The benefits of keeping your thoughts free from impurity are rest and freedom. What is this rest, and what kind of freedom am I talking about?
When I am so zealous against impurity that it is not allowed, even in my thoughts, the result is that I experience peace from all the restlessness and dissatisfaction that come with that kind of thinking. It is written in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose. This means that no matter what is going to come my way, it is not only going to benefit me, it is going to be the very best thing that could possibly happen. Once I came to faith in this, I gained a fantastic peace and rest that makes me happy and thankful in all circumstances. As a result, all worries and unrest disappear.
Having a clean conscience also produces rest. Before I had victory over impure thoughts, I would often be jittery or feel guilty around people. I had a hard time looking them straight in the eye, because I was acutely aware of how inappropriate my thoughts were. I was afraid they could sense it, or see it on my face, and therefore I was always self-conscious, and often insecure. As soon as I started getting victory, this unrest disappeared. I could look people straight in the eye and know that I had nothing to be ashamed of.
When I fight for purity I am set free from being a slave to what people think of me. Being a slave to what people think of me means that the way I act, dress, react etc. is influenced by people’s opinion of me. Maybe I am too timid to state my opinion because I think someone will find it stupid. This type of situation is especially common when I am already tempted to flirt or try to impress someone because I am attracted to them. However, when I fight against those tendencies, I become free from that, in every situation, no matter who I’m with. Fighting for purity leads me to complete freedom from what anyone thinks of me.
Purity also sets me free from selfishness. When I am focused on satisfying my lusts, it is all about me, especially in my thoughts. When the selfish thoughts are done away with, I start looking around to see where I can bless and serve instead. This makes a huge difference for my life, because doing good things for others makes me incredibly happy. I get to practice what it says in Philippians 2:3: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit …” People around me can taste this as well and it creates a pure, close fellowship that goes deeper than a normal friendship.
When I’m tempted to impure thoughts about people, it can also lead to worries about the future. Will I marry? Whom will I marry? Is it worth waiting for whom God has for me? But Jesus says: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34. By consciously practicing this and putting all worries in God’s hand, I came to an incredible rest and peace. The more I experienced that, the more natural it became for me to cast all my worries about the future on God.
When I choose to fight for purity right from my teens, it may seem like I am giving up much at the time. People might question that choice, say that I am “missing out.” I might feel that way myself, because my peers are living according to their lusts, and it can look appealing. But the truth of the matter is that being faithful in this area saves a lot of pain! Instead of “trying out” relationships outside of God’s will, you keep yourself pure from sin and find His will for your life, instead of being a slave to your lusts.
This is the formula for happiness no matter what God has planned for my future. Because I am free from my own selfishness, I become content and satisfied, because I know I am living the best possible life, according to God’s will. Then I can also be a blessing for others regardless of my circumstances or whom I’m with.
Fighting for purity in my thoughts has been one of the most rewarding choices of my life. It pays back every single day and makes me happy. I get to live life free of worry and I get to build meaningful, lasting friendships, because I care about others and my life doesn’t revolve around myself.
Not only my relationships with people benefit – I also get to experience a much deeper connection with God. I learn to use my time in a way that is pleasing to Him, and because I stand before Him with a pure heart, He can reveal Himself to me. (Matthew 5:8) I enter into the most interesting development that I possibly can. As I continue to draw closer to God and give up my own will, He will continue to draw closer to me and reveal more of His will and His plan for me. (James 4:8) Each day is a new adventure as my life develops and God shows me where to go next, what to work with, and whom to bless. What a life to live!