Thrift Store or Saks Fifth Avenue
Of all sins, sexual sin is the most physically rewarding and brings
instant gratification, therefore making it extremely tempting. It is
also based on a natural desire. However, this desire, this gift from
God, must be used properly and in accordance with God's will.
We all want and need food, and God approves of our nourishing our
bodies. But God will condemn us if we eat food that doesn't belong
to us. Many and varied foods are readily available and we can buy
them, so this natural desire is easily filled.
These thoughts may be obvious, but I wanted to preface my remarks
this way for two reasons. First, we sometimes forget when we talk
about sexual sin that sex, like food, is of itself a very good thing
and not something for which we need to feel shame or embarrassment.
Second, most of us probably seldom think about the fact that the
person we are dating is going to be someone else's spouse if he turns
out not to be ours.
We need to regard the man we are dating with
respect because he may someday belong to another woman. He does not
belong to us yet and may never be ours. We need to behave toward him
in the same manner that we hope our future spouse is being treated by
the woman he is dating.
With respect to most sins God tells us to stand and fight. But when
it comes to fornication He tells us to flee. My guess is that He
knows that we will not fight once we get caught up in the situation.
He knows that our brain will fly out the window when a handsome,
eloquent man starts whispering sweet nothings into our ear.
to plan ahead and learn to give no occasion to the flesh. We should
keep ourselves out of situations where sexual sin is likely to
If we see a man only in our parents' living room with our parents
nearby (or in our own living room if we are older, and with our
children nearby), we will not have the same temptation that we will
have if we go park on Lovers' Lane at midnight.
But often, instead
of providing ways to help keep ourselves pure, we plan outings that
create an environment that promotes sin. We put ourselves out on the
fringes--living on the edge--and hope we can taste some of the
pleasures of sex without "going all the way."
But whether we fornicate or simply engage in activities that we would
consider to be lesser sexual acts, we sin; and we need to avoid all
sin. As James 1:14 says, we are tempted when we are drawn away of
our own lust and enticed. We get ourselves into situations where
even a dead man would commit sexual sins and then wonder why we have
so much trouble refraining from illicit sex.
Paul told Timothy to treat younger women as sisters, with all purity.
Paul did not tell Timothy to remain a technical virgin until he was
married. He told him to treat women as SISTERS, WITH ALL PURITY. If
we make up our minds to insist that men treat us as sisters, we will
have a much easier time avoiding sin.
The problem is, we do not WANT to be treated that way when a good-looking, intelligent man is wooing us. Our natural desires are to
give in to him. God wants our desire to be to our husband, so even
this tendency in us is natural. But again, we must use it properly
and save our love and obedience for our husband.
We must respect
ourselves and the man we are dating, and we need to have a heart to
obey God. We have to make up our mind that we will obey God and not
man. It's just that simple.
Sex builds an emotional bond. Once you have formed that bond it is
hard to break. Even if the man shows himself not to be the caliber of
man you should marry, you will want to marry him anyway because you
have created that bond with him. And if he refuses to marry you,
your heart will break in two. Even if you KNOW he is not the right
one for you, your heart will break in two. We should not develop
strong emotional bonds that put a strong desire for sex in us until
we are ready to be married. That will help protect us.
But the main
thing we need to do is value ourselves.
In her book In the Meantime
Iyanla Vanzant writes:
"You are a valuable and worthwhile product, full of love, consciously
making choices. You have full confidence in your product. So are
you going to price it for bargain hunters? Or are you going to price
it like a designer item? The value and worth you place on yourself
will determine the people you attract. Those who shop in the high-priced markets know exactly what they want and how to treat it once
they get it.
They know a masterpiece when they see one, and they are not afraid to
pull out all the stops to be in its company. Basement bargain
hunters are not as clear or conscientious. A bargain hunter could
have a rare piece of art and not even recognize it."
Do you want to sell yourself at the thrift store, or do you want to
sell yourself at Saks Fifth Avenue? Only you can make that decision.
Only you can determine your worth. Price your love high. Price
yourself high. Don't go in an auction to the highest bidder. Don't go
to any man who is not willing to commit himself totally to you by
taking you as his own--to cherish you, provide for you, protect you
(physically, emotionally, and spiritually), and love you as Christ
loved the church.
"It is easy for a magnet to attract metal pieces or things cleverly
disguised as silver and gold" (Vanzant), so you must be careful. But
if you value yourself and wait for God to bring you the right man and
you don't settle for anything less than a godly man who will respect
you and your body as he also respects his own, God will provide the
right person for you.
Quoting again from Vanzant, "You can't make
platinum from tin fibers." If the man you are dating doesn't love the
Lord enough to obey Him when he is single, he will not, after
marriage, suddenly turn into a godly man who will love the Lord
enough to obey Him. And he will not love you as Christ loved the
Pray. Ask God for guidance. Ask Him to lead you to the man who will
be best for you, the man who will love you and whom you can love the
way God intends. Fast often. When you fast you deny yourself food
and it makes it easier to deny yourself sex. You are married to
Christ. Let Him sustain you, and remember that you can do all things
through Him, who strengthens you.
You are a pearl of great price. Wait for the man who recognizes you
as such and is willing to give up all he has to make you his. No man
buys what he can get free, and no man values what costs him nothing.
Tina Rae Collins