I am not naïve. Some of you who read my blog are unmarried and you consider yourself to be a Jesus-following, Bible-believing, church-attending Christian, and you are having sex. Some of you are doing so in hiddenness and shame, as I did in my early 20s; some of you are doing so blatantly, proclaiming to yourself and the world that your non-marriage relationship in its current form is a gift from God.
And I know why. Okay, before I get to that, let me say this other thing first.
I’ve been noticing something lately: I think I may have become more judgy.
Well, at least on this one issue: sex before marriage – regardless of your circumstances – if you claim to be a follower of Christ.
And this may surprise you but my new-ish harshness is starting to bug me. You may not believe me when I say this but I kinda wish I couldn’t care less what all of you do behind closed doors. (Except we all sort of belong to each other as followers of Christ and our lives are not our own, yada yada yada.)
I kinda wish I’d get off my soapbox and stop writing about it. And stop recording while-I’m-driving angry-rants about it. And stop upsetting the women I’m trying to shepherd and serve and support. And stop losing Facebook group members who are calling me judgmental.
I kinda rather we all just skip through wildflowers together, just loving Jesus and each other no matter what, not caring what the other is doing, not holding anyone to any kind of standard or taking anyone to task, singing whatever the 21st-century version of Kumbaya is.
I wish I could just live and let live, baby.
And I wish I could just mind my own biscuits so that everything could be gravy.
And all those other AlAnon slogans and country songs and political correctness-icities that have been drilled into my head.
If I had to guess, I think it’s bothering me more lately because it has come so much closer to home than I ever would’ve guessed…with people I thought I knew who are blatantly living one thing out and blatantly saying the opposite. It angers me, it worries me, it sickens me, but it mostly breaks my heart for each one of these people and the people in their lives who are watching their mixed-message lives and trying to make heads or tails out of it all.
But despite all of that, I wish I could just chill. And shut up. I seriously do.
But then I realized that if I were to do that – if I were to talk about divorce and dating and trying to follow Jesus and chasing after wholeness and holiness all the while acting as if grace means we can all do whatever the hell we want to do and life will be la-dee-da and Jesus doesn’t care how we live – then I would be doing a greater disservice to the women I am so desperately trying to shepherd and serve and support.
Because to act as if it’s okay to have sex when not married if you are a follower of Jesus would be wrong. That would be leading you astray. That would be sending you down into the muck and mire, handing out maps straight into the darkness, crossing my fingers that your relationship will somehow flourish and your life would somehow garner blessings. You know, because grace.
But in the economy of God, blessing follows obedience. And obedience means doing what God has so generously, kindly and lovingly laid out for us. And, I believe, spiritual blessing does not fall on all no matter what.
So, I may take my tone down a few notches, because I truly am not trying to hurt anyone (though, I am trying to wake some of you up because I care about you so very much), but I will not be changing my tune just because I’m upsetting some of you.
Because odds are, if it’s bothering you – this stance of mine – it’s probably because you’re being convicted, and nobody likes that.
So to the other thing I want to say. This might be hard to hear, and again, I’m not trying to hurt you, I promise. But here goes.
I refuse to believe that if this is where you find yourself in your life – being a single Christian having sex –
that it’s because you’re in love.
Or that it’s because you enjoy sex.
Or that it’s because you feel committed.
Or that it’s because you think the Bible is irrelevant.
Or that it’s because you truly don’t think it’s wrong.
You may think and feel all these things and you may tell yourself all of those things but these are all simply presenting justifications.
Because I truly believe that if you are a woman and you are a follower of Jesus and you are not married and you are having sex, it’s really because of this:
You are sad and/or
you are lonely and/or
you are broken and/or
you are insecure and/or
you are afraid you’ll lose your boyfriend/fiance if you don’t have sex.
You can be mad at me for saying that, but to my core, I believe that’s what is really driving you. (All of those were what we’re driving me all those years ago, and I’ve talked with enough girls and women to know that these are the core reasons for them as well.)
And if this is the case for you, sweet girl, BE BRAVE AND TAKE AN HONEST LOOK AT YOURSELF AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP.
I want ALL of you whole and on the road to healing and holy. And way more than I do, Jesus wants this for you.
I can almost guarantee that any “Christian” relationship that is tainted by sexual sin is one that is not whole.
The Bible says that being in sin grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and quenches the Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19) in a person who believes in Jesus and claims to follow Him. It also affects our ability to discern what’s best for us as our judgment is greatly clouded when our feelings trump wisdom. At a time when your eyes need to be wide-open to who this other person and what your relationship can weather in the long run, you are all fuzzy (even if it doesn’t feel like you are) and the foundation of your relationship isn’t nearly as strong as it could be (even if it feels like it is).
Sweet girls, please trust me, please trust me, please trust me. (I WAS YOU.)
I promise to be a bit softer; if you promise to really, truly pray this issue through, and to be super honest with yourself and your partner, even if it’s scary, even it means you may end up alone for a time. You will NOT regret it, sweet girls. You will not, you will not, you will not.
And I say all of this because I love you so much,
Girl, let’s talk. Let’s get to the root of what’s really going on.
I am so sorry you decided to turn off comments for this blog post on Facebook. Don’t ever be sorry for hurting feelings or making someone angry about what God’s word says. In 1John 1:6-10, His word says If we say……. Those scriptures hit home for me. Recently divorced I had to search my heart about my attitude toward sex outside of marriage. I struggled, I debated, I cried, I reasoned, made excuses, tried to twist the word, but God’s word convicted my heart. His word may anger some but a true believers heart will be convicted.
Boldly speak the truth. You spoke the truth in love. Thank you. His truth His word is just that- it’s real love.
How I PRAISE GOD for your faithfullness to share the TRUTH!!!
Thank you, Elisabeth. These are not harsh, judgmental words. They are truth. Truth is not bad or good, it’s just truth. I’m thankful that you care enough to call out others who are doing things that hurt God and hurt their walks with Him. And that your reasoning is well-thought out and comes from your own experience, not just finger-pointing.
I am so thankful you posted this, so thankful! I could write a lot but I’m not. I’ll just keep it to thank you!
Completely agree with you….. 110%!!!
And here’s why…. like you, it’s really not about the “having sex” part, per se…. bear with me here….
Cuz it’s the “Why” that is the issue….
What is it about the sex that you need so badly that you can’t wait for it?? Why not get married then?
If your partner won’t wait, that’s a big red flag that they’re not God’s plan for you.
You would think that I wouldn’t have this stance since I waited to have sex when I was married the first time and I wound up marrying a selfish narcissist.
With whom i am currently divorced 5 years now…. but you would think I’d be scared that this will happen again if I remarry and I’d throw the “not having sex till married” thing out the window, but the opposite is true!!
I want to honor God and honestly want His best blessings for my life and if that means waiting again to have sex till I’m married, then so be it…. I have to make my healing a priority and wait on God’s timing to bring a Godly man into my life
I truly believe it’s God’s protection for me.
I too believe that if you are engaging in a sexually active relationship, you have already blinded yourself from so many areas where you may need healing or your partner needs healing and the healing ain’t gonna happen while you’re still in that place.
My favorite part of this article was Elizabeth asking you to examine all the alternative reasons for why you are in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.
This should be a nudge to you that there is an area where you need more healing work.
Could it be you were sexually abused as a child, do you have strong codependency issues, do you have sex/love addiction tendencies???
Is your new sexual relationship covering a painful experience you don’t want to examine or look at??
These are all very important areas to seek more healing, get counseling, find a therapist, read books on your area of dysfunctio, look deeply into your core needs……
Is doing the work a lot harder?? Of course!
Is it more painful? It can be, Yes!
Is it more fun than having sex?? No!!
But oh the reward in the long run will be so worth it if you do the work to heal instead of using sex as your band-aid to your pain!
Please, please, please believe that God always wants what’s best for you and he puts up restrictions for your protection because He loves you more than what the satisfaction from a sexual relationship can give you….
Thank-you Elizabeth for another great post!
Thank you for writing this..so hard to hear – but so worth following God!
Beth, Thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom. Deb <3
I don’t disagree with you- sex confuses things especially for women. Can you share the scripture you are referring to?
Hope you’re doing well!
Which Scripture are you referring to that you’d like the reference(s) to?
I truly believe this was the beginning of my and stbx’s problems. He pushed the issues of sex in our dating relationship and because “we were getting engaged” and “we love each other”… I gave in and we started having sex. It caused a bond between us (mostly on my part) that brought about a feeling of “I need him” “I can’t get enough of him”, “I would die without him”. All appropriate feelings WITHIN THE MARRIAGE relationship. It’s the way God intended. So that a man and woman would “leave and cleave”
We never went back and truly confessed to God with a repentant heart asking for forgiveness for this. So, when I found him looking at porn within 6 months into our marriage, I felt like it was “Gods judgement” on us, on me.
I KNEW our premarital sex was wrong. I was convicted of it many times, but I ignored the conviction. I know God told me before we got married, “this is not right. Do not marry him” but my judgement was clouded because of this sin in my life.
I know now, that further in to our marriage, when things really started getting bad, that I allowed this to be my “out”. “God didn’t want us to marry anyway” I allowed myself to shut down, to retreat. I know that his disconnected, narcissistic sex addicted self was the “main” reason for our separating, but I also know that I was emotionally disconnected for years before I decided to leave, and I feel deep in my heart, it started with our premarital sex. Sad but true.
Ok this is coming from a guy that has been through the same things you talked about.
I have justified it
Just like you said. Here is what I have learned.
Sex is the only gift you can give your future husband/wife. You are the only one that can do that.
When we look at it as not the source of love but something that enhances the intamcy of a good relationship already. When done inside the bounds of marriage. It’s beyond just physical and yes even for the man it can be that way. is it worth waiting for You bet it is… Is it easy LOL NO!!! But I know when I get to be with my future wife I will be able to give her a gift no one else could.