This summer, I had the privilege of going overseas on a short-term mission trip. During one of the nights’ mission team meetings, our staff decided to do a seminar on dating and marriage. After the seminar, the brothers and sisters split into two groups to have a time of sharing and prayer.
During this time of sharing, I was shocked to hear one of the sisters telling me with tears, “I always imagined and wanted myself to be the first in everything for my husband — his first time holding hands, his first kiss, etc. But I feel ashamed because I know that I can’t be the same for him because of what I’ve already done in the past.”
I saw that this sister was hurt by her past, and felt that she was too impure for the husband that she desired. I empathized with her because I also had experiences of physical impurity that I struggled with for a long time. I too asked questions such as, “What if my husband judges me, or doesn’t love me, or distances himself from me because I’m not as physically pure as he wanted me to be?” If you are struggling with this as well, here are some steps that personally helped me to be set free from my past.
1. Confess this impurity before God.
When the hurt and guilt is deep, we may resort to consciously or subconsciously hiding this sin from God, simply because we ourselves want to run away from it and deny that it ever happened.
If you are consciously hiding it, remember that nothing is hidden from God. Psalm 69:5 says, “O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.” And we cannot receive forgiveness or healing if we don’t confess our sins. Be vulnerable with Him — He loves us no matter what. Nothing can separate us from His love; not even our worst or most disgusting sin. As it says in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In case you are subconsciously hiding it, ask God to reveal any hidden sins in your heart (Psalm 139:23-24). Once He reveals them to you, bring it before Him.
2. Repent, and ask Jesus for cleansing and healing.
Here’s a personal prayer that I prayed:
“Jesus, I need You to heal me. Because of what I’ve done in the past, I’m no longer pure in these physical areas. Forgive me, Lord, and cleanse me from my sin. Touch and cleanse me in these areas. Now that You’ve cleansed and healed me, I commit to no longer make myself physically impure. Holy Spirit, help me to flee from temptation as I cling onto You.”
Once we’ve asked Him for forgiveness, cleansing, and healing, we need to believe that we have received it. I often find myself still feeling guilty after I had already asked Jesus for forgiveness. Remember His promise in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You are now no longer impure, but made clean by His forgiveness.
3. Thank God.
One of the most important truths I’ve learned is that thanking God demonstrates faith. When we thank God for cleansing us, we demonstrate our faith that He did indeed cleanse us. When we thank God for difficult circumstances, we demonstrate our faith that He always works for our good (Romans 8:28). Similarly, let us thank God for our mistakes in physical impurity, having faith that He will use even these to sanctify us and to glorify Him. Thanking Him in this way not only demonstrates faith, but also sets us free from seeing these mistakes as sources of guilt, and allows us to see these mistakes as opportunities for sanctification and growth instead.
4. Live by the Spirit.
Whenever physical temptation comes again, flee from it by holding onto Christ through the Word and through prayer. Whenever an impure thought comes into your mind, open up the Bible and meditate on it. Hold the thought captive and give it to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) – pray and ask Him to control your thoughts and make them pure and pleasing to Him (Psalm 19:14). When the Word and prayer are filling our thoughts, this leaves minimal room for temptation.
5. Remember, no one is completely pure before God.
Yes, we may have made our mistakes in physical impurity – but if our future spouse has not, that does not make him or her any more pure than we are. Compared to the perfect holiness of God, every single person falls short. Every person has his or her own set of impurities and sins that needs to be cleansed by Jesus. Don’t let your past sins chain you down and cause you to think you aren’t good enough, or you aren’t pure enough. Find freedom in the forgiveness that God freely gives us. His forgiveness makes us pure.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
What are some other ways that you used to be set free from the guilt of your past sins?