This post isn't the ranting and raving of a puritanical prude who just wants to throw stones at an easy target to energize his conservative base. It represents my heartfelt cry to those Christ-followers who think pre-marital sexual intimacy constitutes pleasure without penalty. If that's you ... you're horribley wrong.
Here are 5 reasons Christ-followers should intentionally and joyfully abstain from pre-marital intimacy:
1. You know its wrong: Down deep you know God intends sexual intimacy to be enjoyed within the bounds of marriage. The Bible is clear: fornication (pre-marital sex) and adultery ( extra-marital sex) constitute rebellion against God's wonderful plan for marriage.
2. You can't undo it: Sexual intimacy is a flower that is to be picked together, with your spouse. And when you find the one God intends to complete you, you'll wish like anything that you'd saved yourself for him or her.
3. You can't argue against what pre-marital sexual intimacy says about you: Once you engage in sex before marriage it will forever haunt you that you've just told the world you will sleep with someone you're not married to. You will have given your spouse, once found, a clear reason to be suspicious of your ability to restrain your sexual appetite.
4. If you are a woman, you'll spend enormous energy trying to convince your husband, once you find him, that all your other sexual partners now mean nothing to you: Ladies, hear it from a man. We hate the idea that you've been with someone else sexually. No matter how "modern" we may seem, or how much we argue otherwise, it haunts us. Those pictures in our minds are not easy to erase. Neither are the suspicions that the pleasure you found with other men still resides in your memory, and there is nothing we can do about it.
5. If you are a man, you'll spend enormous energy trying to regain a position of spiritual leadership: If you are a Christ-follower, and intend to be the spiritual leader of your home, you are shooting yourself in the foot if, before marriage, you engage in sexual intimacy. You will have demonstrated great weakness in the face of sexual temptation. And how will your wife respect your determination to lead in the paths of righteousness when you've proven that you can't be trusted to guard your relationship against selfish rebellion for the purpose of sexual pleasure? What kind of leader leads his own partner into an ambush? If you want to lead after marriage, lead now!
By now you might be wondering about my personal history. Here's the deal: both Cherylyn and I were virgins on our wedding night. We both were committed to being faithful to our spouses, even before we knew who they were, and nothing can take that away from us. As a result, we were also able to tell our kids that following God's rules really works. And now I'm telling you: stay morally pure.
Lastly, a word to those of you for whom this warning comes too late. You've already engaged in pre-marital sexual intimacy, and maybe it's an ongoing practice. I hope my thoughts cause you to do some conversing with yourself, and with your God. It's never too late to obey the Lord.
Pre-marital sex isn't the unpardonable sin. But neither is it without consequence. Your sins are forgiven in Christ, and you'll never be more forgiven than you already are in Him. But you will bear the emotional and relational scars of your sin for a long time, and in some cases, for your lifetime.
My advice: Stop sinning!
Start growing a repentant heart toward your sin and your God. Understand that he knows what is best for you, and obeying him is always your very best option.
Stop putting yourself in situations where sexual activity will be the obvious outcome. Stop identifying yourself as a sexual being rather than a follower of Jesus Christ. Stop defining relationships on a sexual basis, and stop thinking beauty has to do with availability.
Start asking the Lord to change your heart, and fill your mind with real beauty. Pray earnestly for God's strength and protection. Develop a passionate desire to regain a sense of physical and emotional virginity, and grow a deep and godly love for your spouse - even before you know his or her name!
Understand that faithfulness to your spouse now will provide enormous benefits after you say "I do." Do it for yourself. Do it for your spouse. Do it for your kids.
But most of all, do it for the Lord Jesus who loves you, and has called you to be a reflection of his glory, love, truth, and purity.