Integrity or Purity?




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Carl Thomas

Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

It’s a new month and a new year. And so in 2022, we and the Live Free Community are setting our sights on living a life with sexual integrity.

Notice. I didn’t say purity.

Don’t get me wrong.
Purity is a good thing.

I know it’s something that God desires and certainly something we should be after.

However, unfortunately (especially in the church world) we have hijacked the word purity and reduced its meaning to something very specific…


And so even though purity does mean a lot more than just how we behave, when we hear the word purity, we often think of things like:

Do I look at porn?
Do I have sex outside of marriage?
Do I masturbate?
Do I lust after or get sexually aroused by other individuals?

Now while all of these things are clearly a part of sexual integrity, they do not make up a comprehensive or exhaustive definition for sexual integrity.

Sexual integrity is a much broader and deeper term. 

And it’s quite frankly, one that we haven’t hijacked as much as purity.

See, sexual integrity doesn’t just focus on behavior. It also factors in things like intention, motive, consistency, and more.

In other words, it goes way beyond just a simple list of dos and don’ts.

And this is why I think if we’re going to focus our efforts on something, it should be on living a life of sexual integrity because that’s really what we’re after.


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Plus sexual integrity allows more room for grace and movement because while we may make mistakes, while we may fail at times, we can still model our lives in a way that we are pursuing sexual integrity.

Purity doesn’t necessarily allow for this give and take.

I liken the difference between “purity” and “sexual integrity” to the difference between the words “spotless” and “clean.”

If I’m looking for a “spotless” shirt and I have one with a really small spot, I’ve failed. A spotless shirt literally can’t have a spot…NO MATTER HOW SMALL IT IS.

There is no room for grace here because the definition demands perfection.

However, with the word “clean,” we are taking into consideration a much larger set of qualities.

Clean not only means that you’re not wearing a shirt full of stains, but it also means that the shirt smells good, it’s fresh, and it’s been recently laundered… that sort of thing.

“Spotless” doesn’t factor in these concerns.

So you can wear a spotless shirt without it being clean.

But on the flip side, you can wear a clean shirt that may not necessarily be spotless.

And therefore again, the word “clean” allows some movement while still maintaining a very high standard for the person who’s going after it.

The same can be said of “sexual integrity.”

And listen, I’m not bashing the word purity or the idea of purity.

But I am saying this coming year, if you’re going after something, set a goal for living a life of sexual integrity versus a life that is just simply absent of mistakes or failures.

Because the BIG picture is much better and broader than the little you one may have been looking at.

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