“Abstinence focuses attention on what we are not going. When we abstain from something, we often feel deprived. Yet a Christian view of sex, as depicted in the Song’s counsel to the young women of Jerusalem, is not about abstaining; it is about waiting for the right time and context for an experience that is so overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful that only marriage can properly contain it.”*
I am currently preparing a sermon in the book of Song of Songs, and my study has led me to some realizations about the way sex has been taught to young adults in the church. By no means do I want to share a post that is bashing well-intended sermons and counsel by caring ministers. But, some ways in which sex is addressed could be tweaked to be more centered around the way God sees sex and less about our taboos.
Read these three points, and see if you agree with my thoughts.
- Proper sexuality should be embraced. As the commentary above states, our focus is often on the “don’ts” of human sexuality, not God-given “do’s.” My theory is that some ministers fear encouraging proper sexuality on God’s timing because they think it will make teens and young adults with raging hormones even more driven to get satisfaction on their own timing. I disagree. On the contrary, focusing on the “do’s” inspires discipline to take those desires for intimacy to God and to allow Him to meet personal needs while we wait as singles. Such encouragement creates courage and conviction, not lustful passion if the listener is truly a committed disciple. Sure, you run the risk of the one or two using such a view as an excuse to indulge in sin, but that sin rests upon the listener, not the well intended counselor/preacher.
- Proper sexuality requires in-tune discipleship. My dad has always walked closely with me in this area, never probing too much or prying his way in like a bully. Now I have been blessed with additional men who continue to champion the foundation my father laid for me as a child. It takes a capable, mature support system to teach and encourage purity in the life of singles and “daters.” Often people settle for stifling and stiff accountability programs that treat participants as clients of a 12 step rehab program instead of individuals to be cherished and graciously pushed in the right direction.
- Proper sexuality requires guidance in directing passions. What exactly do I mean? Those men that I mention in point two carry out that discipleship by supplementing what the Bible encourages. We are instructed in God’s Word to point intimate passions towards the Lord before he provides a spouse (1 Cor. 7). Often I’ve heard ministers and married Christians tackle this point with stale instructions to pray and read more of the Bible. Instead, there needs to be an a shift of focus, not just to pray and read more, but to seek more honest, passionate, and intimate expression in our prayer lives…to trust that deep intimacy can be obtained with the Father, and then shown how to carry that out.
My desire for this post is not to complain but to encourage a little reform. I believe these three steps could change a lot of struggling single’s lives. If you are mentoring folks in this age group, please consider putting these three thoughts into practice.
*Duguid, Iain M. 2015. The Song of Songs : An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, IL, USA: IVP Academic, 2015. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed November 21, 2017).