Singles of Note: Rebecca St. James
- Janet Chismar Senior Editor, News & Culture
- Published Apr 21, 2004
If you had to pick a single who epitomizes what it means to stand for Christ, the name Rebecca St. James quickly springs to mind. Often referred to as "the voice of her generation," the 26 year old consistently uses her platform to challenge young adults to stand boldly for purity. Each night on the concert stage, in addition to issuing an altar call, Rebecca declares her commitment to virginity.
Her song, "Wait For Me," has become an anthem for abstinence as well as a number one single and video. Her book, "Wait For Me," is now in its sixth printing and has been translated into several languages for the international market. Rebecca has also authored two devotional books for young adults that have been top sellers – 40 Days With God and 40 More Days With God. She is currently working on a new book to be published this year.
When asked how she would encourage other young adults to remain strong in their convictions, Rebecca recommended beginning with the basics. “But, keep in mind, I’m definitely not perfect,” she says, laughing. “One of the first things I would persuade people of all ages to do in this area of standing for God is simply to start with a daily quiet time with Him. That is so essentially important.”
Rebecca compares her relationship with God to any important love relationship: “If we invest in that relationship, it grows deeper. If we show vulnerability and love to that person, they will do the same in return.”
It’s like that with God, says Rebecca. When we invest time daily seeking Him, our relationship with Him moves forward. But if we neglect spending time with God, our relationship stagnates.
“You can only take a stand for somebody you know intimately,” she adds.
On campus or in the workplace, says Rebecca, there are so many ways to stand for God. “With Christian friends, we can talk about our relationship with Him and encourage our friends to stand strong. Or, with non-Christian friends, we should be open to talking about our faith, even if it means they give us weird looks or think we’re unusual.”
According to Rebecca, it’s all a matter of being led by His spirit and being sensitive to the stands He would have us make.
“Wait for Me”
Perhaps the hardest stand to take in an impure world is remaining pure until marriage. Rebecca says she feels troubled when people are flippant about sex. “They don’t understand that sex needs to be respected. It is such a beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing within the bond and covenant of marriage, but it can also be a devastatingly, agonizing thing outside of marriage and I’ve seen that side. I’ve spoken to the people who have had sexually transmitted diseases who are married now, and it actually hurts to have sex because of what they did before marriage.”
She has also talked to people who are riddled with guilt because of what they’ve done prior to marriage and are thinking, “Will my future spouse accept me given what I’ve done?”
“I’ve seen the tears,” says Rebecca. “I’ve talked to the girls who had sex with their boyfriends, got rejected, then had sex with tons of different guys. Then they got involved with drugs and alcohol and tried to commit suicide – all out of that one compromise.”
Rebecca believes many people fail to realize what an intimate, bonding experience sex is—that it’s two becoming one flesh—until it’s too late. “God made it that way, but He made it that way to be in the bond of marriage and I totally believe that true love really does wait.”
The Price of Standing for God
Being a spokeswoman for virginity in today’s society is not without cost. But, according to Rebecca, she has not experienced as much persecution as she once anticipated. “That has been surprising to me, because I would have thought with it being such a counterculture message that I’m sharing, I would have more people opposing me.” She has heard snickers when speaking at schools. “And I remember in Australia once – after I had just spoken about purity – a guy fully disagreed with me. But I’ve never had anyone just rip into me and absolutely abuse me for talking about abstinence.”
Rebecca’s convictions also have been tested on a personal level. “With my most recent boyfriend, I took a very strong stand on boundaries and I said things like, ‘I want to put a shoe in the door if we’re alone in a room together because I don’t want there to be even the appearance of compromise. Somebody could walk in the door at any stage. That keeps us accountable and it avoids the appearance of evil.’ He definitely did not agree with me and was quite strong about it himself.
“So, not only did I feel challenged in my stand and rejected by him, by somebody that I cared about so much, but it was a very hard thing being the girl and having to take that stand and him not backing me up.”
At 26 and single, Rebecca has had years practicing what she preaches. While she hopes to marry someday, the busy singer/author doesn’t sit around wallowing in self-pity. “Most of the time, I’m pretty active so I don’t have a whole lot of time to think, ‘I’m alone.’ Also, I have wonderful friends, and family, and guys friends as well that I hang out with, so I feel very full and rich in my community. When you’re alone in a lot of areas in your life, I think that’s when you feel really, really lonely. But if you’ve got a strong sense of community – I think it makes the single life a lot easier.”
Attractive, successful and charming, Rebecca easily could pick any man she sees to date. But she does not want to force God’s hand. “I don’t want to go out there and just try and make something happen, because I really want it to be of God; I really want him to orchestrate this relationship. For me to humanly force something out of feeling that ‘It’s about time that I had someone’ would be, for me, messing with God’s plan.”
She describes her future marriage as a miracle – “not in the sense that it’s so hard for me to find the right guy– but just that it’s going to be a God thing. I trust that and I also feel a deep sense in my heart that He has promised me He is going to take care of me and provide someone for me in that right time.
“It might not be my timing,” she adds, “but He has given me a whole lot of promises through different circumstances, and through the Bible, and through His peace, that have allowed me that comfort.”
Of course, even Rebecca admits to wondering every now and then, “God, where is he?”
But then God seems to give her a picture of what it will be like when she has married and the wait has ended: “It’s almost like He allows me to be in that place and look back and say, ‘Why didn’t I trust God and just enjoy the single years that I had?’”
For now, Rebecca is at peace. “I’ve come to a place recently of, ‘God, this is obviously where you have me right now and I’m happy to be here. I’m enjoying life – I feel full in all the different areas of my life and I’m content in you and happy to wait.’”