Sex and God :: by Lea Sylvester

While there are ever-growing and important topics for a Christian writer to address, the topic of this writer’s commentary here is one not often addressed many places, much less here. But it is very relevant. Therefore, this is written from a personal standpoint, a testimony if you will. There are others who must have walked through this or who are walking through it and therefore this is written with the heartfelt prayer that this will be an encouragement to them.

Christians are to serve God. We are to avoid even the appearance of evil. This means all of the time, in all things. What is evil? That which is not of God is evil. End of topic on evil. No debate.

It is likely that frequent writers here are blessed to get feedback from readers. That has been my experience and it has been a blessing and encouragement at times when it was much-needed.  Hopefully, those who read my commentaries understand the deep and abiding love I have for my brethren and therefore my willingness to address this topic on such a personal level.

After 28 years of marrige, three wonderful children; at a time when one is typically looking forward to the “next stage” of life, I was faced with divorce. To say this was traumatic is an understatement. It was ugly and it was destructive. It tore my family apart.  Adultery was the reason and though I was not at fault, I literally lost everything and found myself in a very unfamiliar and uncomfortable place in life. The one thing I could always count on was always there, my Heavenly Father. Through this experience, my walk has been strengthened, my prayer life has grown so very much and though the sadness will probably fade eventually, the feeling of loss probably may not. But God is faithful and this isn’t said here as a cliché’.  If only there were room here to convey the wonderful things He has done throughout this experience!  His promises are true, He is faithful and He loves me. He loves you.

My thoughts go back to a favorite passage of scripture:

“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are on the face of the earth.” Deut 7:6

Because we are His childen, we are grafted into the Vine, which is Yeshua, and these promises are for us as we are no longer considered “goyim” or “gentiles” but are become part of spiritual Israel. What a comfort! And, at a time when I felt anything but special, I have been and am reminded that the Creator of all there is loves and cares for me.

And, there is much more, “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” Deut 7:9. That, my friends, is shouting material.

To Him who purchased me out of bondage to sin, I will serve forever. I will serve Him gladly and will do so with a joyous heart.  But, the world is a scary and foreign place, especially for a woman accustomed to home, family, and having someone to care for. And so, like others who have gone through this, I learned what a truly hard, dark and sordid world this is.

As I began to date, and being a very opinionated and radical Christian, I was picky about what kind of person I would date to begin with.  There have been pastors, missionaries and professing Christians. I would never even consider dating a non-believer. I learned through this experience that though these had professed to love God, they were more than willing to set their Father’s words at how to behave in all things aside when it comes to dating, intimacy and sex. It was an “aha” moment for me that was shocking.

I will be honest and say that I have felt like a stranger in a strange land and truly that I do not belong here for I see things in black and white. There are no gray areas and especially when it comes to God’s Word. God has never changed His mind on anything and I don’t care what so-and-so preacher might say this is okay or that that is okay, if God says otherwise then I don’t care what anyone else says.

You might be surprised at the reasons and excuses I’ve heard from others as to why it is okay to view things otherwise. Scripture is twisted and taken out of context just as it is for other reasons. We are never given a reason to question God’s Word. He doesn’t give us that job. He said it, that is the way it is.

It might interest readers to know that a recent study done by a popular Christian dating website where Christian singles between the ages of 18 to 59 were asked, “Would you have sex before marriage?” The response? Sixty-three percent of the single Christian respondents indicated yes. 63%!

While Christian singles report praying and church attendance are highly desirable qualities in the dating matrix, a troubling and confusing dichotomy arises when the issue of sex outside of marriage presents itself. Specifically, single Christians enter a sexual fog. That fog clouds and hides the reality that an identity rooted in Christ should manifest itself in intelligent and hope-filled sexual restraint based on God’s promises and instead replaces it with fear and pride-filled choices based on some other promise they believe more. That would be their carnal desires, not any promise from God Almighty.

The sex, love and dating landscape continues to move in a progressively liberal direction among Christians without any solid indicators that it will change anytime soon. Both sexes today, across all ages and Christian demographics, are prone to compartmentalize their faith away from their sexual life.This is deeply troubling and especially when one comes face-to-face with it on a personal level.

As Christians, we are faced daily with choices. But, our faith and belief in God should always give us the moral compass that points to the correct choices to make on any subject and this includes the subject addressed here. But, choosing the holy way over the worldly way can put a person in a very lonely place. I am here to tell those who share this experience that you are not alone. First of all, God is always with you. And, this sister stands with you. People are watching to see how we handle ourselves in every situation. Now, more than ever, we must remember who we are! We might feel alone, forgotten, or even discarded but be assured, that is just not true.

These professing Christians who discard God’s direction when it comes to sex outside of marriage could then actually be called sexual atheists. In other words, God has nothing to say to them on that subject of any consequence or, at least, anything meaningful enough to dissuade them from following their own course of conduct. It is the ultimate oxymoron. A person who at once believes in a wise, sovereign and loving God who created them and all things, can also believe simultaneously He should not, cannot or will not inform their thinking or living sexually. It reminds me of those famous red letters in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus says, “And why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46. There is disconnect between identity and activity. My, the enemy is busy!

Jesus Himself said it would happen this way. The apostle Paul forewarned the very single, very godly Timothy that there would be times in his ministry when clear and sound doctrine in Scripture would be defeated by broken culture teaming up with the ever-present and self-serving nature within every Christian. He accurately forecasted a self-styled Christianity that reflected culture over the character of Christ in personal moral spaces and practice.

And nothing, from any frame of reference, is more personal and more moral than our choices regarding sexual expression. It’s where the spiritual rubber really hits the road. But interestingly, Paul’s counsel to Timothy for that time when he saw these trends manifesting on a grand scale was this: “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” 2 Tim. 4:5. Again, we are called to serve and another word for serve is minister. We all have a calling from God and how can making compromises help our testimony? It cannot. But, it will surely can tear it down! It can discredit us and our walk with God – we must guard against this.

As God’s men and women, as fathers and mothers, as pastors and lay ministers and as loving brothers and sisters, we too must keep our heads clear. We must do our work in the midst of this attack on the body of Christ and fulfill our ministries in the midst of this spiritual battle. We must faithfully and directly speak into the relevant spiritual and practical themes that are at the root of the issue.  We must graciously but prophetically call out the shortsightedness of Christians who are borrowing trouble sexually and sinning against God and others in the process through our messaging and ministries.

We must confront ourselves and our brothers and sisters with the veracity, authority and loving transparency of Scripture, which reflects God’s love and wisdom in life-saving and marriage-saving ways. That is, we must point out the truth that if I am undisciplined sexually before or after marriage and willing to compromise my convictions before or after marriage, a wedding ring will not make me disciplined.

It is apparent that the love, sex and dating forecast among adult single believers for the foreseeable future is this: cloudy with a chance of fear and pride. Instead of believing that God knows better, Christian adults will believe they know how to meet their needs better or, on the more arrogant end, that they know better when it comes to sex and dating, period. Since when do we ever know more than God? Since when are we more qualified to speak to situations than is God?

Oh, I can hear the whispers of the enemy now….and we must quickly rebuke those because we know those thoughts are not from God.

To say that professing or self-described Christians are becoming more liberal means that their reference point for assessing and practicing sexuality is more cultural and personal rather than biblical or spiritual. It means that they possess a low view of God and Scripture and a high view of self and culture as the key drivers of their moral and sexual behavior.

This behavior among Christians says God can speak into some things but not sex. This ultimate expression of self-deception and loss of mind goes all the way back to the garden, when a certain character asked Adam and Eve: “Did God really say that?” They took the bait and, apparently, so are the majority of single Christians in the garden of love, sex and dating. They are listening to the voice that says, “Eat and have your eyes opened.” Like the first couple, God’s single men and women are letting fear win over faith and curiosity win over Christ with inevitable and untold prices to pay.

There are certain physical boundaries that are clearly biblical. These are not a matter of personal meaning or choice. It is inappropriate to have sex, in any form, prior to marriage. Sex is a gift from God that is meant for a married couple to enjoy (Proverbs 5:19; Song of Solomon; 1 Corinthians 7:1-4; Hebrews 13:4). Ephesians 5:3 says, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”

Anything in a premarital relationship that hints of sexual immorality is unacceptable.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” I Thess 4:3-7 (See also Colossians 3:5 and Galatians 5:19-24).

While this passage primarily applies to physical boundaries, it can also cover other areas of intimacy. In essence, Paul is saying that we need to learn to control ourselves. We are not to take advantage of others – whether it’s taking physical liberties or pressing for another type of intimacy. We are told not to wrong each other in matters of intimacy. Dating couples do not have the commitment that married couples do. They have not yet been made one (Mark 10:8) and are no more attached to one another than friends. Dating couples should honor one another by respecting boundaries. Though dating couples are deepening their relationships and learning whether they are compatible for marriage, they should not act as though they are married. Certain gifts are reserved for marriage only.

To those who read this and can relate, be assured that you are honoring God. If you have been there and failed do not beat yourself up; let the self-condemnation go. Repent and go on and do not commit this sin again. Remember that we hide nothing from God, He is the Revealer of Secrets and it is He only that knows the heart of man.

It can be a lonely place, to stand alone. But this sister is standing with you.

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