Cohabitation Is Not God’s Plan

One of the problems in our culture when it comes to singleness is that the word single is too broad.  It means far too many things.  As I’ve stated before here, this is especially a problem in Christian culture because there are varying scriptural instructions for different groups of unmarried people.  There are at least the following biblical examples of marital status: The married, the divorced, the widowed, those not yet married, those celibate by birth, those celibate because of the fall of man and those who are called and choose Celibacy for the Kingdom.  Needless to say, all of these are different.

But in our culture we have added a group that amazingly I’ve never directly addressed here at the blog.  That is those couples that live in cohabitation.

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Suffering In Singleness

One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is the idea of suffering.  This has not been brought on because of personal suffering.  I am in a season right now where I don’t feel a lot personal suffering.  But I have had many seasons where I have.  This was especially true when I was single.

What has brought on these thoughts is that I have friends who have suffered and I’ve seen a lot of confusion in the singleness arena about the idea of suffering.  For example there is the idea that celibacy is too great a cross to bear.  That it is unfair that we are asking those who are not called to Celibacy for the Kingdom to suffer.  The idea that it is unfair to ask those who are unmarried and wish to be or those that are celibate due to the fall of man, to remain celibate is to ask them to suffer unfairly.

I want to offer a few thoughts here about suffering in general and then bring it back to singleness.

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Modesty, Lust and Attraction

One of the fun things about writing this blog over the last few years is the questions, thoughts and ideas that readers bring via comments and emails.  Today I wanted to write a post in response to an email question I received a while back.

A young lady wrote in and asked:

I want to know why modesty in dress is considered so important for men’s purity of thought.

I dress modestly. I have no problem with that. Doesn’t bother me. . .

But, I don’t really believe that normal, average women are physically appealing to men when the women who men want to look at are strippers, porn stars, prostitutes and lingerie models. The women who men pay to see are surgically enhanced with silicone parts and fake hair, nails, tans, noses, breasts and eyelashes. That’s not what most average women look like. We don’t meet that physical gold standard of beauty or physical attractiveness.

So why do we have to worry about men lusting after us when we’re not the ones they want anyway? They’re looking at the iPhones, not me or other women who are around.

This email actually raises several different questions and thoughts.  We are talking here about modesty of dress, men lusting, how attraction works among other things.  Let me address a couple of points here that might be helpful.

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Same Sex Attraction And Celibacy

We have been looking for the last few posts at celibacy with what Jesus teaches in Matthew 19 as the background.  We have looked at the overall picture, those that are born in a way that makes them celibate for life (either physically incapable or without the mental capacity for marriage), made that way by the fall or those that choose Celibacy for the Kingdom.

Last time we started to look that the second category – those “made that way by the fall of man“.  In that post I promised a post about those that are attracted to the same sex but remain celibate.  Today that is exactly what I want to talk about.

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Celibacy Because Of The Fall Of Man

Today I want to talk about the second of the three groups of people that Jesus talks about in Matthew 19 who are unable to marry.  You can see the general overview from the initial post here.  But as a quick refresher, Jesus said that there were three ways that a person could end up a eunuch (unable to marry).  The first was that they were born that way (physically or mentally unable to marry).  The second was those that were made that way by man (which I am suggesting can include those that end up there because of the fall of man).  The third, which we will discussed in the previous post, are those that choose celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom.

Today I want to focus on the second group, those that because of the fall of man, because of sin, end up celibate.

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Is Sexual Desire A Sin

In my last post I posed the thought that sexual attraction and sexual desire are not the same thing.  I believe this it true in general by the way.  In other words attraction of any kind is not the same as desire of the same kind.

The question that follows though is this: Is sexual desire for someone other than your heterosexual spouse a sin?

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Attraction vs Sexual Desire

One of the problems in our theology of marriage and celibacy, as well as frankly most other topics, is that we often use the certain words interchangeably that don’t mean exactly the same thing.  This of course causes all sorts of confusion and it makes it really hard to have theological conversations of any kind let alone a debate.

Now part of this is due to the English language itself.  Now I’m fan of English, but let’s face it, some of our words cause problems.  Think of the word love.  I love my car, I love my dog, I love Mizzou, I love my wife, I love God.  Obviously I love all these things differently and yet I’m given only one word to use.

But a lot of our problem comes from lazy theology and/or lazy language use.  For example, while they are to varying degrees related, salvation, justification, and election are not theologically the same word, and yet we often treat them as if they were.

This is also true when it comes our theology in the contexts of marriage, celibacy  and sexual sin.  So today, I want to break down a couple of these words we use.  I’m not expecting everyone to agree with me, but we have to at least try to talk about it because if we don’t have any nuance of language then we can’t really have much of a conversation about any of this.

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