4 questions to ask before having sex
Sex. It seems to be the thing that drives our culture: Are you having it? If not, why not?
People find it pretty strange when I admit that I didn’t live with my husband before we got married and they certainly can’t believe I didn't sleep with him! What has happened to bring us to this point, what does Jesus think and why are we called to live a different way?
I want to share with you four perspectives I have found helpful as I've tried to understand God's best in the area of sex and why I need to choose it:
- What season are you in?
I find it helpful to think about life in seasons. In each season there’s something that God wants to show me about Himself and things to experience that God will use to build my character. There is something important about acknowledging and honouring the season we are in, rather than always seeking after the next thing.
What season do you find yourself in at the moment? God has called you to this place and time, including the good bits and the bad.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
There is a right time for sex and therefore by definition also a right time to abstain from sex. In a culture that believes the pursuit of immediate pleasure is normal, the idea of waiting for something good is totally radical.
But there is so much to be found in learning to lay down your own desire and turn to God.
Sam and I dated for five years before getting married. In my life, dating was a period where God was teaching me that I needed Him to provide for all I needed: physically and emotionally. This can become an even greater challenge in marriage and so I needed to have a foundation of going to God as my provider, not Sam.
In Genesis 22:14, one of the names used for God is Jehovah Jireh which means, ‘The Lord will see to it’. I love this – God knows us intimately and will see to our every need. No one else can take His place – He must hold the first place in our lives. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, learning that God is our provider is such an important and amazing lesson to learn – ask Him to show you what this looks like in your life...
- What’s the cost?
In a society that says, 'do the things that will make you happy' there is a danger we can start to disassociate any responsibility for our actions.
There are consequences for us and others, often long lasting, when we make the decision to sleep with someone. The impact of this decision is often downplayed in social circles but the fact is everyone deep down will know that sex has changed them in someway.
No one deals well without boundaries. God gives us boundaries in His word which remind us that our choices bear consequences for good or for ill. Which way are we going to choose?
- Do we trust that God knows best?
When it comes to sex, I think a huge amount of faith is needed to follow through on what we know is right. Our own desires can be so strong, and the voices of those around us so loud, that we find it incredibly difficult to listen to God’s wisdom.
The Bible has a lot to say about the right time and place for sex – that is, within the boundaries of marriage, for enjoyment and for having children. (For more on this, take a look at ‘What the Bible really says about sex’)
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
2 Timothy 3:16
Do we believe that all scripture is inspired by God? If we do, do we take seriously what it says on this matter? I have heard too many times from friends and others in Church that what the Bible says on sex outside of marriage is unclear, or is not relevant today because they didn’t date in Jesus’ time etc. I rebuke that as a lie. Are we kidding ourselves? Do we approach the scriptures ready to take whatever wisdom it throws at us or do we go there to find a way to justify the way we have already chosen to go? In my life, and I pray in yours too, I want to trust that there is truth and life that is found in God, and therefore His word, that shows us a holy way to live in any given social context. God has higher ways and a higher call for purity and righteousness and His word is the best thing we’ve got to show us what this looks like in practice.
- What’s it worth?
All this said, Sam and I did not find the battle for purity easy by any means. We limped towards marriage. The struggle is real, but the desire for purity and holinessmust always be the goal.
A really important verse for me comes from 2 Samuel:
“I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
2 Samuel 24:24
The way in which we go about our lives, the choices that we make, are a matter of worship. True worship is not an act we do on a Sunday but is a life positioned towards God, seeking Him first, desiring to be more like His Son– and this is costly.
In 2 Samuel, King David refuses to offer to God worship which has not been costly for him. How are we offeringour lives to God? Is it costing us to live for Jesus?
Are there areas of your life that you are holding back from the Lord? Are you pushing the boundaries to seehow much you can ‘get away with’ without actuallybreaking the rules? People often think Jesus came to abolish the rules of the Old Testament, but He actuallyreveals that what God is looking for is far harder to attain: a heart that is pure, not just the actions that look good. Jesus’ call is higher on our lives: to think about something is as good as doing it (Matthew 5:28).
Living for God is costly – but it’s worth it. Refuse to give Him any less than everything.
"No sex before marriage"?