"I'm 40-years old, I've been married and divorced, and I've found a really special guy/girl and we're in love. We've been dating for a while and aren't able to get married right now. Is it really wrong for us to sleep together?"
It's a question that Ray Pritchard, of Keep Believing Ministries tackled recently in an article on Crosswalk.com entitled "SleepingTogether and Christ's Global Cause."
His response was the best answer I have ever heard on the subject, and I won't attempt to recreate his article here. I hope you'll follow the link and read it yourself.
His answer resonated with me, not because I have any doubts about whether it's ok for Christian singles to sleep together, but because his response is also the answer to many other decisions we face as believers.
Pritchard bypasses all possible scenarios people give to justify immoral behavior and cuts to the heart of the matter. This is what he says:
"There is a deeper issue at work here. When I read your note, I was reminded of a book I read 25 years ago. It was a story about how many Jews in Romania were saved from the Holocaust by some Romanian friends who spirited them out of the country at great personal risk. Here is the part I recall most vividly. The heroine of the book was a beautiful young woman, well placed in the country, a friend of powerful people, who took up the cause of the Jews as her own. Time and again she risked everything to save them.
"I thought of that book for the first time in many years when I read your note. I think the meaning is, “As long as you and your friend have time to think about sleeping together, you aren’t serving the right cause.” I dare to venture that Christ and his Kingdom simply have not captured your heart. When Christ’s global cause and serving others in his name becomes your priority, you won’t have time or energy to think about sleeping together. Or you may think about it, but the higher calling will overrule your desires."
As I said earlier, whether or not two 40-year-old Christian singles sleep together is not an issue in my life. It may not be in yours either, but there are other issues to which we can apply the same litmus test.
Listen to Pritchard's reasoning:
"This applies not just to sexual sin but to gluttony, pride, sloth, envy, bitterness, and every other evil inclination. We sin because we are bored and can’t think of anything better to do.
As long as we are bored, we will justify anything we can think of simply to keep us occupied. Remember that David sinned with Bathsheba precisely because he had nothing better to do. He stayed home when it was the time of year when kings go out to war (2 Samuel 11:1). We focus on the adultery, but that was the result of his own boredom. He didn’t have anything better to do that night, he took a walk, he saw Bathsheba, and the rest is history.
We sin because we don’t have anything better to do.
Right now you don’t have anything better to do so of course the two of you sleep together. But how can you do that when the world is dying, millions are suffering, and people everywhere need the Lord? Why do you lie in bed with your lady friend when the King has called for you?"
These are sobering words. Pritchard's perspective calls me to consider my own actions in light of Christ's higher calling. When I choose to sin, I do not sin in a vacuum. Sin hamstrings me from being the most effective witness for Christ possible.
When I am at odds with my husband because of selfishness, Christ's ability to work through me comes to a screeching halt.
When I spend my time watching questionable television shows and movies or reading worthless books, I misspend time and energy that can be used to advance God's kingdom.
When I am lazy and self-centered, I accept God's gift of health, wealth, and salvation and, like a greedy child, run off into the sunset with my treasures clutched tightly in my hands singing, "It's all about ME ME ME!"
The apostle Paul said it first when he admonished the Ephesians.
"Pay careful attention, then, how you walk--not as unwise people but as wise--making the most of the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15-16).
Lord, I confess I often lose sight of the fact that I was bought with a price for a purpose. May I live every day not for myself, but for the purpose for which you have saved me.
To read the full text of Ray Pritchard's article, click here.
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