There’s a movement in the States called “The Abstinence Movement”. It’s generated out of Christian churches who are wanting to elevate a Godly perspective of sexual purity and honour in a sex-soaked culture that de-values sexual purity and promotes the sexualisation of women, children and … well … pretty much everyone and everything!
The heart behind the movement is to encourage young people to make a commitment to abstain from sexual intercourse prior to marriage. In some cases, young people participate in “purity ceremonies” where, before their parents and members of their church, they pledge abstinence – inclusive of putting a ring on their wedding finger – until they get their actualwedding ring.
This movement receives government funding as a social health strategy.
In recent times, the government has been reassessing their funding of the movement after research conducted indicated no discernible difference in the sexual activity (loss of virginity, promiscuity, sexual regret or transmitted diseases) of those who were IN the program when compared to those who weren’t.
Clearly the message of “just say no” – even if accompanied by a piece of jewellery! – is not enough on its own. We need a sound understanding of sexuality and sexual purity rather than reducing it to a simple statement or a once-off pledge.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 gives us something of God’s perspective on this area of our personal discipleship.
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; … learn to control your body in a way that is holy and honourable … no one should wrong a brother or sister or take advantage of them.” (condensed)
As leaders, parents and ‘adults’ in the worlds of our young people it falls to us to help them grasp a full awareness of God’s design for our sexuality – that within a covenanted married relationship the full expression and exploration of sexual intimacy would bring a couple to unity and an incredible depth of relationship.
We all need to establish a firm grounding in the truths of this beautiful gift God gives to us in order to equip us to navigate a world that distorts and detracts from what He designed us to experience. The “no” we would encourage our young people to say is to the counterfeit joy and satisfaction that is offered in our sexually broken culture. God has a bigger and better “yes” that needs to be before us always.