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"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Save Yourself

Scripture to reflect upon for Singles Saturday: Hebrews 13:4 (The Message)
Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.

Do you honor marriage, or are you standing in agreement with the world that marriage doesn’t work? I’m going to break this down into two segments: marriage and sex. First let’s look at the institute of marriage.

I hear a lot of people say—and I was guilty of this myself—“Why get married, it never lasts.” I will confess to you three reasons why my three marriages didn’t work:
1. I knew before I got married that they were not right for me.
2. All three times, those relationships had one or more breakups prior to the marriage. A sure sign it was not meant to be!
3. I was more worried about what other people thought if I called the wedding off.

Now let me give you one more reason why the majority of marriages don’t last: most people get into marriage with the idea that they can easily get out of it. Marriage doesn’t work because we tend to go into it with an already defeated attitude. Marriage will never work that way. Ever! If you are anti-marriage, then I suggest you also become anti-dating and become celibate, too.

Not a lot of people, Christians alike, believe or live scripturally when it comes to sex before marriage. It’s very rare that you’ll hear me say this, but for one second, let’s just take God out of the picture. Sex before marriage, even if you believe that there’s nothing “naturally” wrong with it, has many harmful consequences that last a lifetime:
  • As a woman, you could get pregnant even using birth control, and this is where most women need to make a life-altering decision of whether or not to keep the baby. A high percentage of women have abortions every year for the main reason of not being “inconvenienced” in their lifestyle or careers with an unwanted child. And if you know you don’t want a baby at all right now, especially out of wedlock, I suggest you don’t have sex. Period! I could explain the long-term (even lifetime) affects of having an abortion, but that’s a deeper topic than I care to delve into today. For men, they feel trapped, and either leave or try to do the honorable thing by getting married, and most of those marriages won’t work either.
  • More than likely, down the road, if not almost immediately afterwards, you will regret your decision to have been sexual with a particular person.
  • You may contract a sexual disease. Need I say more?
  • If you are using sex as a means to get someone to like you, and they end up leaving you or using you merely for sex, you have done two things: you have debased yourself and your reputation, and you will eventually feel so hurt and betrayed that the baggage will become a burden that you carry throughout future relationships. You will begin to see the opposite sex as merely users, and your trust in others will diminish.
  • Sex is an act of emotion, not purely physical. This is especially true for women. Women were created to be emotional, compassionate, and loving. Even if we try to be “care”less about sex, it will seep into our soul, our spirit, and eventually our heart. We cannot escape sex as an emotional act, which is why it was intended for marriage.
  • Every time you have sex with someone outside of marriage, you are giving a piece of yourself away for free. That means you also lose a part of you. You will eventually become broken, and nobody wants a broken person as a spouse, right!?
  • Men don’t want women who have been around the block, around the town, or around the country! Men may try to push you to have sex with them by using the words, “I love you,” but trust me when I tell you that they hope to marry a woman who has been with no one else before them! They see these women as "good girls," and serious men are looking for good girls. If a man is solely looking for a girl who can “do the splits,” he’s not a serious contender for marriage.

Many of you may be thinking, “This is hogwash. I’m human, and I have needs. I could never save myself for marriage.” Let me remind you that God gave you a spirit of love, power and self-control (2 Peter 1:7). It can be done, and I’m living proof of that.

I lived an incredibly wild lifestyle, and I regretfully admit that it was a lifestyle of promiscuity. It's shameful how many sexual relationships I’ve had. Everything I just stated above is true, and if you’ve been living a sexual life outside of marriage, you know it to be true, too. To say I lived most of that time in my life depressed is an understatement. I can’t tell you how many times I was betrayed, abandoned, or mistreated by those I “gave myself” to. I’ve also suffered awful consequences to my behaviors that will haunt me for the rest of my life. So after my last marriage failed, I made a commitment not only to God, but to myself (to honor me), I decided I would be celibate until I was in a Godly marriage, even if that meant it never happened.

I dated here and there; I even dated a man who was sweet, thoughtful and kind. I was very up front with these men. I made it clear from the beginning that I was not going to have sex at any time during our relationship, because I was saving myself for the man God had for me.

I can’t tell you what a great tool this is to see what kind of person you are dating almost right off the bat! Most men will just leave right away—and that’s great, because then you know exactly what they had in mind for you: nothing good! Other men will try to break you down with words, dinners, sensual kisses, etc. But if you stand firm, again, you’ll know their true motivation for being with you. If they can’t take it because they “have needs,” then they are not worth your time or energy. And that right there will be your first sign that they are not the right one for you!

On the other hand, a good person with sincere motives to be in a lifetime commitment will honor your request to also see if you are right for them. There are other ways to be intimate, and I don’t mean “sex with your clothes on”! Jared and I would just quietly lie next to each other, not facing each other, and just enjoy that peaceful comfort. And actually, it was during that time when God entered our relationship and made His presence known. And that’s when we knew that we were meant for each other. We knew God had connected us for a lifetime.

God moved in my life when I stopped moving. When I made the commitment to myself and to God that I would honor sex in the manner it was designed for, God wasn’t going to let me suffer long years. You don’t have to tell the world, “I have needs,” and act upon them. God knows your needs. He designed you, sexual organs and all. But God also wants to know if you will honor Him, honor His Word, and honor marriage, which means honoring sex, too, and ultimately if you will honor yourself.

ACTION PLAN: There is NOTHING wrong with saving yourself for marriage. In fact, you will be thankful that you do. It will save you so much heartache and trouble. Take the time today to talk to God about what you want and don’t want in a relationship. This will get the process in motion. I can guarantee that the top things you’re looking for doesn’t involve hot, passionate sex. If I know your heart (and I don’t need to, because God does!), you are sincerely looking for someone with great qualities and a good character. Sex is just the bonus prize.

With that being said, pray 2 Peter 1:7 over your life, that God gave you power and self-control! Ask God to help you make this kind of decision that may seem difficult at first, but will be such a blessing in the long run. When you make a commitment of this kind, God knows you’re not messing around. He will take you seriously, especially if you are following the last 4 weeks’ advice and suggestions. God will honor you! 1 Samuel 2:30, the LORD declares: Those who honor me I will honor

GO FURTHER: Separate yourself from the rest of the singles out there who are all too willing to throw themselves away with useless acts of sex. Stand out above the rest of the world by making a commitment to save yourself for marriage! You know who will honestly honor you? The person you’ve been searching for all this time! And I promise that you will feel so much better about yourself; and ultimately, when that right person comes along, you are going to be so happy you saved yourself for them…and so will they!

It’s time to decide what’s more important to you: sex, or finding the right person for you for a lifetime commitment?

FACT: Sex is temporary, but marriage is forever!

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