Worshiping Sex and Marriage
I think I was seventeen when a friend looked at me and said, “Jessica, I can see you being single forever.”
I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be an insult, as in “Oh my goodness, no one would ever want to marry you,” or a compliment, as in “You are so strong and independent; you would do great!” Either way, I did not receive her words well.
Singleness was more than just independence for me. It would mean I could never have sex. Singleness was for those good, holy Christian girls who didn’t want sex. God wouldn’t do that to me. I had to get married. Surely God understood that, I told myself.
I went years, white-knuckling through abstinence, wondering exactly how much longer God expected me to wait.
I began to think my friend might be right. What if God was going to make me wait forever? How could He honestly expect me never to have sex? I had spent my teen years watching porn and struggling with fantasy. Was He punishing me? I wondered.
Let me tell you what I wish someone had told me way back when I was in high school. It’s a truth I came to realize in my late twenties, and it would have made the dateless decade after high school far more enjoyable.
Yes, save sex for marriage, but there is so much more to life (and marriage) than sex and romance. Spend your life waiting on God—not waiting for marriage.
Waiting for marriage assumes marriage will come. It’s not wrong to hope for it or to desire it, but if we’re not careful, we run the risk of sitting around, doing nothing, waiting for “the one.” We get comfortable and hunker down in our seats like we’re waiting for our stop on the train. For some of us, that waiting consumes our lives. It cripples our decisions with fear of missing our shot.
What if I go to the wrong church?
What if I don’t go to the right school?
I can’t pick a career because my future husband might want to do something else.
I need to know who he is first!
I don’t want to make the wrong choice!
When our lives are paralyzed by fear of missing our shot at marriage, marriage and sex can become idols, even for single, abstinent women.
Bowing at the Wrong Altars
We want to honor God, but we are bowing at the wrong altars. As long as we’re there, we will be fearful, disappointed, and miserable. Every decision will be dictated not by God but by the prospect of marriage or the fear of the prospect of singleness.
That is not the image the Bible paints of singleness nor is it the life God promises to His daughters.
Do you feel God is calling you to do something, but you’re afraid you might “miss” marriage if you do it?
The abundant life we’re promised is found in Jesus, not in a future husband. We’re never promised marriage or sex, and following God may mean we never get either of those. It may not be easy, but the question we have to ask is, “Is it worth it?”
I can say with confidence that when the idols of sex and marriage fall, the answer is “yes.”
The single life is a life abounding with opportunity, not a perpetual waiting room for the “real life” of marriage. Singles can still serve, build strong friendships, enjoy intimacy within a community, and love. The apostle Paul reminds us that a single woman has the ability to devote her attentions and affections to the things of God (1 Corinthians 7:34). Sometimes we’re afraid to do that because God might ask us to do that forever.
If He did, would you?
By Jessica Harris
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