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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…

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How will I know it? Thoughts on Finding the “Right One”

How Will I know itBy Jesse Jost

Johnny Reid sings about a question that is burning on the heart of a boy: “How will I know it” when I find the right person for me to marry? The song gives the very insightful answer, “You’ll just know it.” And then Reid confirms that every time the young man kisses or loves his partner now, “He just knows it!” If only it were that simple.

The choice of who you will marry is, to use a Latin phrase, decisionus giganticus. Especially if you believe, as I do, that God wants marriage to be permanent. Not only is it an irreversible decision, it is one you must make with huge unknown factors. How will job stress, career moves, chronic health issues, children, accidents, change this person? How well do you really know this person? How well do you have to know him or her before you commit for life? With so many uncertainties and the stakes so high, we crave signs of confirmation, physical or spiritual, that we are doing the right thing.

In this article I want to explore “what is a successful marriage?” How can we find God’s will for us in all things romantic? How much of the decision-making process should be based on discerning signs and interpreting feelings? What constitutes a healthy exploratory relationship? The scope of these questions would make a better book than an article, so bear with me in the length. I’ll try to be concise. Continue reading…

  • Kristin

    Very good article!! I have also found a longer webinar by Mr. Botkin at Western Conservatory on “Marrying Well” that discusses many of the same points you have addressed. It is a blessing to see so many more people scripturally approaching this topic of “marriage”. Thank you!

  • Rebecca

    I really appreciated this article! Thank you for it. It encouraged and guided me as a single Godly woman looking and waiting for my future husband. Loved the practical advice that others tend to shy away from talking about.

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In Defense of Modesty

EmilyBy Jesse Jost

Maybe it’s my German/Syrian heritage, but I seem to be drawn toward minefields, not the kind that blow off literal limbs, but the issues that stir up deep feelings and controversy. It’s not that I like conflict. I am far too much a sucker for human admiration to want to needlessly anger people. But I believe that God has a design for the way we should live our lives and interact with our fellow masterpieces of creation. I also believe that Satan, God’s sworn enemy, has his sights on corrupting our behavior in a way that maximizes human suffering and tears our social fabric. I also believe that the way we dress affects our relationships with others and ourselves.

A factor that complicates this issue of dress is that we are sexual beings. God made us in such a way that we can be transformed into creatures that are obsessed with sex. This thing of sexual arousal is quite a fascinating quirk of human nature and an amazing gift. Without the switch that turns us “on” or “off”, think about how different life would be! If we were stuck in the “on” position, normal human interaction would be very difficult, there would be no mental space left to create, or worse, discover new food flavors. We would be restless animal maniacs, always braying, never content. Conversely, if we were stuck in the “off” position, much of the wonder and passion that makes life so thrilling would be never known. So we have this switch, but it gets even more complicated. What turns this switch on and off is different for men and women, not to mention each individual. And the switch being turned on does not always send the same charge. Continue reading…

  • Susan

    I am glad you speak on this topic. It is only women’s vanity that prevents us from following God’s suggestions of modesty. When we surrender our lives to our Father we want to please Him; that means putting off our flesh, our vanity, our pride. We need to be thinking of our sisters in the Lord and not provoking jealousy, thinking of our brothers in the Lord and not promoting temptation. And it does go both ways; men can dress nice but they can dress tempting too and need to be aware of that but most certainly it is much more common in women. We are to be a testimony of Jesus in all we say and do, and that includes our appearance. Thank you and continue your ministry, it is needed.

  • Bethany

    One thing that REALLY stood out to me was the sentence, “When a woman’s physical beauty is elevated against the rest of her qualities she ultimately is being degraded.” That is such a profound statement!

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Are you “Damaged Goods?”

By Jesse Jost

I just read a blog post this morning where a Christian woman was decrying elements of the purity movement that make those who had a sexual past feel like they were damaged goods and worthless. She mentioned the shame she felt when a speaker demonstrated the pollution that promiscuity brings by having a row of boys spit in a cup and then asking a girl at the end if she wanted to drink the vile mixture. The preacher concluded that those who sleep around are like that cup of spit, and who would ever want to drink from that? The blogger went on to bemoan all the “baggage from this whole purity movement (that is)heading out into the world.” Her rant raises some pressing questions. Are women and men who engage in extramarital sex whole and undamaged? Is the only reason they feel damaged because our warnings create needless guilt?

I feel very strongly about the “purity movement.” I have spoken to many groups and camps about purity and spilled much ink on the subject. I take her concerns and accusations seriously. My passion for the subject of purity comes not from wanting to heap guilt on people, or simply shame them for choosing a different path than Heidi and I did. Our desire is for people to find wholeness and the deep pleasure that comes from holy, sanctified sex. Here are some thoughts I had in response to this young woman’s concerns. Continue reading…

  • Sid

    Damaged goods sexually is much different than damaged goods for backbiting etc. in my view and you noted some of the reasons. One of the main reasons will be jealous your spouse’s potential jealousy. Few men or women will get it out of their minds that their partners shared themselves with strangers or another lover. Why? Because they know memories exist and even years later places like Facebook reignites flame for old lovers. Why? Those old lovers were supposed to be the husband or wife but instead used as experiments of a moments desire, not a planned relationship.

  • Sid

    Sorry for the typo in the second sentence. It would not let me edit.

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God’s prescription for life-long romance

By Jesse Jost (Taken from Extreme Romance)

The gift of romance and physical intimacy

God loves to give His children good gifts! His creativity, wisdom, and love manifest themselves in the varied pleasures He bestows on us. But with any gift, there is a right way and a wrong way to enjoy it. We can maximize the enjoyment of the gift or misuse it so badly that it actually becomes a curse. With each gift comes a responsibility to not let it go to waste or to use it improperly.

Continue reading…

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Sexually Compatible?

How can we know if we are sexually compatible if we don’t do some experimenting?

By Jesse Jost (Taken from Extreme Romance)

Sexual compatibility is not simply a matter of two people finding someone else with the right genetic make-up. Sexual attraction is a very complex issue. For whatever reason, some people will be more sexually attractive to you than others. People will argue that you should marry someone who really turns you on sexually. I agree that there should be lots of spark and attraction in marriage, but I disagree that we need to find our certain “type” to be sexually satisfied. Learning how to be satisfied sexually and how to satisfy your spouse is an art that has to be learned. Movies and novels will sell you the idea that all you have to do is put two sexually compatible people together and their experience will be wonderful. It is easy to create that perfect scenario in fantasy, but in real life there are so many more issues that have to be worked through. Continue reading…

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God’s ROMANCE for singles

by Jesse Jost 

 Love, sex, and romance are some of God’s greatest gifts to us. Romantic love is one of the most powerful forces in the world. But this is not a gift to be enjoyed any way we see fit. God gave us strict rules regarding love. It is only to be used in the context of lifelong commitment. God gave us these rules not to restrict our pleasure but to restrict our pain. If you violate these rules the gift ceases to function the way God designed it. A sports car will cease to function if you put the wrong kinds of fuel in it and don’t take proper care of it. In the same way, sex and romance can be ruined if the owner’s manual is not followed. Misuse of this gift can bring terrible pain and heartache if God’s design is ignored. However, these gifts are also the most amazing pleasurable experiences known to man, if they are accompanied by purity and holiness.

Continue reading…

  • Keith

    God created time.Create all things but not Romance in the since of what you see in movies or the terms diehard romantic or hopeless romantic .flowers,valentines etc.but we are supposed to treat LADIES With respect.and Women should act dress and behave like Godly women as in Proverbs 31,but Man is to be head of the household .today to many females want to act like men(tattoos,cussing etc.tomboyish like) GOD FEARING MEN AND WOMEN ARE WHAT MAKES A MARRIAGE WORK.Before I Redicated myself to THE LORD I Used to and sometimes do watch those romantic comedies only problem is they have too much sex or premaritial instead of old fashioned Christian values.GOD MUST COME FIRST .We must seek him and keep him first.

  • Sophia Thundu

    Thank you, as a single young woman, this is the exact encouragement I needed for my heart from the Lord. I am so grateful you wrote this. I have always and will always be determined to wait on the Lord for His choice of my spouse. I have met mant different people who believe that God doesn’t choose a mate, but rather there are so many options out there and there is no one persona exactly for you. But I’m my heart of hearts, and believing in the goodness and unique plan God has for my life I know He can provide my spouse for me. I have not met him yet, but I know he is real and exists. I have been praying for him and trusting God to bring it to pass. I am reminded of Romans 4 the faith of Abraham, where he knew his body was old and beyond hope of having a promised child, but God have Him a promise and he believed Gid, standing steadfast in faith, God was pleased with this and brought the promise to fulfillment. And in Jeremiah 29:11, God does know the plans he has for me. If he directed my life so far as the schools I attended and the places I’ve been, the opportunities that have opened, why would he not direct and being to pass my future husband that he so lovingly is keeping for me, as much as He is keeping and preserving Him for me? The walk of purity comes with challenges and temptations as you wrote about earlier like possibility of infatuation or wondering if someone you notice could be the one. God has faithfully guided me by His Spirit and His word to know how to treat one another as the body of Christ, in 2 Timothy 5:1-2, he shows is how to relate to one another, and young man and women are to relate to one another as brother and sister in all purity. And in Song of Songs 2:7, there is an address to women not to awaken love before it so desires. So I truly am strengthened and encouraged by your article, God bless you, I love to see the faithfulness of God in bringing your heart desire to pass. I currently encourage others in the walk for purity and faith in God, when he fulfils his promise to me and his goodness, I look forward to sharing that part of the story too. John 14:1 Have faith in God.

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ESCAPE Ways to defeat lust

by Jesse Jost

He had received strict instructions, “No matter what happens, do not touch or smell any of the flowers along the road. They are lethal – extremely poisonous!”

As he walked toward the perilous path, he remembered yawning at the desperate tone with which the old man gave the warning. What could be so dangerous about flowers? After all, how hard could it be to avoid touching or smelling flowers? His mind soon wandered to other things.

The young man started down the road and soon noticed the flowers. These were not ordinary flowers. They had color more rich and brilliant than anything he had ever seen, and the texture of the petals looked like smooth velvet. Their fragrance sent a delicious sensation through his whole body. Intense craving flooded him. He ached to pluck a flower and breathe deeply of its tantalizing aroma.

The urgent warning came back to him, but it was quickly consumed by the flaming fire of his desire. He had to have one of the flowers. His legs went weak at the sight of them all. With trembling hands, he reached for a rose-like beauty. His fingers wrapped around the stem – what a delightful feel it had on his skin! It came out of the ground effortlessly, as if it wanted to be held. He lifted it to his face and inhaled deeply.

In a moment, the fragrant aroma became a hideous stench, the blissful sensation that had been caressing his body flared into a flesh-eating fire. But worse still was the anguish of soul, the inner turmoil that began to eat at him. In agony he crumpled to the ground, lying there for hours as the poison slowly sucked every last bit of life from his tormented body.

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In fairy tales, we are warned against plants, fruits, and potions. In real life, we are warned against lust. Nothing has the ability like lust does to make something so destructive look so appealing and to make some so beautiful so damaging. When raging desire has been let loose outside the safe, secure confines of marriage, lethal poison appears inviting. The very thing that will kill your chances of finding satisfaction, ruin your prospects of a happy marriage, and possibly even take your own life (Proverbs 7), looks like a harmless piece of candy that you just have to have. Lust is one of the greatest saboteurs of marriages today. Continue reading…

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Introduction from Extreme Romance

Introduction from Extreme Romance

Brad Paisley muses in a song that “if love was a plane, nobody’d get on.” Why? Because, he sings, “there’s a six in ten chance [the plane would be] going down.” The odds of having a successful, vibrant, lifelong relationship are less than forty percent. Almost half of marriages end in divorce, and who knows what percentage of the couples who do stay together are doing it for love, not just for financial or pragmatic reasons? Continue reading…

  • dan

    This article made me think of my own motives to gain from your book. Purity isn’t just for a healthy marriage. If God isn’t in it than it’s all in vain. I have to qurestion my motives of pleasing myself or God.

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