This week in Chapter 8 we are going go thought the 4 steps needed for commitment to God and his plan for lasting relationships. But first I just want to touch on a discussion that Chip had with a group of Christian men who challenged him to give them one good reason to not have sex before marriage that didn’t come from the Bible. Chip gave them 5.
- Couples who abstain from sex before marriage have reported the highest sexual satisfaction in marriage.
- Couple who live together before marriage have a 50% higher possibility for divorce than those who don’t.
- Couples who abstain from sex before marriage have the highest rates of marital fidelity.
- Couples who start having sex in a relationship commonly break up soon after.
- Sexually transmitted diseases can spread without the person knowing they have one as STD’s can remain unnoticeable/dormant for up to 10 years.
Clearly, purity and abstaining from sex before marriage yields amazing, lasting results, but how do we do it? How do we not just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well? First you need to know that loving relationships demand two things of us. Sexual purity; where we walk in Agape love, and we walk in the light of God. Secondly, we have to make a game plan. This where is don’t just talk but we make action to separate us from the world.
Step one to this is to make a commitment. “Purity requires a personal commitment to the truth.” I can tell you from person experience that saying to God “I choose to be pure and to live and walk with the Love you’ve shown me though Christ.” Has actually made it easier to separate myself from the world. That doesn’t mean that there will be no temptation once you make a commitment, but once you make this decision it is easier to stand apart from the world’s temptations. Next, we need to meditate and reflect on the consequences of sexual sin. If hind sight is 20/20 then it is time for us to have perfect vision by studying the failures of those who came before us. Thirdly, we know that the closer we try to be with God the harder Satan will work to pull us away. So it is important that we decide who we are going to react in the face of these temptations.(Timothy 2:22) Lastly, something all Christians need ;Accountability. We have talked about the importance of community and brotherly love. This is a great example why. Having a brother, sister, mentor, pastor or someone you can talk to without judgment who will pray for you, encourage you and empower you in your walk is an essential step towards staying committed in your decision to walk in purity. Next week we are going to discuss in greater detail how special purity is. Over the next week pray, study, and meditate on your commitment to God.
Verses for reflection:
2 Corinthians 5:17, 20
” God‘s prescription for lasting relationships asks one man and one woman to enter a relationship of such intimacy and commitment that the two become one for life”- Chip Ingram
Many people might feel stifled by God’s plan of just one person. They think that just one person might end their desire for genuine love. As Christians the truth is that Love is a gift from God. We are not promised anything. We are not entitled to having a spouse. It is simply a gift God allows us to have and experience. Genuine love with another human being allows us to feel a portion of the love God feels for us. This is why impurity is so damaging to relationships. Impurity in any form of thought word or deed goes against what God originally designed, but thankfully for our case there is a way out. God wants us to break away from what the world has taught us about love and come into a relationship with someone where we can trust them; where there is emotional, and spiritual oneness.
One thing we need to do is look at our views of sex. Do we view sex as one of God’s gifts? We should be. Our culture has worshiped sex , made it about taking care of our needs and our right to do whatever we want. We have separated sex and love, and become separated from God. But as Christians remember we a called to separate from the world(Rom. 12:2). Which means that we see sex as a gift given to us from God, and we should handle it with care in the correct ways to show God that we are thankful for the gift of sex. Imagine what our relationship with God and our relationship with the one we are in love with would look like if instead of giving into temptation we gave thanks for the desires and focused on God, waiting for God’s timing to experience sex?
My prayer for you this week is that you will take encouragement from God’s word and know that he has made something better than what the world can give you. If you feel shamed or burdened and you have not brought it to God now is the time. He already knows the desires and the pains of your heart, and he already gave you the greatest gift of all. Jesus Christ~ who takes away your shame. He takes away your hurt, and he has given you eternal salvation so you never have to pay for your sins.
Verses for Reflection:
Knowing the difference between love and sex
Sarah’s letter to God.
Father in heaven forgive me. I don’t know how to make a relationship work on my own accord. I just did what I knew, what I have seen. I wasn’t sure that having sex was the right thing to do in my relationship, but I thought is was the next step and that I was in Love. I thought I had to have sex in order to keep his attention in order to keep his love. Isn’t this what sex is for? It feel’s so good and I don’t feel bad doing it and the world tell me it’s right. But then the relationship doesn’t work out and I get hurt. I am confused. Help me Father to change my view of love and sex. Show me the difference so I can change and honor you.
Sincerely, Your daughter
Have you ever prayed like this; wanting to know the difference between love and sex? That’s what we are going to discuss this week. Throughout chapter 6, Chip gives us different stories of people who have had ruined relationships because of sex outside of Gods terms. To find God’s terms we have to look at God’s word. Paul addresses the Ephesians in chapter 5:3-4 about the importance of giving thanks for what you have and not letting there be any greed or immoral deeds, talk or joking. He is addressing all relationships. “We are to refuse to take, exploit, cheapen or substitute sexual activity for genuine love and authentic intimacy.”-Chip Ingram. We also have to remember that sex is not wrong. It just has to be done in a pure manner with one person in the union of marriage. Song of Songs is a great account of how God intended sex to be in a marriage. Several times with in the book is the verse “Do not awaken love until it so desires”. Even on his wedding day Solomon still had to wait till his beloved was his wife.
Sex has become a servant to love, and love as a result has been mislabeled, mistreated and God’s way has been forgotten. As Christians it is now time for us to remember that sex is not a meaningless way of casual entertainment, and it is not equal or greater to love. We have been wrong and influenced by the world. God created us to have sexual desires so that we could share a special intimacy with our spouse. In the next chapter we are going to talk about why he created us this way and why it is so important.
Take some time to evaluate your view on sex in relationships. As always remember to talk with our Father. Sexual temptation is all around us and it is only by His Spirit that we can resist them. If you have things to confess and you want to change; remember that you are forgiven and Jesus died because he loves you and wants eternal salvation for you. Please use these verses for further reflection.
Verses for Reflection:
Song of Songs
Week of June 24th 2012
As we close our study of Romans 12 we should have a transformed sense of who we are as Christians. Now is when the real work begins. My prayer for all of you is that you would offer your whole self to our Father as a surrendered living sacrifice. Remember his promise for you and set yourself apart when this world and this city seek to pull you into its ways. Be humble and know that God has given you a purpose, and made you special with skills and opportunities to serve him by lovingly serving others. Remember brothers and sisters that we are called to show the same grace, kindness and love that Christ has shown us. Even when you are hurting, do not seek revenge but forgive and bless those who hurt you. Keep in constant prayer and know that God is stronger than any evil. He loves you, he wants you and he will never leave you.
Father in heaven, Thank you for your grace over our lives when we don’t deserve it. Thank you for speaking to us and for the blessings we receive in the Spirit. We surrender ourselves to your almighty arms Lord and ask that your Spirit lead us to always live surrendered and set apart. Living with sober minds, serving others and supernaturally responding to evil. So that the world will see a love in us and know it came from you. All of these things we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen