To maintain sexual purity until marriage, and faithfulness during marriage, is a great challenge for youth and adults in today's society that is obsessed with sex and sensuality. People are commonly faced with a virtual minefield of immoral temptations and influences.
All around is the subtle siren song that there is only one absolute, and that is that there are no absolutes. In a climate of moral relativism, each person is on his own to pick and choose his own moral code (or lack of code).
Whereas our Western societies were founded on a Judeo-Christian heritage, an increasing number of people neglect and reject the Bible, the sole universal authority that defines the character and conduct that our Creator God intended for all human beings. When parents don't teach and practice the Ten Commandments, what hope is there for their children to adhere to God's laws?
The Bible clearly and powerfully teaches that the only sexual relationship God approves is that between a man and woman who are married to each other. One of the most common motives of people—heterosexuals and homosexuals—who are trying to discredit the authority of the Bible is their desire to feel free of any sexual constraints.
How sad this is, when our Creator knows what is best for us—what is best for our safety, health and happiness. Beyond that, God has a plan for each of us that will result in our receiving eternal life if—IF—we will submit to His plan.
And God warns that sexual sins are often the most self-damaging to one's heart, mind and body. "Whoever commits adultery with a woman [or man] lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul" (Proverbs 6:32). The apostle Paul paraphrased this in 1 Corinthians 6:18: "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body."
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail
One of the biggest problems is that most people live their lives by accident. They impulsively proceed from one accident to another because of their lack of long-range vision. "A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences" (Proverbs 22:3, New Living Translation). As a result, they fall into one pit, one ditch, one trap and one disaster after another.
Many sins are not premeditated, but that is no excuse. If people would premeditate and plan the opposite—a godly lifestyle—they would be prepared to successively avoid and resist tempting situations without getting sucked into them.
The world is full of the foolish who recklessly indulge in high-risk and self-destructive activities. A high degree of intelligence doesn't seem to help much, as educated people succumb to lusts about as much as the average person. True success results from true godly wisdom—"wisdom that is from above"—not the perverted wisdom of the world which is "earthly, sensual, demonic" (James 3:14-17).
The first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs are thought-provoking, as they contrast wisdom—portrayed as a beautiful, chaste woman—with naïveté and foolishness—portrayed as a prostitute, whose "house leads down to death" (Proverbs 2:18). They describe how knowing God's laws and being dedicated to their obedience will keep one from the seductive pitfalls and snares of life. In other words, adopting God's plan for your life will keep you from unplanned pregnancies, unplanned disasters, unplanned everything.
These scriptures also teach that spiritual adultery (being unfaithful to God) and physical adultery (being unfaithful to one's spouse or future spouse) tend to go hand in hand. One leads to the other.
God's plan for each of us is to set right goals, make plans for how to reach those goals and then stick with those plans. A good example is the goal of maintaining virginity (sexual abstinence) until marriage. It is wonderful how many groups are promoting this, encouraging pledges to sexual purity, such as "Save Sex," "True Love Waits," the "Silver Ring Thing," etc.
These pledges often have good results when they are undergirded by strong religious convictions and the awareness that God's standards forbid all sexual activity outside of marriage, including oral sex and sexual petting (intimate touching). And public pledges serve as a wonderful light and role model for others.
Immaturity equals recklessness
Courage is noble and necessary when it is bravery to do the right thing. But young people often get in big trouble by being overly audacious and daring. In fact, they are tempted by the daring excitement of indulging in "forbidden fruit."
"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15). That's why minor children urgently need ongoing teaching and discipline from their parents (verse 6).
People, children especially, have a strong desire to try things out for themselves and to experiment. God designed us this way, but children need to be educated and forewarned about boundaries and dangers. An insightful quote is, "Good judgment is usually the result of experience. Experience is usually the result of bad judgment." Teach your children to learn from other people's experience so they don't have to learn the consequences the hard way!
Teach your children the virtues of honesty, respect and love for other people, and living by the Golden Rule. At the appropriate ages, begin teaching your children the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, reckless driving, gambling, crime and other risky behavior. And certainly teach them the huge value of moral purity and warn them about the many kinds of temptations that will threaten that purity.
Once kids reach puberty, their hormones kick in big-time; and this tempts them toward sexual experience and experimentation. Parents need to continually teach their children God's standards of morality and maturity, and they should begin long before their children reach adolescence! An excellent book for parents is Preparing for Adolescence, by Dr. James Dobson.
Parents should emphasize the positive benefits of God's ways at least as much as the negative consequences of Satan's ways. Teach your children that God's design of their bodies, including their sexuality, is "very good" and that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Genesis 1:31; Psalm 139:14). Our Creator God is the One who made males and females sexually compatible and instituted marriage to be only the union of a husband and wife (Genesis 2:18-25).
The relationship that has the greatest potential for human fulfillment in this life is marriage. "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain [physical, temporary] life" (Ecclesiastes 9:9). But living a single life also has spiritual and physical advantages, as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7.
So whether married or single, every person who faithfully lives by God's laws will be greatly blessed. On the other hand, "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" (Proverbs 6:27-28). Those who transgress God's laws regarding sex automatically bring on themselves the consequences and curses that accompany those sins.
Heterosexual and homosexual temptations
The Bible makes it clear that God is allowing Satan the devil to be the presiding "god of this age" and "ruler of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Two other names of Satan mean "destruction" and "destroyer" (Revelation 9:11). Satan is hell-bent on destroying us, and one major way is through sexual sins. Satan is glad to see either heterosexual or homosexual sin, as all sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).
Sad to say, because of the increasing political and media power of the gay activists in Western societies, we must do much more than ever to prepare ourselves and our children to clearly see the sin and dangers of the gay lifestyle.
There is abundant scriptural evidence in the Bible to prove that all homosexual activity is sinful, whether or not the two people have entered into any legal "union," but it is not the purpose of this article to prove that. Nor is its purpose to teach the many factors in childhood that can predispose a young person toward same-sex attraction (SSA). Those factors have been explained in articles in Breaking Free and other sources. Please contact Breaking Free if you have questions about any of these subjects.
The purpose of this article is to give additional awareness of how many sexual temptations we and our children can face.
As said previously, teens, who have a strong sexual drive, are naturally drawn toward sexual temptations. And in today's culture, with its politically correct "tolerance" (condoning) of any and all lifestyles, they may be tempted to "try" both heterosexual and homosexual acts.
Thoroughly teach your children the many reasons why it is sinful, dangerous and tragic to commit a sin even just once. Countless times a woman has become pregnant or a person has contracted an STD (sexually transmitted diseases) from only one sexual encounter. Even when one uses condoms or other devices, these consequences often occur.
Just one occurrence of a sexual sin sometimes leaves a person with a sense of guilt and shame that mentally scars him and detracts from his future joy in marriage. And one sin tends to lead to another sin (of the same kind and other kinds). Each time a person sins and does not deeply repent of it, his conscience is made less sensitive, and it becomes easier to justify doing the same sin again (1 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:15). Romans 1 explains how one type of sin often leads to worse and more perverted sins.
Parents should also emphasize how merciful God is, very willing to forgive any mistakes and sins when a person truly repents. True repentance means being deeply sorry and determined not to repeat a sin, while trusting in the sacrifice that Jesus Christ suffered to pay for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Teens and adults must understand that God's sexual standards are very high—for our own good. For example, the Seventh Commandment includes much more than a prohibition of adultery. People are terribly mistaken to think that God condones any sexually intimate activity between people who are not married.
Passionate kissing and petting are pleasures that God intended only for married couples. God's purpose is for them to be a natural prelude to marital intercourse—as part of a couple's foreplay. When single people indulge in this, no wonder they are tempted to "go all the way!" That is the process that God designed to help married couples go all the way!
This explains why many couples go much further sexually than what one or both anticipated, because one kiss led to another and they got "carried away." In some cases, one is deliberately seducing the other. In other cases, they are unintentionally seducing each other. So they have an "accident" because their lives are lived by impulse and accident instead of by planning!
Please remember: The influence of alcohol or drugs lowers inhibitions, incites lust and greatly increases the likelihood of sexual seduction.
So beware and be wise! Humans tend to foolishly put themselves into tempting circumstances and then regret the outcome. Don't see how close you can get to the edge of a cliff! To be safe, stay completely away from the cliff! The wisdom of the Bible is to "flee sexual immorality" and "flee also youthful lusts" (1 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:22). Get completely away from them!
In fact, Jesus Christ declares that we must not even allow lustful thoughts—whether of the opposite sex or same sex (Matthew 5:27-28). One reason is that our thoughts lead to actions. Another reason is that our hearts and thoughts are extremely important to God! In the following verses, He dramatically illustrates that we must do whatever it takes to avoid and flee from sin (verses 29-30).
Gateways to homosexual sins
Besides the factors already explained, there are other reasons why people get into same-sex activity. One is the absence of the opposite sex, such as in prisons. Many people have so little moral character that they will do anything for sex.
Another is outright seduction. An active gay person, usually a man, will befriend a young man and invite him to join in a sport or recreational activity. The gay man may suggest an activity like bodybuilding or swimming, because he can see most of the body of the young man, or wrestling, because it involves lots of body contact. The aggressor may offer to teach various physical skills or how to give one another an after-workout massage. He may suggest that they relax while watching a sexy movie. The combination of friendly camaraderie, fun, and physical and mental stimulation can be an appetizer for more of the same and eventually more sexualized activity.
Another factor is peer pressure to experience what one's pals are experiencing—to "at least try it once." That's why the Bible has much to say about choosing your friends and companions wisely—because they have a huge influence on you (Proverbs 1:10-16; 5:8; 7:5; 12:26; 13:20; 14:7).
Kids will taunt and "dare" others to try something, and many insecure young people are terribly tempted by this. Some kids will brag about how daring and wild they were to try something on the edge. Furthermore, many people pride themselves in being "tolerant" and respectful of all lifestyles, and may indulge in same-sex exploits to "prove" it. Some go so far as to take pride in being bisexual, thinking that is the really cool and sophisticated way to be.
Some guys reason that as long as they are only on the receiving end of oral sex (fellatio) from another guy, they won't be considered gay. Likewise, a girl may reason that if she is only on the receiving end of oral sex from another girl, she won't be considered gay. What foolish reasoning! In addition to every other problem with this action, it breaks down a barrier in the conscience so that it's easier to do the same thing again, and it often leads to the decision to switch places.
Some people first engage in a homosexual act on impulse. It is quite common for a guy to fantasize about sex and get himself all worked up, lusting to have sex with any willing girl he can find. Just when he is frustrated about not finding a loose girl, some guy suggests oral sex. It may be a half-drunk buddy. It may be a sexually-active gay man looking for a vulnerable guy. Regardless, the sexually-aroused guy may make an impulsive decision to do anything to get his sexual release.
Likewise, a girl can be discouraged and disgusted with the bad experiences she has had with guys. At a time when she may be high on booze or pot, another female suggests sexual intimacy, and that suddenly sounds appealing.
Romans 1:18-32 very descriptively explains what happens when people reject God and His laws. As they stray further from God, they tend to degenerate into ever more perverted sins in their frantic and futile efforts to find pleasure and excitement, or to fill their loneliness.
Live by plans, not accidents
Without following God's plan for your life, things just happen. Your life becomes one accident after another. Let God's purpose for your life become your purpose.
One sin leads to other sins, which lead to bigger sins. Sin pollutes, corrupts and spreads, just like "a little leaven [yeast] leavens the whole lump [of dough]" (1 Corinthians 5:6-7). Sin is a snare (Proverbs 7:21-23). It's easier to avoid sin in the first place than to get loose from it and repair the damage.
Indeed, this world has many enticements to heterosexual and homosexual promiscuity. Don't go near them. Stay clean and pure. And teach your children these things.
Rely on God to forgive you of your sins and then to help keep you spiritually clean. Walk with God because He is "able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy" (Jude 24, New International Version).
This article appears in the following topics: Sexual Addictions