Do you know how much more attractive women who love Jesus are to Christian men? Unfortunately, there are so few of these types of young women anymore because of the high cost of following Him. As believers in Jesus Christ, we live in a way pleasing to Him because He is a gracious, merciful, and kind God. His grace changes us, and our lives reflect His glory. That’s how this article should have started. Instead, it began like this:

“Do you know how much more attractive debt-free virgins (without tattoos) are to young men? Unfortunately, there are so few of these types of young women anymore because of the high costs of college (debt) and sexual promiscuity even within those in the church. As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to live in a way that is pleasing to Him because His ways are the best. He calls debt a burden and urges us to live lives of sexual purity.”

“Men Prefer Debt Free Virgins (Without Tattoos)” surfaced a few days ago and since it’s already taking over the internet, I thought it timely to share my experience as a case study in debt-free virginhood. Before I met and married my husband, I was a debt-free virgin (without tattoos, which seems to be an important point, though I have yet to see its connection). Not only that, I met other criteria the article would applaud:

  • I was homeschooled.
  • I lived with my parents until l moved out of state at 21.
  • I knew how to cook.
  • I knew my bible thoroughly and even majored in religion, so I knew more than the average woman.
  • I attained my bachelor’s degree without incurring debt.

As the apostle Paul might say, “If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more.” (Phil. 3:4) You’d think, since I’m the poster-girl for this article, I’d stand by and applaud it. But I don’t, and I never will.

I am writing this because I am grieved. I am grieved for every unbelieving woman who reads that article and thinks Jesus Christ is in the business of tattoo-removal and debt-consolidation before you can approach Him. I am grieved for every unbelieving man who thinks Christianity teaches that women are subservient, second-class, and less-than. I am grieved for every Christian woman who reads that article and believes herself incapable of attracting a godly man. I am grieved for every Christian man who sees it and – as my husband said – is insulted at the assumptions made about his gender.

I am not the only one who is grieved. God is.

Dear friends, this is not Christianity. What you read there is not Christ, not His mission, not His heart for men and women. He made His heart clear from Genesis to Revelation, from granting women property rights (Num. 27) and protecting their vulnerable sexuality (Lev. 18) to raising them up in the marketplace (Prov. 31) and the church (Rom. 16, Acts 18). He created man and woman equal, not just in essence, but in divine inheritance. We are equal partners in the Great Commission and as such there is no additional requirement for gospel obedience than a heart surrendered to Christ.

I was debt free, a virgin, tattoo-less. But my husband didn’t marry me because of any of these things. He married me because He loves Jesus, and I do too. And when you commit to follow Jesus and listen to His Spirit for the rest of your life? You have everything you need for a successful marriage… a marriage which preaches the gospel so everyone can see.

God is grieved by these additions to the simplicity of faith. It is a distraction from what really matters.

But the article didn’t say much about Christ. In the name of Christianity, however, it articulated rules which are found nowhere in Scripture. I’ve heard all these arguments before: “If you go to college, you’ll prioritize your career over your kids.” “You’ll never know how to manage a home.” “You’ll bring debt to a marriage.” “Men are intimidated by educated women.” The truth? Scripture says none of these things, and Christians have no right to act as if it does. Here’s the real truth:

  • When you follow Christ, you’ll prioritize what He prioritizes, whether you go to college or not.
  • When you listen for the Spirit’s leading, you’ll honor your family even if or when you’re working.
  • When you’re pursuing God for your marriage, you and your husband will manage your home as a team.
  • When you’re listening for God’s leading in your finances, you’ll have wisdom for getting out of and staying out of debt.
  • God is big enough to bring a man into your life who isn’t intimidated by your mind, your heart, or your education. My husband wasn’t.

This is what it means to “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 6).

There’s another piece to this conversation, though.  Why must only women be debt-free, virgins, without tattoos? Does this apply to men as well? If it did, my husband would be disqualified. My dear, faithful, servant-hearted husband, who came to me with $30,000 in debt, not a virgin, with a cross tattooed on his arm. 

Should I have turned him away? Should I not have seen his love for the Lord, his desire to grow in grace and knowledge of our Savior? Should I have ignored the fruit He was bearing because he was in progress?

In marrying a man whose heart was bent to God’s will – even though his past wasn’t perfect – we grew stronger as a couple. We paid off our debt in 15 months. God redeemed my husband’s broken sexuality (and mine). And on our second anniversary, I got a tattoo, too: Sola Deo Gloria. To God Alone Be the Glory.

When Christians concentrate on the exterior – on things which can be redeemed, restored, and overcome – they present a version of Christianity that is both HOPELESS and POWERLESS. This article will cause a stir. But it will draw no one to Jesus. If anything, it will depict Him as the unapproachable God so many already assume Him to be. I’m here to tell you: You can be a debt-free virgin without tattoos and far from the heart of Christ. Your appearance and bank account and sexual history do not earn you favor in God’s eyes. By grace alone we are saved, and that is GOOD NEWS for the debt-free virgin and the tattooed college graduate alike. Because with Jesus, there is always hope. There is always redemption. There is purity unearned, unmerited, yet freely given.

This is the scandal of grace: We come empty and inadequate, but He doesn’t leave us there.

God is holy, and when you truly follow Him, you’ll desire holiness and freedom, too. But you don’t have to clean yourself up before you get there. God does that for you.

If you’re here because of that article, I’m grateful. I’m grateful you read this far. I hope you see that Christianity is not about what is imprinted on your skin but what is imprinted on your heart. We love because Christ has loved us. Some people get distracted along the way, focusing on behavior instead of the source of behavior. But Christ has never called us to clean ourselves up to deserve Him, but to come empty handed and be changed.

Do you know how much more attractive women (and men) who love Jesus are to Christian men (and women)? Unfortunately, there are so few of these types of people anymore, because of the high cost of following Him. As believers in Jesus Christ, we live in a way pleasing to Him because He is a gracious, merciful, and kind God. His grace changes us, and our lives reflect His glory.

We are drawn to those who share our love for the Lord. As we grow in faith, we grow alongside one another; not perfect, but growing in grace. It is a beautiful journey.

Are Josh and I grateful to be debt free? Yes! Did it take work to redeem our sexuality? Absolutely!

But what is tattooed on our bodies is now tattooed on our souls:

Be Strong and Courageous.

To God Be the Glory.

 

Read more: Virginity is Not God’s Goal

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