There’s no point in trying to sugarcoat it, this blog post will be awkward. Talking about sex almost always is. I think it’s important for us to go there anyway because . . .
It’s tempting to question if God’s standards are possible. Maybe you look around you, and it seems like everyone has fallen short of God’s holy standards for sexuality. I suppose I could blame Hollywood for this sense we all have that “everyone is doing it,” but we know better, right? Art simply imitates life. We likely all have a list of people we know—our real-life friends, parents, and neighbors—who have missed God’s mark for sexuality. That list is so long it’s tempting to question if God’s standards for sex are even possible anymore.
Everyone else is talking about it. Click on your TV, and you’ll hear plenty about sex. Pop in your earbuds, and you’ll hear the same. Drive down the highway, and your eyeballs will be inundated with sexual messages from billboards. Stroll through the halls of your school, and you’ll learn even more. When it comes to sex, I know how many voices are trying to whisper (or scream) in your ear. I need you to hear the truth. So let’s embrace the awkward and run to God’s Word together. Ready?
Confessions of a Former Virgin
I was a virgin on my wedding night. So was my husband. We are each other’s only sexual partners. I don’t tell you that to impress you (more on that in a moment) or even to make you squirm, but because I want you to know that waiting is possible. I’m not interested in being purity’s posterchild, but I do want to tear down Satan’s lie that no one waits. I did. He did. You can, too.
We just celebrated our sixteenth wedding anniversary. (Yay!) As I look back on our dating years and our commitment to stay pure before and after marriage, I’m amazed at the lessons God has taught us along the way. Here are four of them.
1. I don’t deserve a trophy.
We cannot resist temptation without Jesus. We cannot live holy lives on our own. Left to our own devices, we will race toward our own destruction and crash and burn outside the sexual guardrails God has established for our good.
We cannot resist temptation without Jesus. We cannot live holy lives on our own.
We didn’t wait because we’re superhumans with an overdeveloped sense of willpower. We didn’t make it to the altar with our virginity intact because we were never tempted (we were!) or because we didn’t sometimes want to listen to our desires more than we wanted to listen to God’s Word (we did!). We made it because through His Spirit, Jesus gives us the power to resist temptation and flee from sin.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:12–14).
We didn’t just commit not to have sex; we committed to live our lives for Jesus. We don’t deserve a trophy for waiting. We are sinners in need of constant grace. Jesus Himself is our prize. It is only because of His grace that we have the power to live the life He calls us to.
It is only because of His grace that we have the power to live the life He calls us to.
You’re never going to keep God’s standards by focusing on the “nos.” God will keep your way pure when you say “yes” to Him, focusing on His greatness and depending on Him to teach you how to live the life He calls you to.
2. Sex works like Super Glue.
I’m more in love with my husband than I was when I walked down the aisle toward him. Our bond is stronger. Our friendship deeper. One of the reasons for this is the sexual relationship God designed. Sex works like Super Glue, binding us together for a lifetime.
Science can back me up. Oxytocin is a powerful chemical often called the “cuddle hormone.” It’s a bonding chemical that creates feelings of caring. God created this hormone to work as human Super Glue.
For example, oxytocin is released when a momma breastfeeds her new baby. It creates a bond that says, “We are meant to be together. Do not pull us apart.” The only other time this hormone is released is when there is intimate physical contact. What psychologists and scientists are discovering is that when we have intimate contact with another person, our brains have a chemical reaction that causes a bond to seal.
In the context of marriage, this is a beautiful thing. Outside of marriage, this is a painful thing. The bond still exists. The glue still adheres, but then the couple must be ripped apart. This is why sexual wounds hurt so badly.
3. Virginity is not a vaccine.
As a young woman, I always heard married couples tell one of two stories about sex.
Story 1: We didn’t wait. We regret it. Don’t do what we did.
Story 2: We waited. Fireworks continually go off. All of our dreams are always coming true!
I’ve found myself somewhere in the middle. I’m so glad I waited. I consider it one of the foundations of our marriage that we’ve built such a beautiful life upon. But virginity didn’t vaccinate us against things like heartache, conflict, loneliness, disappointment, anger, and despair.
Because marriage is a relationship between two sinners, it comes with a share of struggles. That’s true for every marriage, regardless of sexual history.
Even so . . .
4. We’ve never, for one second, regretted the wait.
Recently I was sitting around my dining room table with some of my very best friends. We are all in our mid-thirties. We’re all married. Most didn’t wait to have sex until marriage.
As we talked about those mistakes made more than a decade ago, the regret still lingers. The hurt still brings tears. My friends still show remorse about missing God’s mark. The consequences of sexual sin don’t just go away once you’re married. That’s the cloud. Here’s the silver lining.
The rewards of waiting don’t go away either. Purity isn’t some race, quickly forgotten once you cross the wedding finish line. It’s a commitment to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). It’s a decision to honor God with your relationships in every season of life. There are always rewards for obedience (John 14:21), while the pleasures of sin can only ever be fleeting (Heb. 11:24–26).
God’s commandments have proven to be the very best thing for us.
We have never, for a single second, wished we made a different choice. We didn’t need more “experiences” or to “experiment.” God’s commandments have proven to be the very best thing for us. I’ve sat around enough dining room tables and seen enough tears shed to know the opposite is also true. Sin always leads to regret.
Your Seat at the Table
I don’t know if your story is like mine or not. Maybe you’ve waited; maybe not. Maybe you’re tempted to believe that God’s sexual standards are impossible; maybe you haven’t wrestled with them yet. Maybe you’ve felt the stinging tears of regret that come with missing God’s mark. Maybe you look forward with great expectation to your own wedding day, leaning on Jesus to help you keep your way pure. No matter what, you’re welcome at my table anytime. Let’s keep talking about the radical life Jesus calls us to. We’ll open up God’s Word together and encourage each other to choose His best (even if it’s a little awkward).
PS: To continue this conversation, we’ve pulled out a post from our archives, “If You’ve Ever Thought God Is Anti-Sex.” Check it out tomorrow!