender was the first thing that was created in association with mankind. Mankind made in the image of God - the creation of male and female. With that creation, was an important element of the kingdom of God, otherwise Jesus wouldn't have said the things He said. I also found it interesting that when he was talking about singleness he wasn't talking about being alone in order to do "ministry" but He chose to talk about SEX. Jesus got straight to the point.

So many people act like marriage is not about legal sex. Should our marriages glorify God? Absolutely, when we honor God’s design for sex and marriage, our marriages glorify God automatically. When we love one another and not only allow, but assist our spouse in doing the things of God, that glorifies the Kingdom. However Jesus, being God Himself, knew how He designed us. He knew the inner workings of our body and He knew that most human beings are not designed for long-term celibacy. We are often too spiritual for our own good, thinking we're being "holy". Paul talked about this in Colossians 2:23.

Jesus was setting us up for success, instead of the failure that Purity Culture has set us up for.

Jesus in His wisdom addressed the elephant in the room. He immediately went there…talking about SEX. He’s not talking about whether you are physically alone or not. He didn’t even talk about how marriage should “promote Kingdom” like so many cute Youtube ministers do. He's talking about sexual desire when talking about whether or not a person should get married. That’s why he mentions celibacy when answering the question “should we even get married?”

Jesus is greater than Paul, but even Paul has been misunderstood. Jesus (and the Apostle Paul) knew that setting people up to live in singleness was setting people up for failure when it came to fornication (I Cor 7:2). And He knew that kind of thinking that was playing right into the enemy's hands. Think about it, satan has done everything he can to destroy family and what better way to do that than to have Christians in prolonged unwanted singleness. Not only is he preventing marriage and family, but he's also increasing the likelihood of fornication which sets a terrible precedence for generations after (cue fatherlessness, motherlessness, etc.).

And yes he talked about the idea remaining single for the glory of Heaven, but he talked about that as a person's choice not something that's forced upon them by circumstances, or worse the Father himself. Which is backwards because God created male and female in the very beginning. Most theologians agree that God's desire is for us to return to the harmony of Eden not ignore it all together.

With this revelation, I begin a discussion with God about my singleness that was very different than I had in the past. I begin to approach Him as an Ally, who was on my side like never before.

Church people had made me think that Papa almost wanted me to be alone and was pleased with all my hurting and pain. And I used to think to myself "well I'm not happy but as long as Jesus is happy that's all that's important.” While that sort of mentality is maturity, I was not seeing my God appropriately.

Then 2020 happened and me, along with millions of others were faced with loneliness and isolation like never before. The choice to go out and socialize was not available to many people and if you already were alone you felt even more alone. It's still affecting me today.

I know for me personally, being alone brings me a sadness it has never done before 2020. I used to love being by myself to get away from "people", I'm an introvert and sometimes I need a break! But most of us don't want to go through the ups and downs of life - the death of loved ones, wars, global pandemics, and other things alone. I don't want to forever have to fend for myself. I need a spiritual covering in my household. I don't want to forever have no one to share a beautiful day or a fun evening with. And just as Jesus warned us, most people are not designed for that anyway.

But in the Christian community we are made to feel as if our desire for anyone to fill a void is wrong. Somehow we are made to feel like we're not spiritual enough or we're focusing on our “fleshly” desires instead of the Kingdom of God. All while living double lives, hooking up, making poor relationship decisions, trying to desperately fill a void that is very real.

So why are so many people not getting married? I asked that question and will share my answer in my next blog post.

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