No matter what you've heard about it, sexual purity is one of the greatest things God has given us to steward. Yet, it's also one of the things most misunderstood by the single Christian population, especially those of the younger crowd. There are many lies you may have been taught growing up about sex and the Bible, but these will set you straight.
"It's wrong to think about sex."
Many teens and young adults in the church have gotten conditioned to think that sex is shameful to be curious about. Curiosity, though, is human nature. It's normal to want to understand what sex is, how God designed it for us, and why it's so important to keep sacred. The important part, though, is how you go about acting on your curiosity. If you have questions, find a married Christian couple you trust. God sets up boundaries to protect us, and exploring sexuality by going outside of His design for sex is where we find ourselves in trouble. Turning to pornography, for example, won't give you the right answers.
"Sexuality serves no purpose until you're married."
As ridiculous as it sounds, many Christians grow up thinking that they will magically become sexual when they get married. Before marriage, their sexuality should lie dormant. Yet, sexuality has always been God’s idea and He uses it to be glorified through both singles and married couples. John Piper said, “The ultimate reason why we are sexual is to make God more fully knowable.” Our sexual desires reflect a deeper spiritual intimacy that God longs to have with us beyond what we can attain physically. We tend to only talk about the physical act of sex and ignore the fact that it’s our sexuality that ultimately drives us into relationships, makes us desire marriage, and expresses our longing to be known. It also is what sparks us to want to feel vulnerable, soul to soul, with another person. For singles, sexuality can also mean learning about what a healthy sex life should be in the future.
"You are pure if you've never had sex."
There are benefits to being a virgin, but never think your lack of certain sins is a form of true purity. The Bible says we were all born sinful (Psalm 51:5). We are all “totally depraved,” meaning we are tainted with a sinful nature. No human is perfect and all of us have sinned in some way. You are only pure when God transfers the purity of Christ onto you, not because you haven't had sex. When we say, “save yourself for marriage,” many of us subtly take those words “save yourself” too far. So many people have tried to be their own messiah through their own sexual purity, and then when they sin in a sexual way they feel they have lost their purity forever. The Bible says we are not saved by works but by grace through faith and so we can then live for God (Ephesians 2:8-10).
"You are damaged goods if you committed a sexual sin."
Due to some believing the lie that you are only pure if you've never had sex, many also believe that if you break sexual purity than you can never be forgiven or are "damaged goods". While God desires us to live our lives as Jesus would, the truth is that sometimes we break. We either sin sexually before marriage or are let down by the idol of purity once we get married. If you sin sexually you must repent and God will grant you His grace. While there are consequences to any sin, you are not damaged goods forever. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is more than enough for our failures. Furthermore, if you had someone sin against you in a case of sexual assault, know that you are still loved by God and your purity hasn't been taken away from you. He does not see you as broken, weak, or damaged.
"They will be a better spouse if they are sexually pure.”
This goes back to the previous argument that anyone that has committed sexual sin is deemed "less than". In an effort to help people pursue sexual purity in their Christian singleness, we have ended up demonizing those who have sinned sexually. Just because someone is a virgin does not mean they will be a great spouse. Furthermore just because someone has broken sexual purity does not mean they will be a bad Christian spouse. To judge someone for their past is to discount the work of Jesus. God really does change us over the years. The person you were years ago does not need to be the person you are now. Don’t view all potential marriage partners by their past sexual sins or lack thereof. There’s so much more to Christian maturity and people really are transformed by God’s grace.
"You should never be tempted."
Some Christians believe that impure thoughts are a sign that something is wrong with them. However, our temptations do not define us. There are lots of thoughts you might be battling: urges to act out sexually, desire to watch pornography, or the like. No matter what horrible thoughts come into your mind, they do not have to define you. You can’t always control what enters your mind, but you can control what stays there. Typically your mind will roam to two places: either the desire to nurture the impure thought or feel an overwhelming sense of shame. Neither of these are helpful. First Corinthians 10:13 says: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
The enemy loves to feed us lies about sex because he knows how valuable it is in its purest form. Part of having faith is believing God and what He says about things. If God invented sex, why would we go to any other source to find out how it works best? If any of these lies hit home for you, take a deep breath, and let God wash over you with the truth. He has a beautiful design, and He has only your best in mind.