Years ago, I found myself in the throes of regret and shame, wrestling with the guilt from past relationships and sexual indiscretions. I was burdened by my past, wondering if I could ever break free. It was then that a friend recited Micah 7:8–9, a promise that sparked a beacon of hope in my darkness:
“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.”
This revelation struck me with the profound truth that even though I had strayed, God stood as my defender. He took the punishment I deserved upon His Son, providing me a chance to rise from the ashes of my past. This divine redemption unveiled a path toward the purity that once seemed lost to me.
So, how can we inspire the younger generation of men in our church, to walk this path of redemption and purity, just like I did?
As mentors, we must understand that godliness goes beyond merely abstaining from sexual sin. It is more than just an internet history devoid of pornography. God’s grace, when it grips a man, ignites a passion for goodness that transforms every aspect of his life. And to guide our young men toward this transformation, we need to present a robust and dynamic vision of the man they can become in Christ.
Fortunately, the Bible offers profound lessons on this matter. Paul’s advice to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 provides a succinct roadmap to spiritual growth:
“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.”
This advice, while not exclusive to men, is critical for them. Each of these aspects represents a domain of struggle that can be transformed into a fortress of holiness. But here, let’s focus on the last domain: purity.
Paul’s words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:1–2 illustrate that the purity he emphasizes is sexual purity:
“Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
This implies a holistic approach to purity, affecting all relationships with sisters in Christ. In this context, purity extends beyond personal morality, encompassing all aspects of sex and sexuality that distinguish followers of Christ from the world.
So, to our young men, Paul’s message is clear: Respect and protect women as you would your sisters. Guard against the lure of sexual temptation, and uphold the honor of women. Don’t merely match the standards of the world; exceed them. Aim for comprehensive purity, thus becoming a refuge for women in a world rife with ambiguities and veiled intentions.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul also provides guidelines on how men of God should view sex and sexuality. He defines men of God as “the husband of one wife,” suggesting adherence to sexual purity irrespective of marital status. This phrase effectively means, “Let marriage be held in honor among all and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4).
Therefore, it’s pertinent to ask: Do our actions and thoughts respect the sanctity of marriage? Or do we, guardians of this sacred institution, falter in our duty? Worse still, do we weaponize the gifts God has given us against Him and the women He has created?
Marriage and sex hold a divine purpose. They reflect the unwavering love Christ has for His church. As such, our treatment of sex and sexuality, married or otherwise, either illuminates or obscures Christ’s love. True purity, especially in a world rampant with sexual perversion, offers a stark and powerful depiction of this divine reality. There’s a unique spiritual radiance about a man who consistently denies sinful desires and fights against sexual temptation, a beacon that makes him stand apart in the world, and yet revered in the eyes of God.
But what if you’ve already failed? What if you’ve already violated the tenets of purity? Is there hope for you? I can affirm with certainty that there is — because I was once there. I spent years entrapped in pornography and sexual immorality, even after accepting Jesus. The struggle with sexual repentance was a long, daunting journey. I misused desires meant for marriage, acted dishonorably, and tarnished the image of Christ. However, I learned, through personal experience, the transformative power of God’s mercy.
God defended me, pulled me from the shadows, and guided me into His light. Even when I strayed, He intervened, bearing the brunt of my sins. This divine mercy serves as a reminder that, no matter how far we may stray, the path to redemption remains open.
Embracing purity in the face of a sexually permissive culture is not an easy task, but it’s a journey worth taking. So, let’s challenge and encourage our young men to be defenders of purity, protectors of women, and above all, true men of God.