Monday, February 11, 2013
Let's Talk About Sex...
Purity. Virginity. Abstinence. How's that for a start to your Monday?
Sexuality and the church is a complicated subject, and people are talking about them both. A lot. And since Valentine's day is this week, you just might already be thinking about it.
This is where you might want to stop reading because you're happily married and don't have to worry about that stuff. But that's not true. This is not just about being a virgin, it's about having a pure heart before God. That is something he asks of all his followers. Every single one of us. This is a discussion every believer should have, because being married doesn't mean you are immune sexual temptation. In fact, you may be even more susceptible to it because the enemy loves to mess with godly marriages.
As youth pastors, my husband and I spend each February talking to our teenagers about sex and relationships. We do this for a few reasons: sex is fun, the whole world freely talks about sex, and teenagers want to know about it-even if they squirm and act all freaked out. They have questions and the world doesn't always offer up the right answers, so we embarrass them by talking about it and showing them God's perspective. We talk about sex from a godly, biblical view point. Because they sure aren't getting that from their health classes.
In the past there has been a very large emphasis placed on virginity, it's gradually shifted to purity, and I think that is really good. But sometimes I fear that too much emphasis is placed on the fact that virginity is not as important as purity. The harsh reality of it is that many young people have had some sort of sexual activity. And for those of us who are not yet married, teenagers included, the chance of marrying a virgin is getting pretty small. Because of that, I fear that the message out there is that virginity isn't that big of a deal. But, virginity is important. If you are not married the Bible clearly indicates that sex outside the confines of marriage is not God's plan for you. It's set up by God that way for a reason. It's practical of course, if you're not having sex you won't be making babies and those little humans created by sex always do better if they have moms and dads who love each other and are committed to each for the long haul. But it's also that way because God created sex as a connector between husband and wife, he wasn't kidding around with the one flesh thing. The truth is, physical intimacy, even if it's short of sexual intercourse, binds two people together. And if you attach yourself to multiple people that way you will end up with heart ache. You will also mostly likely end up with an STD. Seriously. God designed sex for marriage and told us to keep it that way for our own good.
So what's a person to do with their sexuality if they aren't married? You can't just turn that switch to hibernate, like you can decide you don't want to eat ice cream one day. And I realize that both of those notions are completely absurd. Who wouldn't want ice cream? If we can't change the fact that God made us sexual beings, what do we do with this sex drive he gave us if we aren't married? What's the answer?
This is where it gets muddled, because I believe there isn't really one concrete answer for everyone. The point is that God calls all his people to live pure lives. He didn't call anyone to virginity. What a pure life looks like might differ from person to person. Am I saying there's a certain line you go up to physically if you're not married, everything one side is pure and everything the other side not? No, that's not really it. The Pharisees got in a whole heap of trouble with Jesus for sticking to the letter of the law while disregarding the heart of it. And I think they created a whole lot of messed up people in the process. So many people tried their hardest to obey the rules and missed the outrageous love of Jesus. I'm not saying that abstinence isn't a big deal if you're unmarried, because it is.
So what's a person to do? Does virginity really matter? What does purity look like today? A lot is being said, but not much of it is instructive.
We've come up with a few ideas about this whole thing, come back tomorrow and I'll share four ideas about keeping yourself pure.