Sexual Abstinence – Living Your Faith
By Toni Smothers
"Great crowds were following Jesus, He turned around and said to them, ‘If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me.
But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if there is enough money to pay the bills? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of funds. And then how everyone would laugh at you! They would say,’ ‘There’s the person who started that building and ran out of money before it was finished!’
‘Or what king would ever dream of going to war without first sitting down with his counselors and discussing whether his army of ten thousand soldiers is strong enough to defeat the twenty thousand soldiers who are marching against him? If he is not able, then while the enemy is still far away, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace. So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.’"
In this passage we find Jesus with another large crowd. But when he talks to them he doesn’t use smooth words or encouraging tones. Instead, he wants them to know exactly what it will cost to tag along with him. We need to know that the Christian walk is not a "piece of cake."
In essence, he is telling them to rethink their perspective on life, which is temporary, and to place a special emphasis on the value of their souls, which are eternal. Of course we know it’s the best deal going – from the Christian’s viewpoint, we already understand that a life of sin is worthless compared to an eternal life with God. Jesus was offering the opportunity to forget the past and start fresh in the present and then live their future lives for Him. A life lived like that sounds wonderful, and it is, but there will be a cost ….
No one starts a club or a project without planning out the details and taking deliberate steps that gradually advance them closer to their desired goal – and no one can grow in their Christian walk without being intentional about that either.
Do you want Jesus to be first in your life? Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t just happen when you pray the sinner’s pray and ask Him into your heart. A person, who says they want to live in a grand mansion, but doesn’t get an education or a job, would be hypocritical. This isn’t about pretence but truth and life. What current friends or compromising activities might be given up while maturing your spiritual walk with God? Are you ready and willing to do that? God wants all of you. Your love and devotion is so important to Him that He sent His precious son to die so that you might have a full life now and later with Him in heaven.
Jesus warned us about the cost of discipleship. Those who think that accepting the Lord will be simple and lead to a non-confrontational, easy way of living are in for a lot of surprises and disappointments. Satan isn’t about to let us follow Christ without throwing in our way whatever unexpected temptations he can conjure up, making us pay dearly for refusing him and welcoming Jesus to lead us through life. The choice to live a Christian lifestyle has to be made repeatedly and be reconfirmed daily because we really are in a spiritual war!
What battles are you presently undergoing? Do you get tempted to chitchat about others you know who have thrown away their virginity with no thought to the sinfulness of that? Have you let your normal interest about sex overtake your better judgment?
If you’ve made those kinds of bad mistakes in the past, you can repent of them and change that kind of behavior now by deciding not to repeat sexual intimacy until you marry? Begin fresh and save your beloved body for the godly person who will walk this life with you and appreciate your sacrifice. Start praying for a godly mate now and let God send the perfect one for you in His timing.
Or maybe you’ve held out and still have the choice to refuse to submit to the pressures of sex? Can you win that struggle against lust? What about offering your need for immediate gratification as a sacrifice of purity to God and your future spouse? Can you live with the cruelty and isolation peers can inflict on you over such choices? Do you spend much of your precious time studying God’s word and hanging out with your Christian friends, or do you watch hour after hour of immoral media, letting those poisonous viewpoints influence what you know in your heart to be wrong. Do you live what you profess to believe?
You must face these big issues as a young adult. These precepts for abstinence are biblical. They can’t be left to a sudden moment of passion. Soon, you will be in the position of making increasingly difficult, independent choices. Take a few minutes each morning, before you go out into the world, to begin your day, seriously turning your weaknesses over to God. Tell Him about the things that tempt you and the things that you are struggling with. Ask Him for his help to live your day in a way that will be pleasing and acceptable in His sight. Those few moments with Him first thing each day can make all the difference.
If you have any questions you would like answered anonymously, just write to me. I love you and really want to help, especially when the truth can seem so harsh.
All Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996 by Tyndale
Toni Smothers is a child of God, wife, mom, grandmother, writer and lay-speaker. She has had serious exposure to the rougher side of life and from that experience has been left with a heart full of love for others who struggle with learning about our beautiful Savior. Through her writing, Toni delights in helping young people especially, who are seeking to find a true, intimate relationship with their Heavenly Father. Toni can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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