Living in purity in an over-sexualised culture
Media is flooded with images of half-naked models, and porn is a clickbait away. Sex scenes have become normal in films and tv-series.
What God made beautiful, society has warped into an industry. It's scary to see how many young Christians copy society's view of sex without hardly thinking about it. Young people are constantly being encouraged to investigate their own sexuality, and the debut age is constantly getting lower. So why is it so important that we Christians wait with sex until marriage? And what do we do when the cultural climate around us is like it is?
When two people have sex they become one with each other.
God loves us and he knows what's best for us. Therefore He gave us the rules-of-the-game to stick to just like a father sets up limits for his kids. As to sex, God has created it to function within the framework of marriage between a man and a woman. My sexuality is the most intimate gift I have and not something to chuck in any direction at all. Only someone who has promised before God and Man to love me till death do us part, is worthy of that gift.
Sex is more than something physical. The Bible tells us that when two people have sex they also become glued together in soul and spirit. We can read about this among other places in Matthew 19:4-6:
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Your boyfriend / girlfriend and you should agree this is what you want.
Reasons for waiting with thanks. All the same it does come down to this one thing: do you want to obey God or don't you? In Norway today we have lots of focus on receiving Jesus as saviour, but forget that He is to be our Lord as well. As God has said sex belongs to marriage then that's what matters.
So how do we do this in practice? When I was courting, I was desperate to find out where you had to stop. True enough, I wasn't going to have sex, but I soon found out there's a lot to deal with before you get that far.
Firstly, it's important to have the right motives. Is your aim is to be a virgin when you marry simply because other people have told you you should or because it is God's will and you want to honour Him with your life? It's important to think it through. If you're motivated at the outset by the wrong motives it can be very difficult to stick to your purpose.
God gives us strength when our strength of will fails.
The other thing is that living in purity is teamwork. You and your sweetheart need to agree on it and together you have to find out how to achieve it. People are different and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. So instead of laying down rules, I prefer mentioning some points that are a good to have thought through:
• When the Bible says that sex belongs to marriage, then it's all sexual activity not just going to bed together. It's not a good idea that you should enjoy each other's body before you're married. If you're together in ways that drag you the wrong direction, maybe it's time to quieten down.
• Don't put yourself in situations you know you know you can't tackle and will fall into sin. The Bible says If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away (Matthew 5:29) If you're doing things you know you'll have trouble handling, have the guts to stop. For example, not being covered up enough around each other. Of course, you know your own flaws best, but be honest with yourself and dare to be radical.
• As Christians we have received the Holy Spirit. He is there to help us navigate through life. Involve Him in the process and use time in prayer together as a couple. This will strengthen your relationship in many ways.
• Don't go against your own conscience. If you're not sure something is right to do then it's best not to do it.
• Somebody you both trust to hold you responsible preferably an experienced married couple. That way you can stand together and this will help you stay focused.
• It can also be an idea to think about what signals you're giving people round you. It's a case of being a good example: Now to sleep in the same bed is not in itself wrong, but it's bound to be misunderstood by other people. Even if you are able able to resist temptation maybe it's better to sleep in different rooms to avoid misunderstandings and false rumours.
For you as a couple to talk about these things having the same vision and working together for it is essential for living purely. When you've got clear boundaries beforehand it can you both in weak moments.
There is always mercy with God. He will certainly forgive you if you go too far. The question is only this: going to live in sin or are you going to turn away from it and ask Jesus to wash us clean? Sex is often a taboo topic in Christian circles, but definitely shouldn't be. Let's dare to be honest and talk about things that are difficult. We are human and can all make mistakes.
I know many couples who have succeeded.
Our society needs to see that there are people who have respect for their own body and sexuality. God didn't say that it would be easy to follow him but he promised to be with us in all things. That means that living in purity is fully possible, as long as we keep close to him. He gives us the power when our willpower fails, and helps us onwards.
I myself am not yet married I know many couples who have managed to reach the goal. Maybe their wedding night was clumsy, but then they've got the rest of their lives to get good at sex. Besides this if both are virgins, then both equally inexperienced, and can work things out in togetherness. That way, sex becomes something functioning the way God originally planned for, something beautiful, glueing the man and wife together, and that can unfold and flower in the secure walls of marriage.
Article used by kind permission of Sennep.net and written by Sunniva Ørnes.