"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" ~ Proverbs 4:23
As Christian young ladies, we are called to a high moral standard. Very often, this call means choosing the Lord's standards in stark defiance of those held by the world. In particular, God has called us to be pure for His glory (Matthew 5:8). In my own life, the Lord is graciously teaching me what it means to be pure before Him.
Through the Lord's leading, I first made a commitment to purity at the age of 12. During this time, my father and I went through a Bible study on purity together. One verse that particularly impacted me at this point was Song of Solomon 8:4 which says, "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases." In other words, it is crucial that Christian young ladies wait on the Lord's will and not pursue romance before His perfect timing. As a result of this study on purity, I made a commitment to wait on the Lord's timing should it be His will for me to be married someday. Also, I submitted my heart to my parents and asked them to help me guard my heart.
The next year, at age 13, the Lord opened my eyes to make a deeper commitment to purity. At this time, the He used various books and Christian role models to teach me the practical aspects of a pure life. For example, I was wisely advised that any romantic relationship should be marriage-minded. Also, I was counseled to wait until marriage for my first kiss and to avoid flirtation and forming crushes. The goal of these standards is not perfection, but to live with a pure heart devoted to God.
Rather than a list of legalistic rules, these standards allowed me to live my teenage years fully for the Lord without the pressure of having to attract guys. Indeed, I truly enjoyed the freedom that a single focus on the Lord provided. While other girls around me experienced pain and heartbreak, I was able to grow with less distraction in my relationship with Christ.
However, I sometimes grew discontent because of some of my standards. For example, it is difficult to guard one's heart when so many other girls seem to be throwing their hearts around. Indeed, our society seems to "glorify" the teenage dating culture. However, my parents and other godly influences guided me to maintain a commitment to waiting on the Lord with regard to relationships.
Interestingly, I found that the battle for a pure and undistracted heart grew more difficult as I grew older. For example, with each year I wondered if I would simply remain single my whole life. (It must be noted, however, that lifelong singleness is in itself a noble calling).
At no point did I experience as much discontent in my singleness as I did during spring 2012. During this time, it seemed that so many girls I knew were caught up in talking about crushes and potential boyfriends. However, the Lord reminded me of His perfect love and I remained steadfast in my commitment to purity, even if it meant lifelong singleness.
By early summer 2012, I was probably closer to and more content in the Lord than I had ever been in my life. Amazingly, it was at this time that He brought a wonderful young man into my life.
While I still made an effort to guard my heart, the Lord soon made it clear that it was His perfect plan for me to enter into a relationship. It is such a blessing to start a marriage-minded courtship without the pain of past regrets! However, I certainly recognize that I only made the decisions that I did through the undeserved grace of the Lord.
I have been so blessed by what the Lord has taught me regarding purity. In fact, I encourage each girl reading this to make a God-honoring commitment to purity. If anyone has a painful past of mistakes in this area, it's not too late!! God in his marvelous grace is so willing to grant a fresh start. Purity is our calling as Christian young ladies, and it is to be taken both seriously and joyfully.