"But We're In Love"

The following is an excerpt from Bill Rudge's book, "Overcoming Sexual Immorality," © 2008.

Young people often reason, "We love each other, so what harm is there in having a physical relationship?" Yet, this only reveals that the true meaning of the word love has been lost in our culture. According to the Bible, if you love someone, you want the best for that person and you are patient with them. First Corinthians 13:4-7 says –– Love is patient, love is kind ... it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered ... does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects ....

"Shawn" was a courageous Marine who conquered his enemies and fulfilled his commitment to the Marine Corps. But he could not fulfill his commitment to his wife and the Lord or conquer his lustful passions. Years of his sexual addiction ravaged his beautiful wife and anguished his life. One day the Lord gave me a clear message for him, "Kill your lusts, or your lusts will kill you." With the Lord's help, he ended his affair and will overcome his other sexual addictions.

"Shawn" related the following concerning his early dating experience –– "Edith" was a believer in Christ, I was not. I thought premarital sex would cement our relationship but it did the opposite. My coercing her into premarital sex caused guilt and resentment in her towards me, which was the beginning of our emotional separation.

Being pressured to prove that you love your boyfriend or girlfriend by giving them what they want or being coerced to satisfy their sexual desires is not love, but lust.

If your lover really cared about you and really desired the best for you, he or she would want to protect you from anyone –– including himself or herself –– who might hurt you. Asking you to do something that violates your convictions, risks immediate or long-term adverse consequences, and jeopardizes your future happiness is not love –– it is selfishness and foolishness.

One day your boyfriend uses promises of undying love in a passionate attempt to seduce you, but what happens once he is satisfied? What happens if a car wreck disfigures your face? What happens if a degenerative disease ravages your body? Will he reject you? True love is much deeper than physical attraction and should be based on a strong and lasting commitment.

The one who truly loves you will be there if you lose a leg in a tragic accident or are maimed on the field of battle. A faithful partner will stay with you even if disease or age decreases your beauty.

A Proper Time and Place

Many justify sexual sin with the excuse, "Sex is natural, so why fight it?" But so is fire! Controlled, it provides light and warmth. Uncontrolled, it ravages and destroys. Just ask the people I met while serving as a chaplain during the California Wildfires.

The excitement of illicit sex is short-lived. More often than not, it leads to fears and tears. Fear of an unwanted pregnancy or of contracting an incurable disease or of being caught; and tears from broken relationships and the shattered trust of one's partner.

The best protection against sexually transmitted diseases is to practice mutual faithfulness with one lifetime spouse. Isn't it interesting that this is exactly what God commanded from the beginning?

Within the framework of a God-ordained marital relationship, sex is one of the most pleasurable experiences this side of Heaven. After all, He invented it with all its passion and excitement.

God designed marital sex for pleasure and procreation. The feelings and emotions generated in a trusting and faithful marriage make the sexual experience far more intense and enjoyable. But sex outside of marriage can be very destructive. Sex is powerful enough to create a new life. Then you have several choices. You can have an abortion. Yet God gives no one the right to take an innocent life. Besides, the long-term consequences of an abortion are staggering. You can give the baby up for adoption or attempt to raise the child yourself. However, these choices are very difficult and will result in a scenario that radically affects many lives. You can get married. But such marriages are usually turbulent and rarely last.

How much wiser to follow God's advice and wait to have sex and children until you are in a loving and committed marital relationship! Those who lack the wisdom and strength to refrain from premarital sex are more likely to have extramarital affairs.

Are You Being Conditioned?

Once a Christian young man told me he could not keep his hands off his girlfriend. He justified his behavior by reasoning that at least he was not "going all the way." I told him that if he and his girlfriend showed self-control when they were together, they would be more inclined to show self-restraint when they were apart. When I explained to him that he was actually weakening her resistance and self-control, he realized that he did not want her being vulnerable to other guys now, or later, if he married her.

When I meet with couples who want to get married, I request them to remain sexually pure from that point on. I explain that out of all the girls and guys in the world they have chosen each other. If they maintain control over their sexual desires before marrying the most attractive person in the world to them, it will be much easier to resist anyone who may attempt to entice or seduce them after they are married.

In contrast, giving in to premarital sex with their future mate, weakens their resistance and self-control. They are encouraging each other to be undisciplined and vulnerable to extramarital affairs.

If you have conditioned yourself and your partner to receive instant gratification, what will happen when situations arise which require restraint and self discipline ––like when a spouse is pregnant, sick, or away on an extended business trip? When boredom occurs or temptation arises, those who lacked the wisdom and strength to refrain from premarital sex are more likely to have extramarital affairs.

Keeping Yourself Pure

Regarding sex, God says, "Wait till marriage and keep it only between you and your spouse." There is a time and a place for everything, and in this case, after the wedding is the time and your marriage partner is the place.

It was not easy in the Apostle Paul's day and it is not easy today to keep one's heart and mind pure. Merely a turn of the head or an innocent glance of the eyes can reveal sights and provoke thoughts, that if left unrestrained, will lead to anything but purity.

Nevertheless, everyone who has the hope of one day seeing and being with Christ "purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:3).

Like a young woman saving herself for her husband on their wedding night, we must strive to be spiritually and morally pure. Keeping our thoughts and lives pure is a command, a challenge, and our calling.

Learn the Lesson of the Oak Tree

While driving to the airport and pondering my message for an upcoming speaking engagement, I noticed a large fallen oak tree split down the middle by an apparent strike of lightning. The following illustration instantly came to mind.

An oak tree takes a lifetime to reach its full potential and stately beauty. Yet, in just a moment it can be felled to the ground by a random bolt of lightning. So, too, a lifetime of purity can be ruined in one passionate moment.

Both nature and hormones, although intended by our Creator to be a blessing to us, can become a destructive curse when they get out of control. While a tree cannot protect itself from the forces of nature, you can and must safeguard yourself from being felled by sexual immorality.

Those Who Triumphed

"Teri" was a virgin and determined not only to remain one until marriage but also to marry a virgin. She met an attractive guy while in her teens who, although he had been offered sex by many beautiful girls, resisted the temptation because of his commitment to Christ. "Teri" and "John" dated for many years and although the temptations were intense, they saved their virginity for marriage. Their courtship and eventual marriage is a great inspiration.

"Tonya" decided to quit the dating scene and not date again until she was certain this was the person she was going to marry. She learned from past experience to keep her list of requirements high––seemingly impossible. One day she met the man she was to marry. He had been forgiven by the Lord for past mistakes and fulfilled all the biblical and personal standards "Tonya" set. Their story of falling in love is a powerful witness of God's forgiveness and faithfulness.

There are many more accounts I could share of faithfulness to the Lord and illustrations concerning teens and adults who have remained untainted from the stains of immorality. Over the years I have met many single people who have remained virgins and married couples whose faithful relationship to each other and the Lord has resulted in untold blessing, peace, and joy. Instead of settling for quick gratification, they clothed themselves in wisdom, strength, and self-control. It would take volumes to tell because, like a beautiful chrysalis, their multitude of blessings take a lifetime to unfold. But the principles they live by will be revealed throughout the pages of my book, Overcoming Sexual Immorality.

Forgiveness Is Available

Many have made mistakes regarding sexual behavior and failed to obey God's Word, but no matter what you have done or thought, there is hope. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11).

Written to believers, First John 1:9 clearly states–– If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The correct response to sin is to confess it to the Lord and receive His forgiveness. True repentance means to turn away from it.