Other Reasons Not To Have Sex Before Marriage

I was traveling cross-country with a friend when it came out that I was waiting for marriage to have sex. And I added, “and there’s no certainty I will ever get married.” He stopped the conversation right there, turned to me and said very sternly, “Promise me you will have sex before you die!”

I have a Christian friend who debated for the longest time whether to have sex before marriage like his culture was pressuring him to do, or to wait for marriage like his Christianity had raised him to. He couldn’t find adequate reasons why an ancient book would have relevant answers on this. Finally, one day he told me, “You know how I’ve struggled with it so much. Well, I finally just did it.”

These days, even Christians don’t understand why—besides “because an ancient book says so,”—anyone would choose to wait for marriage to have sex.

The Bible establishes the ideal situation for sex. God wants us to have it with only one person—our spouse, only after we are married. In the Garden of Eden, God says this is why “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). It says “united to his wife,” which shows they are already husband and wife when they are joined in the flesh.

And then Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:16, “And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her?” So the Bible says we are united in some deep mysterious way when we have sex with someone. The way I understand this, the physical bond is meant to solidify the verbal commitment we make to one other person for life.

And usually when people in the Bible do it another way, it doesn’t go too well for them. Like when Abraham sleeps with his wife’s handmaiden because they don’t have faith God will provide a son for them (Genesis 16, 21). Or when Solomon marries many women and they become his downfall (1 Kings 11).

But these aren’t very compelling reasons to the modern person who questions the Bible’s relevancy. The answer seems even more unreasonable if you’re dating someone whom you probably will marry.

So I’ve compiled a few reasons that I’ve come across and become convicted of over the years. I hope they can solidify your resolve, and equip you to have a good conversation if someone asks, just as they have done for me.

1. Set yourself apart from this world

In a world where it’s cool to do good, like starting non-profits and instagramming encouraging phrases, it’s hard to show what makes a Christian different. One way to show we’re committed to the God of the Bible, on top of engaging in social good (James 1:27), is by living by God’s design for our lives, for marriage.

In a world that shames those who finish high school without having sex, abstinence can be a brave move to show we mean what we claim to believe. When we stick to our resolve, it shouldn’t be hard for others to say, “Wow, she’s really living her faith; otherwise why would she wait?” And maybe they will even say, “Maybe there is something to that religion if she’d make a decision like that.” We’ll stand out. And that can be a powerful tool in sharing our faith.


2. Demonstrate your commitment to your future spouse

In a world where divorce is commonplace, wouldn’t it be good to have a way to show our potential spouse that we’re committed to staying with them and being faithful? What if, even before we were married, there was a way to show our future spouse that we can be trusted to stay faithful even through temptations or lust for others?

By abstaining before and during an engagement, even when our bodies are telling us otherwise, we offer trust and show discipline to our partner. It lets our partners know in a very tangible way that they don’t have to worry about infidelity. It shows we’re people of self-discipline whose convictions are stronger than our impulses. What a gift to give our spouses as we enter into marriage.


3. Shaping our culture

Of course, there are practical reasons not to have sex outside of marriage. These include avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. There are also emotional reasons. One is summarized in the old adage that you give a part of yourself away with each person you sleep with. But I want to say that this is much bigger than each person’s own emotional or physical wellbeing.

This has the power to shape society as a whole.

When we look at this modern world’s hookup culture, we see how it often leads to uncommitted fathers. When marriages are based on pleasure more than on commitment, we see they can lead to divorce when things are no longer pleasant. And we see how both situations can lead to single parent homes.

Then, I wonder, if young people explore vices to fill the hole left by broken households. And maybe, because they lack an example of a love based on a commitment, they take their cues for love from the world. And the cycle spreads and continues to the next generation.

I think much of this stems from our culture’s call for us to be people pursuing pleasure instead of purpose. Our culture tells us we each have a right to be happy and live how we want, as long as we don’t step on anyone else’s toes. Some might say that this is moral living. But our God knows we will grow into better, more complete humans like we were meant to be if we live by more than just “not stepping on others’ toes.”

God wants us to be people of internal depth, of fulfilled promises, self-discipline, and of love based on commitment. And when we live by the standards He has prescribed, it is a better plan for a life of peace and joy that the rest of the world tries so desperately to find. Jesus says He has come so we will have abundant life (John 10:10). And the fruit of the spirit include joy and peace right alongside self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Millions of joy and peace-filled Christians living lives of integrity, self-control, and commitment can set a refreshing example to our culture, which is overwhelmed by brokenness and pleasure-seeking. And abstinence before marriage at this time is perhaps the most powerful way we can exemplify this for our culture.


Having said all this, this is not about shaming those who are not virgins. But instead, I hope the above reasons serve as an encouragement because each one of these reasons can be reclaimed by non-virgins. In fact, perhaps it is even more impactful when someone, who once lived a life like the world, goes back to the life of commitment and integrity of the Bible. We can choose to set ourselves apart from the world, demonstrate integrity for our future spouse, and shape culture.

I wish I could to tell you that things will be easy if you simply follow the instructions. But I’ll be honest: it won’t necessarily be easy. The bible has many examples of people who have experienced deep fulfillment but it was while travelling a hard road of commitment and dedication. I hope we can live our lives as a calling card for what God can do in our culture.

“Ross, promise me you’ll have sex before you die!”

If I were to give a response to our culture that says this, it would be “I’m promised to something deeper than my own pleasures. I have promised myself to my Creator who has included me in a plan that is building me into a more substantial, fully-formed human of integrity, promise, commitment, self-discipline, and joy. I am becoming a person built to thrive in heaven forever.”

Walking With Suffering Friends

Written By Chong Shou En, Singapore

Confidante. A shoulder to cry on. Bosom buddy. We’ve all needed these people, and played these roles too at different times in our lives.

It isn’t a role to be taken lightly, however. When people are at their most vulnerable, that’s often when whatever we say or do can have the biggest impact. Well-intentioned but incorrect or insensitive words and actions can damage, put off, or discourage the very friends turning to us for comfort and support.

Have you ever come across the phrase “Job’s comforter”? According to Google, it means someone who “aggravates distress under the guise of giving comfort.” If you’re familiar with the Bible story of Job, you can probably guess that this phrase is in reference to Job’s three friends who, instead of providing Job the support and comfort he needed through the suffering he was facing, gave him much grief by accusing and criticizing him.

Yet, there is much we can learn from the account of Job when it comes to journeying with friends through their difficult times.


1. Reach out

Job was a righteous and blameless man, blessed by God with a large family and great wealth. One day, God allowed Satan to strike Job in order to see how he would react. In a short period, Job lost all his children and possessions, and was afflicted with sickness to boot. Then, three of Job’s friends came to visit him.

“When Job’s three friends. . . heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him” (Job 2:11). These friends even tore their clothes as an expression of grief and spent seven days in silent vigil with Job (Job 2:12-13).

This level of sincerity and sensitivity is admirable, and certainly something we can learn from. We too should be brave and bold to take the first step to approach friends in need and accompany them.


2. Don’t judge

Though Job’s friends got off to a good start, they came to be known as terrible friends.

Though they did a good job keeping quiet the first seven days, the problem started when they opened their mouths. Instead of comforting and encouraging Job, these friends judged him.

And boy did they judge him hard. These three friends took it upon themselves to tell Job how he had sinned and deserved all this suffering that he brought upon himself, even though the Bible said he was “blameless and upright” (Job 1:1).

These friends called him presumptuous, wicked, and lacking fear of God. They even suggested that Job enjoyed his wrongdoing (Job 20:12), and that his sons deserved the calamity that struck them down (Job 18:19). It was definitely not what Job needed to hear at the moment.

I once shared certain painful experiences with a friend, hoping to explain some changes in my personality he had found unsettling. I was truly hurt when my friend responded by criticizing me for what I had just told him. Though there was some truth in my friend’s criticisms, for which I apologized, this experience ultimately pushed us apart and made me see him in a different light.

We must be careful not to judge each other and draw our own conclusions about why another is suffering.


 3. Keep silent and listen

Elihu, the fourth friend, stayed quiet for most of the book while the other three bickered, only speaking up when the others had finished laying out their views.

Like Elihu, we shouldn’t be quick to offer the first reply that comes to mind, because, as we’ve seen, that is probably not what is needed.

My army friend recently told me about how he and his girlfriend often quarrelled, because whenever he confided to her about the problems he was facing in the army, she would keep telling him what he should to do to solve them. Most of the time, he already knew the correct solution, and just wanted a sympathetic ear. Hearing him, I was secretly thankful that I had just quietly listened to him and not tried to make any assessment or offer any solution to his predicament.


4. Encourage

When Elihu finally spoke up, he didn’t judge Job for perceived past sins that were not actually committed, but instead took issue with Job’s current speech. We are told “Elihu. . . became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God” (Job 32:2).

However, Elihu was also the only one of the four friends to offer hope to Job. He acknowledged Job’s predicament, and then delivered an uplifting promise of restoration and God’s goodness: “then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God’s face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being” (Job 33:26).

Elihu told Job of how God has a plan and allows suffering for our own good. He provided a new and much-needed perspective of hope.

While I was enlisted in national service, I went through a spiritual low point in terms of dealing with my own sin and, consequently, my assurance of salvation. Whenever I could get Friday evenings off, I began attending my cousin’s youth group.

The youth were nice and friendly enough, but it was the facilitator, a young woman in her 30s, who eventually took the initiative to engage me and ask how my spiritual walk was. She seemed sincere and mature, so I confided in her the troubles I was having.

We had an honest, meaningful conversation. Though I initially thought that I knew all the textbook answers applicable to my situation, it was her encouragements and prayers that really uplifted and refreshed me.

Eventually, my army commitments prevented me from joining those youth meetings altogether. But by then, thank God, I had come out of the period of spiritual doubt and depression, in large part due to this woman’s encouragement and friendship.


In summary, let’s be quick to listen and quick to hug, slow to speak and even slower to judge.

Most of all, don’t be afraid to reach out, because while we’re not perfect and may often say or do the wrong thing, we can pray and trust God to guide us in our interactions with suffering friends. May we be a blessing to those around us in their time of need.

I Lost My Virginity But Not My Faith

Written By Grace Lim, Singapore

I was an early bloomer in terms of romantic relationships, and started having long-term relationships since the age of 15.

My first relationship was with a Christian. Both of us believed in God, but that didn’t automatically mean that our relationship was a healthy one. We pushed the boundaries in intimacy, and did everything short of the technical definition of sex. The whole time, I consoled myself that this was okay because “we were in love,” and “we’re both Christians”. After daily disagreements and fights for two years, our relationship ended.

Wanting to escape the problems of that relationship, I jumped into a new one right away, without much thought or repentance. This round, it was with a non-Christian. Again, we pushed boundaries. But this time, we took things further than I had ever expected or planned to—in the heat of the moment, I lost my virginity to my second boyfriend. That night, I cried and cried, not being able to sleep a wink, as I learned the hard way that “lost innocence can never be retrieved”.

I felt obliged to hang on to this unhealthy and unequally yoked relationship, believing I couldn’t leave after I had given all of myself to him. For nearly three years, this relationship dragged on.

During those trying years, I faced an endless war within my soul. My ongoing secret sex life stood in stark contrast to my weekly church attendance. I felt disgusting, dirty, and guilty. I was full of self-hatred. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, and yet I felt like I had neither capacity nor strength to escape it. It was like an addiction—just once more, and that’s it, I told myself.  But “it” was never the last.

I grew distant from God. I would be physically present in church but spiritually absent. I would teach about putting God first, when in reality I made my own fleshly desire ruler of my heart. I would go to prayer meetings, but my mind would be wandering. I was living a double life, and this had become my deepest, darkest secret.

Most of all, I was convinced that I was beyond God’s saving grace. I was absolutely certain that God hated me.

And yet, God never gave up on me; He kept pursuing me. People around me would reach out to me, asking me if I was okay or if I needed to talk; bible verses would jump out at me; sermons lovingly delivered would knock on the door of my heart. But just like Pharaoh, my heart was hardened.

Years later, through God’s amazing grace, my eyes were opened at last. I decided to put an end to this toxic relationship, and despite how much it scared me, something prompted me to talk to a trusted friend.

So I did; I reached out to my mentor, a lady from church who had led me through my youth days. I vividly remember her asking whether I wanted her to call me, or if I was more comfortable communicating through text. I chose the latter because of the awkwardness and the judgement I feared.

I finally gathered up the courage to share with her my darkest secret: I am not a virgin. My heart was pounding. I expected her to condemn me or say I should leave church.

Instead, she told me that she had been paying attention to me, and that she noticed how I was drifting away—not paying attention, always distracted. She even thanked me for sharing something so difficult with her, and also reassured me that my life was not over, and that God did not hate me because of sin.

She reminded me that sin is in fact, pervasive in everyone’s lives. All mankind has fallen short of the glory and holiness of God (Romans 3:23). It didn’t mean that I was worse than others because of what I did. It just meant that I was a fallen human being. Romans 5:8 came to my mind: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

For the first time, I grasped the reality that God can forgive me for a sin I felt had separated me from Him forever. No matter how much I had spiralled downwards, I was never too far for Jesus to save. In fact, Jesus had already delivered me from the moment I accepted Him into my heart. I was overwhelmed by His surpassing grace, full of gratitude that God had heard my cry to “hide [His] face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity” (Psalm 51:9).

I realized that God had allowed my iniquities to break me, to the point where there was really nothing else I could do but look up to Him for deliverance. And it was during the darkest night of my soul that God filled me. There is indeed no other name like Jesus; I would never have experienced or known this without having been broken, and then put back together by His faithful hands.

For anyone else who may be suffering in a pit of shame, I would like to encourage you with  these precious truths that spoke to me:

  1. Do not underestimate the power of Jesus’ blood and redemption. God said to ancient Israel, who turned away from Him again and again, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). Surely, God will remember us too. Because of Him, our past does not dictate our future.
  1. Remember that we as sinful human beings are all broken, and that God does not despise even the lowliest, should we choose to turn to Him. “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, you, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
  1. While your virginity is a beautiful gift for your future spouse, the best thing you can possess is a steadfast love to God. People may look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the condition of our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). A truly God-loving spouse will, first and foremost, look at inward purity and glorification of Christ, rather than outward virtue.

A week into the relationship with my current partner, I was convicted to tell him about my past. I knew I was risking it all as I struggled to get the words out. When I finally finished, his reply encapsulated almost perfectly the love of God. He said, “I’m not angry with you. We all have had our own past mistakes, but these past mistakes do not make you who you are. I mean, that’s why we need God, right? We make these mistakes, yes, but we ourselves are a separate entity from these sins because of God’s forgiveness. These sins are not a part of who we are. I still love you.”

 With time, I’ve learned that the struggles I’ve had were never mine alone, and that God can use our vulnerability and brokenness for His glory. What was once a burden I could barely bear has now become a testimony I can use to reach out to and share with other struggling individuals, being a vessel of God’s love to them.

My prayer for anyone struggling is that God will transform your pain into your strength and testimony to minister to others, and to glorify Him. Commit yourself to continuous prayer for restoration and surrender your burdens to God each and every day. Find a friend or a mentor you absolutely trust, and walk through the journey of healing together. God’s arms are always open to receive you, just like the father welcomed the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31).

“You’re still single? What’s wrong with you?”

Written By Deborah Fox, Australia

Last week, I realized I may be a contender for a world record—the highest number of weddings attended by a single person under the age of 35. I’ve been counting and, although it seems impossible, the number has now reached 207.

In the past month alone, three of my friends changed their Facebook status to “married”. I celebrate with them but I also feel a sense of heartache. When will it be my turn? Have I been too picky? The longing in my heart grows with each year that passes, while my sense of self-worth seems to diminish.  

So, Valentine’s Day—today—just reminds me of my singleness and the relationships that have not worked out. I just wish my married friends would stop saying, “You’re still single? What’s wrong with you?”

I know what you’re thinking; I must be using hyperbole here. Well, unfortunately not. Many people have actually said this to my face. Most of them have been well-meaning Christians or extended family members. They care about my future. They want to make sure I share the same happiness and security they enjoy. But they are not being helpful with statements like that, because well, it’s perfectly okay to be single.

So if you’re going through Valentine’s Day this year as a single, here are a few reasons to take heart in this status and phase of life.


1. Marriage was never promised by God

God gives us many promises in His Word, but a life partner is not one of them. So why, I wonder, do so many people see marriage as an ultimate life goal to aspire towards? And why do they treat singleness as some kind of disease for which we all need to find a cure? The love between a husband and wife is certainly a gift from our Creator . . . but it’s not a gift we are all promised.

In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” While it is normal to desire intimate relationships, God has also designed us to be in relationships in a community. Time after time, I’ve heard single female friends say that they are either waiting for God to provide “Mr Right”, or preparing to take the situation into their own hands to find a “Mr You’ll Do”. They are so focused on looking for a man that they miss out on experiencing good, deep friendships.

For those of us who are still single, marriage might come our way eventually—but it doesn’t mean we should put our lives on hold to wait for it.


2. Singleness is not an exception to the rule

This is particularly true in Christian circles: We need to stop promoting the idea that being a single person in the church is somehow not as important as being a “wife”, “husband”, “mother”, or “father”. The fact is, there is a large population of single adults in most Western churches.

I belong to a Bible study group that is made up entirely of single women in their 30s and older. I’m single. My sisters are single. Many of my friends are single. Yet, singleness seems to be treated like the big elephant in the room (or church pews). Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for encouraging healthier marriages and providing parenting help to families. But we should not neglect the needs and experiences of single people. We are all part of the church family and Body of Christ, not just “spare parts”.


3. Effectiveness in Ministry

Have you ever wondered if you could be of any use to God on your own? In his letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul urges Christian believers to consider how effective singlehood can be in ministry, as it allows for “undivided attention to the Lord” (1 Cor 7:35). They are not bound by duties to their husbands and wives. They can go to far-flung corners of the globe to serve God.

While I know of many families who are extremely effective in mission work, the majority of my friends involved in cross-cultural gospel work are single. They have a great passion to serve God, no matter what their relationship status is. My sister is leading a translation project in Asia, three of my close friends are spread throughout the world with different mission agencies, and another friend is leading evangelism projects in her own neighborhood.


4. Our identity is in Christ, not our Facebook relationship status

At the end of the day, whether we’re single or married, in a relationship or not in a relationship, divorced, separated, or anything else in between, God loves us just as we are. We don’t need to do or be anything other than ourselves to be accepted by Him. As long as we look to Jesus, we can rest assured that our identity as co-heirs with Christ in God’s Heavenly Kingdom will never be taken away from us. In heaven, there will be no marriage (Matt 22:30; Rev 7:17), but as members of God’s church, we get to share in the ultimate wedding feast.

As tempting as it is to compare myself to my married friends, my status as a daughter of God is the only one that really matters. I am blessed to be surrounded by incredibly loving family and friends.


Valentine’s Day might be filled with reminders of relationships that didn’t work out or insecurities about being alone. But it’s also an opportunity to celebrate the source of true love: God. The interesting part is, St Valentine was not the love-sick Cupid he’s sometimes portrayed to be; it is likely he was a bishop in the early church who was martyred for his refusal to partake in pagan worship!

St Valentine knew that his allegiance lay with Jesus, whose ultimate gift of love was to lay down his life for us. This Valentine’s Day, I’ll be catching up with Christian friends and we will be spending time thanking God for who He is and what He has done in our lives. God is love and that is the one thing we can all celebrate together!