Before the Altar
Before the Altar
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Biblical purity is not merely a line we are called not to cross; it is a lifestyle we are called to live. It is more than physical restraint. True purity involves our minds, motives, and actions.

Culture says to follow your heart. Scripture says follow God. It is time we start living like Jesus’ followers in every area of our lives, sold out for His glory. Romance and love are no exception.

Books written on the topics of romance, singleness, and purity are looking back, but I am looking forward. I have never dated or kissed, and I’m eighteen. Most people my age have already dated, kissed, and lost their virginity; some have even experienced pregnancy. For young adults, divorce and cohabitation rates are beyond acceptable. Abortion numbers have amassed to over nine holocausts. And I am compelled to stand in the gap. If no one makes a stand, we can only expect even worse consequences to come.

It’s time to stop playing in the muck of this world and slapping a Christian label on it. We need to be resolute in surrendering our lives to the authorship of God. And that surrender starts now—before the altar.

Introduction: The Footprints Left Behind
I remember so clearly walking on the beach with my dad. That day my heart was pouring out what was storming in my mind. He heard my tussles, and he knew the situation. There was a girl I had given a lot of attention to, and we were texting almost every week, sometimes even daily. It was not an official boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. In fact, I told myself we were simply friends, but my mind was hesitantly realizing I was treating it as something more. My heart tossed and turned in tangled emotions.
Although technically my relationship with this girl was a friendship, it grew to unhealthy bounds. I am ashamed to admit it, even if it seems so simple. It was nothing like what is commonly seen in our world, public schools, universities, media, and even homes. But in this simple experience, I felt God calling me out. It was like God was gently holding my face, making me look Him in the eyes to tell Him whether or not I was treating this relationship according to His Word. In trepidation, I could not help but answer no. Nothing physical had happened, but mentally and spiritually something wasn’t right.
The Lord was opening my eyes to see that this small compromise in my heart could lead to a very harmful situation in the big picture of marriage. The largest of calamities brew from the smallest of compromises. A little lie, a little “gray,” can go a long way.
From this experience, God has been changing my heart. I want to be done with following myself, my emotions, my wants, my anything. This book is about the journey God has called me to live. I want to stand for God’s truth, not for what I think feels best.
God has a calling for single men and women that bears great significance to our marriages. It influences how we are to approach the altar, understand biblical purity, and develop a biblical mind-set toward love and romance.
I see God’s call to live out His Word in unconditional abandon. This is a message I want to live out for God’s glory and kingdom. Will I fail and stumble? Yes. I already have. We all have. But should that stop us from seeking the Lord with all of our being? God forbid.
Understand that I wish to stand far apart from any holier-than-thou, legalistic, or “your best life now” notion. Rather it is simply the truth I seek, though I know the road will be hard. Some have even commented that the path of truth is razor thin; it is easy to fall either to the one side of being ignorant to the truth or to the other side of constructing a legalistic order. Neither brings God glory. And that is the goal: to bring God glory.
Love, romance, purity, marriage, and singleness are not exempt from this goal. God’s Word has called us to live a love life that is filled with, centered on, and authored by Him.
Is Jesus only a Savior? Is He not Lord also? Jesus is more than a Redeemer. He is the King we have surrendered to in the relationship He has covenanted with us. If He is our Lord, we are to be under His authority in every area of life. The God-Man, Jesus is more than a spiritual coach or just one of many good teachers. He is the Son of God, worthy of all adoration. I want to live for the praise of my Savior and Lord, letting the world fade into the background of His marvelous light. And I am calling you to join me.
My desire is to encourage you to take what is presented in this book and let the Lord lead you. Go before Him in prayer and seek His Word. His Word is the light to our paths, and He is to be our focus. Your life is your choice, but God’s Word is clear. His Word will defend itself. He is the one I wish to follow in my journey in all areas of life, especially to the altar. And He is beckoning you to do the same.
On that day at the beach, my dad encouraged and prayed for me, and I resolved to move forward. I can’t help but remember how the soft sand felt on my feet, the crashing waves, and the beautiful day, as I walked and ran along the ocean’s edge. Although our time concluded and my family departed from that beach, what stayed were the footprints I left behind, scattered all over the shore.
We all leave footprints on the shores of our lives. The question is, what will be our journey? I pray the footprints I both follow and leave are those of my beloved Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
What will be your journey?

Luis Garcia is a youth wishing to change the world for Jesus and is devoted to the preaching of God’s Word. A high school forensics national champion in apologetics and impromptu, Luis dedicates his God-given abilities to the ministry. He is a pastoral intern at his church in Southern California and is seeking a Bachelors of Science in Religion with Liberty University.


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