Pure: spotless; stainless; free from what weakens or pollutes; free from moral fault or guilt; marked by chastity
God’s plan for women is for us to be virgins until we are joined to one man in marriage. That’s His wish because the Creator of the universe knows it is best for us. Unfortunately we sometimes think we know better than God. We desire to be loved by a man; we desire to please a man; we desire to be desired by a man. When we lack the patience to wait for God’s plan or lack the emotional strength to say no, then in one weak moment we might abandon God’s desire for our sexual purity. And then it is gone. Forever.
Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins(Esther 2:17).
Esther was a virgin when we first meet her. She had never been with a man sexually. She was pure. If she had not been pure, she would not have been taken into the King’s harem. She would not have been where she needed to be—inside the palace—in order to be used by God. Esther’s purity was essential to God’s plan.
Many women today despair over sexual impurity in their past. We cling to our past sin even after having given it to Jesus and having received his forgiveness. It’s almost as if we cannot let it go; as if it’s a reminder to us that once gone, we can never regain the purity given us by God. We wish we could have a do-over in that part of our lives. We wish we could have remained pure until marriage. We wish we could have honored purity in the way God does.
We ask for forgiveness. We repent. But the physical consequence has occurred. Our bodies are no longer sexually pure. Many women are not able to move on, feeling they have let down themselves, God and their future husband whom God had prepared for them. We cannot change the past. We can only repent—turn away—and move forward on the new path as directed by the Holy Spirit.
We forget the power of God to renew; the power that He can make pure all things; can restore us to purity in His sight. Ultimately, it is not our sight that matters through eternity. It is His. If He sees our repentant selves as pure, who are we to disagree?
Moreover, although we cannot change our past physical impurity, we can—after receiving forgiveness—return to purity in spirit; washed, spotless, stainless, and free from guilt from that moment on.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the Golden Rule, based on Jesus’ scriptural truth of“love your neighbor as yourself.” Obviously, this relates to the way Jesus wants us to treat others. But the Golden Rule works inwardly as well. I should treat myself with the purity that Jesus sees in the forgiven me.
When we give someone a reputation to live up to, they strive to live up to it. Tell someone they’re a hard worker and they’ll work harder. Tell someone they project confidence and they’ll be more confident. Jesus sees the repentant you as pure. He has given you a reputation of purity to live up to. Accept that reputation and strive to live up to it. Try to live a life of purity. Because, more than just physical purity, God desires purity in our hearts. Jeremiah reminds us that:
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
If our hearts are naturally deceitful and wicked and filled with filth and sin based on our human nature (they are), then how can we possibly hope for a pure heart? We can’t. At least, not by anything we do on our own. Fortunately, there is one who has the power we lack. God.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
God can clean us when we surrender ourselves to Jesus and put our trust in Him. God will then give us a new nature. When we become His new creation, the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts, resides there and can begin the work to make and keep us pure. Yes, it’s a constant struggle between the divine work of the Spirit and our human nature, but when we surrender to that work (each day, each moment, each breath), then God is creating in us the pure heart he desires and changing us into the women He had planned since the beginning of time. God has to do the part of purifying our heart when we surrender to Him. After that, our part is to continue God’s work by not hindering what He is doing.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).
Scripture is filled with encouragement to stay the path, to fight against humanity’s natural tendencies toward what is impure and evil. God knows it’s hard; but He wants what is best for us and what is best for us is to continue to work toward living a life that pleases Him. Here are a few more verses of encouragement:
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
Psalm 119:0 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
1 Timothy 5:22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
Philippians 1:9-11 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
1 Peter 15-16 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.”
Leviticus 20:7 Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.
Titus 2:14 (Jesus) who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (explanation added)
God’s plan is to make us like Jesus. His purpose is nothing less than that we be pure in heart, just like Jesus.
Jesus spoke to the issue of purity in the Beatitudes when He said:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
It is the heart that God looks to. It is the heart that God can make pure and we can then work at keeping pure through our daily dependence upon Jesus’ strength and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. We can focus on purity of heart even if our bodies are no longer physically pure. A pure heart will bring us closer to God. Close enough, perhaps, to see a tiny glimpse of His glory.
If Esther were here she would say this was her story. Because of her purity, she was in the right place to be used by God.
Who are we to God? When we recognize that God has created in us a pure heart, we understand how He sees His women of faith. We can answer:
I am (like) Esther.
For Thought and Discussion
- In what ways have you struggled with purity? In your past? Now?
- Have you asked for forgiveness for impurity in your past? Have you truly felt forgiven or do you cling to your impurity?
- How can you regain your sense of purity through thoughts and actions?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we acknowledge impurity in our lives. We sometimes struggle to let go of our impurity even after asking your forgiveness. Please remind us today that we have been washed clean by your blood, Jesus. Help us to see ourselves as you see us—forgiven and clean. Amen.
Carol Peterson, Author, is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team and a regular contributor to the Ruby for Women as a book reviewer. You can connect with Carol on her blog, http://www.carolpetersonauthor.com