Sex in the Name of Love

I have been abstinent for more than four years. When I recommitted myself to the Lord and to living a holy lifestyle, someone told me that I wasn’t really living a difficult life of abstinence because I was single. He went on to say that couples who are practicing abstinence together are the real MVPs the only legitimate members of the celibacy team. In retrospect, I imagine he was insinuating that I was abstinent by default and not by choice. I don’t think it ever crossed his mind that a young woman in her 20s would choose a sexless life. Who could blame him? The movies we watch, the songs that we jam to, and the television programs we DVR encourage and entice us to indulge in sex. The more we indulge, the more our carnal desires are titillated and seduced into exploring that which God designed to be sacred.

Sex is a natural, biological act that almost everyone will experience at some point in life. It is the ultimate experience of ecstasy that we will find on this side of Heaven, and once we have tasted that ecstasy it seems almost impossible to go without. When I met my fiancé, I was nervous for this very reason. I knew that sex before marriage was not an option and I didn’t care how fine he was, I would not compromise. Ironically, the fact that he believed in Jesus was not enough to convince me that we held the same convictions about sex. (Yes, there are singles in the church who struggle with sex) On our first date, you could imagine my surprise when he asked me about the purity ring that my father had delicately placed on my right ring finger on my sixteenth birthday. I never anticipated that we would discuss these things so soon, but I’m glad we did. It was then that he told me that he, too, was saving himself for his wife. When he told me of his recommitment to purity, I knew that he was serious potential.

In a world where sex in relationships is the encouraged norm, my fiancé and I have chosen to remain abstinent until we get married next spring. Abstinence is probably one of the most challenging tests we have faced, but there are a few reasons why we know this is the best decision for us.

  • God loves sex.

You read right. God didn’t just create sex for reproduction; He created it for pleasurable connection, romance, and intimacy. Yes, God loves sex! In fact, God intended for sex to be so wonderful, so life-altering, so magical, and so sensational…that only marriage is strong enough to handles its effects (Click to Tweet!). He knew that a connection this powerful outside of the intended confines of marriage could be destructive. Voddie Baucham said it best: [paraphrase] Sex is like a fire. Inside of a fireplace, it’s contained and it’s heat comforts, soothes, warms, consoles. Outside of the fireplace, fire is vicious, wild, dangerous, and catastrophic. The number one reason why we aren’t having sex is because we want to honor God. I believe that one of the reasons why God commands us to wait is because in a marriage, he is the glue that holds it together. Consummation without covenant is displeasing to God and leaves Him out of the equation. He longs for us to protect and preserve the marriage bed because anything else is simply settling for second best.

  • Premarital sex is selfish

It is impossible for lust to be satisfied, yet it constantly begs for more and more. Operating as the opposite of lust, love gives wholly and fully of itself. Tim Keller says that [married] sex is a radical self-donation. Covenantal intimacy seeks to protect and pleasure your spouse. Lustful passion wants to be pleased and pacified without much significant thought of the other person. We get the phrase “true love waits” when we take into account that real love isn’t hasty or irrational. It waits until it’s time to blossom and mature into all that God ordained it to be. No matter how much I love my fiancé, if we dabble into sexual sin it has tainted what God originated to be a selfless donation of love into unbridled selfishness. I am not protecting the heart and soul of my mate when I lie with him without promising to love him until death separates us. I am putting my feelings, my desires, my lusts before him and everything else. Love sees no need to hurry ahead of God; it waits for His perfect timing. Even Jesus waited to give His life—the ultimate self-donation of love—until the Father granted Him permission and announced that it was time. Sex before marriage says, “I’m not thinking of you. I’m not caring for you. I’m exposing you because I’m thinking of myself and what I want.” (Click to Tweet!)

  • Premarital sex breeds distrust and insecurity

Growing up, my mother always said that it is impossible to cultivate a trusting foundation when premarital sex is present. She pointed out that when you see couples who struggle with trusting one another you are seeing the fruit and repercussions of premarital sex.   In a marriage, sex has the power to reinforce the unshakeable covenant that was established; however sex beyond the confines of marriage exposes and deconstructs the trust that may have once stood unwavering. How can this be? Well, it’s simple really. If I give my body to a man who has not committed to me in marriage, then I have given a piece of myself that he did not earn. In the heart of every woman lies a yearning to be deeply desired yet fiercely protected by her man. A woman cannot help but swoon over a man who finds her sexually attractive, yet cares enough about her heart to practice discipline over his own body. When a man denies sexual indulgences because of his fear of the Lord and his love for his woman, she can trust that his accountability to the Lord governs him more than his sexual urges.

My fiancé is very committed to our decision to remain abstinent until marriage. Honestly, that choice is one of the things that has proven his commitment to me. I have no doubts that he is faithful to me because I know who governs him. He is not his own man; he answers to the Lord. My mother and I have had countless conversations about relationships and one of her nuggets of wisdom that I will keep with me is this: Jesus is the only one who keeps a man faithful to the woman in his life. There is no amount of will power that is strong enough to keep a man from physically or emotionally stepping out on his woman. Only the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit will cause a man to withstand temptations (because they will come) and remain faithful to the Lord and to his wife. However, if that man is not submitted to the Lord, then who holds him accountable to his actions and conversations with other women? Something bigger than himself must have a hold of the man, and if he cannot control his urges with you… what controls them when you’re away? These were the types of thoughts that marred my mind when I foolishly engaged in sex before marriage in a previous relationship.

Sex before marriage destroyed my self-esteem. I knew I was sinning against God but I was more compelled by my obsession for affection that I handed over my most precious gift as if I’d forgotten that all sales were final. During that season, my heart begged for more. I had affection but I lacked security. Someplace deep down I was forced to face the reality that I was worth more than empty sex in a relationship that promised no future. I knew that my heart was worth my weight in gold, and more than I wanted to be touched, I needed so desperately to be known. Once sex became a factor, it was much easier for me to believe the lies and excuses that constantly barraged me. Lust caused me to turn a blind eye to the dysfunctional aspects of my relationship and I somehow convinced myself that sex would make me forget about our deficiencies. It only heightened them. I never trusted him because when my heart wanted to be known and understood most were the moments when sex was initiated almost as if to stifle my cry for love. Each encounter became more taxing on my soul.

And then I met the love of my life. He was a man who hung onto my every word when I spoke. He was the man who thanked me just for taking time out of my day to spend it with him. He was the man who chose to hug me after our first date rather than kissing me. He was the man who spent hours with his mentor learning how to best protect me. He was the man who took the time to learn the things that made me cry, laugh, and think. He’s the man who I still catch staring at me as if I’m the only person in the room. He’s the man who, on my birthday in front of my friends and family, got down on one knee and asked me if I would allow him the opportunity to love me for the rest of our lives. He is the one for whom I have been preserving myself, and he has decided to join his life with mine without me ever having to give anything of myself. What sexual sin threatened to steal forever, hope in Christ has restored! He never tried to take anything from me. All he set out to do from the beginning was to give and build and grow. I am better because of him, and on our wedding day he will be worthy of all of me.

One of the most amazing things about God is that we can all come to him and lay our weariness at His feet—yes, even our sexual frustrations. Living a sexless life is not easy, but God always rewards our obedience. If you are struggling with sex, I will pose the question a dear friend of mine asked me: “Ask yourself what is connecting you to the person you are dating. Are you truly compatible from each other outside of the bedroom?” This is important to think about, especially if you are considering marriage.

Remember, there is now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. It’s never too late to make a new decision about sex in your singleness. All it takes is a “Yes” and Jesus will grace you for the days to come. Don’t focus on what you think you’re missing, but all that God is storing up for your good and for His glory.

Advertisements

Jesus Controls My Twitter

I love the Word of God. I love that it’s not solely a book full of stories about great people, historical wars and good advice. No, the Bible is the God-breathed, Spirit-inspired words of life and truth. As my pastor often says, it is so exhilarating to look into the Bible and to have the Word looking back at you. The Word of God is ALIVE!

Psalm 63 is my favorite psalm. It’s been that consistent passage of Scripture that stares back into the depths of my soul and spirit, and cries out my deepest prayer of intimacy with God. This morning that passage was burning inside of my spirit, beckoning me to draw closer to Him with eager desire. As I recited the words over and over, the whisper of the psalm leaving my lips caused my heart to swell. I was impacted by the power of that moment and all that His spirit was singing over me. In that moment, time stood still and the first thing I thought to do was tweet what He’s been sharing with me.

Social Media Kills Intimacy

“Every other religion calls their god ‘God’. Every other religion calls their god ‘mighty’. Every other religion calls their god ‘omniscient’, ‘omnipotent’. That is not what separates us. What separates us is NO other religion calls their god ‘Husband’.” Fighting for Love, Damon Thompson ♥

Our relationship with God is not just that of a Father and His child, but we have been given access to approach Almighty God like our Beloved Husband. We are betrothed (engaged) to Jesus Christ, the Son of God! As our closest Friend and Betrothed Lover, there are times when He wants to commune with us spirit-to-spirit in unabashed intimacy. There are moments when He wants to whisper sweet nothings directly to our spirits. There will be times when He wants to wrap His arms around us, comfort us, and dance with us to the song His angelic choir sweetly sings. There are precious secrets our Beloved wants to share with us about our future, our dreams, our purpose that He doesn’t want shared with the world. I believe there are some things Twitter and Facebook should never know about our relationship with Christ.

How would a spouse feel if every moment of emotional and physical intimacy was shared in detail on a social media website? I have witnessed married couples tweeting private details about their marriage bed activities and pillow talk conversations, and I’ve felt like an innocent intruder. I’ve often thought how disrespectful, immature and tasteless it appears to be, yet how often have I done this to my Fiance? I was having this conversation with my sister in Christ, Liz Franklin, and she told me that God had been ministering the same things to her. He specifically asked her, “Can’t you keep anything between us?” 

Filter My Twitter Feed

Why do we feel the need to share every single aspect of our lives on social media? Every single thought, deed, action, opinion, or attitude does not need to be shared on the Internet. I recently realized that it is easy to misuse Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We may post “spiritual” or “Christian” things, but I began to ask myself why I was posting certain things. Am I really saying this for Jesus’ glory or am I puffing up my own vanity? As I began to ponder these things, I was disgusted by some of my own motives and tweets. Twitter has a way of making our own opinions higher than they should be. The Bible says that should destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:5). Does my Twitter or Facebook really bring glory to God, or does it bring glory to myself and my exploits? More importantly, am I sharing intimate details about my relationship — encounters and conversations — with Christ that should only be kept between the two of us?

Does God Hate My Twitter?

In every relationship, discretion is key. Even in this divine romance with Jesus, there are some things and precious moments that we should want to keep sacred. Of course, for anyone who is in love, it’s difficult not to share with the world every single detail about this new Love we’ve found. So, does this mean that we should delete all social media accounts and never share anything about our relationship with Christ? Heavens, no! I would suggest praying and asking God what He desires for you to share on social media sites. There have been plenty of times I’ve typed something into Twitter, only to backspace immediately when I feel a tug encouraging my silence. Use wisdom and discretion! Consult God and ask Him to revitalize your social media profile, and to show you what to publicize and what to keep hidden in His bosom. Transparency is a beautiful thing in the Kingdom of God, but sometimes Twitter or Facebook isn’t the best way to express that.

This simple prayer that can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:14 helps me immensely. The love of Christ controls me. In addition, the love of Christ controls my tweets.

Jesus, control my tweets!

Question: Is Twitter or Facebook sometimes a stumbling-block to our relationship with Christ? Comment and tell me what you think!

Prayer: The Place of Encounter

What if the secret to connecting our humdrum, mundane lives to the supernatural pleasantries of God was as simple as saying a prayer? What if the breath of ZOË life could be summoned by prayer? What if prayer is the avenue through which our earthly lives and God’s heavenly kingdom collide?

Could it be this simple?

Prayer is one of the most essential rites in Christianity. Everyone knows Christians pray, or at least we should. But praying is a struggle for many people because we are disconnected from the God we’re praying to. Samuel Bentley and Micah Wood, co-authors of Simple Devotion, observe, “Everyone assumes that everyone prays, but hardly anyone really does… We talk a lot about prayer, but we do very little actual praying.” My pastor, Louie Giglio, adds, “We’re not praying as much as we should be, and we’re not praying the way we ought to.” We know prayer is vital, yet we shy away from the prayer closet because it feels mundane, boring, and inactive compared to other spiritual activities. How, then, do we begin to enter into an intentional prayer life?

Prayer is more than a religious ritual that we cross off our daily spiritual agendas. Prayer is about connecting with God. Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer, says in his study How to Develop a Strong Prayer Life, “Prayer was never meant to be duty-based or merely results-oriented. Rather, it is the place of encounter with God where our spirit is energized as we grow to love Him more.” Our prayer lives would be so radically altered if we were consciously aware that each time we breathe a word to the Lord we are facilitating an environment for encounter with Holy Spirit. We must remind ourselves that our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears, but be mindful that we are engaging with the Sovereign God of all.

Why should we pray? There are many reasons why we should venture into an intentional prayer relationship with the Lord, but I want to focus on the one I consider most valuable.

“Prayer is not a list, it’s not an activity…it’s connectivity.” – Louie Giglio

Prayer is about connecting with God on a personal level. It is more than speaking words into an empty room. It is more than the designated five minutes at the beginning and end of a church service. It is more than the 30-second recitation before every meal. Prayer is an invitation for God’s spirit to intertwine with our own. Bickle calls prayer a place of encounter. Our prayer closets should be burning with a holy flame as a result of consistent, intentional, focused time on communing with God.

My pastor likened intentional prayer to a romantic relationship. We don’t find it bizarre if our loved one texts or calls us once a day to check on us. Neither do we think it strange if they communicate with us several times a day. How many of us ladies love to receive “Just thinking about you” phone calls? How many guys smile when they receive an “I appreciate you” text message? It makes us feel desired, loved, and treasured. More than that, we communicate with our loved one as a way to stay connected with them. Our intentional communication reminds them, “You still mean everything to me.” Likewise, we should be intentional about cultivating connection between our heart and the Father’s heart.

Frequent, intentional, focused prayer is the breeding ground for intimacy with the Lord. Whisper sweet-nothings to Him. Worship Him with your words of passionate love. Prayer is a conversation; He will respond. Let your prayer closet become a chamber of unabashed, unquenchable, fiery adoration. It will surprise you how soon you’ll become addicted to His presence.

Question: What are other ways you maintain intimacy with God?

I Just Want You

She stared at him from across the busy hotel lobby. His tall and muscular physique drew attention and she noticed several women casting alluring glances his way. His smooth, milk chocolate complexion reminded her of an edible dessert. Two women approached him like vultures swooping in on their next prey. A seductive smile tugged at his lips, luring the women in, casting them deeper under his spell. The woman across the hotel lobby felt both a tinge of annoyance and jealousy. She secretly envied the attention the two woman had managed to get from the attractive man. As she walked in their direction, the man glanced her direction. He whispered something to the two ladies and they both giggled. The tall, slender, bronze-colored woman of the flirtatious duo slipped him a piece of paper and then both women were gone. 

The man’s sensual smile faded into a stoic expression as the woman from across the lobby stood in front of him. He sat down on the bench and averted his eyes. She handed him a key card. “Here.”

He took the card without looking at her. She was beginning to think that inviting him on this business trip was a mistake. She sighed. “Okay, so you should go ahead and take our bags up to the room. I have to get to my first meeting in fifteen minutes.”

“Yeah,” he said, standing to his feet. He took the handle of her brown luggage, threw his red duffel bag over his shoulder and proceeded to walk toward the elevator.

“Wait,” she stepped in front of him. “Aren’t you going to kiss me goodbye?”

He glared down at her for a few moments before he spat out, “Why?”

He stalked away and she turned to watch him leave.

“Thank you, ma’am. Enjoy your stay.” She reached for the key card to her hotel room and turned around to look for him. She spotted him sitting silently on the bench across the lobby. His broad shoulders were drooped, his countenance downcast. Instant concern shadowed her face as she approached him. She rested one hand on his shoulder and he looked up at her, his large, green eyes vacant.

“What’s wrong?” she wanted to know. She sat beside him.

“I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”

“What are you talking about?”

“This. Us. I don’t think we’re going to work out.”

She sunk down to the bench beside him. Her pulse began to race. “W-w-what are you saying?”

He ran his fingers through his auburn hair and hung his head low. He felt her hand touch his knee gently. He rested his hand on top of hers and squeezed it tenderly. He finally mustered the courage to look back into her confused, brown eyes. 

“Look at you. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. You’re working in corporate America. You make six figures. Your job sends you all over the world and can afford to put you up in amazing hotels like this. You have two undergraduate degrees and one Master’s Degree. You’re the kindest, gentlest woman I’ve ever known. Every time I look at you, you take my breath away. You leave me speechless…all the time…”

She felt her heart gallop in her chest. Her head began to swim as if she might faint.

He continued. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone in my life. I’ve never felt so…so complete.

“You are the best thing that could have ever happened to me.” His voice caught in his throat and he wiped a single tear from his face.

She shook her head. “Stop it. Stop it! Why are you doing this?”

“Look at me! I flunked out of college. I’m a struggling musician who writes songs all day while you’re whisking from city to city. You’re clean and well-manicured and well-dressed in your business suit. I’m wearing a dingy white T-shirt, jeans with holes in them, and flip flops.” He leaned forward and softly kissed her jaw line. “You smell like vanilla and springtime. I barely remember to wash my hands when I leave the bathroom. Even my friends say I don’t deserve you. You deserve someone better than me. You deserve someone more handsome, more intelligent, more wealthy. I’m not good enough for you.”

“No,” she exclaimed. “No! No!” She held his face in her hands. Their surroundings had long been forgotten. Her eyes spilled tears as they frantically searched his. “I love you. I. Love. You. I don’t care what you do for a living. I don’t care what you wear. I don’t care about your education. I don’t care about your money. I don’t care about anything you could ever do for me. Do you know why? Because I’ve loved so many people and they all walked out on me. You’re the only one who loved me back. You make me feel wanted. You enjoy me. I am desired by you. You’re not like everyone else because you want me.You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever known and I love you exactly the way you are.”

“But,” he said, “there are so many other men you could have. They’re better than me.”

She thumbed his tears away. “No, I don’t want other men. I want you.”

More tears ran freely from his eyes and he leaned his forehead against hers. “Why?” he whispered.

She smiled. “Shhh, stop crying. Let me show you.”

What you just read is a dream that I had a few nights ago. When I woke up from the dream, I immediately thought about the Lord and His people. How many of us have felt the same way that the Caucasian gentleman felt about his girlfriend? Have you ever been in such wonder at the Lord’s awesome splendor that you look at yourself and wonder, “What does He see in me? Why does He love me this way?” I have. I have been this young gentleman. I’ve been simultaneously in awe of God’s holiness and in complete disgust at the horrible state of my own flesh. How could a perfect God love such an imperfect being?

I have come to the realization that God is a lot like that young, successful woman. She had loved before and her former suitors had left her high and dry. Yet, she continued to love. Finally, in her pursuit of love, she found a man who loved her back. She had finally found a man who didn’t want her for her money or her social status or her beauty. This man wanted her because he had gotten past the outer layers and desired her for the essence of who she was. God wants the same thing! He wants children who are eager to get to know Him simply for who He is, not for what His blessings will do for us. He wants to be desired and wanted. He wants our undivided attention. What He doesn’t want is for us to shy away from Him because of intimidation or because we think joining with God makes us an unlikely couple. On the contrary, He wants His awesome splendor to encourage us to draw nearer to Him and want Him even more! When we choose to pursue Him like no other, He will reward us with the greatest gift He could ever grant us: true intimacy with Him. God has already proved His love for us by sending Jesus to the cross to reconcile us to Him, but He takes the gift of salvation to another level by revealing deep, intoxicating intimacy with us.

One kiss from Jesus will sweep you off of your feet forever.

 

♫ Now Playing: “One Thing Remains” by Kristian Stanfill ♫