Which means that, as uncomfortable as it may be, talking about this on Crosswalk.com is vital to our constituency. We may say we oppose abortion, but when we find ourselves in a sexual dilemma, more of us in our faith communities buy the lie of abortion than we want to admit.

It’s at this point where Christians start trotting out lists of rules and regulations for how we’re supposed to act to reduce our exposure to sexual temptation. But we already know the rules, don’t we? And even if we pretend to get caught off-guard by sexually immoral predicaments, don’t we usually have only ourselves to blame? You’d have to come from a heavily cloistered background to be ignorant about what our culture teaches and expects about sex.

Instead, what’s often missing in these conversations are basic facts about God’s love for us despite our sin, and how the Holy Spirit can develop our faith as we battle against our flesh. Because it’s hard to imagine a “crisis pregnancy” that’s evolved from an act of love. Usually, pregnancies that are a “problem” are the result of lust, not love.

So let’s start with reminding ourselves that God’s love for us is the type of love we should be demonstrating towards – and expecting from – our sexual partner. We know that God designed sex exclusively for married couples, and that virtue isn’t so much what we deny ourselves before getting married, but what we’re saving ourselves for. Sharing something this intimate with only one other living person may seem passé these days, but it’s God’s provision for marital unity that can be used in a way no other demonstration of love can be. It’s not just that there are negative consequences for having sex outside of marriage. It’s that our society doesn’t value the positive consequences God intends for sex within marriage to produce.

Remember, too, that God isn’t tempting us with sexual sin. It’s the devil, who has corrupted our culture and wants us to forget that God knows we’re mere mortals. Sure, resisting sexual temptation is hard, but it’s even harder the more we don’t avail ourselves of God’s promises to reward our contentment with His providence. He knows we’re not married, and He knows the sexual drives He’s built into each of us. But He’s not torturing us with unfulfilled urges, is He? Instead, might He be building our faith so that even if we never marry, and never experience sex, we can still find our satisfaction in Him?

In terms of our witness and opportunities for discipleship, being sexually pure represents a particularly dynamic expression of fidelity to Christ’s gospel. Since so much of our culture is saturated with sexual themes, being able to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit – in particular, patience and self-control – in that part of our lives society tells us is uncontrollable provides direct testimony to God’s power in our lives.

Not that we won’t make mistakes, or that it will be easy, or that we’ll be able to successfully insulate ourselves from our society’s ubiquitous sexual suggestions and opportunities. But here’s the kicker: we don’t value sexual purity because we need to jump through hoops to please God. We value sexual purity because we love God. He first loved us, and has rights over our bodies by virtue of His salvific work in our lives. But when we love somebody, we want to please them, and honor them. It’s not a law, or a rule; otherwise, the recipient of our affection wouldn’t know whether our love was genuine. With sexual purity, we not only please God by acknowledging that His ways are best, but we also get to benefit from the rewards inherent in them.

We evangelical singles may be on the front lines in our culture’s war on sex. But God has already won the war for us, through Christ.

Whose bride, as a matter of fact, we believers are.

How’s that for incentive?

From his smorgasboard of church experience, ranging from the Christian and Missionary Alliance to the Presbyterian Church in America, Tim Laitinen brings a range of observations to his perspective on how we Americans worship, fellowship, and minister among our communities of faith. As a one-time employee of a Bible church in suburban Fort Worth, Texas and a former volunteer director of the contemporary Christian music ministry at New York City's legendary Calvary Baptist, he's seen our church culture from the inside out. You can read about his unique viewpoints at o-l-i.blogspot.com.

Publication date: February 19, 2013