Fear of Intimacy & Misunderstanding Purity
Recently I have been listening to this incredible podcast (BEMA Discipleship) by a man named, Marty Solomon. He walks you through scripture and gives greater context for those who grew up in western culture. He breaks down the original language of the text to give us an understanding that we miss out when it’s translated to our language.
This one episode called “When to Say Enough” really opened up my eyes to the original intent for man and woman, and what being made in the image of God means. This text and breaking down of Genesis 2-3 gives me a greater understanding of how boundaries actually means more freedom. When God gives us the ability to say no to something, we are actually exercising the gift of being made in His image. I encourage you to listen to this podcast as I summarized it within my message on Monday night because it so greatly impacted how I viewed freedom, being made in His image, the original intent for us as men and women, and so much more. Below is the scripture that is referenced.
Genesis 2: 15-25
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Now break down of these 6 notes I took on the side when listening to the podcast:
1. Gives him instruction on what he can and cannot eat.
2. God says it is not good for man to be alone.
3. He makes animals and names them.
4.No suitable helper was found.
5.Ribs (Hebrew doesn’t say rib it says around “part” of the man” out)
6. No shame when they were naked.
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
So this leads me into understanding sin. Understanding the fall of man and understanding what God’s original intent for us was.
I spoke about this in relation to intimacy and purity because boundaries and the definition of purity is twisted throughout many people’s minds. It was in mine! When we hear “you are free to eat from any tree of the garden; but…” we immediately hear “free? But? That’s not freedom.” But when we really focus on what is happening here, we see that God is giving us the ability to say “enough.” And that is one of the greatest definitions of freedom when you grasp onto what that means.
I grew up with a fear of intimacy because I didn’t want to lose my innocence. I believed holding hands was awkward and kissing was definitely something I shouldn’t look at. I wouldn’t even look at my anatomy text book, in fear it would strip me of my innocence or purity.
Then I met Luke. And I realized that this fear was making me put up walls not only physically but emotionally.
I prayed for my fear of intimacy to turn into a blessing. To redefine and give me a deeper understanding of the gift of purity.
Prior to prayer: I thought purity could be stolen from me. My innocence stolen.
I remember setting boundaries with Luke because we saw the value of the freedom boundaries would bring us both, not only for our dating relationship but our relationships with Christ, and future. By the grace of God, prayer, hard work, and grace, more grace, and more we were able to keep our boundaries and got married this April 27, 2019 after 7 years of dating. But the 7 years felt long, and many days and nights I remember crying and praying together that this gift of boundaries and purity would not be one we forgot about. That foundation we built together has helped us within our marriage.
No matter your past, whether it’s similar to mine or not at all, the gift of purity is for you too.
Why set boundaries? They are important when you are single, and vital when you are married. Boundaries can protect us and create in us a foundation that helps us to remain strong in faithfulness to not only God but our spouse. And Boundaries and protecting our thought life when we are single draws us closer to Christ.
I remember reading a blog from one of my favorite theologians, Phylicia Masonheimer, and she phrased purity in a way that clicked with me. She said that “virginity is something we can physically lose or keep. Purity is a spiritual gift that can be renewed.”(Phylicia Masonheimer) That understanding of a renewed gift gave me this incredible picture in my mind that all are able to receive the gift of purity no matter what their past looks like.
Although purity can be a gift to us, it can also be twisted and confused if viewed differently. If we view purity as a frustrating pursuit of putting our desires at bay, it will lead us to not understanding the grace and gift that comes with purity. If we believe that purity is our innocence stolen, then we have taken hold of a false definition of what purity is.
The gift of purity by definition is the gospel. It’s washing us white as snow by the grace of God. We are all born flawed, imperfect, not pure. We are sinners. But Jesus has given us the sweetest gift to redeem us. All are able to receive this.
So when we pray for Christ to be our Savior and we are sanctified (which is the process of being made holy), we are gifted with purity. Although much like when we are saved, we have to wake up each day and die to ourselves, and understand the value and beauty within that gift of purity. We have to battle our flesh, and recognize what it means to be made in His image.
You can be a virgin and not pure. Or you can have lost your virginity and now have the gift of purity, because of the gift of Jesus and His grace.
We have to first be listening to God, and not the other voices. The boundaries before us are not bad, they are actually good. When God says, “you are free to eat from any tree” he even uses the word free. But in our eyes we see that as limitation, but our definition of freedom must be different than the definition of our creator.
Our definition of freedom is where we can fulfill our own desires. His definition of freedom is where we have the ability to say enough and be in His presence. His definition is the True definition.
Intimacy and purity is not something lost and filled with shame once it’s gone. It’s a gift that is given to us to create a closeness between our earthly relationships and our relationship with God.