One of my favourite Bible verses is Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." These words are such an encouragement to me to fix my mind on the things of God and not on the things of the world. When I'm tempted to settle for less than God's best I try to remember these words and try to remind myself to only "think about" good and pure things.
The word 'pure' has been an important one for me throughout the whole process of reflecting on singleness, and on writing the book. I have known for a long time that my name, Kate, means 'pure' (from the Greek 'katharos'). I'd never really spent all that long thinking about it, or about what relevance it had for me. I remember a prayer time a few years ago (although I can't even remember when or where!), in which someone who didn't know me very well said that they'd sensed God giving them the word 'pure' for me as they prayed - I told them that was what my name meant, which they didn't know. It's a lovely word, and a quality which I would love to think I could show in my life - a quality I aspire to, I guess.
I believe that for Christians, purity is something which we're all called to in our lives. For single people, that purity is about how we conduct ourselves and our relationships, how we live not just publicly but also privately, how we act and speak but also how we think. And yet purity is also relevant to married people too, because marriages are to be pure, and indeed every one of our relationships is to be pure.
In the chapter I look at various aspects of what I think a pure life looks like -
* A pure life is one which is free from jealousy, bitterness and resentment
* A pure life is one which is free from greed and selfishness
* A pure life is one which is honest and self aware
* A pure life is one which is counter-cultural and goes by God's values rather than by the world's
* A pure life is one which is free from discontent
I also talk about the distinction between being a tortoise and being a sunflower (it makes sense, I promise, but you'll have to read the book to find out more! Clue - sunflower's the one we're aiming for!).
Like with so much of what I talk about in the book, I think we have a choice to make. It's not an easy choice, but it is a real choice. We can choose how to live. We can choose which path to take. We can choose where we look to for comfort and support. We can choose whether or not we live our life with God.
I want to live a pure life. I don't always succeed, I don't always get it right, but with God's help, that's what I'll continue to choose.