How to Live a Life of Sexual Purity

A young woman and a man on a date, with cups of tea in hand

In our hyper-sexualized world today, sexual purity appears as an ideal that is hard to maintain.

Sex before marriage is common, sexual jokes are popular, affairs are no longer such a big deal, literature and music that sell are sexually explicit, many people, including Christians are addicted to pornography and sexual fantasies.

In many cases, the supercharged immoral atmosphere has numbed us to the ungodliness of sexual sin. It is no longer as ugly as generations past would have considered it.

A major Christian news outlet that prides itself in spirit-filled news announced the pregnancy of an unmarried celebrity as if it was some good news.

This might look benign to a ‘love’ culture that sees it as hate or even legalism to call sin what it truly is, but it grates on the values of morality that God’s word upholds and by which genuine believers are to pattern their lives after.

Love is not a rejection of truth, neither is it a condoning of sin. Pure love for God is the acceptance of His standards and striving to live by them.

Sexual Purity is Possible for the Christian Single

Sexual purity is an area of challenge for most singles.  This is because the desire for sex is normal, and God has restricted sexual intercourse to a marriage union between a man and a woman.

Therefore, it is important that the single person learns how to deal with desire for sex without gratification.

I also find that sexual purity is hard to define. Is it only the abstinence from intercourse with an opposite sex?

What about masturbation? What about sexual fantasies? Is the indulgence of these other forms of gratification considered sexual immorality? Is a single who masturbates to avoid fornication living a sexually pure life?

I can’t see how an attempt at differentiating these other forms of gratification is going to help or alter the purpose and content of this article.

I rather find that the tips are the same, whether you are dealing with fornication or masturbation or other types of sexual perversion.

Just for the record, I believe that masturbation is sin. The Bible prescribes either self-control or marriage for the single (1 Corinthians 7:8-9).

If you are struggling with masturbation, it’s almost impossible to overcome if you don’t believe it is wrong.

Sexual purity is a conscious pursuit. It is not effortless. You have to consciously take steps to guard against falling into temptation.

There are many Christian singles who fornicate, not because they premeditated the sin. They were just caught off-guard, and found sin irresistible. There was no resolve to flee.

The following points are not going to take away your desire for sex. But they will help you in your resolve and willingness to exercise self-control.

I want to encourage you by saying that sexual purity is possible. God commands it. Therefore, there’s grace (help, ability) in Christ available to see you through. Which brings us to the very first point.

1. Seek to Honor God

John Piper says, “Sexual purity is less burdensome to those who hold God’s honor above everything else.”

The reason why you practice abstinence as a single is not because you are waiting for marriage. It is not because you are afraid of sexually transmissible infections or unwanted pregnancy. It’s not because you fear being caught and shamed.

It is because sexual purity is a command from God. It is honor to the Lord when you obey his commands. That’s the same reason that will cause you to be faithful in marriage.

Your body is the temple of God’s Spirit. It is worship unto the Lord to live a sexually pure life. Every other advice is trumped by this particular reason for abstinence.

If you choose to live for God, you’ll find his grace always available. Like Joseph, in the midst of temptation, you’ll be able to say, “How can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

You’ll be able to leave your coat in the hands of the seductive man or woman and to flee from the scene of temptation.

There were excuses Joseph could have given; advantages he could have benefitted from, if he gave in to sin. But he chose God’s honor. It was all about God.

That was Joseph, an Old Covenant man. What more of you today who are indwelt by God’s Spirit? Can you comfortably fornicate or masturbate knowing fully well that the Holy Spirit is right there with you? I doubt.

Choose to honor God by living in obedience to his word in every area including sexual purity.

Worship God with your body.

2. Spend time with God

When you spend time with God, the influence of that presence reduces the appeal of sin in your life. It is nearly impossible to walk with God and live in sin.

Cultivate the habit of spending ample time in the presence of God.

3. Seek Marriage

That’s biblical advice (1 Corinthians 7:8-9).

Of course, this implies that you must be ready for marriage. Sexual desire alone does not qualify the single for marriage.

Financially, spiritually and psychologically, you must be prepared to take up your responsibilities as a spouse and parent. If you are not yet ready, you have to continue practicing self-control.

4. Get fanatical about moral standards

One reason why there’s a lot of looseness today is because few people are fanatical about what is right. Premarital and extramarital sexual relations have become so common place that they’ve lost their ugliness. They are just excused with a wave of the hand.

That decreases the resolve of many to stand firmly for sexual purity.

Pornography has it tight grip on the lives of millions, including Christians.

It takes a fanatic to make a difference. If you don’t get enthusiastic about what you believe or what you stand for, it becomes easy to conform to the norms of the culture around.

The airwaves, the screen, the internet, literature and music that are popular today are usually sexually explicit.

Unfortunately, they are not harmless as we think.

Take a stand. The purity of your mental faculties is as important as the purity of your body. Filter what you watch, read or listen. Don’t fill your mind with garbage that can’t help you to win in the day of temptation.

Consider all that filthy content as temptation in itself, tempting you to visualize immorality and consequently provoke feelings in you that you can’t gratify without sinning against God.

Becoming fanatical about sexual purity will also include your friendships, whether platonic or romantic. The Bible says bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Don’t keep company with those who don’t value your standards, especially if the person claims to be a believer (1 Corinthians 5:11). Their negligence in upholding sexual purity will influence you negatively.

If you are in a dating relationship, check this other article. Purity in Christian Dating

5. Get grounded in the love of God.

Not every single who fornicates does so because of a desire for sex. They may be filling another need, an underlying problem that has not been dealt with appropriately.

For example, singles suffering with depression, feelings of worthlessness or low self-esteem are more likely to fall into sexual sin when the opportunity presents itself, because the sin appeals to their desire for true love and acceptance.

I find that God’s grace and love is a panacea. It heals depression. It delivers from inferiority and feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.

Knowing God’s love for you will produce a sense of worth in you that is independent of who you are naturally or what might have happened to you in the past.

You will begin to value yourself as God’s child and temple of the Holy Spirit. That makes you look at sexual sin as truly sinful and abominable before the Lord.

Take your Bible, and pick out verses such as 1 John 3:1-3, 1 John 4:7-21,Romans 8:28-39, and many others. Meditate on them until they begin to change the image of how you see yourself to how much God loves and cherishes you.

Believe that God loves you, yes you. Continually preach that message to yourself. That is life-changing.

6. Let the Word be in you

God’s Word is powerful. When you store it in your heart, like the psalmist, you will not sin against God (Psalm 119:11).

In the heat of temptation, the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will remind you of the Word and give you encouragement to obey it.

Recommended resource: Bible Verses for Sexual Purity

7. Ask God for help!

He’s always with you, ready to help you overcome. Don’t struggle alone. Don’t depend on sheer determination only.

Ask God to help you honor him with your body.

When you seek God’s help, during temptation you will find that it’s almost impossible to yield to sin.



Sexual purity is possible. It is God’s command. He knows the challenges you are facing as a single in this area. If you seek to honor him and depend on him for strength, it would cease to be a burden. You will love living that way.

God bless.