Abstinence is not for Patience
God, let not these words pour shame over my brothers and sisters who have had and are having premarital sex, but rather, let these words be a medium for your grace to flow without hindrance. For my single brothers and sisters who have abstained, let this be an encouragement and power for them to persevere. For all of your beloved, please use these words to glorify yourself. Soli Deo Gloria.
I grew up believing 90% of what the church taught. My family raised me very well. They took me to church and encouraged all that was taught, save one topic in the Bible: sex. My parents confirmed in my soul that premarital sex was not something to be ashamed of, but rather was to be celebrated. So instead of believing in virginity as God’s way, I focused on trying to have sex as soon as possible. I grew up watching movies like American Pie. The group of friends in the movie set a goal to lose their virginity before they graduated high school, in fact, anything less would be shameful. These were the beliefs I held growing up. My goal was to have sex with the hottest girl I could find, as soon as possible. I will not say how young I started thinking this way, for it grieves me to know it is true. Even though the Church was teaching one thing, everything at home told me it was a joke.
I am so thankful to say that God used faithful men in my life to show me God’s truth. Amazing men like my youth pastor, my freshmen English teacher, and my basketball coach showed me a different way. The memory is crisp in my mind of my first day at my amazing Christian high school. Mr. Hayward told us, through a choked up voice, how he saved himself for his wife. He was patient through twenty-eight years and even endured accusations of being homosexual. I saw the love he had for his wife and began to wonder. He was the first person to ever tell me he did not have premarital sex. I was astounded. I grew up my whole life thinking it was the big joke of Christianity. I thought Christians preached it, but I didn’t know they actually lived it. It seemed impossible to me. My life revolved around sex in so many ways. How could a person live without it? Through much prayer and seeking, God’s grace gave me the resolve to say no to fornication. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but knew God would help me.
After telling my immediate and extended family about my decision, I received no support. I do not blame them for this, nor do I hold a grudge, but God was faithful through the difficulty. I remember being asked why and not really being able to give a good answer without sounding condemning. “Well, because it would be sinning to do otherwise,” never seemed like a nice thing to say to my elders. I also remember a family member saying, “good luck, once you have it, you won’t be able to stop,” as she laughed hysterically. Another family member encouraged me to have sex when the time was right. She said I shouldn’t feel ashamed to do it.
Despite all the conflicting input, God’s spirit kept telling me the truth. His grace was heavy enough that I believed Him.
High school was really difficult. I struggled with purity more than anything else. I battled pornography and lust. I broke girls’ hearts with my foolishness. I even flirted with sex on a few occasions. My road to purity was and is a broken one. The path has not been easy, but God has always been faithful to His promises.
Now, I am looking down the corridor of marriage. In less than a month, I will have my bride. By God’s grace, neither of us have had sex. I know God’s greatest earthly gift will be given to me very soon. I could not have imagined a more beautiful person to marry. In this season of life, I cannot help but reflect on this journey. In the middle of the storms I had, I did not know why I could not have sex. I knew it was best that I waited, because God told me so, but I could never figure out why in the pick he commanded it. In fact, it made me very angry on many occasions.
I will not give you a list of why God wants us to be virgins, but I will give you one reason that I pray you never forget. God wants you to worship Him. God doesn’t need your worship or crave attention like an insecure teenager. He wants you to exalt Him because He knows it is the best thing for you. The best thing a person can do is glorify God. There are many reasons to save yourself for your spouse. I could go on and on about how it has benefitted my relationship with Kaleigh, but those type of lists have been exhausted by more educated, eloquent, and experienced writers. For me, I will focus on my main point.
Stop being a virgin to have a better marriage.
Stop being a virgin to be a higher class Christian.
Stop being a virgin to grow in patience.
God is trying to teach you more than patience and temperance through this difficult trial of purity. He wants you to grasp something infinitely more significant.
God is best.
There is nothing in this world that even comes close to God. Not even sex. I grew up with people who, at times, worshiped sex. That sounds harsh, but let’s put it in perspective. God said abstain, sex said indulge. Your answer to that question reveals the true object of your worship. If we have premarital sex, we are no longer worshipping God. The biggest lesson God taught me while avoiding sex, was to look at him. He wanted me to realize how great He is. He knows I can be fascinated by sex. He knows I could have spent my whole life being obsessed with sex. God wanted me to wait, not so I could grow in patience, but so I could realize how truly amazing God is.
To quote one of my Bible teachers: “Once you experience the love of God, you’ll be wrecked for anything else.” This could not be any more true. I definitely fit into the Biblical category of one of those guys who “burn with passion,” yet I’m not dying to have sex. If God decided to take me home right now, I would not mourn the fact that I never had sex. I truly know that to live is Christ, and to die is gain. I am not alive to have sex. I am alive to glorify and enjoy my God. It took me twenty years to realize the lesson from all this. Please take time to understand His purposes now. Stop waiting to have sex. Stop worrying about not having sex and take advantage of the opportunity God has given. By telling you to not have sex, God is showing you how much more satisfying He is than anything else in the world.
For those of you have not had sex yet, lean into God. Stop thinking about not having it, start thinking about having God. For those who are having sex: please stop. I beg that you taste and see that the Lord is good. He is so much better than sex. Repent and believe that God is better than anything else. I promise you He will bring more joy.
I will finish this observance of God’s grace with a quote from C. S. Lewis.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”