Five Steps to Purity for Christian Men

by Steve Wood

Our sex-saturated culture makes it a challenge for Christian men to live a pure life. It takes intentional steps for men to keep their moral bearings in today’s world.

The purpose of this article is to highlight five time-proven methods to strengthen your spiritual life. There’s nothing new and fancy here. I’m just covering those things that have worked for Christian men throughout the centuries, including those believers who successfully lived in the midst of ancient pagan cultures that were similar to our neo-pagan culture.

1. Confession

Confession cleanses us from sin, provides an objective cure for guilt that counseling by itself cannot, and strengthens us spiritually. It is good to go to Confession and it is even better to go to Confession regularly.

For whatever reason, if you are a man who hasn’t been to Confession in a long, long time, why not rid yourself of guilt and renew your spiritual life?

If you are looking for a good book to read on Confession, you will not be disappointed with Scott Hahn’s Lord Have Mercy. Also, Father Rego’s Guide to Conscience is one of the most useful tools for preparation for Confession that I have seen.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:8-9

2. Prayer

“Through prayer, we are able to be with God. He who is with God is far from the enemy. Prayer is the support and defense of chastity, the restraint on anger, the appeasement and control of pride. Prayer is the guardian of virginity, protection of fidelity in marriage, [and] hope for those who keep vigil.” Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience 09-05-07, quoting St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Any man desiring to maintain, or recover, a pure life can’t do better than praying the Rosary. Even saying a single “Hail Mary” during a momentary temptation has powerful beneficial effects.

3. The Eucharist

“The effects flowing from the Eucharist have been called a ‘fountain of graces.’ They include a deeper union with Christ and an increase in sanctifying grace, thereby strengthening a man’s spiritual life. Holy Communion also has the effects of helping to free us from daily faults, preserving our souls from mortal sin, and a lessening of concupiscence (disordered appetites or desires which produce an inclination to sin).” Breaking Free, p. 26

[The Eucharist] “restrains and represses the lusts of the flesh, for while it inflames the soul more ardently with the fire of charity, it of necessity extinguishes the ardor of concupiscence.” – The Catechism of the Council of Trent

Go to Mass regularly and frequently.

4. Fasting

My prayer book has the following petition:

“May our inmost soul be pure and the folly of impurity find in us no place; may moderation in food and drink wear down the body’s pride. So that when day has gone, and night, as God planned, has returned, we may be found free from sin though our self-restraint and thus sing praise to Him.”

Officium Divinum (Divine Office), Angelus Press, 2001.

Moderation in food and drink, and especially fasting, strengthens us spiritually. Most of us need to be toughened up and fasting is a good way to do it.

5. Scripture

Psalm 119:9 asks the question many men ask, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” The second half of the verse goes on to answer, “By guarding it according to thy word.”

Jesus used scripture to ward off the temptations of Satan at the end of his forty days fasting in the wilderness. We would be foolish not to follow his example in using scripture when facing temptation. All men in today’s toxic culture should have a regular exposure to the scriptures.