Monday, March 30, 2009

Chastity vs Lust

Welcome back! I hope you are well today. I myself am happy to be back in the blog of things... lol I don't know about you but I am excited to dive into more of what God has to teach us. Shall we?

Chastity... Not really a word we use in these parts. The word itself gives me a mental picture of the 18th century aristocracy. Reminds me of Shakespeare and having proper etiquette. What about you?

Despite the terminology seeming a bit out dated, the concept is still sound. In other words, what it means is still something God expects us to apply to our lives. Even though society has decided that it is ok to lay aside chastity, God has not.

So what does chastity really mean? It is the quality of being chaste. Not indulging in unlawful sexual activity, remaining pure. It implies moral excellence by restrained behavior. Purity and innocence, freedom from sin or evil. Modest and decent behavior, dress, bearing or speech. It is allied with abstinence or sobriety.

Let's break it down a bit further.

Often chastity is talked about in the terms of abstaining from sexual activity of any sort before marriage. Although it does include this definition, it doesn't end there. It also applies to other topics and areas of our lives. To be chaste could mean that you completely abstain from alcohol or other habits. It also refers to the way we conduct ourselves in behavior. To the way we dress and present ourselves (women specifically on this one). There are many applications in our lives that chastity can be considered a virtue to follow.

To get a better idea, let’s look at the opposite of chastity, the vice of lust. The definition of lust is intense desire, to seek unrestrained gratification. I believe the key word here is unrestrained. The opposite of what chastity calls for which is restraint. When we leave our fleshly desires unrestrained they take us to lust after ungodly things.

Let's tackle the most common application for chastity versus lust first. The topic of abstaining from sexual temptation and remaining pure or innocent until marriage. Of course, Gods word is going to give us the truth about this subject so let’s see what it says.

I Thessalonians 4:3-5 for this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.

II Peter 2:11 - Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrams, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.

We are called to a higher standard of morality than those that do not know God. We are called to sanctification and honor. When we roll around in the mud, we get dirty. It is as simple as that. God says that lusts of the flesh war against our soul. Sexual sin is deadly. It is the biggest sin that most men have to fight. It is a sin against not just the mind but of the body and soul. It’s the type that stays with us in all or our senses. When it replays in our head at a later date we recall in not only in our mind but in the other senses of the body. We feel it, smell it, taste it and hear it as well as see it in our mind. This is what makes the temptation to sin again in this way so difficult. God, in his gracious and loving way has provided protection from this by calling us to chastity. If we haven't encountered the sin we have nothing to fight against later.

Matthew 5:28 - But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

We are still called to purity after marriage. If we have sexual relations before marriage with other partners it makes it more difficult not to commit adultery in your heart after marriage. Jesus tells us in this scripture that when we look in lust, it is considered adultery. The best way to avoid adulterous thoughts is to not have the sin from past sexual encounters to draw from.

I am not saying that if you have committed sexual sin or you had sex before marriage that you can not be forgiven. The bible tells us that when we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us. We can be forgiven, mercy abounds where Jesus is concerned. We must take our sin before Christ, ask for forgiveness and then repent (turn away) from it. What I am saying is that we are called to a higher standard once we know what is required of us.

We are also called to purity in other parts of our life.

I Timothy 4:12 - Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Proverbs 22:11 - He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the King will be his friend.

Proverbs 11:6 - The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.

Galatians 5:16 - I say then; walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

We are to be an example for others in our purity. We are called to a life of righteousness, to live upright and faithful. We are to love with purity of heart not deceitfulness. Most importantly, we are to walk in the spirit so we do not fulfill the lusts that our flesh calls out to us with.

We are not to lust after fleshly desires, chasing the all mighty dollar, power or fame. We are not to adorn ourselves with outward things so to tempt others to sin. We instead are to contain our beauty on the inside, in the heart. I Peter 3:4 tells us to let our adornment be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. I want to be precious in Gods sight, how about you?

So how do we start? We ask for God to change us.

Lord,

Help us to do and be those things that are very precious in your sight. Forgive us of any sin of lust that hides within our hearts. Cleanse us and make us whole in your sight. Then Lord, begin to change us and mold us into those who are chaste, pure and innocent of evil. Create in us a heart of purity. Keep our eyes, minds and hearts pure and free of lustful things. Let us be the thing of beauty you would want us to be.

Amen

3 comments:

Keelianderson said...

Thank you for your time to post in your blog. I really appreciate the words of wisdom as I follow your teachings. May God continue to bless you as you share with others.

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

I don't think it's possible to say 'chastity' without thinking 'PURITAN.' And Puritans are thought to be fanatical religious zealots who burn witches. Therefore, if Puritans practiced 'chastity,' it must be backwards, and not necessary. Of course, that's not what I think.

Great post!

Sherri Watt said...

Thanks Keeli, I hope God gives you a special blessing!

Matt, You are so right about the puritan aspect. I think they may have taken it bit out of context with the concept of grace. What do you think? LOL Thanks for the comment!

God Bless!