This weekend I turn 40. I have never had sex. That’s right. I will be the 40 year old virgin. Now that stirs something in you. Some might think I’m some sort of hero. Some might think I’m a wuss or haven’t really lived, or that I can’t get a date. Some will wonder how the heck I haven’t exploded. Still others might feel guilty of their own sin.
The truth is, I’m neither proud or ashamed of it.
On the one hand I’m glad that I haven’t had sex outside of marriage. I know that’s not what God would want. On the other hand I’ve given into sexual immorality in other ways. At some point in the last 25 years I’ve struggled with having lustful thoughts, viewing porn, fantasizing about women, and masturbation. I’ve gone “too far” with women here and there.
I’ve also messed up dating. Part of the reason I’m a virgin is I’m not married. Ha! What I mean is if I’d dated better or learned what the heck I was doing maybe I would have gotten married sooner. I could have been less selfish or arrogant at times. Other times I shouldn’t have been passive or afraid. I’ve helped make myself single many times.
So I’m not here to say “yeah me”. I’m not here to beat myself up either. I’m here to say that just because you are single doesn’t mean you have to give in to sexual immorality.
The last couple of blogs I’ve talked a lot about principles we need to hold. We need to have the right view of sex, we need to have the right view of desire, and we need to desire Jesus most of all. These are all essential.
But today I want to talk about some things that have helped me over the last 20 plus years practically speaking. These are not THE answers necessarily, but as I look back and think about how I ended up not having sex or being completely dominated by the drive to, these are some keys.
I‘ve read the Bible. Being in the scriptures makes us love God more – which fills us up. It also shaped my view of sex. As a new believer at 17 we read in a small group about fleeing from immorality and why. I had never heard it before and it shaped my view at an early age. What we take into our minds and hearts helps to shape our desires. We need to take in scripture and worship etc.
I’ve never seriously dated anyone who didn’t know Jesus. Its not that I never wanted to. I just knew I couldn’t. This is so huge. It means both people might at least try to abstain. I can’t count the people I know who have had their walk shaken by dating someone who isn’t following Jesus. If you are the only one who is going to say no, you’re in trouble.
Along those lines, I’ve always predetermined that I would say no. Sometimes this has meant literally avoiding certain situations. But this is what Paul means when he says flee. Stay the heck out of the scenario to begin with.
To further that thought, for almost as long as I’ve had a computer, I’ve had Covenant Eyes. This service sends everything I look at online to a friend. I think this is by far the best approach. I would say every guy should have this. Why not?
I’ve chosen to have people in my life who know everything I’m doing. They have permission to ask me anything. Here is a trustworthy saying. If it’s secret it’s wrong. Even if it’s not technically wrong.
All of the above have helped me but as I’ve thought about this the number one helpful thing is that long ago I realized that it’s not just about me.
From early on I’ve been doing ministry. I don’t mean that I’ve been in full time ministry although for much of it I have been. What I mean is that when you are trying to show others Jesus and leading people, what you do matters more. Others are looking at me. I can’t count the times that this has stopped me.
Times when I would have gone to the strip club, or met someone at a bar and had a one night stand. There were other’s hearts at stake. I remember early in my career someone said that is not very good accountability. I would submit that it’s actually damn good accountability. If it’s just about me or “saving myself for marriage” then I might be willing to compromise. If it’s about God and His kingdom, that’s a whole other thing.
Jesus said the most important thing is to love God and love others. Sexual immorality gets in the way of that. I truly believe if our focus is ourselves, or even our own little life with Jesus, we are screwed. But if we are focused on loving Jesus and loving others, we have a chance.