I grew up in the era of abstinence and True-Love-Waits campaigns. I was intricately involved in the training that went on throughout the country (I did about five sessions outside the city of Nairobi). These were lovely moments, full of transformation in many young people lives. Back then, we spoke passionately against getting involved in relationships that do not matter for God’s glory. We had a slogan- Single Saved Satisfied! I had a gang of friends that rocked this Triple ‘S’ label. We were single to the core, and we enjoyed the conversations around honoring our God by honoring our spouses-to-be in our pursuit of purity and holiness. Well, I am now on my third-floor years and what I see now is worrisome!
Fast forward, and the story is different. Back then, we had reservations that helped keep boundaries like a dosage of antibiotics- to the letter; and that we did gladly and passionately, for most of the part. Ha-ha! Yes. The other parts that were not as enjoyable were because of the realities of the wars of the flesh we faced. Thank God for victory and accountability. Our focus was to ensure that all the ‘husband-wife’ things happen in the confines of marriage. To think otherwise was not an option. We had friends and mentors who had toed the line faithfully, and they had set the pace. Their stories were, for us, a light that lit the way ahead. The many stories we had heard and families we had seen that exemplified the marriage victory heightened our view of marriage. Wanna-be spouses did not let us down. Indeed, the cloud of witnesses to this walk of faith was cheering us on- almost audibly. I am tempted to say, ‘good old days,’ but then, I have hope that they can be revived in our day again.
Today, we have an unfathomable disregard for loyalty and purity. People do not want to practice patience and abstinence. Our speed for sensuality rises like the 4G upgrade! People want to do these ‘husband-wife’ things without the care of commitment. In the Church, it hides in the ‘fiancé/fiancée’ terminologies. It is a disclaimer for lack of follow up and asked questions because of the purity boundaries we have developed or abolished. Others throw in the phrase, “We are in this for marriage and not just fun.” Such phrases are supposed to either qualify sinful trends and silence inquisitive mouths. The challenge it poses is that we have ended up having a generation that has a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. We have brought ourselves to a fiasco; the fiancé- fiancée fiasco!
In many circles, this movement, especially in the Fellowship of believers, share characteristics that are contrary to the call of scripture concerning holiness and purity. Exploring and citing some of them is critical for our release and freedom.
The defrauding Rule
1Thessalonians 4:3-8 ESV
This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards, not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
The Rule is for all and sundry. Whether married or not, the will of God is our sanctification. To sanctify is to set something aside for holy use. Sanctification refers, as well, to the process of becoming more and more into the person of Christ in our daily walk. In this context, sanctification is broken down as abstinence from sexual immorality. Any form of sexual sin fits in this warning. Paul is telling the Thessalonians to keep watch on how they handle their bodies in holiness and honor. Holiness means that they are to adhere to God-exalting attitudes in the way they carry themselves. Honor refers to the respect and dignity one accords to someone or something. Therefore, Paul is calling the reader to be exalting and respectful in the way he/ she carry themselves. He adds that it should not be in the passions of lust like the gentiles who do not know God. Herein we see the warning against licentious and sexually- selfish living. To walk in this manner would mean that the persons involved are down-right hypocrites. Continuing in a relationship that disregards these exhortations is rebellion, even if your dowry payment has happened.
Escalate the thought. Paul adds that anyone who transgresses or in other translations defrauds his brother in this matter is going to receive the vengeance of God. That is scary! And that is, in fact, a warning and not a suggestion. Scripture reminds us that God is not a respecter of persons. He does not uphold engagements more than he does his glory. When believers choose this path, they set themselves against God and his command. If you are in a relationship and your wedding is almost here, would you say you are innocent in this regard. To defraud is to promise so much but then deliver below expectations. Let’s say that you have come from a date and you are all so excited about each other. You express warmth and affection to each other fondly. In the midst of it, you are all aroused so much. You start to kiss and pet slowly, promising that it won’t go any further. By evening, you have excited each other so much that your mechanisms want to go all the way. But the problem is that you cannot satisfy what you have aroused because that would be fornication. However, the prevailing situation is not that good either. When the Lord designed our bodies, he intended for such intentional arousal to lead to intimacy. No wonder he gives wisdom in such words as do not stir up love until it so pleases. Do not awaken what you cannot control. That is the deterrent here. That is defrauding. That is why it is wise to walk in the open always. To have a higher thought that drives our motives than to pleasure our love.
We need a reformation in this matter. Is it possible to uphold such standards in our day? Yes! God is not dead. He empowers his children to walk upright, self-controlled lives in this present age. May we take it upon ourselves to walk away from this wickedness, all in the name of engagements and upcoming weddings! To God, the means justify the end.
The Sex rule
1Corinthians 7:1-5 ESV
“Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.“
Assuming that there is a failure in the above matter, then it only means that this point is marked red! Finding relationships that have battled the sex war victoriously is a souvenir long lost for many. Virginity is a myth. It is a forgotten factor. To be a virgin in our day is like claiming that there is no gravity! “How can you be virgins and you are almost getting married?” It is paradoxical! Paul does not think it that way. It is the calling for the believers who are courting in Jesus name. First of all, he urges us not to have sexual relations with a woman. Why? Because God said so. But this answer is not enough. Many of us in the Church only want God to do all he needs for us to succeed and get jobs and other riches. That, he should do without failure.
When it comes to sex things, however, he must keep off and leave us alone. That is the attitude around. Well, God does not believe in one-night stands or quick gratifications of lustful desires. Some may ask accusingly, “What about these desires he has caused me to have?” GET MARRIED OR MARRY! If you are burning hot in desire, stop spending too much time planning for a million shilling wedding ceremony, with money you do not have. Make it easy and straightforward- go to your parents and pastor and get married, so then you do not have to feel exposed and left alone. He does not tell us to have fiancé or fiancée fiascos. He does not lie. He always provides a way out. Why is this so? Because married people have no rights over their bodies, but their spouses do. Sex in marriage is not a discussion perse unless there are fasting and other critical agreements between the spouses. Paul says that the husband’s body belongs to the wife and vice versa. Note, it does not belong to the fiancé or fiancée. Before marriage, we have no rights over each other’s bodies. Any engagement in this regard is fornication and sin!
Does it matter? Why would God waste ink on something that has no consequential impact? Of course, it matters. It matters that you keep off that man or woman’s body. They belong to the Lord, not you. You are not a qualified user. You are not registered, and there is no trial version in this application! You may be well-meaning in your relationship, but that is not enough. You need to be God-intentional. How do your means look like, seeing that there is a desired end? The warnings against fornication are so evident, a blind person could see them! Do you see them? Do you see that your body is not anyone else’s until the sealing of the marriage in God-exalting, Church witnessing and (when it is unavoidable), family rejoicing ceremony?
As you walk in this courtship journey, remember that until the day comes, no one has authority over your body except God, to do whatever they want to do with you- yea, even steal your dignity for their lust and enjoyment. To God, the means justify the end.