Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
As the Purity Shield™ illustration shows, all three vital defenses—Flee from Sin, Come to Christ, and Share with Others—are necessary to maintain purity at the center. The three deadly vulnerabilities are gaps in your shield where one of the three vital defenses is lacking.
Each defense forms a corner of the shield, so when any defense is weak or missing, your protection is ineffective. Ignoring any of the vital defenses leaves you vulnerable to temptation and the soul-killing consequences of sexual sin.
Take time to examine yourself regarding each vulnerability. If you identify a weakness in one or more of these areas, take courage! Thank God for opening your eyes to your need, ask Him for help to change, and then take action to work on whichever defense is lacking in your life.
When Share with Others is lacking, repentance and sin become an endless cycle, with little or no growth in purity. This is secret striving, the first deadly vulnerability to avoid in your pursuit of purity.
The first two defenses of Flee from Sin and Come to Christ together produce repentance as you are accountable to God. But without the third defense, Share with Others, your isolated repentance is often not enough to break deep-rooted sinful habits and overcome the cravings of the flesh.
Are you confused and discouraged in the struggle against sexual sin? Do you feel trapped in an endless cycle of watching pornography and coming to God yet again to repent in shame? You determine to try harder this time, only to fall back into sin—over and over, with little or no progress in purity.
If this describes you, take heart; there is a way to escape this deadly cycle! The key is to not only Flee from Sin and Come to Christ, but also Share with Others.
When Flee from Sin is lacking, accountability is just empty talk, and purity is impossible because you refuse to take sin seriously. This is fruitless fellowship, the second deadly vulnerability that will keep you from a life of purity and peace.
As we’ve already seen, the Purity Shield is effective only when all three defenses are in place. So, what happens if you Come to Christ and Share with Others but make no effort to Flee from Sin? We call this destructive combination “fruitless fellowship” because it offers the appearance of Christian fellowship without the fruit of purity and holiness by turning away from sin.
If you refuse to do whatever it takes to root out sexual sin from your life, your “accountability” to God and others is worthless. Purity will not be the result. True accountability starts with taking personal responsibility for your actions.
Fruitless fellowship is always superficial. It is a lie. Jesus warned about false teachers that “you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). The very definition of a hypocrite is someone who pretends to be something he is not—and you are not serious about pursuing purity if you don’t deal with habitual sin.
If you lack the discipline to Flee from Sin, your “accountability” relationships will be little more than confession sessions, lacking the godly sorrow and biblical repentance that result in holiness. Or worse, you may carry on a double life, lying to cover your sin while pretending to be an upright, accountable Christian. But beware, God is not fooled.
To grow in purity, you must do whatever it takes to expose and kill those sinful habits.
When Come to Christ is lacking, you cannot be pure, no matter how hard you strive, because your evil desires are not being transformed by God’s Word and Spirit. This is agnostic accountability, the third deadly vulnerability that keeps you from experiencing the joy of a pure heart before God.
Beware of a secular self-help form of accountability that is devoid of the transforming power and grace of God. Although transparency and discipline are essential to maintain sexual purity, they are not enough on their own. Being accountable to others but not to God will end badly, either in despair at your own inability or in prideful self-righteousness from your imagined success.
Being righteous in your own eyes might make you feel good about yourself, but God is not deceived by appearances. Don’t be like the hypocritical religious leaders of Jesus’ day who looked good on the outside but were inwardly corrupt (Matthew 23:35). Remember that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
True purity cannot be achieved through behavior modification. You need a clean heart with transformed desires—something that only Jesus Christ can provide. Your best efforts will be fruitless apart from Him:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4)
Don’t neglect the defenses of Flee from Sin and Share with Others, but remember they are powerless unless you also Come to Christ, praying with the psalmist, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).