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I suppose I could have titled this article, “Celibacy,” but then I am fairly confident that the majority would not take the time to read the content. However, of all the challenges that we face as the Church in today’s society, sexuality, and more specifically, being single and a Christian, is undoubtedly one of the greatest.

While some Christians are married and some are single, it is abundantly clear that more are married than single. For the single person, celibacy is a good thing and should be our only choice if we want to live according to God’s Word and plan. While the world continues to encourage every type of sexual expression under the sun, I wonder, has remaining celibate become obsolete because we have become so enlightened in our understanding of human sexuality? I think not.

What accounts for the huge sexual shifts in our society? Today, without a doubt, anything goes. There is no right or wrong. Not only this, but personal morals are equated with legal rights. In the 1960’s, “Sex Makes Free,” was a familiar slogan. Sex was often viewed and hailed as a universal “fix” for loneliness and human emptiness. Today, sex is looked on more and more as a constitutionally guaranteed right – a right to fulfill one’s biological drives however one sees fit, a right to dismiss, if not discard, a spouse for greener pastures and a right to pursue any sexual orientation one desires.

My intent in writing this article is not to preach at you, to tell you right from wrong, or anything along that line (I’m sure you know all the same Bible scriptures that I do about remaining celibate as a single Christian). However, I remain greatly concerned about Christian men and Christian women that are indeed having sex and having sex frequently.

What does it mean to be Christian and single? The best definition would be to live a life devoted to God, attending church regularly, having times of fellowship with friends, and being a good friend, brother, mother, father, etc. Oh, and as a single person – not having sex.

Maybe, just maybe, with the ever-increasing societal acceptance of sex before marriage, it’s just become easy, even for Christians, to justify or rationalize having sex before marriage. At least in part, I am convinced that in many cases this is due to a lack of understanding of the dividing wall that it creates between our spirit and God’s. Frankly, in today’s society, it (sexual purity) just isn’t a top priority. Maybe you’ve noticed. “I Surrender All,” isn’t at the top of the charts today.

However, beyond the obvious advantages of celibacy is the application and adherence to Scripture for the single person. When anyone, male or female, heterosexual or homosexual, makes the conscious choice to stray beyond God’s holy boundary lines, we bring the possibility of terrible consequences upon ourselves by our rebellion and disobedience. Sexual sin causes an immediate dividing wall between our spirit and God’s. God does not create the dividing wall, our sinful behavior does. Ok, so maybe I’m preaching a bit here, but there most definitely is something about sexual sin that does a huge amount of damage to a single man or woman. Anything we do that affects one part of our being (such as our body), also affects the other parts of our being (soul and spirit). As a result, when sexual sin occurs, which is war against our own body, as well a sin against God, we bring negative consequences upon our soul and spirit as well. Heaven knows the volumes that could be written in terms of the emotional damage alone caused by sexual sin.

The Apostle Peter made this point in 1 Peter 2:11, when he pleaded: “I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” That’s why I believe to define human sexuality (sex) just in physical terms misses the most important aspect of human sexuality – the spiritual. Sexuality is not just something that joins our bodies; it also involves the joining of our spirits. Therefore, since our sexuality links the spiritual to the physical, no amount of ‘just physical activity’ can ever create or offer the wholeness for which every single man and woman hopes for and desires.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I recently turned 67 years old, and still single, that I am becoming more increasingly aware of the social stigma against premarital sex that has practically become a thing of the past. Today, and I include myself even at this stage in life, thanks to the media and the so-called sexual revolution, singles are now made to feel as if something is wrong with them if they don’t have sex before marriage. However, “it” (sexual purity) was something that was instilled in me from day one of my becoming a Christian. It just seemed to me that as a single man, that was God’s given design for me as a single man. Now, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been times of “fighting the flesh.” I am not ashamed to admit that living a chaste life as a single Christian has its fair share of struggles and challenges.

Very often today, American society in particular regularly challenges the Christian belief system. It’s not so much they’re asking if it’s true, but rather, does it work? Yes, living life according to a Bible-based belief system really does work. But in order to stand firm today as a single Christian man or woman, one must draw close to the Lord for that is where we get our strength. In the practical sense, it means participating in a Bible study group and having a solid network of accountability partners – partners with whom you get brutally frank, honest, and transparent.

While taking the road of sexual purity is not for the faint of heart, there remains a way to live out God-centered principles in a culturally-sensitive environment. Yes, God’s plans are always bigger and better than our own – especially and specifically when it comes to relationships, love, and sex for the single person. There remains great reward in living life God’s way.

Pastor Phillip Lee
Executive Director
His Way Out Ministries
Member of Restored Hope Network

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