We just talked about sex—at church. (Yep, that’s right; at church.) But I ran out of time to specifically say some things to our many singles while they are in this stage of life. I remember that time period very well. I didn’t get married until I was 28, and I was a very normal guy. But I was a committed follower of Jesus Christ, so I was determined to live purely. It wasn’t easy, and I remember the things I either thought myself, or my friends thought. Here’s what I know now: Sex is not a dirty word. It was God’s great idea, and we need to talk about it—at church.
Don’t believe the lies Satan will put in your head, singles. Like these:
1) I don’t have any use for my sexuality until I am married. I need to freeze it out. The truth is, our sexuality is a way to glorify and honor God whether we are single or married. John Piper said, “The ultimate reason we are sexual is to make God more fully knowable.” Our sexual desires reflect a deeper spiritual intimacy that we were created for with God. We grow in intimacy with God when we embrace our sexuality and then steward it properly by practicing abstinence until we are married.
2) If I am tempted, I must be sinning. Temptation is a given for everyone. Jesus was tempted. God told Cain that sin would crouch at his door, but it was Cain’s responsibility to rule over it. When you are tempted, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty. Just immediately ask the Holy Spirit to help you stand firm.
3) As long as I don’t have intercourse, I am OK. Years back we “officially” redefined sex in some quarters because of our then president’s declaration that he didn’t have sex with a woman simply because he avoided intercourse. Big misconception here. Watching porn, lusting after someone, and consuming sexually driven media all work to give the enemy a foothold in a person’s heart and mind. Jesus said that lusting is committing adultery in the heart, let alone involving oneself in physical activity that goes to the limit of all but the final act. Sexual purity begins with the heart, not just the action.
4) To be holy, I have to get rid of all my desires. God created our desires and called them good. No need to pray to be delivered from them because ditching our desires is not His plan. Holiness is allowing the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in my heart, ruling over my natural desires. Sin is when I allow my natural desires to run the show. Holiness is working with the Holy Spirit to manage my desires as Jesus did.
5) Getting married takes care of everything. Once you are married, sex is not an issue. Boy, this is a big lie. The idea that once you say “I do” and put the ring on your finger you won’t ever have to worry about sexual issues catches many newlyweds off guard. The challenges are different but still there. Being married means you’re free to have sex with your spouse, it doesn’t rule out sexual temptations like flirting and lust. Working out marital sexual conflicts is something every couple has to deal with at some time, and past sexual memories of abuse or your own experimentation can cause problems. Every single, successful Christ-follower learns this: Whether you are single or married, bringing your sexuality into submission to Christ will be a lifetime ongoing effort.
But it will be worth it.