God has put a heavy topic on my heart today. Sexual integrity. The calling of God to reserve all sexual activity for marriage and flee sexual immorality. It’s not a comfortable one to address.
I’m sharing out of obedience, asking Him to guide my words as I type. I feel rather unfit to share. Others are so much wiser than I; I’m young and inexperienced. And yet, I am called to be faithful with the platform I have been given, and this is a topic He has called me to engage with.
I have worked at a pregnancy center for over 7 years. I have seen, close-up, the devastating consequences of sexual sin. The women hurt by the men who should have honored them, and instead were used by them. The men hurt by the woman who should have honored them, and instead were taken down by them. The abusers and the temptresses. The STD’s and subsequent shame and sometimes lifelong consequences.
And it doesn’t just hurt those who participate in it. There’s the awfulness of abortion that destroys more than one life. The men begging the mother of their child to please choose life, and having no legal say. The men trying to force the mother of their child to sacrifice their baby on the altar of convenience. The children born into brokenness. The absent fathers – and absent mothers. The 35 year old grandmas.
It’s not a one-time thing, and there is no quick fix. There’s the teens playing with fire, now facing lifelong consequences. The marriages that never happened because of broken trust early in the relationship. The divorces caused by unfaithfulness – and the babies aborted to cover it up. The addiction of porn that creates bondages not easily broken. The guilt that haunts even those who believe the lie of “if it feels good, do it, and don’t let anyone judge you”. The hopelessness and fear that come with all of it.
It’s not better in the church. 4 in 10 abortions were by women who were attending church at the time of their abortion. Over the last couple years, I have begun to intentionally engage the topic in youth groups. Our center is working now on ways to intentionally engage the topic with parents of teens.
For too long, the church has stayed silent or said “just don’t do it”, and it’s left broken people (which is all of us, really) to struggle alone. Parents feel helpless against the inundation of sexual perversion that seems unavoidable, and the allure of the sin that draws their children away.
It has got to stop. But it’s not a new problem. We would do well to heed the words of Scripture.
Allow me to invite you to look at Ephesians 5, verses 1-17.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us, and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Who defines love for you? The world? Or Christ?
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”
I look at the church. How often is sexual immorality not just named among us, but excused and treated as “no big deal”? When did living together before marriage cease to be a grievous sin?
“Le there be no filthiness or foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
It’s not just the actions. It’s words. Attitudes.
“For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
To get the full impact of this statement, go read about the inheritance in Ephesians 1.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
Deception is so, so easy. But it doesn’t make the consequences less devastating.
“Therefore do not be partners with them, for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”
It should not surprise us that the world lives in darkness. But in the church, are we walking in darkness or light?
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Are we exposing darkness? Or taking part in it?
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
And what is the will of the Lord?
“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 the 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. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
If you skimmed that last verse, please go back and read it again. Slowly. Let the full impact of God’s word hit you.
I’m not sharing this because I’m any less susceptible to sin than you are, or because I’ve done it all right. I’m terrifyingly aware of my own capacity for sin.
Just today, I was telling a friend how frightening it is that I have been given a platform for this. It truly scares me, to think of the impact my choices have on my siblings, my pregnancy center, my church, the youth I mentor, the students I have talked to in youth groups and schools, even here on my blog, particularly because of all I have said on the topic.
She told me that it was good that I was frightened, and that she hoped I would never lose that. Ouch. But she’s right. We would all do well to keep the somber warnings of Scripture in front of us, and remember that the impact of our sin, hidden though it may feel, has the capacity to hurt many.
It is true, that to whom much has been given, much will be required. I have been given much. The platform I have been given is a privilege, even as it is scary. But I’d rather feel the pressure, for still it is true that “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”.
I’m praying that God would continue to give me opportunities to be vulnerable in this area, and that He would keep my relationships public, as uncomfortable as it is. I want, and need, the accountability. I am praying that when He gifts me with marriage, that I will rightly mirror Christ and the church and tell His story with it.
Oh, friends. The calling of Christ is a high one. Sexual integrity matters. What you do with your sexuality can either bring great honor and glory to God and tell a beautiful story, or it can ruin the picture He is wanting to show the world through marriage.
I am reminded of His words in 1 Corinthians 6:15-16.
“Do you not know the your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes on body with her or, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh’”.
Sex is about becoming one. It is a gift within the covenant of marriage, where God has made two people one, a consummation and renewal of covenant, but how very contrary to His picture it is to become one with anyone outside of covenant.
Please, take heed of His words:
“Flee from sexual immorality . . . You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6: 18-20
Do what it takes. We are none of us above this. I don’t care if you’re 13 or 33, married or single. You don’t outgrow the need to flee it. Flee. Run. Run to Jesus. Don’t just put off sin, but put on Christ. Don’t just set boundaries, but pray to have a heart that loves holiness and longs to please God more than it loves sin and to please itself. Set before you the consequences of sin, and the opportunity to glorify God and the accompanying rewards.
Maybe you have a past. Maybe you’re sinning now. Turn. Repent. The wonder of the lavish grace of God is that it is so ill-deserved.
Yes, “such were some of you (speaking of unrighteous, sexually immoral people). But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11
So now, live that way. Live as a person who has been purchased by the blood of Christ. Pursue holiness, even as He is holy. Let the price that has been paid for your sin move you to thankfulness, and a firm vow to walk worthy of the calling you have been given.
Friends, I entreat you. In the words of Ephesians 6:10-13:
“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm”.
May it be said of us that we stood firm, and glorified God.