“Promise not to awaken love until the time is right”

As summer comes to an end and another school year begins, my thoughts are on young people.  A new year brings excitement, challenges, and learning opportunities.  Students will enter classrooms to review old information, learn new concepts, and reconnect with friends.   Throughout the coming year, they are sure to face many temptations which will challenge their faith.   One of the most common issues they will be confronted with is sex. 

What I knew about Sex      

I grew up in a strict, Catholic family with many rules.  My older sister and I were not allowed to date unless there was a potential suitor for marriage.  Dating would involve a boy which would lead to   opportunities for sex to happen.  My parents told us not to have sex until marriage.  Don’t do it.  It is a bad idea because you can get pregnant and your reputation will be tarnished. 

Conversely, the programs and movies I was watching, the steamy romance novels I was reading and magazines like Cosmo, Elle, Vogue, Allure, Glamour  all portrayed sex differently.  It was appealing and inviting.  By the time I entered college, I could see that sex was invading every young person’s life.  One couldn’t help but be enticed to curiosity and eventually partake in its deceitful pleasures. 

Side effects of Premarital Sex

My parents reasoning for abstinence was not based on God’s truths in the Bible.  Therefore, it didn’t make sense to me and the value of it did not resonate deep within my heart.  I believed premarital sex was wrong but because my belief was not grounded in faith and I did not know what God had to say about it in the bible, my convictions were not firm enough to resist the temptations around me.  I bought into the lie that sex can be experienced outside of marriage and consequently had to deal with these long term side effects:       

  • Feelings of shame, guilt, insecurity, and neediness
  • Emotional and mental anguish
  • Loneliness and depression
  • Trust issues
  • False and temporary feelings of love
  • Low self worth which led to problems with eating disorders
  • A longing to be loved and valued  
  • Struggles with true intimacy in marriage when the time was right for sex

Sex, God’s way

What is God’s design for sex and why is it important for me to do what he says?  Does it really matter if I have sex outside of marriage as long as I love that person and we are both monogamous?  Everyone is hooking up and having noncommittal sex so it can’t be that wrong, right?  I would like to save myself for marriage but is it possible and worthwhile?  In Mark 10:6-8, Jesus refers to Genesis by saying that God made male and female from the beginning of creation.  So a man leaves his father and mother and is joined with his wife, the two are united into one.  Because God designed sex for marriage, true intimacy happens as husband and wife commit themselves fully to one another.  God created sex to bring physical pleasure and emotional bonding.   This bonding is natural and healthy in marriage because two hearts are united as one under God.  Outside of marriage, the physical aspect of sex takes place but the emotional attachment is not nurtured properly thereby creating a void deep within one’s soul.  The heart will then look for ways to fill this emptiness by becoming attached to anything (food, exercise, drugs, alcohol, material things, many sex partners, etc.) that may soothe the pain even if it is only temporary.  Left unchecked, these attachments can turn into addictions or destructive habits that will carry into a person’s marriage and family.  It takes many years to undo the side effects of having sex before the time is right so it is worthwhile to wait.  Here are some tools you can use to resist sexual temptations:    

  • Study the bible to understand God’s purpose for sex and obey what he says. 
  • Guard your heart by filtering the information you absorb through reading materials, media outlets and peers.  Cut off exposure to activities and influences that may lead you to compromise God’s truth in the area of sex.
  • Don’t dress for sex!  The more you expose and reveal your body, the more you are inviting premature and unwanted sexual desires into your heart whether you realize it or not.  The clothing and marketing industry knows that sex sells so they advertise accordingly.  Don’t buy into their gimmicks but instead, dress to impress God!
  • Avoid opportunities to be alone with the opposite sex (even if it is a boyfriend or girlfriend) in a non-public place.  Fire spreads quickly and so does sexual desires.   Remember, Jesus is the only one who was tempted and did not sin. 
  • Pray for God’s help to stay sexually pure and trust that He wants the very best for you.

Contrary to what you may believe, you are not missing out on any fun by abstaining from sex even if you feel left out.  God’s best requires that you wait to give sexual intimacy only to your future spouse.  I pray you will make and keep the covenant with God, promising not to awaken love until the time is right.  If you have given in to sexual pleasures in any capacity, repent and confess your sins to God.  He is ready to forgive and provide you with another chance at purity.  It is never too late!  Know that I’m praying for your success with sexual purity!