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What is a Woman’s Value?

By Jesse Jost

In her recent award-winning book, Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, journalist Peggy Orenstein surveys the host of sexual challenges and dilemmas the modern girl faces. On the one hand she encounters men who objectify her and tell her she is responsible to dress in a way that doesn’t “distract” or “tempt” men, but she hears little corresponding outcry for the way boys are “distracting” girls through inappropriate groping and lewd comments!

Girls are taught that they can dream big and be whatever they want, but many of the women who have made it to the top have done so by exploiting their sexuality. The implications of this and the corresponding advertisements are crushing: yes, they can be doctors, singers, and lawyers, but their value will still be rated by how closely their bodies conform to the unrealistic sexual ideals found in film and porn.

A woman seeking to make it through high school and college faces the unsolvable dilemma of trying to walk the line between being sexually active but not a slut, and retaining her privacy but not being a “virgin” or a “repressed prude.” Either way she will be relentlessly criticized and degraded for the path she chooses.

I was shocked to read what is expected sexually of a girl, even before she begins to date. Peggy Orenstein interviewed dozens of girls across cultural lines. Many of these girls were strong feminist dynamos with great ambitions to free women from inequality and fight for women’s rights. Yet almost all of them in the heat of the moment admitted to passively submitting to pressure from guys to give sexual favors. In each case the young woman was so eager to please, or so afraid of hurting the guy’s feelings,  she meekly surrendered, and what is sacred and wonderful in its proper context became a gross act of humiliation.

This is a toxic environment where guys beg and pout for graphic snap chats and then publicly humiliate the poor girls for the slightest provocation. Women are regularly described in obscene degrading language, made the objects of cruel hazing rituals, and face demeaning expectations to be a “friend with benefits” or be left behind.

What a confusing world, where a young woman dresses for a party and feels empowered by her revealing outfit, then quickly feels powerless as she is groped and objectified! There were so many times throughout Orenstein’s book that I felt like weeping. I can only imagine what God thinks as He sees this beautiful gift of sex, designed to thrill and satisfy, turned into an instrument of psychological torment.

As I read, my 7 year old daughter Sophia walked by. I had to put the book down and give her a big hug. I inwardly vowed to do all I could to protect her from such a horrific mess. Continue reading…

  • Margaret

    Excellent! Best I have read yet. Thank you for putting it in words to share with others!

  • A. D.

    I don’t read blogs very often so I’m especially glad that I read this post. True, I’m a girl, but this is something that applies to all of God’s children – basically, anyone who has been let in on the secret that every person ever alive is worth dying for to the perfect Dad who made us and treasures us all. I’ve been praying for a response that I could have toward what’s going on in our world today which would actually make a difference and bring honor to God and I think you’ve just voiced it. Thank you.

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New Podcast!

12370863_1120135844672293_7840213459121591541_oWe are pleased to announce the creation of our own podcast channel. You can find our channel here: http://purityandtruth.podbean.com/

Or find our podcast on itunes by searching for “purity and truth” or “Jesse Jost”.

I am currently uploading all 20 sessions of my three part church history series, after that I plan on continuing to upload the audio from many of my past speaking engagements on topics such as apologetics, evangelism, and romantic relationships. Check it out and book mark the page to check back in the future.

I hope my words are an encouragement to you. God bless!

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Why Good Sex Can Never Be Captured on Film

dreamstime_xs_25965250By Jesse Jost

Love scenes stir deep passions within us. It’s difficult to look away: Sexual attraction is inherent in us, and sex has unparalleled beauty. Hence, sex is a popular subject for photographers and filmmakers. But what messages are these public portrayals of physical affection communicating about sex?

God created sex (best idea ever), and also laid out strict instructions to keep the sex act within marriage. In His omniscience, He has reasons and purposes for these commands that we may never fully understand. However, the test tube of earthly life shows the brutal consequences of unrestricted sexual expression. What was meant to be a transcendent experience has often turned out to be a hellish nightmare for millions of exploited women.

Sex is designed to make two individuals “one flesh.” (Mark 10:8) This is fulfilled literally in reproduction, as the parents’ genes combine to form a new person. But sex is also given to unite a husband and wife spiritually and emotionally, a bond that is unmatched in any other relationship.

Clearly, good sex is so much more than the physical act. Sex the way God intended it is a physical and tangible expression of the emotional and spiritual bond that should be forming at the same time. Any sex act divorced from these relational bonds is destructive and exploitative.

Good sex is found only in an environment of trust. Intimacy requires a disclosure that makes one vulnerable. Before a woman can let go and fully express herself sexually, she needs to know that man receiving this sacred knowledge of her will not use it against her, and will be a safe place where she will be treasured for who she is, where she will not feel compared with any other woman. Good sex creates a paradise for a woman, a new Garden of Eden where she is queen alone.

This requires privacy. The very act of bringing a camera into the equation breaks the spell, stealing from the woman her sacred knowledge and making it available to any man who wants to mentally violate her by using that knowledge for his own selfish gratification. No matter how beautiful the portrayal of sex or how innocent it appears, the on-screen image is shouting a lie, and to receive lustful gratification from that image is to participate in the exploitation of that woman. Continue reading…

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The Spiritual Duty of Enjoyment

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-summer-time-image29181257By Jesse Jost

When I read about the persecuted church or people suffering because they’re deprived of basic needs, I look around at the crazy abundance and health that I enjoy. And I feel guilty. Why was I born into this era and this family? I could have been born in the stench-filled belly of a slave ship, or grown up in daily terror of tribal warfare. I wrestle with what my response should be to this unfair situation. It feels wrong to enjoy comforts and delights in such excess when there are billions living without.

One possible response to this – that honestly turns my stomach and makes me very uncomfortable – is the thought that I should sell all my possessions and give them to the poor (Matt 19:21). Should I sacrifice my every comfort attempting to alleviate as much misery as possible? This is certainly one path that God calls many to. But being a father and husband complicates the issue. First Timothy 5:8 warns that he “who does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (NIV). Yes, I could sell everything but I also have a duty to keep my kids and wife warm, fed, and clothed. There is also the question of education and the protection of their spiritual and emotional well-being. It appears unwise for me, in this stage of life, to uproot them and move them all to a red-light district. But then again the gospel is about risk, sacrifice, and loving Christ above your family.

These are thorny thoughts that I would rather block out of my mind. I feel reluctant to thank God for the gifts he has given because I’m not sure it is right for me to enjoy them. The larger issue, of course, is not “doing what I’m comfortable with,” but living life the way my Creator wants me to. How does He want me to respond to this material abundance? Continue reading…

  • The Spiritual Duty of Enjoyment| Purity and Truth ‹ Refrains of Grace

  • Shannon Strom

    Reading this is God’s way of speaking through you, reminding us to be joyful of what we are blessed with from him and our beautiful spouses, children, relatives and friendship he has blessed us with. We must praise Him and be Thankful for everything we do have, and to help others whenever we can, or to speak of God’s loving words, to those who do not know Him personally. God blessed us with our lives and saved us from all of our sin. He is amazing, and it is amazing to follow Him, praise Him and receive the unconditional love from Him. How lucky are we!!! I love your writing Jesse, every word touches me and I hope you will continue to pass on God’s word.

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Saving the Baby: An Alternative to Courtship

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-baby-washing-bath-holding-nose-start-diving-under-water-image30109089By Jesse Jost

Bath time doesn’t always go like it should. Especially when little kids get excited. Bathwater is supposed to be pure, clean, and bubbly. But when you put real kids in there, the bathwater gets disgusting. Many parents, broken and bruised by the sexually charged dating scene, wanted a clean, fresh alternative to “dating” for their kids. So they poured a hot, fresh bubble bath called “courtship” that was free from the filthy contaminants of “recreational” dating. The plan was simple: Put the kids through this new system and the problems of promiscuity, broken hearts, and divorce would be washed away.

But as people settled into the suds, some of them began p**ping in the bathwater. Now, thanks to the filth and grime of human nature, the waters of courtship are dirty and murky. Single young people are looking at what has happened to their friends and older siblings, and they don’t want to get in the grungy water. I feel for them; they want something better.

I want to look at a few ways courtship has gone wrong, but I also want to spare the baby in the bathwater, by checking out some valuable contributions that courtship thinking offered. I’ll finish off with fresh clean bathwater. Continue reading…

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The Modesty Talk for Men

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-surprised-young-man-shocked-facial-expression-image15787159By Jesse Jost

I have held my tongue long enough. Of course, I hold my tongue like a toddler holds a 25 lb. barbell. As women shed their winter fur (coats) along with most of whatever else they used to wear, the modesty debate rises to the surface, trying to take the place of the discarded clothing. I read almost every modesty article, pro and anti, that shows up in my various news feeds. I believe quite strongly in the merits of modest dressing as I wrote here. However, while women have been scrutinized, harped on, measured, and discouraged, I see a serious problem that modesty culture has obviously not done enough to address.

Modesty is often held up as The Way to help men overcome their lust problem. The consequences of this idea are lethal: Guys feel helpless or justified in succumbing to the lustful glance whenever they see a girl who is “immodest” by their standard. Girls get discouraged and then angry when they feel like they are unfairly carrying the burden of men’s purity. Because they react to this bad reason for modesty, they often can’t see the more valid and godly reasons for modesty and throw clothing restraint to the wind.

I want to be clear upfront: modesty will not solve the problem of lust! I am ashamed that we Christian men have let this problem get so far. We need be more ruthless in attacking lust and take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions. It is ridiculous to blame the Christian girl in your circle for your lustful thoughts. If you lusted after her, she is not the problem. If she was completely covered up you could still find a way to lust, if not over her then over some other girl, and in our sexually charged culture, you wouldn’t have to look very far, in fact, perhaps no farther than your next thought. Continue reading…

  • A sister in Christ

    And just to clarify, sir, what your wife is doing aggravates me greatly. Not only because of how it affects you as her husband, but also because it greatly affects your children and may easily skew their ideas of marriage and family and ultimately God. That is the worst part. I am sick of seeing so many messed up families.

  • Still Learning

    Anonoymous, I’m glad you read the book 5 Love Languages. When I was still only dating my wife I overheard someone with an awesome marriage talking with a coworker about how he finds it redicuouls that people study english and math and history for over a decade of their life in school but when it comes to how to have a successful relationship with a spouse we will spend the rest of our lives with most people resign themselves to a few counseling sessions the months leading up to marriage if they are even willing to do that. I’ve taken it to heart and been blessed enough to have a mentor in my life that has had a long and successful marriage guide me in my perpetual growth in this area. If you have are still willing to study there are a few other books that have helped me a great deal. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggeriches and His Needs Her Needs by Willard E. Harley have been incredibily insightful and definitely opened my eyes to a whole new way of communicating in ‘her’ language and vice versa. (I had to read and take action first and she because interested in where I learned to connect better so that she decided to read it herself.) A solid rule to live by in every aspect of life but seems to apply specifically here in this circumstance: Be the example. As men we may not be nearly as attractive as a women but we can’t be hypocrites. And don’t expect a 1 to 1 ratio in returns. Just as a basic leadership principle the bad example we show tends to get duplicated twice as much. The good example we live out only tends to be duplicated half as much. In other words put in twice as much effort as you wish your wife would put in. If you want to understand women better so that you can reach your wife better and engage in more emotional and heartfelt communication a fantastic book to read is Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge. A book that really lays out the role of the man better than any other I have read thus far is Maximized Manhood by Edwin Louis Cole. John and Lisa Bevere have also written some amazingly insightful and challenging books that have forced me to confront areas of my live I was dropping the ball and didn’t even realize it. They have a marriage devotional called the The Story of Marriage that engages both spouses. John wrote one that may help renew your spirit called The Bait of Satan.
    These are a few that I’ve found incredibly helpful and recommend as often as I can and I even have copies in my car of several of these so that I can loan them out when needed. The only other advice that I have is to find someone that has a great marriage and become a protege. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor.10:13) Also, Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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Confessions of a Purity Advocate

By Jesse Jost


PENTAX ImageI struggle with lust. I have found myself doing things that if I knew others were watching me, I would nearly die of shame. I know what it is like to feel that I am no longer in control, shocked at where I am headed. When I hear of another Christian leader falling prey to sexual scandal, I cannot judge them; I can only shudder at our mutual frailty. I have been terrified to look back and find that I was under some kind of spell, hungry for something that I normally would abhor.

Fighting when you don’t want to win

In most battles, the combatants want to win. What makes the battle against temptation so difficult is that when the battle is the fiercest, you no longer want to win. Fighting for a victory that you want to lose takes more willpower than most of us have. So I fall. Then I prayerfully knock off the dust and get up and keep fighting. Why? Is the battle for purity really that important?

In the middle of the struggle, our hideous enemy uses some kind of potent chemical warfare that causes us to forget the reasons this fight is important. I want to record why I fight for holiness. But first, I want to clarify what this purity struggle isn’t. Continue reading…

  • Tys

    Jesse, great style of writing and well organized, you have a very compelling and engaging style of literature. It stems from the topics that you’re very passionate about, and I love how it translates a level of dedication to your work and life, simply through your words. Always great to read about you buddy

  • Jesse Jost

    Thanks, Tyson. That means a lot!

  • annonymous wife

    You are not alone in your fight. You are rare to admit it openly. It is needed to be talked about. The fight is far more common than any will admit. It is a fight that both my husband and I have. It took us years to confess to each other these struggles and talk openly. We have had to deal with a lot of pain from emotional/virtual infidelity. Some may not think that’s a big deal but truth be told it cuts just as deep. Jesus said if you lust after a woman in your heart you have already committed adultery with her. And it feels the same as flesh adultery in the marriage. It’s so agonizing, you think you have it beat and next thing you know you are down that road again. The Lord is good and does leave us a way out but am still always disgusted that we started down the path in the first place. And though I rarely hear of it, it is a struggle for us women too. It is an evil work that destroys trust in a marriage. I can’t even count the hours of agony I have spent alone mourning and nursing my wounded heart and pride from my husbands infidelity, then to be reminded my thoughts are no better, I just kept them inside and did not act on them. It is even embarrassing writing this little note about it. I am afraid someone might read it and recognize me. More so I am afraid they might get tripped up seeing a Christian fighting this. So thank you for being bold enough to take the first step. I pray it blesses others to admit the problems, and fight the devil and his cruel tactics. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

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Is Purity Culture Oppressive to a Woman’s Sexuality?

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetBy Jesse Jost

I recently read an article on articlebuffet.com (also known as facebook.) It was called “Naked and Ashamed: Women and Evangelical Purity Culture.” The article was a condensed master’s thesis by a woman who was arguing that purity culture is oppressive to a woman’s sexuality and causes long-lasting emotional and psychological devastation. She felt that the purity movement makes a woman feel like her body is sinful and a stumbling block to men, that the burden of purity rests on the woman and men get off easy, and that any sexual desire is shameful. All of this causes a woman to be repressed and hate her sexuality. Her case is corroborated by testimony, and by the number of likes by evangelical females the article received, I would say she has uncovered a serious problem in this movement.

So the short answer to the question in my title is “Yes, elements of purity culture have been oppressive to some women.” As a man, I am limited in how much of this I can address, but I have a mother I greatly respect, three sisters I adore, a wife that I love with everything I have, and a precious little daughter that I would die for. I also have a very strong protective streak. Anything that oppresses women or damages their emotions or sexuality makes me irate very quickly. I read her article with concern and I hurt for the women who have suffered because what they’ve been told about purity and their bodies. But I need to ask, “Is it the purity culture that is to blame? Or is it the purity message?” A culture contains fallen humans and so any “culture” can become oppressive. I need to know if it is the purity message itself that is causing the harm. I want to address the factors that I think are causing the pain, but also look at the alternative. If we throw away purity culture, what will take its place and will the alternative be any better? Continue reading…

  • T Lipp

    Thanks for the good thoughts Jesse, I’ve had several conversations about this topic lately. Specifically with colleagues who love Jesus and are from cultural backgrounds were there is less “purity culture” and see how demeaning “purity culture” is to sexuality. I think you made a good distinction between the message and the culture, that’s an important distinction to make.

    What I’m starting to ponder now is, how can you foster a culture that encourages both purity and sexuality. Is that even okay to say? Maybe I should have put “God-given” in front of sexuality, but then again I didn’t feel it necessary to put “God-given” in front of purity….

  • Chris

    Guys suffer from religion-induced sexual dysfunction too.I was at work several months ago and thinking about the depression and anger that plagued me throughout much of my teen years, and I think much of it can be linked to Jesus’s words about lust in Matthew 5. I often felt guilty and angry when I felt any kind of sexual urge, and since adolescence is a time when we guys feel that frequently, there was a ton of anger and guilt. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I saw a minister on TV teach that the purpose of those passages wasn’t to make us feel guilty or repress our sexuality, but to emphasize God’s grace, to make us realize how much we need Him in our daily lives, and the fact that Jesus was “showing up” the Pharisees by telling them that they weren’t nearly as good at following the Law as they thought they were.. It was like, “Gee, NOW someone tells me.”

    Some women who’ve blogged about being indoctrinated into this lunacy describe having thoughts and feelings that are classic symptoms of childhood sexual abuse and many of them pertain to me. The fact that I haven’t pulled a Columbine is proof that God is indeed merciful, so I can only hope that something good can come out of this. He’s got His work cut out for Him; this is a person who’s spent nearly as of his adult life under incomprehensible turmoil.

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A Poisonous Reason for Emotional Purity (and an Antidote)

 hearthaloBy Jesse Jost

In an effort to keep young people from entering a damaging series of physical and emotional romantic entanglements followed by painful break ups, a number of writers have appealed, “save your heart for your future spouse!” They claimed that every time you had your heart broken, it became lessened in some way, and was now less special because you had an emotional attachment to someone other than the one you would marry. You had given away a piece of your heart and no longer had your whole heart to give. The pure un-bruised and unbroken heart was more valuable to your spouse and would make your love deeper and more fulfilling. It was an idea that sounded good on the surface, and appealed to parents and young people alike. But I believe presenting the message in these terms has put a fatal twist on the truth and is creating devastating consequences.

The side effects:

Lost vision

In a world of deceptive hearts longing for love, it is just a matter of time before someone breaks yours. The only way to avoid having your heart broken is to never love and never hope. People who choose to love will give parts of their heart away and will be hurt. For the vast majority of young people who have loved and been hurt, it’s a discouraging thought that their chances of a quality marriage are tied to whether or not their heart has been broken. Continue reading…

  • LM

    No matter how one tries to ‘guard one’s heart’, if there is a moment when one decided to take the plunge and believe in love, there is also vulnerability. Trust can always be broken, ever after tying the knot. Eventually, we have to trust in God and the nudges He is giving us. We can believe in His goodness, but that does not eradicate the risk of being rejected and let down, at some point… There is no sure guarantee from heartache, before we safely enter the Gates of Heaven!

  • Lydia

    Thank you SO much for this article! It was exactly what I needed to hear for what I’m going through as a young 20 something single.

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Courtdate: A Generation of Courtship Culture on Trial

By Jesse Jost

americangothicIn the 1980s, many parents were appalled at the heartbreak and devastation of a culture that had lost its biblical moorings. The abuse of sex and drugs and education were creating a living hell. Adults who were saved out of this environment decided that they wanted to make climate change a reality. Their fierce and passionate love for their kids motivated them to act drastically: Take their kids out of their schools and surroundings and give them a new culture based on biblical principles. These brave pioneers set out on uncharted paths and experimented with new methods of education, discipline and romance.

Baggage from the parents’ previous relationships and painful memories from the past only intensified the desire to protect their children in the minefield of love. Having seen the dangers of the casual dating and easy sex model that was becoming the norm, parents were hungry for an alternative. Josh Harris, Elizabeth Elliott, Michael Phillips, Eric and Leslie Ludy and Jonathan Lindvall, were just a few of the thinkers suggesting alternative relationship models categorized under titles like courtship or betrothal. Some common themes running through these suggestions were: more parental involvement throughout the marriage process, replacing aimless “recreational” dating with a focused courtship process, and a renewed emphasis on “guarding and saving your heart” for your future spouse. It was a call back to the ideal of being a one-woman-man and a one-man-woman for life. But while Josh Harris and many others were “Kissing Dating Goodbye,” others saw warning signs and wrote rebuttals such as “I Gave Dating a Chance” by Jeremy Clark. Continue reading…