Mo Isom is the bestselling author of “Wreck My Life: Journeying from Broken to Bold.” Her latest release is titled “Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot.” A Louisiana State University alumna, Isom was an All-American goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Jeremiah, and their three children.
Why is purity worth championing?
Isom said Jesus is passionate about our purity, and she wants to help guide the next generation in leading lives of purity.
“Coming to know Jesus wrecked and redefined everything,” Isom said. “I realized through writing that story, there was a sexual narrative that paralleled from start to finish. It has flowed through my story of brokenness. I wanted to dig down to the root rather than symptomatic responses.”
Our culture is consumed with sex.
“All I want to do is put my kids in a box,” Isom added. “We’re literally in such a consumed, sex-saturated culture. The greatest realization came with the flow because sin isn’t as slick as it thinks it is. So if we can recognize the flow with which it enters our lives, then we can actively fight back.”
How can we fight back?
The battle goes two ways: to flee from sexual impurity on the outside, but also to fight your flesh from within.
Isom said sin flows through four steps.
Eyes: “Like Jesus says, ‘The eye is the lamp to the body,’ and if you don’t realize your eye is muddy, how dark is your body?” Isom said. “What we set before our eyes is crucial. The current Christian culture almost finds no accountability to what the Word says in Psalm 101:3. We’re so reckless.”
Mind: “What enters our eyes shapes our thoughts,” Isom added. “We don’t realize what pawns we are to the moneymaking agents who know that sex sells. John Piper has said, ‘You have about a five-second window when a thought enters your mind to take it captive to Christ or entertain it.’”
Heart: “The mind then influences and impresses upon the condition of our heart,” she said. “It is not behavior modification that’s going to change the trajectory of our sexual narrative, but heart transformation.”
Actions: “The final step is our actions,” she added. “Pure and impure actions reflect the condition of our heart. It is not easy at all, but especially in a sexually saturated world, we need to be set apart.”
How can we position ourselves to be set apart?
Confess sin: “Scripture says, ‘The power of life and death lies in the tongue,’” Isom said. “Our sin—whether it be porn, masturbation, promiscuity or marital struggles—silences us with shame. We’ve lost our voice completely, and it imprisons us. That’s the opposite of the cross, which says, ‘To boast in our weaknesses.’ Give voice to your sin that has silenced you for a long time.”
Grow in community: “Surround yourself with people who can walk you through that, share their struggles and relate,” Isom added.
Seek forgiveness: “We need to participate in the healing,” she said. “To sit down and bring up the specific issues and people you were involved with, but it’s so essential because the model of the cross is radical forgiveness—to release those who have hurt us and ask forgiveness of those we’ve hurt.”
What’s the distinction between purity and virginity?
“It’s not a conversation we’re having properly or productively in the church,” Isom said. “God cares so fiercely about this topic. No one was really talking to me about this except the culture. My sexual understanding from a young age was built by TV, magazines and friends, so I was blindly navigating. At church, I was talked to about virginity, but not the greater call of purity, so it became how far is too far?”
Isom said we need to bring balance and clarity back to purity.
“We have so polluted and blurred the lines between obedience and legalism,” Isom added. “Obedience is a response to the way made for us. It requires self-control in an armored-up fight when our flesh is telling us something else. A lot of Christians don’t want to because they think, ‘I can’t do X, Y and Z,’ and ‘I have to put up these boundaries.’ It’s just obedience. You’ve met a grace that is greater than sin’s pleasure. Obedience is the beautiful byproduct.”