On Purity

“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”  ~ 2 Corinthians 11:2

“You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, soul and mind,” Yahweh charged Israel in His greatest commandment, but the hearts of the people turned away to foreign gods and their minds strayed to sin and self.  “You have committed adultery against Me,” Yahweh warned.  “I am a jealous God.”  Through the prophet Ezekiel, Yahweh graphically describes Israel’s adultery, painting a revolting picture of lewdness and impurity.

To the church of Corinth, Paul wrote as God’s emissary, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”  (2 Corinthians 11:2)

The adultery Yahweh charged Israel with was in giving to another god what rightly belonged to Him—heart, soul and mind in worship.  Paul’s jealous guard over the purity of the bride of Christ was to preserve their minds in the purity and simplicity of devotion to Christ.  Devotion–the minds of believers rightly belong to Christ.  We tend to think of jealousy as an evil, but Paul speaks of a godly jealousy.  God’s jealousy was over what rightly belonged to Him.  Paul was jealous on behalf of Christ, over what rightly belonged to Him.

As I worked over the post dealing with God’s Will: Your Sanctification, I came head to head with the issue of defrauding—cheating, taking what rightly belongs to another.  With the words “The Lord is the avenger,” I was reminded of the jealous husband’s test in Numbers 5—and the curse upon the woman who had “gone astray into uncleanness.” As I pondered, I began to wonder what would be rightly considered a husband’s?  Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 7 that the wife’s body belongs to her husband, and his body belongs to her.  Wouldn’t it be godly then for a husband and wife to be jealous over each other’s bodies?  What else might they be jealous over?  Each other’s emotions?  Devotion?  Time?  Affection?  Attention?  I’d often considered purity in relationships, but I’d never before thought of it in terms of what would make a husband jealous.  The traditional wedding vows proclaim to “forsake all others, clinging only to you.”  I began to consider the implications of Paul’s words to the churches of his day regarding purity and marriage.  Marriage should not be sought in lustful passion, as the pagans, but in set-apartness and honor.  He warned us not to go beyond and defraud—because God is the avenger.  This warning suggests that, even if no one else ever knows that we have “cheated”—gone beyond what was rightly ours—God knows and we will reap the consequences in our lives and hearts.

Ladies, what I’m proposing is that we carefully consider what rightfully belongs to God as the first step in purity.  “Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, soul and mind.  Worship and serve Yahweh only.”  And we carefully guard and preserve that for Yahweh only.  That we consider what rightfully belongs to those around us.  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  A sacrificial love, based on Christ’s love for us, offered without thought of gain.  This, too, is worship of God.  And, in purity, that we consider what rightfully belongs only to a husband.  Even if we never marry, there are some things that no one is authorized to claim outside of a marriage covenant.  I propose that we jealously protect and preserve this until such a time as, covenanted in marriage, we can freely and purely pour it out in worship to God.  God is the avenger, because our purity is an integral part of our worship of Him.

These thoughts in mind, Lauren and I constructed a survey to try and help us understand what things would make a husband jealous.  We created a series of hypothetical questions, based on many of the debates/teachings we’d heard regarding “purity” boundaries, placed those situations into a marriage scenario and surveyed 50 men from various backgrounds and denominations–single men, dating men, courting men, engaged men, married men and men with daughters our ages—without giving an explanation for our questions.  We wanted unbiased feelings and perceptions.  We reasoned that those things which provoked jealousy in a husband are likely to be good indicators of what rightly belongs to a husband only—and therefore what we should be jealously guarding from any man to whom we are not married.

We’ll admit that we were surprised by the clarity the results seemed to cast on “grey areas.”  We’re talking about activities that many youth pastors would advocate as still “chaste” and would leave a “True Love Waits” pledge unbroken.  Many of the men expressed that they were deeply disturbed in considering their wife engaging in many of these activities—few thought “jealous” even covered their feelings on the topic.  God used graphic word-imagery to express Israel’s adultery–to inspire our horror and disgust.  We’ve tried to be as discreet as possible in dealing with these issues, but this is a serious affair.  Impurity should provoke our horror and disgust.  We’re sharing the results with you and we encourage you to consider carefully guarding what these men express as provoking jealousy.  In the areas that are expressed as depending on circumstances, prayerfully, carefully let your actions be guarded by love—focus on the Lord first and what will bring Him glory and then pursue sacrificial love toward your neighbor–what will cause them to focus on the Lord.  The excellent wife does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life, and his heart trusts in her.

What Makes a Husband Jealous:  The Survey

These questions are purely hypothetical.  Excluding her father or brothers, how would you feel to discover that your wife was engaged in each of the following activities with another man?

Rated on a scale of 1-5:

1=It doesn’t bother me
2=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
3=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
4=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
5=I would be jealous (or worse)

Talking one-on-one with another man (in a public room):

38%=It doesn’t bother me
24%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
26%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
6%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
4%=I would be jealous
2%=unsure

Sitting next to another man (in a public room)

26%=It doesn’t bother me
22%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
36%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
14%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
0%=I would be jealous
2%=unsure

Shaking hands with another man (in greeting):

72%=It doesn’t bother me
16%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
10%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
0=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
0=I would be jealous
2%=unsure

Hand holding with another man (intentional, not in group prayer):

2%=It doesn’t bother me
8%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
14%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
12%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
64%=I would be jealous

Hugging another man:

18%=It doesn’t bother me
16%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
34%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
14%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
18%=I would be jealous

Light kissing another man (a peck on the cheek, forehead):

4%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
8%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
14%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
72%=I would be jealous
2%=unsure

Heavy kissing/making out with another man:

0%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
0%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
0%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
100%=I would be jealous

Dancing with another man (traditional ballroom dancing):

8%=It doesn’t bother me
14%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
18%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
18%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous

42%=I would be jealous

Chatting alone frequently (phone, internet, e-mail) with another man:

2%=It doesn’t bother me
2%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
22%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
22%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous

52%=I would be jealous

Seeking regular counsel/discipleship from another man:

0%=It doesn’t bother me
6%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
8%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
24%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
62%=I would be jealous

Road-trip alone with another man:

0%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
16%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
12%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
72%=I would be jealous

Flirtation with another man:

2%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
4%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
18%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
76%=I would be jealous

Deep spiritual/personal conversation (in private) with another man:

2%=It doesn’t bother me
8%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
22%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
22%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous

46%=I would be jealous

Accepting a dinner date from another man (he pays):

2%=It doesn’t bother me
2%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
14%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
16%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
64%=I would be jealous
2%=unsure

Discipling another man:

4%=It doesn’t bother me
8%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
8%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
14%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous

66%=I would be jealous
(Many said, apart from the jealousy issue, “that’s just wrong”)

Sitting on another man’s lap:

0%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
6%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
16%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
78%=I would be jealous

Affectionately/friendly touching another man:

2%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
10%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
14%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
74%=I would be jealous

Regularly accepting gifts/money from another man:

2%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
12%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
26%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
60%=I would be jealous

Cuddling with another man:

0%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
0%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
6%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
94%=I would be jealous

Regularly working out/studying with another man:

2%=It doesn’t bother me
4%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
8%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
18%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
68%=I would be jealous

Receiving a backrub/massage from another man:

2%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
6%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
18%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous
74%=I would be jealous

Regularly “dressing up” for another man (not an event, but when she knew she would see a particular man):

0%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
2%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
14%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous

84%=I would be jealous

Daydreamed about another man (“he’s so wonderful!”):

0%=It doesn’t bother me
0%=It depends, but I don’t think it would bother me
6%=It depends on circumstances/the guy/etc
4%=It depends, but I would probably be jealous

90%=I would be jealous


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8 Comments

  1. Kiana said,

    So, I tested Brandon, my husband, and most of them were a 5. I didn’t realize that he felt that way about some them, NOT like I do it, I just didn’t know. I think it’s a GREAT survey for many couples.

  2. Maiden Princess said,

    That was really cool. Thanks for that survey!

    Pressing Into Him,
    Maiden Princess

  3. princessesindisguise said,

    Thank you so much for taking this survey! I find it interesting that the third-highest jealousy-provoking activity is inward – daydreaming. It truly proves that purity starts with the heart.

    ~Kayla

  4. A Different Perspective « Princesses in Disguise said,

    […] him until the very last day of her life.  But what does this look like in reality?  Well, read the results of the survey to find […]

  5. A Sweet Fragrance » Blog Archive » Fragrant Fragments # 6 said,

    […] On Purity and Jealousy – A survey of Christian men about what what makes them […]

  6. April said,

    Huh…that was quite a survey. Some of the % really surprised me. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Anonymous said,

    I have a question:
    So if my future husband is so jealous of me that he gets jealous if another guy even glances at me, should I never go out in public right now while I’m single?

    You are trying to compare apples to oranges. While I do not endorse immorality or licentiousness by any means, the state and conditions of singleness are completely different from those of a married couple. To use the potential feelings of a spouse as a means to control what I do now is unreasonable and has no Biblical basis. (And I’m not talking about blatant, unBiblical immorality here.)

    Every husband is different; my future husband may hardly be jealous about any things at all, or he may be jealous of everything. That depends on the person. In which part of the spectrum am I supposed to live my life? And since when does a future husband’s jealousy become my Holy Spirit now? Where is that in the Bible?

    A husband certainly has a right to be jealous if his wife is heavily kissing another man or holding hands with another man or sitting on another guy’s lap. But we’re talking about a married couple who have made a commitment, not a dating or engaged couple. If a couple decides to date and they happen to hold hands or kiss while dating, but the relationship doesn’t work out, then those things happen…it’s life. The future husband has no reason to be jealous of that; once he is married to his wife, he has her full attention and affection. As I said, you are comparing apples to oranges.

    While licentiousness is something to carefully guard against (let’s not go out and start randomly or carelessly dating around and kissing every guy right into the relationship), this survey and the conclusions which can be drawn from it go to the opposite extreme for a single person…boundary-less legalism, which is equally dangerous. Everything which could be a potential sense of jealousy technically can be forbidden…without any Biblical prescription for it.

    Just some thoughts.

    In Christ Our Life

  8. Anonymous said,

    *potential source of jealousy*

    Clarification. 🙂

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