The Rebecca St. James File:
Reviewed by Tracy Darlington
Pure by Rebecca St. James (w/
"...will deepen your walk with God, and you’ll learn more about Rebecca’s amazing life and history. If only she’d made it 365 days instead of 90."
She has sold millions of records globally. She is on the SHE tour right now, ministering to young women about being Safe, Healthy and Empowered (hence the name SHE tour). But if you’ve followed Rebecca St. James’ career as long as I have (since the early days when she traveled to small venues with just her dad and brother) you’d know that PURE is what this woman really stands for. It’s a fitting title for her latest book.
Divided into three topical sections: Purity of Mind, Purity of Body, and Purity of Spirit, it’s easy to navigate through the 90 daily entries. Each begins with a Scripture, and continues with a Reflection (this is where you’ll find some interesting personal stories from Rebecca’s travels). Then the Looking Further section brings a more in depth Biblical analysis of the principle being discussed. Finally, “Living It Out” shows you how to apply it to your life. In ten to fifteen minutes you can absorb the two and half pages that will challenge you to live out your Christian walk in a deeper way.
“Pure” is not only for young women, however. Anyone can glean the truths Rebecca presents, and anyone will find her anecdotes entertaining, like her childhood memory of pretending to be the lead singer of a rock band, using a hairbrush as a microphone. Rebecca and her brothers even sold merchandise to their parents! St. James shares: “For a long time I thought people shouldn’t see my flaws. I thought that when I was going through a tough time I just needed to buckle up and be strong; I needed to put on a brave face and just go through it alone. But I found out otherwise. When you take off the mask (the brave face), you relate at a base level to everyone else who has been through pain - and everyone has. Honesty promotes intimacy, and intimacy encourages our mutual reliance on God. True honesty is beautiful.”
She talks about her tour in Europe, where she met a Catholic priest in Austria who had found her music on the internet. He’d asked her to come to his church because he knew she was passionate about abstinence before marriage and felt that his village needed to hear this message. Although this was the smallest concert on her tour, Rebecca was blown away by his servanthood.
There’s an emphasis on fulfilling your God-given purpose, whether it be in your relationships, in forgiving others, or in setting boundaries to avoid falling into sin. She’s got a timely message of modesty and a healthy attitude toward body image. She even mentions the benefits of singleness, something we don’t hear enough about in our churches. Overall St. James makes being pure seem attainable, while leaving room for grace when we mess up.
I remember Rebecca looking forward to marriage when she was seventeen. At nineteen she wrote the hit song “Wait for Me”, a plea to her future husband. Now at thirty she has come to grips with waiting, and she’s doing it gracefully and with poise. So her message of purity is even more poignant. She’s walking the walk, and she knows of what she speaks. She’s living it out, like the so named section in her book. Reading “Pure” will deepen your walk with God, and you’ll learn more about Rebecca’s amazing life and history. If only she’d made it 365 days instead of 90.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.