23 Guidelines to Protect Your Purity

From the LYWB.com team: As we’ve tackled porn this week, we hope you’ve seen what to avoid in the battle for purity. But purity isn’t just about a list of don’ts. That’s why we wanted to pass along this great list of things you can do to protect your purity from Randy Alcorn. You can check out his original post here.

First of all, remember that if you plant purity today, you will reap a rich harvest, free from shame and guilt. And, by the grace of God, you’ll look back on your life not with regret, but with joyful gratitude. Sexual purity is ALWAYS in your best interest. Be smart, not stupid, and you’ll enjoy the best God has for you!

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thess. 4:3).

1. Realize you don’t have to date.

Just because lots of other people date doesn’t mean you have to. You can enjoy fun, positive friendships with people of the opposite sex and be involved in all sorts of activities without coupling up with one person.

If you do choose to date, the following guidelines can help you maintain a walk with God and guard your purity. (What follows is an abridged version of “Guidelines for Protecting Purity in Dating,” available at “Guidelines for Sexual Purity.”)

2. If you’re a Christian, only date Christians.

You won’t marry every person you date. But the person you marry will be someone you dated. God says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers . . . what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14).

There are many contexts in which to do evangelism—dating isn’t one of them.

3. If you’re a committed disciple, only date committed disciples. (And if you’re not a committed disciple, why aren’t you?)

Just because a person is a Christian doesn’t make him or her morally safe or a worthy partner. Don’t expect perfection in the person you date. But do expect character and godliness. (This assumes that you yourself are a growing Christian.)

4. Choose dates by character, not just appearance.

When we judge people by their appearances, often we turn out to be dead wrong—and meanwhile we may have made foolish choices.

5. Realize Christ is watching and is with you all evening—wherever you go and whatever you do.

He is watching you because He is omniscient. He is with you because He’s omnipresent, but as a believer He is with you in a very special way: you are His holy temple (1 Cor. 6:15).

6. Realize where you go and who you go with will influence your sexual desires.

When we put ourselves in a godly atmosphere with godly people, we are influenced toward godliness. When we put ourselves in an ungodly atmosphere with ungodly people we are influenced toward ungodliness. “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character'” (1 Cor. 15:33).

7. Realize your date is your brother or sister in Christ—not your “lover.”

“Treat . . . older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Tim. 5:1–2). A rule of thumb is don’t do anything physically you wouldn’t do with your brother or sister.

If a Christ-centered, positive relationship develops, then you might move to cautious displays of affection such as hand holding. But be alert to the difference between appropriate affection and intimacy. You must stay safely back from the line where either one is propelled toward sexual intimacy.

8. Focus on talk, not touch; conversation, not contact.

Treat your date as a subject to listen to and understand and appreciate, not an object to experiment with, conquer, or satisfy your desires.

9. Avoid fast-moving relationships and instant intimacy.

Pace your relationship. A car moving too fast is likely to swerve out of control when it hits a slick spot. Keep your foot near the brake. Don’t let this relationship get out of control.

10. Plan the entire evening in advance, with no big gaps.

Gaps always get filled, often with temptations to sexual impurity. Know what you’re doing and either stick with the plan or go somewhere safe, where you’re in the sight of others (particularly others who respect the need for purity).

11. Avoid setups like the plague.

Setups include such things as being alone on a couch or in a car late at night or in a bedroom. Determine to stay away from the setup, rather than putting yourself in the setup and having to call on your convictions when your resistance is at its lowest and you’re most likely to give in.

12. Be accountable to someone about your physical relationship.

This should be a committed brother or sister in Christ, usually the same gender as you. It should be someone who takes sexual purity seriously, someone with wise advice, who will pray for you and help hold you accountable to high standards.

13. Pray together at the beginning and end of each date.

Commit the evening or day in advance to the Lord. Ask Him to be pleased in everything you do. Plan to pray at the end of the date to thank Him for it. Knowing this prayer is coming will help you to be sure to control yourself and please God.

14. Imagine your parents and church leaders are watching you through the window.

Would that change how you behave? Then realize your life is not private—it’s an open book to be seen by a watching world: “What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3).

15. When you sense the temptation coming, before things start to get out of control, RUN.

“Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18). When it comes to sexual temptation, it always pays to be a coward.

16. Write out your own standards and enforce them yourself—never depend on your date.

You as an individual are fully responsible and accountable to God for what you do ( Rom. 14:10–12; 2 Cor. 5:10).

17. Make your moral decisions in advance—not in the time of temptation.

If it’s left to your feelings in the moment of truth, you’ll make the wrong decision. Again, in the moment of strength make choices that will serve you well in the moment of weakness.

18. Memorize Scripture on sexual purity and quote it when tempted.

“I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). When the attacks come—and they will—be ready to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God ( Eph. 6:17).

19. Don’t do anything with your date you wouldn’t want someone else doing with your future mate.

Somewhere out there is the man or woman you’re going to marry. What do you want them to be doing now with someone else? “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).

20. Look out for the “moral wear down” of long dating relationships and long engagements.

It’s easy to wear down in the battle for sexual purity, to begin to rationalize that you’re really a couple. Don’t get engaged until you can put the wedding in sight. When you’re engaged, you can be deceived into slipping into some of the privileges of marriage before marriage, especially sexual intimacy.

21. If you’ve violated some of these guidelines, confess, repent, and implement a plan to prevent future violations.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” ( 1 John 1:9).

Even if you are no longer a virgin you can and should commit yourself to secondary virginity—to remain sexually pure from this day forward. You need more than good intentions to maintain your purity: you need a plan which includes avoidance and accountability. If you are committed to a relationship with a growing Christian, formulate a plan to prevent falling back into premarital intimacy.

22. Be radical—do whatever it takes to guard your sexual purity.

In Matthew 5:29–30, Jesus tells His listeners to do whatever is necessary to deal with temptation. Get creative, get radical, and do all you can to avoid temptation.

23. Count the cost of impurity.

Rehearse in advance the devastating consequences of sexual sin and you’ll be less likely to commit it. Even a forgiven person must deal with many consequences to his sin. God removes guilt, but He doesn’t always remove consequences.

God forgives when we sincerely repent, but if we sincerely repent we will show it by taking necessary steps to avoid temptation.

To read more, click here.


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Guest Blogger

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • missk

    This is an amazing article!! I am married now for almost 2 years and let me tell you, what u decide to DO and not to do while you are single will affect not only you, but your life partner, and the person and their life partner. Someone once told me, “before you are married, only act around a boy how you would act in front of his wife.” Make every decision about the future, because later on when you ARE married, it is hard to tell the Love of your life that you gave something to a different boy that now ahould belong to your husband, wether it was part of your heart, your body, your first kiss, whatever. Its worth it to wait:)

  • Kate

    Hi! This is great! I agree with the guidlines, especially the first one, we don’t have to date someone. I know some pretty cool guys and I haven’t dated them. I am friends with a couple of guys at school and I like talking with them!

  • Hannah

    These are so helpful I want to share these with all the girls in my church. I praise and thank God for leading me to this.

  • Jenna

    What to do about a brother in Christ whom you want to have a pure friendship with, and maybe a love story (one day hopefully) but right now thinking just friends, and his convictions don’t line up 100% with yours, but he to is committed to following after Jesus? Also, is it appropriate for a girl to be the one discipling a guy, encouraging him in his faith, etc?

    • Sarah @ Revive Our Hearts

      @Jenna…It is difficult for guys and girls to have a “pure friendship” unless they are committed from the start that they want to just be friends. The fun, and pleasure, of a relationship is to share things in common. I encourage you to talk with someone–your Sunday School teacher, youth minister, godly woman in your family or church–about how important the convictions are that would not line up with each other. As for being the one to disciple, you could certainly do that as friends, but for a dating relationship, you want to date a committed guy, at least as committed as you. God made men to lead; it is a stronger relationship if the guy leads the way spiritually, or is at least at the same place. It is possible for the guy to assume a leadership role later on, but it is much more difficult when the leadership roles have been reversed at the beginning of the relationship.

  • Amy

    Purity can be an idol. Follow Jesus and leave the lists, though well-intentioned, behind.

  • Gabrielle

    AMEN!! Purity is SO beautiful!!

  • Christa

    Thank-you for this!! I wear a purity ring because it’s very imp ok important to me to stay pure fill In married. I really try, very wise words. I wonder if my future spouse whoever that maybe is trying t o stay pure. It’s not easy, but worth it. 😃 How do you know if God is leading you to someone? Or if a person is the one for you? I like someone, but he lives in another state.

  • Molly Breanne

    Beautiful article! It’s such a wonderful reminder to myself and I hope and pray I will keep this in my heart always. I plan to one day be able to tell my future husband that I remained pure and waited. (Oh what a wonderful day that will be!!) I’ve also noticed that of lately I keep almost feeling sorry for myself. And feeling sad because I don’t have a boyfriend (and have never had one). (Does anyone else do this?) It’s extremely hard not to feel that way when everywhere I turn so many people appear to me “happy” when they are in relationships. It makes me want to date someone. But then I just (try) and remind myself that 1. God will send his perfect chosen husband along for me when the time comes 2. I need to pray for my future husband 3. I am NOT the only one who feels this way so I need to pray for others who feel this way also. Also one of my favorite verses that goes along with this is…… Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure at heart for they will see God.” Don’t give up girls! You are loved and others are going through many of the same things you are going through, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. <3
    Love and Blessings,
    Molly Breanne

    • Celtic Princess

      I know the ‘never been dated’ feeling well! It’s encouraging to know that I’m not the only one ;-). Whenever that feeling hits me badly, I’ll take a minute to have some chocolate or read a book (but avoid Jane Austen, as much as I love her!), then I try to remember to pray about that desolate feeling, and pray for the struggles my future husband is facing, (I’m 22, so he’s at least a teenager, and is probably just as tempted as I am). After that, if I’m thoroughly done with the ‘boyless blues’ I take a minute to think about the qualities that are very important to me, and remind myself why it is that I don’t want to date ‘just anybody’, as well as to review my reasons for my standards (but that has to come after the feeling has left, or I know I’ll start to compromise!)

    • Fidel Tshivhasa

      Never worry about what will always be there. Especially when it’s something you will have and appreciate it less once you have it. People aren’t al that happy as they appear. You see what’s on the outside, but there’s a whole lot of sadness and emotional rollercoasters that can be depressing in relationships. Enjoy your freedom if you’re single!