Sometimes I wish there were a Christian Cosmopolitan magazine. I know – it’s an oxymoron. But bear with me.
A magazine for Christian young women that didn’t just talk about being your best at work, how to wake up in the morning, modesty and fashion – but also about birth control options for marriage (especially other than the pill). Articles about what sex looks like in marriage. Letters from real Christian wives. Articles about the questions young women are asking that the church and family refuse to answer in a Christian context.
While plenty of books have been written, I know there are many young women who have questions they didn’t dare ask, and those questions were eventually answered by an eager world of Cosmo, Self, and Elle. The girls find their answers – but from the wrong people, and in the wrong places, with the wrong worldview.
Thus we find girls who started out with every tool necessary to build a future bright with hope and blessing, and watch them throw it away to prove nothing to nobody. We see little daughters grow up into young women, their innocent eyes now lined with anger because they believe the purity ring prevented them from experiencing real life. But as they go about experiencing, experimenting, and finding themselves, they lose something far more precious.
In the grocery store check out line we’re told that sexual freedom is being in control of your own body and giving it to whoever you please, whenever you please, and in as many small pieces as you choose to meter out at a time. But Cosmo only tells girls about the night before, not the morning after.
What is Sexual Freedom?
I am a free woman. I can choose to go to have a job, to cook, to go shopping; I can choose to get married, to have children, and to own a house.
I can also choose to cheat my boss, leave my husband, shoplift, abuse my children, or default on my bills. I have the free will to do those things – but my freedom does not make any of those things the right or best thing to do for myself and others, not am I exempt from the consequences of my behavior.
Sexual freedom is not doing what you want with your body, when you want to do it, with whoever you please to do it with. As Christian women, we do have access to sexual freedom – but not how the world defines it.
Giving away our feminine, beautiful bodies to multiple men – or evefn one man, if not yet our husband – is not God’s plan. Having sex outside of marriage, philandering around the limits of sexual purity and justifying our actions in the light of ‘modern Christianity’ are not God’s plan. And there is no way to justify any of these in light of God’s word. See below.
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:18)
“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…” (1 Thess. 4:3-5)
“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.” (Eph. 5:5)
That’s some heavy stuff. For those of you who already live with guilt from past sexual sin, these verses might pain your heart. But don’t despair – there is always hope, and we’ll get around to it in a minute.
I love the verse in 1 Thessalonians: “For THIS is the will of God, your sanctification…” How much clearer can it be? God’s will is for us to be pure, holy, undefiled, and spotless; abstaining from any kind of sexual immorality. That means avoiding it at all costs, in every way, and in every little concession we make.
How Does God Define Sexual Freedom?
Freedom, in our culture, means doing whatever your ‘heart’ feels is the right thing to do. The ‘follow your heart’ message we hear in Disney movies might seem like a quaint phrase at first glance, but it is far more damaging than it seems. Our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9), full of emotions dependent upon our circumstances, not the lasting wisdom of an eternal God. Therefore, our hearts are not a good guide when it comes to utilizing our freedom.
God defines freedom as liberty with parameters (Gal. 5:13). Our culture abhors parameters. This generation screams “Don’t tell me what to do!” but guess what: God tells us what to do. He gets to. He is God. No amount of objection will alter that! Because God created sex not only does he know the best way for it to be used, but He also gets to call the shots on it because He created it.
Because God knows sex better than anyone else, He has designed the parameters for sexual enjoyment: marriage. By creating this standard, God protected the emotions of women, the confidence of men, the security of children, and the sanctity of the marriage bond. When we try to take bits and pieces of this sexual relationship outside of marriage, we find brokenhearted, guilty girls, addicted, lust-filled men, children born out of wedlock, and marriages begun with baggage.
And it does come in bits and pieces. The devil is smart enough to know Christian girls aren’t going to jump from their parents’ house into the bed of a stranger – but they might ‘make out’ with a guy from church with a little persuasion. From there, Satan manipulates our insecurities and desires to give more and more until a cycle of guilt, insecurity, and failure spirals into spiritual destruction.
Our souls and our bodies are vitally connected. How your soul is surrendered will influence how your body is used. If your soul is laid each day on the altar of Self you will do what pleases Self at every opportunity; but when your soul is surrendered to its Creator, you will do what pleases and honors Him. The fantastic thing about our Creator is that everything He does is for ultimately our benefit. When we try to mix and match our will with His, we end up with a confused, wobbling path of life littered with mistakes. But with Christ: live purely. Without Christ: shades of gray.
To the Titus 2 Older Women:
I have many readers who are much older than me, so if you are a lady pouring into the lives of other young women like myself, this is for you.
If you are a mother, as you prayerfully consider how to approach these topics with your daughters, don’t be afraid to be open and honest with them. If you do not answer their questions, the world is ready to do so. At 12 years old, I found a coverless book on a garage sale. Not knowing what it was, I picked it up and opened it in the middle. It was a romance novel, and I opened it to a graphic sex scene. I had no idea what I was reading, but soon my curiosity was piqued and I began to hunt around the corner for more books with such ‘stories’ to see if I could piece together a more solid interpretation. Twelve years later, I could tell you exactly what I read in that book.
Satan wants your daughters to get the wrong answers so they think the wrong way about sex. He wants them to hear from the wrong people so they will be manipulated into insecurity and give more of themselves away. He wants you hurt and God grieved. Don’t think a purity ring, good friends, and dating books are enough, because they aren’t. Is her heart trusting God? Does she believe He will ultimately satisfy her? Are her questions, hesitations, and wonderments about sex answered by you in the safe place of a godly home?
If you are a youth leader or counselor, working with young women who are definitely not receiving a good education about sex at home (or school), get to their hearts. Address this at the root. Acknowledge the desire to be desired, and teach them to embrace that desire – and steer it toward God. We can’t tell girls to stuff these feelings down, because they will resurface ten times stronger. We must allow them to feel and speak, opening their hearts with honesty so we can address these issues from a biblical standpoint.
Freedom is not anarchy. It is liberty with parameters. What the world calls sexual freedom is one of the devil’s best lies, because it is not freedom at all. Women who freely ‘mess around’ with men are enslaved to a fleeting feeling, a passing emotion – they are enslaved to their own bodies, which have a time limit of beauty. They are enslaved to the men they sleep with, because they are completely dependent on those men to even ACT on ‘sexual freedom’. And they are spiritually enslaved to Satan’s schemes which will twist, hurt, and pain their hearts if they continue down the path they walk.
But sexual freedom for the Christian means restraining desires until marriage, where everything that was once forbidden is now available, and every desire has no limitation. Within marriage, a woman’s heart is safe with a husband who has committed never to leave her. Within marriage, a man’s confidence is safe with a woman who loves him for ALL he is – not just what he can offer for one night. Within marriage, the children born of this sexual union will be born of love and God’s blessing. Waiting is worth it.
What if I Already Went Too Far?
There are plenty of girls reading this series who have already compromised on some or all of their standards. For them, these first few posts are hard to read, as they remind them of where they have failed. Don’t leave yet – the next two posts are specifically for you!
When Christian girls ‘cross a line’, they can respond one of two ways: rebelliously, or righteously. A girl who truly desires to please God will be heartbroken over her sin. She will run back to God and repent of what she has done. She is very convicted by lust and acknowledges it as a spiritual stronghold; in other words, she is receptive to change, even if she struggles to attain it.
A girl who claims to be a Christian but remains content to live in sexual sin – whether sleeping with her boyfriend, or any array of foreplay activities – is living contrary to the spirit of God. If she feels no conviction, is not repentant, and sees no reason to change, she is in direct rebellion to what God has outlined in His word. If she claims the title ‘Christian’, but does not believe God’s word has the authority to alter her life, she is not living according to her calling and may not even be saved. 1 John 1:9-11 says:
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.”
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 is even more forceful in its language:
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.”
If you are a Christian girl who has failed God sexually, but you are seeking answers, you would not fall in the second category. By seeking answers and seeking God, you reveal a heart that is convicted by sin and softened toward His will. It is not too late for you – and stay tuned for the next two posts to see why.
We can try to mince words and tiptoe around the issues, but if we are serious about confronting lust and protecting ourselves to the honor of God and our own future enjoyment within marriage, we’ll take God’s mandates to heart. That might mean doing hard things – things your friends aren’t doing. It might mean saving your kiss for marriage not because Josh Harris said so but because FOR YOU it is the best, most God-honoring decision. It will mean leaving dates earlier and dressing more conservatively. It will mean being different from the Christian young women around you. But God will always approve a sincere heart making every effort for holiness.
God’s idea of sexual freedom, my friends, is the best idea. It is the idea designed for your benefit. If you’re single, I’ve been where you are – and now I’m married. God’s promise is true. God’s words are faithful. Trust Him as you wait!
In this Series
Stigma Sin: Lust and the Christian Woman
The Purity Ring is Not the Problem