Your stomach balls up, clenched by shame and regret.
You never thought you would get to this point … Your mind races back to the first moments as you scramble to figure out why and how this could have happened.
This person wasn’t you. It’s not who you are supposed to be and it certainly was never who you sought out to be.
You are convinced that he is the one. You find yourself reasoning. You justify the cost.
How do I escape this? How can I stop? You think back to the first time you crossed the line.
Every time was easier after that. You’re ashamed. You’re stuck.
You’re not alone. This is the story of many young people.
What I am about to say is for those who are struggling, lost and filled with guilt. It’s also for the young person who has never had their first kiss.
Because the truth is, no matter who you are, where you come from or what you believe—purity is one of the hardest things you will commit to do.
First, friends, please understand this: No matter your physical past, you are NOT stuck. If you want forgiveness, it’s yours. Jesus gives it freely and He has His arms wide open to envelope you in love. Please do not live in the prison of shame.
Colossians 1:14 says: “God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.”
Before you even enter a relationship, I want you to come face-to-face with the reality of three things:
1. If you are alive in this world, you WILL be tempted with sexual sin.
2. Everything, good and bad, in a relationship starts small.
3. Without a plan, you will not succeed.
The battle of purity is the fight your flesh does not want to win.
How can we realistically save ourselves for marriage when we know the world tells us “It’s OK”?
How can we actively fight our flesh? And maybe even more important, how can we stop when we have found ourselves crossing lines we never intended to cross?
No one is immune to falling into sexual sin. I sure wasn’t. It was a battle to stay pure at every new season in my relationship with my fiancé. Waiting was hard. There is no doubt about that. But what God has for us in marriage is beautiful.
Here are six things that helped us win the battle for purity, and I know it will help you, too.
1. PUT JESUS FIRST IN YOUR LIFE.
You always hear people say, “Keep Jesus at the center of your relationship.”
But what does that actually look like? Putting Jesus at the center of your relationship will not happen unless you both are putting Him first in your own personal lives.
When you pursue a relationship with Jesus and put Him first, you are laying down your own flesh and selfish desires before you ever run into temptation. Check your heart.
How can you fight if you are spiritually running on empty?
2. KNOW YOUR “WHY.”
Why do you believe in not having sex before marriage? Do you actually know?
Genuinely ask yourself this question! It’s OK to realize that you may not have a good answer. You have identified a weak spot beforehand, now you can go find answers.
The Bible tells us very clearly why we should not have sex before marriage, but you need to seek those answers in the Word on your own so they can be real to you.
3. YOU ARE NOT THE EXCEPTION, YOU ARE THE RULE.
We cannot allow room for any evil or even the appearance of evil. No matter what. This lie we tell ourselves is the perfect opportunity for the devil to come in.
Is it worth it? No.
Here is the truth: You are not a superhero with your ability to battle temptations, and you can’t treat yourself as such.
For instance, when my now-husband and I began dating, we made a rule that being alone in a house together was not an option. This was decided before we even kissed, so why should it matter? If we hadn’t even kissed we certainly would not be tempted to have sex.
Fast forward a year later, if we had not set that boundary early on, we could easily have fallen into temptation. I am a young woman who is capable of falling into temptation like anyone else.
Always treat yourself as the rule, never the exception and you will be helping your future self.
4. SET UNWAVERING BOUNDARIES.
A common thing I tell young people who have found themselves crossing boundaries they never thought they would cross, is to “Put the line down where it hurts.”
If you find yourself crossing boundaries in a car, maybe you need to save the kissing for when you’re out of the car. Too hard?
If something “hurts” to cut out, that can be a good indication that you need to draw a line. Boundaries can be added, but they should never be taken away.
The truth is, if you move it even a little you will find it easy to disregard your boundaries altogether.
5. GET ACCOUNTABILITY.
Your accountability partner is not your boyfriend or fiancé.
You need someone from the outside who can see things clearer than you and who will boldly ask you the uncomfortable questions.
The questions you hope they will not ask, but need them to ask.
The healthy fear of knowing someone will check up on you will help you in hard moments. Make sure you trust your accountability partner and verbally give them permission to ask the hard questions.
It is so powerful to have someone running alongside you and cheering you on!
6. PHYSICALLY PACE YOURSELF.
This one is the hardest for people to apply because it requires being honest with yourself and, typically, doing the opposite of what you want.
I can tell you from personal experience that this is the most critical step. Where are you headed, physically?
If you’re dating, let’s assume that you have plans (or, at least in your head) for marriage.
Are you in school? How many years do you have before you both can make that commitment? Do you even want to get married soon?
Let’s say that you have at least two years before you would even consider marriage.
You have already been dating for a few months and the likelihood that you will have your first kiss soon is very high. If you kiss now, and still have a while of dating left, do you think you are physically pacing yourself for success?
Are you going to be able to handle that level of temptation in the long run? The odds are against you because the truth is the longer you wait, the harder it becomes.
The reason I am asking the hard questions and challenging you to do the hard things is because not falling into sexual sin before marriage is hard.
I remember when I was young and I made the decision to wait and give everything to my husband.
I waited. He waited. And together we fought to wait.
Even if you have struggled with sexual sin in the past, what the devil meant for shame, hurt and brokenness, can be redeemed. God wants your story to be beautiful.
Waiting is worth it. The fight is worth it. Saying no now is actually saying an ecstatic “yes” later on.