Dr. Jim explains why is so hard these days to think clearly about a relationship when sex outside of marriage is at play. Christian singles need to understand the power a sexual relationship has on us and how they can avoid falling into temptation. This article explains why all singles, Christian or not, should avoid sex outside of marriage if they want their relationship to be truly fulfilling and God-honoring.
Dear Jim: Why does God say not to have sex outside marriage?
One cannot be around singles groups very long before this question or one like it (sex outside marriage) surfaces. The sexual side of us is very strong for many (most?) – and the “drive” is NOT a sin.
In Genesis God found man to need someone. Eve was created and sex entered the picture. I believe that God created it because it combines the physical/chemical, emotional, psychological and spiritual parts of us all at one time. Gosh – if that is so – then everyone must NEED it! Well, not so according to what Paul shares in the New Testament.
I find two different forces at play that are often – well, misused. The two are intimacy and sex. One is not necessary without the other. I understand it that all of us need intimacy, but sex is reserved for marriage. Let me explain my thought.
Why did God give us sex?
God placed into each of us the strong desire to be in contact with someone – what I call the need for intimacy. The primary focus for this need is so that we would have an inner hunger for relating to God. After all – He has this hunger for us (and I might illustrate my point by saying that His is not a sexual desire!). There is no intimacy that is any richer nor more satisfying than when we are intimately close in our relationship with Him.
In addition to being intimate with God, He also wants us to be intimate with others. Read all that I am saying and do not take any of my words out of context. This intimacy is found in what we often call “buddies”. It is where we genuinely care about each other, are open at a very vulnerable level and hold each other accountable. No games are being played and we love to be with our “buds” because it is a very fulfilling and affirming experience.
“Sex is reserved for marriage”
Does sex bond us?
Then what about sex? (Do I have your attention?? :-) In marriage, the intimacy that I discussed previously is also very necessary – the hunger to share in a very open and vulnerable way. But there is the added ingredient of sexual relationship. God created sex in such a depth than when we experience it, we are giving away part of ourselves. It is not just an act (where one party or both parties are involved in self satisfaction). I suggest it is just the opposite – where both parties are focusing on satisfying the other. It is a total act of putting another ahead of yourself. But this is only step one.
Sex bonds! If you do not think so, have sex outside of marriage and then try to leave the relationship. It is like tearing something out and walking away with the pieces – jagged as they may be. Used outside of marriage, sex sends “false” signals into our deepest being. It is saying “this is it” – but it is not. By frequent use of this activity outside of marriage, we condition our minds for a lot of damage. Is it impossible to reverse? Perhaps most of it can be reversed – but it always leaves a negative touch on our lives that requires counseling and/or an extended walk with God to cleanse.
For singles, putting sex into our relationships before marriage creates a very practical problem. When we are involved in the power of sex, we do not want to pay attention to all the other ingredients so necessary for finding out if this is the mate that is best for us. It’s hard to honestly look at some traits you do not like and that likely irritate the heck out of you now when you want to have more sex with that person. BUT if you go ahead and choose to marry this person, suddenly sex takes on a lesser role. The many character and behavior traits so key to a successful marriage become very big. You end up with a marriage you do NOT want. Wonder why the divorce rate is so high? Could it not be this is a significant reason?!
(Check our blog post about living together before marriage, and why God says no.)
What to do if you are engaged in sex outside of marriage
If you have been active in sex outside of marriage, I encourage you to think about the bigger picture of what is taking place in your life. Ask Him to show you a better way. Develop a close friend of the same sex where the two of you can be accountable to each other. Take steps to distance yourself from this temptation. Being accountable to your “sexual” partner to not have sex is not the best approach!!
“We are giving away part of ourselves”
Sex is good – no – it is great! God designed it for marriage where it compares to His love for us (we are the bride of Christ). But it is a false fulfillment outside of marriage. Paul says that it is better to focus on this need and creativity on loving and serving God and others.
Don’t let Satan or the strong need to sooth the hurts in your life lead you to take this course. There is a better way and I pray that you seek to find it for yourself.
In His love and mine,
Genesis 2:24; Song of Solomon; Psalms 51:12