For the first time in American history single people households outnumber married people households. If you’re not single currently, you have single friends and family, your kids are going to be entering single adulthood if they’re not there already. They’re an important, valued group the church should not ignore.
I have a deep love for singles, wanting them to thrive and live wisely. I want to humbly offer three practical goals singles can steadfastly commit to. The first two practical goals for singles can be read here and here. Here’s the third practical goal for singles to get serious about:
STAY OUT OF BED.
I’m not talking about sleep being overrated. You know where I’m headed with this.
Paul was of the first leaders of the early church. He was single. He wrote 31% of the New Testament that we know of since the book of Hebrews is up in the air with no certainty on who authored it (although I would love for time to reveal a woman wrote Hebrews). Anyway, Paul lived during the 1st Century. Much of his writing was to a sexual culture that was worse than what we see and hear about today. It was worse then.
Back then, this whole idea of human sex-trafficking was legal and permissible. Back then, men literally owned women. Women were owned by men for their sexual pleasure and for slave-work. The moment a man got tired of a woman he was with, all he had to do was go down to a pagan temple providing prostitutes and slaves for sale and trade his wife in for someone else.
This is not the kind of culture God intended but this the kind of culture the church was born into. Paul writes these words in an attempt to reorient culture back to Christ:
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
This isn’t saying that sexual sin is worse than other sins to God. God views anything sinful on a linear level. Some sins have worse consequences in our lives, but God views sexual sin like He does gossip and greed. There’s not a separate category to put sexual sin in. It’s not worse than other sins, but it is different. It’s a different level of damage.
Think about it. If you make a bad financial decision, you accept the reality, pay it off, take a credit hit, get an extra job, downsize or file for bankruptcy. You move on. You might have some regrets, but you venture forward.
There is something about sexual sin that haunts us and stains us and it follows us into every relationship we enter into. It has a way of negatively sticking around. Sexual sin doesn’t just affect our emotional state, it affects our body and our soul. It’s just different. Sexual sin is a soul violation.
When you engage in that, outside of God’s desire and boundary of marriage, you do things more than just to your mind. It’s more than just pleasure. It’s pain that will hang around forever – yes it will be forgiven by God, anything is, and He can sweep it away in His mind, but for us, in this life, it’s pain that hangs around forever. It’s different.
What would we expect God, our Creator and Lover of our soul, to say about something that could be damaging to us long-term? He says, RUN! Stay away from it because God knows if given into, it will hurt what good we have and harm what good awaits us. That’s wisdom for Christians and non-Christians alike. But then he takes it up a notch.
Then he talks to just followers of Jesus. If you believe Jesus rose from death, if you believe He’s God, if you were baptized into the water to confirm your belief in Jesus, you are no longer your own decision-maker. You now beautifully adhere to Jesus in all things. The very Spirit of God lives inside the Christian and you take the Spirit into every conversation/relationship/choice you have.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Jesus-follower no longer belongs to themselves. When we sing, I Surrender All, that includes giving Jesus our body, it includes giving Jesus our sexual desires. Not just our sexual sin in the past, but we give Him the right to choose how we act and what we desire going forward.
Dating today is all about the chase and impulsiveness and conquest and when you don’t get what you want (what you wrongly think you deserve) you move on or get angry.
Some of you ladies feel like you have to give in to what can be considered modern-day prostitution where he pays for dinner, pays for dessert or drinks, pays attention to you and then he expects you to pay him back with favors he defines.
Ladies, you owe no man anything. Jesus has bought you, honor Him with your body. If you have to do something outside of God’s boundaries just to keep a man around, that’s not a man you’re with, it’s a little boy who’s not full of Christ, but full of selfishness.
Ladies, if you feel like you have to give in to keep him around – if that’s your mindset – my advice is that you take a year off from dating – a year – just to right your mind and search God’s Word out on your true identity and what godly way He lays out in store for you to live. Maybe you need to choose purity for an extended amount of time, staying away from temptation.
Maybe it’s time for parents of children who are dating to make sure they are being pure with the person they hang out with. Don’t assume they’re being pure, set God’s standard for them and lovingly hold them accountable to honoring God, not their desires. Talk to your them today to be pure because you don’t want their soul to be damaged.
If you’re in a relationship currently and you’re living together before marriage, don’t be afraid to find the research yourself or talk to others who have been there: Cohabitation does not increase your chances at a happily ever after. It decreases it. I’m not sure why people prolong marriage, but I want to encourage you to move out to honor God, test the relationship living in separate homes and have a more solid marriage in store if it works out.
My encouragement, whether you live together pre-marriage, or are in sexual sin while dating someone, or are sleeping around – take time off. Back away. Be abstinent. Pursue Jesus so you can think clearly.
I am praying daily that the men who get to pursue my daughters will be men who honor them and honor Jesus; men who think about a good legacy, not a good time.
Jesus says something in Matthew chapter 5 that we could spend days studying together and still not get the richness He provides. He says:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
Do you see the connection? There is something about moral purity that allows us to see God and what He is up to clearly.
How many of us know the opposite of this? I do. When you’re living in moral impurity – when you’re hiding and scheming and lying and cheating and lusting it’s like you’re living in a fog. You don’t know who you are or where you’re going. You might even blame God for how life is going because you can’t see Him clearly. He’s there, you’re just sinning so much it’s fuzzy.
No wonder single people who sleep around or live together before marriage get cold feet when thinking about marriage. They think, I don’t know if she’s the one. I don’t know if he’s Mr. Right. Sometimes sparks are there. But it’s up and down. The person I like is great some days and then they’re really hurtful other days. Thoughts like that breed little trust and give minimal stability and security.
We can’t see clearly because of impurity in our daily lives and Jesus says He will make us pure from our past, we will rely on His example, teaching and strength to be pure going forward and then we’ll be able to attain the clarity around us we desperately crave.
Get out of debt. Clean out your closet. Stay out of bed.
Thanks for reading You are loved.