Recently I gathered with about 250 singles at one of our local churches to answer questions on the topic of love, sex and dating. Attendees were asked to write their questions on cards and turn them into the moderator ahead of time. The most pointed question of the night came from a middle-aged gentleman. His card read, “I’m divorced.

Why save sex for marriage?” Good question. His direct question deserved a direct answer. I said, “If all there is to life is this life, if you are merely a predator and women are prey, if sex is just physical and disconnected from the concept of permanency, exclusivity and relationship, then I can’t think of a reason not to have sex with as many women as you can convince to hop into bed with you.” Not exactly the answer they were expecting from their pastor. My answer was particularly disturbing to women in the audience. Heck, it was particularly disturbing to me.

I let it sit for a moment and then continued. “But if there’s more to this life that what meets the eye . . . if there is a God in whose image you’ve been made and in whose image ever women you’ve met has been made, if sex is a creation that was created with a purpose and if that purpose is to enhance the expression of intimacy between two people . . . and if that fragile, wonderful, delicate experience we term intimacy can be damaged or broken through abuse, then your sexual conduct matters a great deal.”

Now women were crying and men were squirming. I continued. “So you have to decide what you believe. Not just about sex. About everything. Once you decide, the answer to your important question will be clear. Perhaps uncomfortably clear.” As you process the issues and questions surrounding your sexuality and expressions of your sexuality, don’t forget the broader context.

Sex isn’t just physical. It’s one component of a multi-faceted biological, physiological, and psychological miracle that is you. So cherish it. Protect it. Preserve it. Reserve it. I’ve never met anyone who exercised self-control in the area of sexuality who regretted it later. We all know people who didn’t, and do. One question that wasn’t asked during that particular Q&A session, a question that’s almost always asked when people can ask anonymously: Is it ever too late? Is there a point of no return? A point at which too much damage is done and it’s futile to try to correct it? Again, the answer to that question hinges on your worldview; what you believe.

As a follower of Jesus I’m convinced restoration, renewal and redemption are available to all of us regardless of what we have done or what was done to us. The question behind the question is, Is there hope? Yes. There’s hope. There’s a way back. The way back begins with your decision to become someone rather than merely meet someone. The way back begins with your decision to write a better story; a story you would be proud to tell your children and grandchildren.

Those are decisions you can make today. Right now. Those decisions ensure the next chapter will be better than the previous one. I hope you fall in love and stay there. I hope you get the opportunity to commit yourself to someone prepared to commit to you in return. You have no control over when or if you’ll meet your right person. What you do control is what you do in the meantime. So, become the person the person you’re looking for is looking for. Prepare to commit. Who knows, there may be someone out there preparing for you as well.

Taken from “The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating” Copyright © 2014 by Andy Stanley. Use by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. Book available for purchase at http://www.zondervan.com/the-new-rules-for-love-sex-and-dating.

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