Episode 34: Striving for Purity, Part 2- The Woman's Side

Peace to Live By Episode 34: Striving for Purity, Part 2- The Woman’s Side - Daniel Litton
(tap or right click link to download broadcast)

[Transcripts may not match broadcasted sermon word for word, and may contain extra material that was cut from the broadcast due to time constraints]

       Today I am going to talk about the challenge for purity for the Christian woman. Last week I discussed this challenge for men, and I think we learned quite a bit. Now, the struggle for women is similar in some ways, but also different. What is definitely the same is the fact that Satan seeks to constantly tempt both men and women Christians in the area of sexual purity. He wants us, as believers, to fail in this area—and fail badly. Sexual sin probably has the most consequences in people’s lives, and I think that’s why he focuses on this area so much. Now, today’s discussion is going to be a bit tougher for me, obviously, since I am looking at this subject as an outsider. Nevertheless, from what I’ve learned in life, all that l’ve studied, and from my studies in psychology, I think I have at least a decent grasp on some aspect of the woman’s thinking and behaviors in regard to this area.

       I hope to explain the problem for women, in the fight for purity, as well as provide some helps for women in this struggle. Obviously, again, like last week, I will not cover every area certainly that could be covered on this topic, but these are the areas that I have chosen to focus on. Neither will I cover every Bible verse or passage that is relevant to this discussion, as there are many that could be mentioned. Now, bear in mind also, that there areas and topics that I am talking about today in pertaining to women that many of them are also relevant to men. So, please keep that in mind as I realize that a lot of these struggles for women can also be struggles for men. It is just that today’s discussion is focused on the woman’s side of the fight.

       Just like last week, I first want to identify the problem, the fight, for women, and then I will discuss some of the things that can help them overcome and have success in their struggle. So, here is going to be the break down of my discussion today. There will be three parts, each with four main points.

On the negative side, I will discuss the following:

-problems that can develop in the woman’s imagination,
-the problem of adulterous thoughts for married women,
-women putting themselves in bad places, and
-women letting their hearts be too open.

Now, on the positive side, I am going to discuss:

-controlling one’s thought-life,
-combating inappropriate attractions for married women,
-having control of attraction signals for single women,
-the help of prayer in a woman’s life.

More points I will discuss:

-advice for men on caring for your wife or girlfriend,
-the life of seeking God for the single woman,
-general advice for women who are waiting on a man, and
-there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ man.

So, we have a lot to cover here today. I really do hope that this information is beneficial for women, and really for men too as we have a lot to learn in their area. I believe it is good for the man to understand the woman’s side of the struggle, just like they learned about our side of the struggle last week. Now, we probably won’t completely understand why women think the way they think, just like they don’t completely understand why we think the way we think. But that’s ok; God understands both sides better than any of us.

       So, first, just like in my talk about men, I want to discuss the woman’s imagination, and some of the problems that can develop. Women can let their imaginations go, daydreaming in their minds, about other men. This can become a big problem when a woman starts to really think about another man, or men. Whether she is married or not, she may cultivate an affair in her mind with the man, or multiple men at the same time. She may not realize she is even doing this because she may get so used to doing it. Some women will read romantic novels, for instance, and let their thoughts run rampant. But, for the Christian, this is not a good idea.

       God has called people’s minds to singleness. If you’re a single woman, it’s not bad to admire another man, but don’t let your admiration go too far—to an inappropriate level. If you’re married though, you shouldn’t be thinking at all about other men in these ways, as these become adulterous thoughts. A women should strive to keep her mind pure. And this is definitely possible, as the Apostle Paul has told us in 1 Corinthians 10:

“let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say” (1 Corinthians 10:12-15, ESV)

You see, really, when a woman thinks about another man—thinking immoral thoughts—that can become idolatry in a person’s life. A woman may not see her incorrect thoughts in her imagination as wrongful because they are not real life situations. But theses thoughts can and do cause problems, and they become idolatrous. For the single woman, the thoughts can lead to obsessions. This is never good. Anything that takes first place in our minds is an idol. For the married woman, she may not see her husband’s traits as desirable because she is thinking of the other man’s traits. The woman may see all her husband’s attributes as no longer attributes.

       For married women, if they are thinking about another man, or men, in wrong ways, and not devoting their thoughts only to their husbands, it will undoubtedly affect their marriages. The woman will start to long for the affections of the man she is thinking about, and not the affections of her husband. She may even wish her husband would go away, or divorce her, or be gone forever. The thoughts can get carried away. And a woman can be so attached to another man in her mind that she may end up wanting to divorce her husband for the other man. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians in his second letter, and I think it can be used in our discussion today, that: “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2, 3, ESV). Our thoughts are always at risk. That’s why we have to kept them pure. And women shouldn’t throw in the towel on their marriage, but rather should try their hardest to make it work out.

       A woman also has to remember that her thoughts about another man she doesn’t know very well may not be completely true, and probably are not. For a married woman, when admiring another man, who is not her husband, she will only see the good things about that person. She most likely will fail to see the bad things. But when a woman stops thinking about another man, she can again focus on her husband. Paul has told us in Romans chapter 7 the following: “For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress” (Romans 7:2, 3, ESV). It is only when a wife’s husband dies, that she should be thinking about another man. God takes marriage seriously, and wants pure devotion on the parts of both participants.

       But a woman can put a man in places that make both them vulnerable, just like men can do. It isn’t always the man that’s the aggressor, but really women can wear this hat as well. A woman, through her emotional needs, may lead a man into trying to console her when she isn’t feeling well. This can put a man in a bad situation, especially when the woman is married. Let’s look at a warning in Scripture from Paul in 1 Corinthians. It says:

“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:6-11, ESV).

We have to be careful, as men, to only help a woman as much as we can. If the woman is married, it is the responsibility of her husband to care for her feelings, and she needs to look to him for those needs. Even if the woman doesn’t mean anything by sharing her problems, we have to guard ourselves as men—both for our sake and for the married woman’s sake.

       Some women can leave their hearts too open, and become willing to have relationships with men they shouldn’t have relationships with. It is important for a woman to keep her affections to herself, and not to just share them with any man that comes along. What God has given you—the gift of love—is important and unique. Every woman is unique in the way God has made her. And God has given all women the desire to be loved, as he has for men as well. A woman should be careful in how she shares her love, and with who she shares it with. When a woman cannot find love, she may turn to other avenues to drown her sorrows—like alcohol, or antidepressants, or even things like overspending and shopping.

       I also want to note here, for women who are dating, that it is not wrong for you to be thinking about your man throughout the day. It’s not something God forbids, it’s only natural. So, don’t feel bad if you find yourself thinking about the guy a lot. When you’re dating someone, it only makes sense that would be thinking a lot about the other person. The guy, I’m sure, is thinking about you. This, of course, doesn’t mean you should be obsessed with your man. Life is more than dating or marriage. Your thoughts should first be on God. He is the true meaning to life. Pleasing him, and pleasing him in your thought-life, is what you want to be focusing on first and foremost.

       I want us to examine a passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 about controlling one’s thoughts. Let’s start reading this passage in verse 3:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, ESV).

We note here that no matter how much reconstruction is needed in the mind, whether just a little or a lot, that we have God’s power to overcome weaknesses in the mind—even strongholds. When a person thinks incorrect things over and over again, Satan gains a stronghold in the mind of a person, whether a man or woman. For women, you have to start to rework your thoughts in thinking right things. You do this from learning verses and passages from God’s Word—both passages to combat your incorrect thoughts, and passages to give you new things to think about, which are from God Himself. Therefore, a woman can destroy any thoughts that come into her mind that contradicts what she knows God has said in his Word. When Satan brings temptation, the temptation can be overcome. Then, the woman can “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

       Now, perhaps you’re a married woman, and you have found attraction with another man. Hopefully, he doesn’t know you are attracted to him. That way, you can work to extinguish the flame in your mind—through praying, confessing and accountability with a trusted Christian lady-friend, and avoiding the person. It is important to quench these thoughts before they get out of control. But, perhaps, you have exchanged attraction with the man, and he knows you like him and is attracted to you. Well, at this point you are going to have to stop sending attraction signals. You are going to have to avoid this person no matter what—because you don’t want to have any chance at this blossoming into an affair. By doing this, it will be pleasing to God and saving yourself, and your marriage.

       And for single woman, make sure you keep watch on your attraction signals and what you are doing. Be careful not to send signals to a man you’re not interested in. But probably, you wont even realize you are sending signals that makes the man think you are attracted. So, keep watch on the way you act toward a single man, because you may accidentally be sending signals you are not intending to send. Us, guys, can sometimes take things the wrong ways. But, it’s not just our problem. You need to keep watch on yourself, as a single woman, to make sure you’re sending appropriate singles based on your attraction, whether just a friend or a potential interest.

       But, there is a flip side to this, and that is some women are so afraid of appearing desperate that they will not send attraction signals at all. But ladies, you sometimes have to help us guys out here a little. A man might be interested in a girl, but she doesn’t send enough feedback to the guy. So, the guy ends up thinking the girl wasn’t interested in him. Then the girl wonders why the guy is no longer talking to her, no longer appearing to be interested. It is true, ladies, that you don’t want to appear desperate—that’s a good thing. But don’t wall yourself up so much that you are not sending any signals at all—if you are interested. And, of course, guys can sometimes do this too. So, this is a double-sided problem.

       I want to take a moment and talk about prayer here. It is important for you ladies to be spending time in prayer with God, for really he is the love of your life. You need to go to him for help and counsel. He is there to listen to you and guide you down the right path. If there is a man you are interested in, ask God about him and let him lead you in the way you should go. Ask God to bless the potential relationship, or growing relationship, if it is his will. Then, the next time you see and interact with the person, see if God blesses it, or if it doesn’t appear to be going in that direction. God wants to help you—he wants to lead you to the right person. Also, if you need to know the truth about something with the guy, ask God to show you the truth. He will—if you will trust in Him.

       Now, I want take some time here and talk about what men, who are married, can do to help care for the needs of your wife. It is true that a wife wants her man to care about her, obviously, and to be sensitive toward her—both her needs in normal daily life, and her intimate needs. You have to listen to your wife, and care about what she is saying to you. You cannot just focus only on what you want to talk about or what you want to do. She likes how you, as her husband, can listen to and understand her needs, not just on a basic, normal conversational level, but in a more involved way. A wife wants her husband to really try to understand her feelings. And this is true for all areas of the married life. As a man gets his interest typically in how a woman looks, so a women gets here interest from the touch of her man. She gets her interests too more-so from what she hears a man say to her versus what the man actually looks like. You have to care for her needs, and not just your own needs. Don’t be selfish and self-centered.

       Women, whether married or not, also like it when we protect them. They want a man they feel comfortable around. They want to feel like they are having a good time when they are around us. They typically want us to have calm attitudes and not be critics or complainers. We should not have ‘Grumpy, Old Man Syndrome.’ Bragging can be a big turn off, and sometimes can provoke jealousy. These things are true for both dating and for marriage. Really, you have to understand that marriage is really like committed dating, in a way. The husband should take his wife out on dates when married. The wife should seek to be attractive to her husband. Neither should let their looks go, as if it doesn’t matter. It does matter. Married people have to take care of their needs for each other, both emotional and physical.

       But, going back to our main discussion today, in talking about women, we note for you ladies who are single, that you should be seeking to please the Lord until he provides your man for you. For any of us who are single, we should be focusing on God and seeking him as first, and God will provide for us when the time is right. The Apostle Paul has stated about single women, “the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:34, ESV). It’s not wrong to have the desire to be married, just don’t let that desire overtake your life so that you sit down and park until God provides for you. You have to trust in God. He cares about you, and cares about your needs. So, just rest in him, and he will provide. Don’t worry. But remember too, that when you get married, that marriage isn’t going to be all roses and fun. As Paul said, you’ll be concerned about how to please your husband, and this isn’t as easy as you might think.

       Now, I want to focus on this a little more, before I wrap up. I understand that some of you ladies have been waiting a long time for the Lord to provide. You just haven’t found that right man. Well, there are three things I want to say in regard to this. Number one, you have to stay pure. You have to remain pure until God provides, and not get impatient or walk in the wrong direction. God will bless you, for those of you of whom it is his will to get married. Number two, I think a good way to wait on God is to just focus on day-to-day life, and the needs of the day. Instead of focusing on the big picture, try to zoom in on each day as it comes. Try to just live for that day, and not worry about tomorrow. This will make you become more content in your circumstances.

       Number three, you have to realize that no man is a perfect man. Sometimes ladies jump on the dating [web]sites hoping to find their perfect man. They go from man to man, coffee to coffee, date to date, like they are interviewing men for the job. And most never find the man they are looking for. That’s because you are looking for something that doesn’t exist. You are looking for a man who is perfect, but none of us are perfect. You’re expectations are too high and unrealistic. You might say, “I am picky, and I have a right to be picky. Doesn’t God want what is best for me?” For the first part of that, yes and no. You do want to find a good Christian guy, but you don’t want to have too strict of criteria that no one qualifies. Not every Christian girl is going to get a Tim Tebow or Aaron Rodgers. Most Christian girls are not going to get an Abercrombie & Fitch model who only thinks about Jesus and his girl’s needs. You have to be realistic. Don’t compromise on wanting a man who is strong in faith, but care less about the lesser important things about the man. Don’t be a shopper, when it comes to men.

       In closing today, perhaps today, whether you’re a woman or a man, you have tried all that you can to live the best way possible. Perhaps you're tired of trying. Well, today I am here to tell you that you can stop trying to be a good enough person because you’ll never be a good enough person, at least in God's eyes. No, friend, in God's eyes, the only person who is good enough is the person who knows Jesus Christ as his or her personal Lord and Savior. And that’s not because the person is actually ‘good,’ who has accepted Jesus, but because God sees the person as good because he or she has repented and accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for their sins. If you don't know Jesus, you will never measure up to God's standard for goodness, for righteousness.

       God wants to give you today his righteousness so that you can be in right relationship with him. He wants everyone to come to know him—to be in relationship with him. God loves everyone in the world, and wants people to believe in his Son, Jesus' perfect sacrifice of himself on the cross, in your place, as a payment, acceptable to God, for your sins. You can be made right with God today, and have peace with Him, which includes escaping any of his wrath to come, and having eternal life forever in peace.

       If you would like to accept Jesus today as your personal Lord and Savior, then follow my lead in this prayer:

God, I have sinned my whole life, not following your will, but doing the things that I have wanted to. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and that he rose from the dead so that I might have a new life beginning in you. I surrender my life over to you so that you will make me righteous. Please change my life, and make me a better person; make me like your Son, Jesus. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

       Let’s pray.

       Father, I thank you today for your goodness. I thank you for your gracious and generous heart, toward all and especially toward those of us who believe. You are full of goodness toward us. Help us today to live holy, pure, and righteous lives before you, as believers. Give us extra help in these areas, and make us become more like Jesus. May we not follow the ways of this current world—being like them in their actions. But may we do what is pleasing to you. May we continue to be close to you.

       I pray for those who have believed in you today, who have accepted Jesus today. I pray that they will grow in you, and be immersed in your Word, the Bible, your love letter to us. I pray that they will seek to know you and be pleasing to your heart. Father, please help anyone where he or she needs help, and make us all become more like Jesus. Thank you again, Father, for your wonderful love. Bring more people to come to know you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton