At lunch time on Monday last week, I took a walk and came across a Sexual Health Clinic and decided on the spot to go in. Things I do for blogging inspiration, you wouldn’t believe!
So I walked in and figured that I can’t just come in here to sit and watch so I registered and ticked the option on the form for a general checkup. The waiting room was filled with couples and individuals alike, some looking anxious and some looking carefree. So I was in people watching mode for a bit, trying to imagine what could have brought them to the clinic. It was when a nurse called out, “Stephanie!” that I snapped out of my people-watching and leapt up to follow the voice. The nurse was pleasant enough and walked me to her consulting room. When I got in, she asked me all the usual questions and then briefed me, “Today, we are going to do a test to cover all bases. I will take some blood and some swabs and these will be used to test for any HIV, Syphillis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Bacterial Vaginosis, Trichomoniasis, Hepatitis B etc.” At this point, I’m thinking “umm this was meant to be a bit of banter; why is she talking about blood?“. Now, for the avoidance of doubt, this was completely off the whim. I definitely won’t have been so happy-clappy visiting the clinic if I actually had anything to be worried about in terms of sexual health.
Anyway, while she was setting up her apparatuses, I got lost in thought and I started thinking about whether married couples still come to sexual health clinics just for check-ups; or was this something unique to sexually active singles (for the sake of simplicity, I’m assuming we are in a perfect world where marriage is truly sacred to ALL and; husband and wives don’t cheat on each other). This led me to thinking about the big elephant in the Christian room: Sex outside of marriage!
Some of us Christians who want to often justify and dispute what the Bible says about this matter, have some excuses which we feel or have felt at some point, are pretty solid especially when we come up with something like “It’s natural for human beings to have sex so God can’t demand that from me!” or “But I know I’m going to marry him/her, so what’s the big deal?” or my all time favourite, specifically coming from girls, “If I don’t have sex with him, he’s going to cheat on me or break up with me!”
I remember, a couple of years back, I was trying to convince a “friend” as to why sleeping with some guy she was supposedly “seeing” wasn’t a good idea. At that point, it was really more about her not getting her heart broken by a waste man, with a little bit of Christian over-righteousness thrown in as a topping. I think I said something along the lines of, “Don’t have sex with this useless boy! He’s only here for a short while and he will probably tell all his friends. Oh! And you shouldn’t have sex outside marriage, you know it’s a sin.” She probably looked at me thinking “You bloody hypocrite!“. Anyway, she pushed that aside and asked me a question I wasn’t prepared for, “Explain to me, from your own point of view, why sex before marriage is such a sin!” and being the young Christian I was still trying to improve my relationship with God and general understanding of my faith, I came up with the rather poor answer of “Because the Bible says so! It’s just wrong!!”. In hindsight, I realise that was not a sufficient answer.
Over the years, this question has often come up time and time again so for a while I’ve been looking into seeing this from God’s eyes and understanding why this doesn’t earn brownie points with God. Before you read on, it is worth noting that this is mainly directed at Christians because my reasons are firmly based on the spiritual elements of our Christian faith and belief. Just FYI.
We all know the usual practical reasons we think support the notion of sex outside of marriage being unacceptable to God based on the usual consequences such as unwanted pregnancy; STDs and; emotional attachment. However, I’ve come to see the flaw in these reasons because it is obvious that marriage isn’t immune to any of these phenomenons. The only difference is that you won’t feel ashamed keeping your pregnancy when you’re married, even if you weren’t ready for kids yet; you are less worried about STDs because the assumption is that your significant other has the decency and Spirit of God upon him/her not to cheat and; healthy emotional attachment is obviously encouraged with the one you love and are betrothed to (I’ve always wanted to use that word betrothed lol!).
So here goes:
The Mandate of Purity
When you give your life to Christ and acknowledge Him as your Lord and Personal Saviour, it’s a big, exciting deal! It’s a commitment that should not to be taken lightly. God has chosen us to be specifically His – I mean we are all God’s children but best believe there are levels to this, after all we have brothers and sisters in families and the goody-two-shoes in the house who does what the parents want, usually gets more favours than the other siblings who don’t 😀 . His favour and mercy is in abundance and He gives it out as He pleases to whom He pleases, but God definitely rewards those who are relentless in trusting and obeying Him.
His mandate on purity is simply this: “For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, That each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will.” (1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 3 to 5).
I always seek for a higher level of communication with God and experience has shown me that by devoting more and more of myself to the will of God and working my hardest with the help of the Holy Spirit to stay pure, not just in body but also in mind and soul, I am definitely more receptive to whatever God uses to communicate to me. His word also reassures us that “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew chapter 5 verse 8). God longs for us to be THAT close to Him that we can at least catch a glimpse into His mind so that He can help us stand against any spiritual AND physical mediocrity.
It can incredibly difficult to have confidence in the presence of God, especially when you’re praying to Him for something, if you aren’t trying to live up to His standards.
Be a good steward
If you entrust something of yours to someone to manage on your behalf, you’d expect them to take particular care of it and adhere to your rules around how they should manage what you have entrusted, right? Well it’s the same with God. We may not like His methods and precepts sometimes, we may not agree with them sometimes, we may ignore them sometimes but it doesn’t change the fact that we are His and if it wasn’t for Him we won’t even be here to begin with.
So He has given us our body and all the resources and housekeeping rules to go with it, to enable us manage it to His expectations. “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10).
On the last day, are we going to be able to stand boldly and excitedly in front of God to give a thorough account of what we did while occupying this vessel He has put us in?
Respect the sanctuary
When Jesus was giving His disciples a heads up about his upcoming crucifixion, He said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. ” (John chapter 14 verses 16 to 17).
The Bible goes on to tell us, “Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.” (1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 19 to 20). So although Jesus isn’t here with us, God has given us a source of power which lives within us. We don’t have to look very far.
Today, in my pastor’s sermon, he said something that stuck like glue: “God puts the expensive into the inexpensive, which therefore makes the inexpensive expensive”. The Holy Spirit is an expensive gift with a lifetime warranty given specially to us as children of God, so that we may have worth and value and be expensive. Knowing that we are no longer like the rest because of the preciousness with which we were purchased and made God’s own, we have a duty to treat our sanctuary with the utmost respect lest we diminish the ability of the Holy Spirit to work in us individually.
So, for me, the focus is really about reverence and love for God. When you really stop to think how amazing and kind and gracious and merciful He really is, you will be compelled to want to just keep yourself the way He wants you to. Sex in itself is not a bad thing, God just wants us to give ourselves only to the significant other that He has created specially for us. That way, there is no guilt or shame around it.
So I hope, my dears, that this has shed a different perspective for you. Take some time to think about how highly you regard God and begin to level up with his desires for you. It doesn’t matter if in the past you have already been given to the sin of sex or not outside of marriage as long as, going forward, you resolve firmly between you and God to honour Him with your relationships by doing it the way He wants you to do it because He REALLY has your best interests at heart. If you’re struggling, you’ve ALWAYS got the Holy Trinity on your team (Father, Son and Spirit) and They will help you and guide you in wisdom. Just decide to purposely take the first step and stick with it till God makes you perfect in His eyes.
Love you guys and thanks so much for the support.
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God bless you crazy bucket loads.
’cause its The Steph Way