Being single is a gift and so is marriage, Paul makes that clear in his letter to the church in Corinth. But receiving the gift of marriage doesn’t mean it’s going to be all rainbows and warm fuzzy feelings. In the same way, being single doesn’t mean you get a supernatural power that exempts you from temptation and gives you in exchange all self-control that you will need for the rest of your life. Committing to a life of celibacy, remaining unmarried, doesn’t mean God takes your sex-drive away. So how does one manage?
First, realizing that you can live just fine without sex is important. We don’t need it to survive or to be complete. Our generation and culture would of course say that life isn’t really fulfilled without it. But I know truth and truth tells a different story than what’s popular. I know this by observing Jesus'(The Truth) human life-one who never was married and never experienced sexual intercourse. Paul Jewett states that “to believe that he was unmarried is not to deny his humanity, but to affirm that the sexual congress of husband and wife is not an essential part of our humanity.” A single friend of mine once told me when he realized that he could live without sex but not without love. This understanding gave him freedom and a way to deal with his own struggles and temptations. Being single doesn’t mean you have to be alone. We all need to be in close community and this is an important key to help overcome temptation.
Even when you have community, things still aren’t easy I must admit. Things get difficult when you’ve been single for your entire life and you see more and more friends getting married around you. It can be tempting to believe that marriage solves the issue of sexual temptation and sin. My guess is that marriage actually complicates these matters because now you’ve added another individual into the problem. The real problem is you. If you struggled with lust or sexual behavior before marriage, you’re still going to struggle after marriage with these. The problem is an internal one, not solely external. No matter how much will power and determination that you think you have, all in all, it will prove useless.
“Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in retraining sensual indulgence.” Colossians 2:20-23
So if that doesn’t work, Paul, what does?! If restraining oneself by setting up all these “don’ts” and rules aren’t the answer, what is?
Well, good thing he keeps on writing because later Paul explains how. He encourages us to set our minds and hearts on things above, put to death every thing that is of the earthly nature and clothe ourselves with kingdom values and character. He doesn’t say to ignore or avoid the sexual energy when you feel it. Nor does Paul say to make oneself busy to distract yourself or get your mind off of it(like so many times we try to do). No, it helps to embrace that sexual energy but direct it into other things. Some things that he mentions here in Colossians are compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, and patience. Ironically enough, all of these are expressions that are revealed when I interact with another person. So it’s all about purifying how I respond and react to myself and others when I feel that sexual drive. Most times when we experience our sexual drive, the intent and root of it is connection with another. But our sex drives can cause one to think or act wrongly toward another and therefore violate God’s intent for us to see each other purely as brother/sister and to keep sex within the marriage covenant only. Therefore, clothing ourselves as Paul states helps to maintain this standard that God by design created. This keeps me in right holy relationship in thought, word, and deed to those around me; I overcome!
Reminding myself that just because it feels right to me, doesn’t mean that it is helps in the battle. As christians, we are called to live differently than the world and it’s values. We are all called to deny ourselves remember! To resist temptation and our sexual urges isn’t natural. But that’s the point. We can only do this by God’s grace and power…not in our own strength. This keeps us dependent upon Him alone and in prayer. With the help of the Holy Spirit and others in the body of Christ, I believe it can be done. Living this way also is a witness to the world at just how different we are. It’s a light that will shine to show Christ’s power at work, if we will utilize what He has given us access to.
LEAVE A COMMENT – SHARE YOUR STORY
What helps you overcome sexual temptation? Do you struggle to believe that you can actually live a full life without sex? Is there an internal issue that God wants to bring alignment to and change that otherwise fuels your sex drive?