Hooking Up vs. Holding Out:
Helping Singles Find a Healthy Sexual Balance
(Part 4 of 7)
Striking a Healthy Balance
The purpose of marriage is to reflect to the world Christ’s unwavering commitment to His (unfaithful) bride, the Church. Therefore we want to encourage both men and women to reflect that level of commitment to marriage, and to the intimate relationship that comes along with it.
We don’t want to adhere to the traditional silence within the church that has shrouded all-things-sexual, fostering ignorance through religious taboos and naively labeling it as “innocence.” That is too often a recipe for “sexual liberalism,” as young people are left to their own devises to construct a sexual code of conduct that will most likely prove not to live up to God’s standards of sexual purity.
Nor do we want to promote “sexual legalism” by elevating the concept of sexual purity to the point that “no longer being a virgin” distorts a married person’s self-image and robs them of their sexual and spiritual confidence. A Christ-reflecting marriage leaves no room for feelings of guilt and shame over our identity as sexual human beings, created in the image of God to fully experience the pleasure of intimate communion with one another.
Ecclesiastes 7:18 advises, “The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.” So let’s avoid a sexual pendulum swing that sways too far to the left or to the right. Let’s teach young people to strike a healthy balance — by embracing a lifestyle of sexual integrity prior to marriage, as well as a lifestyle of healthy sexual intimacy within marriage.
Questions for Consideration:
1. As a youth leader, do I balance my discussions with teenagers to include not just all the bad things about pre-marital sex, but also some of the great things about sex within marriage? How might I avoid both extremes (sexual legalism & liberalism) and create a balanced, healthy understanding of God’s design for our sexuality?
2. As a pastor performing pre-marital counseling, do I invest enough time preparing both the husband-to-be and the wife-to-be to eventually embrace, celebrate, and enjoy an active sex life in marriage without guilt, shame, or inhibition? Or do I feel I must “hold back” in this area for fear of awakening their pre-marital sexual desires?