Thursday, January 29, 2015

Is Sexual Purity Even Possible Anymore?

I'm going to vent for just a moment, please bear with me, but when did it suddenly become the "norm" for Christian girls to live with and/or sleep with their boyfriends/fiances/anyone-but-her-husband?!?! My facebook is blowing up with friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends who are supposedly Christians, who are pregnant or bragging about the fact that they live with/sleep with a man who is not their husband. It's sooooo disappointing to me; I can't imagine what it does to the heart of God. Sin doesn't mean they cannot be a believer obviously, but choosing to live in a sin that is so clearly defined in the Bible is a pretty good indication of the state of their heart. Titus 1:16 says, "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." The point of this blog IS NOT to judge those girls or point fingers at them. If they are truly a believer, they know in their heart that what they are doing is wrong. It's not my place, nor is there really any place for discussion because the Bible is 100% clear on the issue, so you don't need my opinions. The point of this post is for those girls who are maybe young adults or teens, and are just trying to love God and stay sexually pure to be encouraged that 1. it is possible to walk down the aisle pure 2. you aren't the only "Christian" girl not having sex before marriage.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:10 that a virtuous woman is rare and extremely valuable. I think we can all agree that a core trait of a "virtuous woman" is purity. The Bible instructs a woman of God to be pure and chaste; the New Testament is full of references on this subject. I know that we are required to keep our hearts and minds pure well past getting married, but for today's post, I'm specifically narrowing down and referring to purity as refraining from sex outside of marriage. While many characteristics that God requires of us as his daughters are being attacked by the world, I personally believe this is one of the biggest areas Satan is targeting. Satan chose something that 1. the world presents as a glamorous necessity and makes you feel like a "fuddy-duddy" if you don't participate in the sinful action and 2. that is a desire of all human hearts, and he's running with it. Sex outside of marriage has consequences that affect the family core and Satan knows if he can destroy the Biblical family, he can do great damage to believers and churches.

So what does it mean to be "virtuous"? The dictionary definition is:

conforming to moral and ethical principles; morally excellent; upright:
Lead a virtuous life.
a virtuous young person.
I'd like to submit the following change to the first definition if you don't mind: "conforming to moral and ethical principles established by God in His Word..." Can we all agree that purity is a key component to virtue?

Girls, I'm not for one moment going to say that this is a super simple concept and you are a horrible Christian if you struggle in this area at all. How foolish that would be! It doesn't help anyone if churches and leaders and mentors pretend like this isn't a real battle. It absolutely is! In my opinion, we need fewer "stay pure or else" fear messages and more "seek God with everything in you" messages. A girl who is truly in love with God will refrain from "cheating" on her God with the temporal sins of this world. I acknowledge it's a very difficult challenge. Additionally, I believe it is an impossible task without God's help, and it is ridiculously hard when you are dating or engaged to the man you know you are going to spend forever with. Speaking from personal experience if you are not dating a man who loves God, it is going to be a near-impossible task. I'm going to be very honest with you, I would have been in big trouble if Tim had not loved God with his entire being and also desired to maintain a pure relationship with me. Girls, we get so carried away with our emotions and hormones and desires, if you are dating an ungodly man, it's going to be crazy-hard for him not to take advantage of these feelings, and it's going to be crazy hard to say "NO" to a guy who is really pressing the issue; because, let's be honest, your flesh wants to say "YES." Dating a Godly man is sooo important; I can't stress that enough! 

Sexual intercourse between a husband and wife is a beautiful gift from God. It's one of the many benefits of being yoked together for life with the man God has for you. I've never heard anyone, believer or unbeliever, say, "I wish I had slept around more prior to marriage; it was so much fun," but I have heard much lamenting that they did not save that gift for their spouse. In a world where only 3% of people in general and  20% of "highly religious" people, walk down the aisle pure, wouldn't it be a special gift to your husband to be one of those few who deemed the marriage relationship sacred and special enough to wait? (Stats on Abstinence, 2012) Look at it this way, 8 out of 10 people have premarital sex, how awesome would it to be one of the 2 out of 10 people that didn't? We always want to be the exception to the rule, the "special" one, well here's your opportunity and it's God's will for you!
So what are some of the most common excuses girls that truly do love Jesus fall for when it comes to sexual purity?

1. "But we are engaged......" I understand this statement, and it's a sinful excuse that is unacceptable to God and comes from a heart willing to compromise for personal pleasure.  I had a dear friend who loves God and was diligent with her fiance about not putting themselves into positions where they could fall into this sin as they dated. I remember her saying to me that she really struggled with this lie in her mind. She had the God-given strength to limit interaction with her fiance the weeks leading up to the wedding because she was so determined to please God in this area of her life and not fall prey to this lie. She was vigilant of her adversary the devil... I have thought about that so many times over the last few years and been challenged by the levels she went to to please her God in this way. I'm happy to rejoice with her that they walked down that aisle pure. 

2. "But we love each other and want to be together forever.....we are going to get married" then put a ring on it and marry him. We got some flack when we got married because we had only known each other for 13 months. I was accused of "only getting married so you can have sex." My response to that, " That's a small part of it. We have no doubt that God has called us to serve Him together for the rest of our lives. And yes, I want to have sex. So if I know I'm going to marry Tim, and that that is God's will, then why wait and continue the temptation to sin?" This new fad of being engaged for years is STUPID (just telling you how I really feel lol) and should be avoided at all costs by believers. Why tempt yourself like that? If you know it's God's plan for you to marry him, THEN MARRY HIM and enjoy the benefits of marriage! 

3. "Everyone is doing it..." LIES! This just isn't true. I didn't do it. I have many friends who didn't do it. And, if you truly want to fact check me, send me a private message and I will give you a list of girls who didn't have sex outside of marriage. Jesus hung on the cross, naked and beaten for us. He endured more than we can even begin to fathom, yet we can't handle the "distress" of not giving into our personal desires. Does anyone else see a problem with today's society? We are a bunch of flakes, and we are a disgrace to our Heavenly Father. My Dad used to ask me when I'd use this type of excuse, "If everyone jumped off a bridge would you?" And I would respond, because I was a smart-alack, "Yes, I would. Being the only person in the world would be so sad and lonely." But the reality of this situation is that not everyone is jumping off this disastrous bridge. Don't be a fool and lie to yourself that you'll be the only person in the whole entire world who isn't having "fun." Boo hoo for you. (pause) Okay, pity party is over. Satan wants you to believe you have no other choice, haven't you learned by now in your life that he is a liar?

4. "Well, we already did it, so we might as well keep doing it..." or "God will forgive us...." Romans 6:1-2a, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid." God readily offers forgiveness for any past sinful actions if you simply ask Him, but how horrific to continue in this sin and take advantage of the payment of our Savior on the cross?! I cannot speak from experience, but I have had conversations with different people who lived a "normal" life of an unbeliever and then Christ saved them. If this is you, then I think your challenge is definitely more difficult then someone who "doesn't know what they are missing" when it comes to this sin, but I also KNOW that God can help you overcome that. I can also share with you that they have told me that making love inside of marriage, the way God intended, is "incredible" compared to sex the world's way. It's a totally different experience they say. It is never too late to rededicate your body to God and begin a walk of sexual purity from today until the day you say, "I do." And as not to beat around the bush, it is what God demands from you as His child.

5. "If I do have sex outside of marriage, God is going to judge me and I'll get pregnant or get some horrific disease...." or "If my parents or youth leaders find out, I'll be in huge trouble and won't be able to do (insert ministry, activity, friendship, etc.)" I've been here. You may say, "But that's not a bad lie~it kept you pure!" Sure. But for all the wrong reasons. I like to think I'm a realist--a thinker; I'm constantly weighing things out in my mind. In my mind, I couldn't justify "ruining my life" for a few minutes of supposed fun (I was taking the sinful world's opinion on sex after all, what if it wasn't awesome?!). I couldn't get past thinking about how devastated my family would be, and I was convinced beyond anything I'd get pregnant as punishment from God for "knowing to do good, and doing it not." 

[Let me insert quickly here that if you do sin and get pregnant, that that is NEVER EVER a reason to consider abortion. Yes, it is a consequence of your sin, but it does not mean God is done with you, punishing you for a lifetime, or that He has abandoned you. I do pray you take it as a wake up call about this area of sin in your life though, because if you are a child of God, the consequences will continue to come and that should scare you to death. Continuing in sin is dangerous business.]

So ya, this fear, and a whole lot of God's grace, kept me pure for the time after high school and into college (it certainly wasn't because I was choosing to hang out with Godly guys :/) But can I share with you how different it feels when you choose not to sin (any sin now, not just this one area) for the RIGHT reason~desiring to please and glorify God with your life?When my motivation changed, remaining pure felt less like a burden and much more like a gift. Yes, there's always a part of me that's worried about the consequences of sin when I make decisions~a healthy fear of God is a good thing. But I believe that sometimes God uses circumstances in our lives to help us make the right decision. I remember when Tim and I were dating, and there were times that it was really difficult to not give in to the temptation to "just do it" since we were engaged, and I would think about my little 5-6 grade girls in SS, and I would have to pray for God to help me 1. to desire Him more, over any sin 2. remain an example to those precious little girls. He provided the accountability of teaching a SS class as an extra nudge to do what I knew He required of me. I don't think that was an accident. He knows that sometimes, even in our love for him and desire to do right, we get goofed up and need a tangible reason to choose right.

If you have fallen for or are contemplating one of these lies, or any other, please please reconsider! You are not alone on this journey! I promise! It's not easy, especially when it seems like everyone around us, even those who call themselves Christians, is ignoring God's rules on this topic. You can do it with His help! Surround yourself with Godly friends, only date guys that truly love Jesus, and seek God in His Word. The closer you grow to Him, the less likely you will be to be tempted by the sins of our society; you will live in a different world--His world!

Finally, a personal invitation...

I feel so strongly about this subject, in case you haven't caught that yet lol, and I want to be here for you if you are in this difficult stage of life. I have a story to tell you that would be way too long for a single blog post. I'm made poor choices about who I spent time with, and I'm seen God's miraculous hand of grace guide me out of those situations. I still don't understand why He kept me pure and safe when I put myself in very stupid situations. He has been more than gracious to me. Just because I walked down the aisle pure, doesn't mean it was simple and that I think anyone who struggles is horrible and "lost forever" to this sin. But By God. He's the only reason this is my story, but I believe with my whole heart, it can be your story too. If my struggles can encourage you to stand strong on this subject, then those struggles will be more than worth it to me. My couch is open, the Keurig can be ready in a jiffy, I'm here for you. I desire to do anything I can to help you, just ask? I'm willing to be honest with you; are you willing to be honest with yourself? You don't have to be the "norm," you are a unique individual, created in the image of God, and He has given you as His child with His power, the ability to overcome any sin!

I encourage you to not be afraid of the subject. A struggle for sexual purity is NOT something to be ashamed of, rather, a strong girl will be willing to ask God for help and will enlist the help of Godly friends and mentors to help guide her on her walk with God. I'm going to be honest, I'm so thankful that my "single" years are over because it was REALLY HARD, okay? It truly is a relief to know that the temptation to sin with a boy who is not my husband is over. (I know another subject is staying pure in marriage, but it's sooo different, and I'm thankful this isn't an area where I've even the slightest interest to stray. If you do though, I have a great resource for you, just contact me.) I pray for those of you that are still in this trying phase of life; I really do, regularly. Stay faithful to Him, and you will enjoy the incredible benefits God has given us for the marriage relationship in the future. He truly does want the best for you; He promises to never leave you stranded; are you willing to trust Him and put your heart and purity in His hands? 

Standing with you as you seek sexual purity~it is possible!

For with God nothing shall be impossible. 
Luke 1:37

PS: Thanks for hanging with me as I shared my heart on this topic. I know it was long. :)

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