Pathway to Sexual Purity A Ministry Leader’s Guide for Parents, Youth and Churches
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2Timothy 1:7)
Published by Gabriel International © 2010 All Rights Reserved
Pathway to Sexual Purity Table of Contents FORWARD UNIT 1- MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY – GOD’S PRIORITY……………………………..1 God’s Intention for Marriage ………………………………………………1 What is Love?.................................................................................................3 UNIT 2: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYONE………………………………………………6 Opportunities for Parents……………………………………………………6 Opportunities for Youth……………………………………………………..11 Opportunities for the Church………………………………………………..20 Opportunities for the Government…………………………………………..28 UNIT 3: CONSEQUENCES OF SEXUAL PROMISCUITY………………………………………31 Physical Consequences……………………………………………………….32 The Physical Laws of the Universe……………………………………….32 Our Immune System……………………………………………………....33 Sexually Transmitted Infections – Introduction…………………………..34 Bacterial Infections…………………………………………………….34 Protozoa Infection………………………………………………………35 Viral Infections…………………………………………………………36 The Truth and the Lies about “Safe Sex”…………………………………37 Emotional Consequences………………………………………………….....40 Embarrassment Leading to Low Self-Esteem………………………….....40 Depressing Memories……………………………………………………..41 Disappointment with ourselves…………………………………………...42 Spiritual Consequences………………………………………………………45 UNIT 4: HEALING FROM SEXUAL SIN……………………………………………………….46 Breaking off Unhealthy Relationships……………………………………….46 Who should I tell?............................................................................................47 Restoring Your Relationship with God………………………………………48 CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………………………50 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL Supplemental Table of Scriptures……………………………………………51 Personality Assessment Chart…………………………………….………….56 Topics for Premarital Counseling……………………………………………58
FORWARD Pathway to Sexual Purity is a teaching tool for ministry leaders, parents, youth workers, and for youth. The information in this book can be used as teaching points or the book can be given directly to parents, youth workers, and youth. While there are quality sexual purity programs and books available, Pathway to Sexual Purity takes a new approach. It is a holistic approach to teaching sexual purity. This topic is too important to be directed only to youth. Also, abstinence education is often limited to once-a-year special youth programs. This is not the best approach. Teaching sexual purity needs to be woven into the fabric of the family and the church year round. Pathway to Sexual Purity can help you do that. The author of the book has chosen to remain anonymous. She does not feel that her name adds anything to the significance of the content of the book. However, it is helpful for the reader to know that she is a nurse and former executive director of a ministry to youth and families. She has counseled and taught hundreds of young people and parents about sexual purity. She and her husband are both Christians with a broad base of experience in three cultures – Asia, Latin America and their own North American culture. Their own experiences and ministry have taught them much about marriage. The accounts that are written in this book are true experiences of the author. It is important to know that similar stories could be told anyone who has led ministries to youth and families. It should be noted that before publication several persons from the United States and Asia reviewed Pathway to Purity. Their additions, corrections and editorial comments have contributed greatly to the content. This guide is intended for Christians. While cultural traditions about marriage vary widely around the world, the truths of Scripture apply to any culture. However, these truths may not be understood by those who have not embraced Christ and who do not believe that the Bible is God’s complete instruction to us. “But continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from a babe you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14 – 17)
UNIT 1 MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY – GOD’S PRIORITY Before God established His church and before He established government, God instituted marriage, procreation and the family. Since marriage is God’s priority, it should be our priority. “And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every animal of the field and every fowl of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. And Adam gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field. But there was not found a suitable helper for Adam. And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh underneath. And Jehovah God made the rib (which He had taken from the man) into a woman. And He brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife; and they were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:18-25).
GOD’S INTENTION FOR MARRIAGE The Reverend Raymond Tear explains about marriage:“Scripture makes it very clear that God created human beings in his image and his likeness but at the same time created them male and female. And in God’s doing that there is a certain way that men and women are like one another. We have a lot of the same biological processes. However when it comes to other aspects of our physical human being, even our psychological being, our mental being, we are very different. And yet, there is a way that [we] fit together with the idea that for human intimacy on a most personal kind of level that men and women do very much fit together and they each bring something to that relationship, something that has been ordained by God. Scripture says that God brought the woman to Adam, to the man, because it wasn’t good for the man to be alone. At the same time although Scripture doesn’t state it so explicitly, it is not good for the woman to be alone either, that we are created for relationship on every level, not only with God but with one another.” Soon after the creation of Adam and Eve, the first marriage, Satan enters the world. He tempts the couple into a sinful rebellion against God. Is it any wonder? Satan could have entered the world at any point in creation, but he does not come until God establishes marriage. I believe Satan knows that marriage and the individuals in that marriage bring Glory to God. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, Is it so that God has said, You shall
not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. And the eyes of both of them were opened. And they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made girdles for themselves” (Genesis 3:1-7). From Genesis 3:8 and throughout the remainder of Scripture, God reveals the restoration of mankind to Himself and to each other. A Biblical approach to marriage results in a beautiful relationship with great personal satisfaction. However, straying from the truths of Scripture will result in negative physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Between 40 and 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. This is not what God intended for marriage. While the Old and New Testaments contain some references about the legitimacy of divorce, Jesus called divorce an accommodation because of the “hardness of your hearts.” (see Mark 10:5) Ecclesiastes 4: 7-12 is a not often applied to marriage. However, as we examine it more closely, you can see a truth critical to a successful marriage. “Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless— a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:7-12). I find it very interesting that God gives three examples of how two people together are better than just one person. Then in the very last sentence, God says “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” What this says to me is that a marriage of two people is good. But a marriage that is built around the center ‘cord’ of Christ will not be easily broken. It is only through Christ, that we can fully achieve God’s initial intent for marriage and family.
WHAT IS LOVE? Fiddler on the Roof, a bestselling play of 1964, is a beautiful story of a Russian Jewish family struggling to maintain religious and cultural traditions in the midst of a somewhat hostile political environment. Although fictitious, the story accurately depicts Russian Jewish life in 1905. In a small town in Anatevka, Russia, Golde and her husband, Tevye, live with their five daughters. They work hard to provide for their family and to find husbands for their daughters. Tevye and his wife’s marriage had been arranged, as was the tradition of that time. They go through many trials, joys and hardships in their 25 years of marriage. At one point, Tevye turns to his wife and poignantly asks, “Do you love me?” Rather shocked by his question, Golde struggles to find the words to say how she loves her husband . She explains she has done her wifely household chores, born him children, and lived with him through the hard times. To her these were all signs of love. Yet, neither one had ever uttered the words. They both come to the conclusion that they do love each other and finally express it with the words “I love you.” This issue of feeling loved by a person or loving someone is a complex matter. Young and old alike will often ask the question, “How do I know if I am in love?” Or, like Tevye, many people wonder “Does my spouse really love me?” To understand the complexity of the word ‘love’ as it relates to marriage, it is best to turn to the Greek language. Greek has four words for love, agape, philia, storge and eros. Understanding these words will enable you to develop loving, healthy relationships within marriage and the family. Agape is the main word used for love in the New Testament. It is often referred to as the highest form of love, the kind of unearned love God has for humanity. Agape is the love described in Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love [agape] for us even when we were dead because of our offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” And in Romans Chapter 5:8, “But God demonstrates his love [agape] for us by the fact that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.” Agape love is more fully explained in First Corinthians 13: 4-7a. “Love [agape] is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love [agape] isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love [agape] rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love [agape] is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love [agape] never fails.” Agape love can only be experienced by Christians through their relationship to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, the way the Holy Spirit works agape love in Christian marriages is through the couple's experience of unconditional love, continual forgiveness, and never-ending security. The Greek word philia is also used in the New Testament, although not as frequently as agape. Philia is a more objective and a less fervent type of love. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Philia is motivated by practical
reasons where one or more people benefit from the relationship. In some contexts it is also referred to as respect. In Titus 3:15 this ‘philia’ love is expressed as follows: “All who are with me send you greetings. Greet those who love [philia] us in the faith. May grace be with all of you! Amen." Philia is used again in Romans 12:10: “In love [philia] of the brethren be tenderly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another.” Philia means that a husband and a wife will feel mutual friendship, enjoy laughter, share sorrows and find fulfillment in just being together. Storge means "affection" in ancient and modern Greek. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for children. Because storge is rarely used in ancient works the word does not appear in the original Biblical writings. However familial love is certainly demonstrated in the New Testament with regard to families. Eros is the fourth Greek word for love and is important in marriage. Eros is passionate love with sensual desire and longing. Eros is initially felt for a person as physical attraction. Like the word storge, the word eros does not appear in the original writings of the New Testament. However there are several Hebrew words which come close to the meaning. These words appear frequently in the Old Testament and speak about the sexual conduct between a man and a woman. The following quote from the web site www.hanefesh.com best explains the concept of ‘eros’ in marriage. King Solomon wrote a Book called "Song of Songs", a love song between a male and a female, and the Talmud calls this book" The Holy of Holies" - the most sacred Biblical text. Why? Because sex is really an expression of our deep desire for the ultimate unity: to connect with God. The verse, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" Song of Songs 6:3, refers symbolically to the longing for oneness with God. Judaism says that sex is one of the holiest acts we can perform. In fact, the Hebrew word for the marriage ceremony - "kiddushin," comes from the word "kadosh" - holy. The union of a man and a woman in marriage is a holy union which includes sexual [eros] relations. It is for the purposes of procreation as well as for intimacy that should only be enjoyed between a husband and wife. In Matthew 19:4-6 we read, “He [Jesus] answered them, ‘Haven't you read that the one who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female' and said, 'That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must never separate." In a marriage, eros initially comes from an attraction to the physical characteristics of another person. It is a desire to be intimately a part of that person. However, with time it becomes a
desire for a physical relationship, not based on external beauty, but based on an appreciation of the beauty within that person. The four loves agape, philia, storge and eros each has its role in marriage. Sometimes one love will be a stronger element while at other times it may be less important. Choices made in your youth and throughout your life, will determine the successful outcome of agape, philia, storge and eros in your marriage and family.
UNIT 2 AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYONE Scripture teaches us in Romans 12:4-5, “For we have many parts in one body, but these parts do not all have the same function. In the same way, even though we are many people, we are one body in Christ and individual parts connected to each other.” This Scripture is usually applied to the functioning of the church. However, it is also relevant to marriage. In order to make Godly decisions about who to marry and how to live within that marriage requires the faithfulness of many people. Pastors, youth workers, parents, young men, young women and government all have a significant opportunity. As you read this book you think, “I raised my family with these Biblical principles, yet my children and/or spouse still have problems.” All too often, believer’s children or spouse stray from Biblical living causing much pain and sadness. When this occurs, we must exam ourselves and ask for forgiveness. We may also need to forgive. Then we should commit the wayward person to the care of the Lord who continually loves and seeks out that person. God will not hold you accountable for someone else’s actions. He will only hold you accountable for your actions. This assurance is found in Matthew 9:11-13. “And when the Pharisees saw, they said to His disciples, Why does your master eat with tax-collectors and sinners? But when Jesus heard, He said to them, The ones who are whole do not need a physician, but the ones who are sick. But go and learn what this is, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Churches, individuals, and government have different roles to fulfill in society. We must remember that we are only responsible for our own role. It is very important to know what Biblical opportunities God has given you to fulfill His work in your life and in the lives of those around you.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARENTS When your child is born, you think about so many things at once. First you are in awe of this new person that is part of each of you. Then you wonder, “What will my child be when he (or she) grows up? Can I take care of him? Will he (or she) serve God with a whole heart? Who will he marry and how many children will he have? The arrival of a baby is a time of hope combined with responsibility. Throughout your child’s life great care is given to protect them from harm. You teach them how to cross a street, how to stay away from open fires, and how to have personal hygiene. You send them to the best schools possible so that they might receive education which is so necessary to
their future. You take them to church so that they might accept Jesus and grow in the knowledge and Grace of God. Yet when it comes to matters of sexual purity, parents throughout the world hesitate to have discussions with their children. The reluctance to do this is not easily understand and may in fact differ from culture to culture. Perhaps the answer is simply that parents wait too long. Suddenly your child is a teen. He or she wants to date and wants to choose their own spouse. You don’t know what to say and how to guide them. This section of the book, Opportunities for Parents, is a way to build a relationship with your children right from the day of their birth. When that relationship is built, discussing sexual purity will be as natural as teaching them how to cross a street. If you need help counseling your child, please see the supplemental section of this book. It is important to remember that you are not alone in building this relationship. Psalm 127:1-3 says. “Except Jehovah build the house, They labor in vain that build it: Except Jehovah keep the city, The watchman wakes but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To take rest late, To eat the bread of toil; For so he gives unto his beloved sleep. Lo, children are a heritage of Jehovah; And the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Here God reminds us that the responsibility for our children rests with Him and therefore parents must depend fully on God. He provides us with opportunities to join Him in the process of raising children. OPPORTUNITY 1: PRAY FOR YOUR CHILDREN. From the day he (or she) is born, lay hands on and pray FOR your infant. Pray that he will know Christ early in life and that he will be grounded in God’s word. As your children grow, pray WITH them. Your prayers with them in the adolescent years will be an effective weapon against the temptations they will face. “Jehovah is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). Pray specifically for them to be sexually pure. This will be a private prayer while they are young. But, it should be a prayer with them when they are old enough to fully understand the meaning of sexual matters. Also, teach them to pray for themselves. Even young children need to know faith and prayer are among the weapons that can shield them from the deceptions of Satan. This is clearly stated in Ephesians 6:16 -18. “Above all, take the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching to this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” OPPORTUNITY 2: STUDY THE SCRIPTURE WITH YOUR CHILDREN. Nowhere in the Bible is the word Sunday School mentioned. Sunday School is a positive experience for your child and should be supported by the church. However, it often causes parents to become neglectful because they forget they must teach their own children.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 God speaks to His people, “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD and thou shall love the LORD thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart: and you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when thou rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the door posts of your house, and upon your gates.” God’s word commands parents to diligently teach their children the word of God. In addition to daily reading and praying over Scripture, I recommend you and your children read the entire book of Proverbs together yearly. It is best to do a few verses every day. Proverbs contains the greatest concentration of Scriptures on right living, justice, self-control, work ethic, and purity. Its moral instruction is especially relevant to young people. OPPORTUNITY 3: DEMONSTRATE A GODLY MARRIAGE. Scripture teaches much about the relationship of a husband and a wife. Ephesians 5: 20-33 beautifully expresses the relationship between a husband and a wife by comparing it to the relationship of Christ and the church. “Always giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” “So men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” “But also let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife that she respects her husband.”
This Scripture teaches the loving interplay of a husband and a wife. A husband who truly loves his wife in the way described in this Scripture will find that he does not have to force her into submission. She will gladly submit and respect her husband which in turn brings him into an even more loving relationship to her. A loving, respectful relationship of a husband and wife is a great gift to their children. Another gift you can give your children is the gift of shared responsibility. Proverbs 31 speaks about a “noble wife.” She is hard working, manages her household well, and earns money. This brings great honor to her husband. However, Scripture also teaches “If a man is lazy the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks” (Ecclesiastes 10:18). When a wife gains an income equal to or greater than her husband’s income, the responsibilities for household tasks such as cooking, purchasing food, and providing clean clothes, should be shared. A woman or a man who is overburdened will not be a loving respectful spouse or an effective parent. OPPORTUNITY 4: KEEP OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CHILDREN. Take time to listen to your children, especially in their teenage years. Listen with an open heart and do not react harshly to what they say. If you do react harshly or judgmentally, they will stop talking with you and become as strangers. They will then turn to others who will listen to them. These other people may not have your children’s best interest at heart. One major factor that blocks communication with your teen is parental anger. Paul teaches in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not make your children angry, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” And in Proverbs 29:22 we read, “An angry man stirs up fighting, and a furious man abounds in sin.” While the term “father” and “man” are used here, there are many instances when mothers can be harsh. These verses should also be heeded by mothers. You may ask, “What if I think they are entering into sinful relationships? Shouldn’t I be angry with them?” Yes, at times it is appropriate to be angry and to express that anger in proper ways. Always remember the warning in Ephesians 4:26-27, “ ‘Be angry, yet do not sin.’ Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, and do not give the devil an opportunity to work.” This Scripture clearly instructs us to settle problems quickly and properly in the same day. Never let your child go to bed feeling that you are still angry with him or her. Even though you may be right, continue the conversation with love the very day the matter comes up. In your attempt to resolve the ‘dispute’ with your child, try to have pleasant conversation rather than confrontation. Ask them more questions that will help them to draw the right conclusions
for themselves. For example, if your child comes to you and says, “I think going to the movies is not sinful.” You might respond, “Yes, you are correct, there is nothing in the Bible that says going to the movies is sinful.” Then ask, “Why do you want to go to the movies?” Your child may respond, “To see a film or to be with my friend.” Now you can pursue these two issues from a Biblical point of view. Review Scripture about keeping his (or her) thoughts on things that are pure. Ask him if the topics and visuals in that movie are pure and holy? Or, point out that true friends respect each other and do things together that are mutually acceptable. Explain that when your child is an adult and supporting himself (or herself) financially, he can do what he wants. But, while he (or she) is being supported and cared for in your home, you ask them to follow the rules of your home. Gracious words, said in a gracious way, will keep the communication open. Sometimes, no matter what you say, your teenager will simply not want to listen to you. It is a normal part of becoming a mature adult. Ask a few other adults your teenager respects to come alongside him (or her) and advise him. In my youth, I was always more willing to listen to my grandmother than to my mother. Know who those people are and lead your teen to them. In fact, you may find your son or daughter is already speaking with them. Don’t ever be jealous of that. Remember God may have put that person in their life. OPPORTUNITY 5: BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM. Low self-esteem is one of the leading reasons young women fall into sexual temptation. If a young girl feels that she has no worth, especially in the eyes of her father, she will look for a man to fulfill that need in her life. A father must let his daughter know from an early age that she is unconditionally loved, respected and valued by him. Words of praise, spending time with her, and showing respect for her mother allows a daughter to see her own worth. When her earthly father is harsh or inattentive, teaching her about a loving heavenly father is very hard to do. A child will initially relate to her heavenly father in the same way she relates to her earthly father. There is a similar truth for boys as well. If a boy sees his father as critical and inattentive, he will seek out relationships with others who build his self-esteem. Those young men or young women may not be Christians. The leading factor in males turning to homosexual behavior is failing to bond with their fathers. Does this mean parents should never correct or discipline their child? No! But the discipline should be rooted in love and protection. When a child feels loved and protected, he (or she) can more easily develop confidence and self-esteem.
Allow me to refer to Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” The shepherd often carried two instruments to protect his sheep. One was a staff which had a bend on the end to serve as a “hook.” The other was a rod. The shepherd could grab a sheep around the neck with the staff and pull it back from dangerous territory or keep it from straying from the flock. The rod served as a weapon which could be used against an attacking lion or bear. As parents you must use both instruments. The staff of agape love pulls your child to you with words of encouragement, correction and teaching. The rod should be used to beat away the enemy. That rod is attentiveness concerning who your teen’s friends are, where your teen is at all times, and what your teen is doing. If any of these three are contrary to Scriptural living, then you must strive to correct the situation. In closing, remember these five principles: 1) Pray for your children. 2) Study the Scripture with your children. 3) Demonstrate a Godly marriage. 4) Keep open communication with your children. 5) Build your child’s self-esteem.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH OPPORTUNITY 1: GET A FREE EDUCATION. Everyone knows the value of education. Students work hard to achieve good grades. While no one likes homework and preparation for tests, we accept them as a necessary part of life. Education helps us achieve our goals. Often a good education costs more than time. Tuition fees to the best schools are high. But there is a free education of much more importance than reading, writing, math, history, etc. This free education is for Godly living and is gained by studying and memorizing Scripture. I have a college education and degrees qualifying me to work in two professions. Yet neither of my degrees prepared me for Godly living. Neither profession made me a better person, a better wife, or a better mother. The same is true for my husband. I am glad to have knowledge that led to employment and helping others. But that is not what makes a person truly happy. True happiness comes from knowing and experiencing God in our lives. And that can only be learned in Scripture. In 1998, I was told I had cancer. I clearly remember the moment the diagnosis was confirmed. Thinking I could die, my first thought was that I had only one regret. I had wasted time in my youth that could have been dedicated to learning about and living for God. Yes, I had been in church all of my life, but it took years for me to seriously follow the teachings in God’s word.
Scripture says, “And further, by these, my son, be warned: The making of many books has no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God, and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:12-14). In Matthew 4:1-4 we read, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit up into the wilderness, to be tempted by the Devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterwards hungry. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119. It contains 179 verses. Every verse mentions God’s word, sometimes referred to as His law or His commandments. Verse 11 is fundamental to maintaining pure living. The Psalmist says, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I might not sin against You.” Memorizing Scripture will protect you in times of temptation. The following are just a few New Testament Scriptures that you should memorize. There are many more throughout the Bible, especially in the book of Proverbs. “Someone else will say, ‘Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.’ Yes; but God will put an end to both. The body is not to be used for sexual immorality, but to serve the Lord; and the Lord provides for the body” (1Corinthians 6:13). “Avoid immorality. Any other sin a man commits does not affect his body; but the man who is guilty of sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1Corinthians 6:18). “Now, all of this is an example for us, to warn us not to desire evil things, as they did, nor to worship idols, as some of them did. As the scripture says, ‘The people sat down to a feast which turned into an orgy of drinking and sex.’ We must not be guilty of sexual immorality, as some of them were---and in one day twenty-three thousand of them fell dead” (1 Corinthians 10:6-8). “Since you are God's people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you” (Ephesians 5:3). “Finally, our friends, you learned from us how you should live in order to please God. This is, of course, the way you have been living. And now we beg and urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to do even more. For you know the instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality. Each of you should know how to live with your wife in a holy and honorable way, not with a lustful desire, like the heathen who do not know God ” (1Thessalonians 4:1 - 4:5).
OPPORTUNITY 2: FIND THE PERFECT SPOUSE. There are basically two approaches to finding a spouse. One way is you select a spouse by making friends, dating, and then choosing who you will marry. The other way is that your parents will choose your spouse for you. In some cultures, it is a blend of the two systems. Which is best? The truth is God, who knew you before you were born and who formed you in the womb, knows who will be the best husband or the best wife for you. The best marriage is an arranged marriage – arranged by your heavenly Father who knows just who you need to fulfill His purposes and to bring us ultimate joy. Excerpts from Psalm 139: 14-17 confirm this. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” Jeremiah 28:11-13 teaches us that He initiates a love relationship with us. “For I know the purposes which I am purposing for you, says Jehovah; purposes of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you shall call on Me, and you shall go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Since God has the best in mind for you, He has a spouse for you. So ask Him what you need in a spouse. Talk to Him about what kind of a spouse you want. Listen to Him as His Spirit guides you into what He wants for you in a spouse. Share these thoughts and insights with your parents. Let them be praying with you to find just the right person. Now let me comment on dating. While dating has been widely accepted in the West, it is becoming increasingly unpopular with evangelical Christians. The divorce rate among U.S. couples, where dating is the norm, is higher than the divorce rates of arranged marriages. There are many reasons for the higher divorce rate, but this statistic should cause you to exam the value of dating. What does dating really accomplish? One pastor proposed this thought. In dating, two people spend a lot of time together, developing a close relationship. Some even fall into the temptation of engaging in sex on varying levels within that dating relationship. Then suddenly they realize this is not the person they want to marry and the relationship is broken off. Each then proceeds into another relationship with another partner.
The cycle continues until two people finally decide they are “right” for marriage and in “love”. This cycle of deep relationships, breaking up and forming new relationship is intellectually and emotionally unhealthy. Why is this? If a married couple no longer “feels in love” after several years or finds someone else who seems more attractive, one (or both) seeks a new relationship which usually ends their marriage. This divorce is a reflection of dating and break-up patterns established in their youth. Dating can be risky for other reasons as well. It often causes a couple to spend a lot of time alone together. This leads to sexual temptation and, in some cases, giving in to that temptation. What is gained by ANY physical contact between a dating couple? Do you really get to know a person better because you hold his or her hand? Will his or her personality and how that personality enhances you really be revealed by any kind of touch? And simple touch ultimately leads to further more intimate touching. There are actually levels of touching intimacy. These levels are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Hand to hand Hand to back Hand to shoulder or neck Hand to head or face Kissing Hand to thigh Hand to any sexual area which, in women also includes the breast.
Touching usually escalates from simple handholding. Your hormones are very actively at work in the teenage years. Starting with physical touch is like lighting a match to a petrol soaked rag and throwing it into an abandoned home. The fire will quickly spread. While fire has good purposes, used in the wrong way, it is deadly. You will see just how dangerous physical touching can be in the chapters on the emotional, physical, and spiritual consequences of sex outside marriage. Paul writes “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is helpful… The body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body… You know that your bodies are parts of Christ, don't you? Should I take the parts of Christ and make them parts of a prostitute? Certainly not!” “You know that the person who unites himself with a prostitute becomes one body with her, don't you? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."… Keep on running away from sexual immorality. Any other sin that a person commits is outside his body, but the person who sins sexually sins against his own body. You know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, don't you? You do not belong to yourselves, because you were bought for a price. Therefore, glorify God with your bodies” (I Corinthians 6:12-20).
And please understand this isn’t just about women causing men to behave sinfully. It is about sinful behavior of either men or women. What are some positive ways to find and become familiar with your future spouse? 1. Talk to God and talk to your parents. Tell them what you hope to find in a spouse. What qualities, education and spirituality would you like to see? Write these points down. You may want to do this as early as 13 years of age. Share these with your parents. Listen to their response. Agree with your parents that these goals for a spouse are Biblical and would serve you and your future spouse best. At the end of this book there is a supplemental section entitled, “What traits must your spouse have considering your desires in life?” This might help the discussion between you and your parents. 2. It is important for you to understand your personality. Again at the end of this book there is a supplemental worksheet called “Personality Analysis”. It will help to see your strengths and weakness. If you understand yourself better you may see what personality traits are needed in a spouse to make you a compatible couple. And it will show you what personality traits may cause conflict as a couple. Your parents or a close friend may also want to complete the chart about you to see if your self-evaluation is accurate. 3. If dating is a practice in your culture, only go on group dates in public places. It is important that you not only get to know how your future spouse relates to you, but how he or she relates to other people. You will not live your married lives alone. Don’t form a bond or a commitment to each other. Just go out as a group of friends. 4. Before marriage it is important to spend time in the presence of your future spouse. Getting to know your future in-laws is very important. Whether or not you will live with them after marriage your in-laws will have a role in your family. You should like your future in-laws or there will be strife in your marriage. 5. After you and your parents have agreed on who will be your spouse, you should begin premarital counseling with a Christian counselor or pastor. Together you can discuss issues such as, but not limited to, the number of children, managing money, relationships with extended families, life’s goals and ministries, and how to cope with disagreements. In the supplemental section of this book you will find topics that should be discussed in pre-marital counseling. If your pastor or counselor does not bring the topics up, you should request that these topics be discussed. OPPORTUNITY 3: BE FREE! As a teen what you want most is freedom – freedom to make your own choices. This is a good thing. My husband and I rejoice that our children are grown and manage their own lives. But freedom should never be confused with reckless behavior. Use of and subsequent addiction to
alcohol, tobacco products, drugs (both herbal and manufactured) only serve to enslave. You know that and so I won’t dwell on this point. But there is another addiction that is not often talked about. And that is an addiction to pornography. This addiction mainly affects males, as men are more sexually stimulated by seeing a woman’s body. Women are more stimulated by hearing a man’s voice. However, many women out of pride or for financial gain willingly participate in the production of pornographic material. And many young women dress in a manner that attracts men to look at their bodies. This is a dangerous practice leading to their harm or the harm of other women. Addiction to pornography is progressive. At first, it is just looking at suggestive pictures in a magazine or movies where sexual scenes are depicted even without nudity. But like most addictions, the appetite for higher levels of a “thrill” soon needs to be satisfied. The need for more graphic images brings you to look at more pornography. Often this will escalate to sex combined with some level of aggression or even violence. When looking is no longer enough, some people turn to acting out their fantasy. This leads to rape and sometimes murder. On January 24, 1989, a prisoner was executed in the United States for the rape and murder of 36 people, many of them children. Twenty-four hours before his execution, he asked to talk with a renowned Christian psychologist. The prisoner told this psychologist he started to look at readily available magazine pornography when he was a teen. This escalated into viewing more graphic pornography, sometimes mixed with violence. Over the years his lust for a greater thrill than just looking at images, drove him to rape and murder. The prisoner said that during his ten years in prison, while waiting for his execution, he had come to know many rapists, murders, and child molesters. He observed that without exception, they were all addicted to pornography. In James 1:13-16 we read, “Let no one being tempted say, I am tempted from God. For God is not tempted by evils, and He tempts no one. But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death. Do not err, my beloved brothers.” Pornography, even of the less graphic nature, has another negative effect. This effect involves our imagination. God gave us a great gift of imagination. It is what makes people become poets, artists and song writers. It allows us to think about wonderful possibilities for our future. Your sexual expression brought about by your imagination can be ruined by pornography. After seeing sexually explicit movies, TV shows or videos, you will try to imitate what you see rather than to use your imagination with your spouse. Your imagination becomes a slave to the pornography. It will corrupt your thoughts.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy-keep thinking about these things” (Philippians 4:8). OPPORTUNITY 4: TAKE THE BEST FROM OTHERS. Now that doesn’t sound like a Christian attitude. But, in fact, it is. God created us and knows if we have no one to talk with or advise us, we will make serious mistakes and live in fear. So to every believer He has sent a Counselor. In some translations, He is referred to as a ‘comforter.’ Excerpts from John Chapter 14:16-17 and then again in verse 2526 tell us “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth…. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I am 66 years old and yet I still seek the counsel of God, my husband, my pastor, my family and my brothers and sisters in Christ. When I was your age, I didn’t always do that and made some serious mistakes. Seeking counsel is not a sign of weakness or dependence. In fact, seeking the counsel of God and other believers gives us the power to make wise choices. From 2002-2006 I was the executive director of a counseling center for youth and families. I had no professional degree in counseling. But each day I prayed for wisdom as the young people poured out their hearts. They were hungry for someone to listen to them. Many were leading very broken lives, even though they were Christians. When they found someone to listen to them to give them Godly counsel, they very often came again and again. We live in a world where we no longer talk to each other. Rather we seek the advice and converse with strangers through texting on mobile phones and the internet. These strangers’ advice is often faulty. Internet information is many times inaccurate. Open your hearts to your parents, your brothers and sisters in Christ and your God. They know you and they can help. OPPORTUNITY 5: RECEIVE GOD’S PROMISED GIFT. God promises you will live long and life will go well for you. You only have to do one thing – “honor” your father and mother. As you read the next few paragraphs, I think you will see it is not too difficult. Your parents understand a lot of what you are going through. After all, parents were teenagers themselves. They had hopes, dreams, and plans for their future. They understand your struggle to be independent. They understand the physical changes that are going on in your body.
Please realize the struggles you feel now – sexual temptations, ambition, and questioning about the authority of God in your life, etc. – do not end in your youth. They only start in your youth. Adults struggle with these issues, too. It is part of our sin nature. In fact, your teenage years are just the beginning of your walk with God. He can successfully master your temptations and ambitions, if you let Him. What better time is there to learn how to handle those temptations than while you are still living with your parents who can and want to help you? They are not the enemy! You have one enemy and that is Satan or the Devil. “Likewise, younger ones, be subject to older ones, and all being subject to one another. Put on humility. For God resists proud ones, but He gives grace to the humble. Therefore be humbled under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your anxiety onto Him, for He cares for you. Be sensible and vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour; who firmly resist in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions in the world are being completed in your brotherhood” (1 Peter 5, 6-9). Let’s review the key points from this Scripture: 1. In humility, listen to your elders. Why? As I have said, they have experienced what you are going through. 2. God will stand away from you if you are proud and want to “go it on your own.” 3. If you humble yourself, God will lift you up. In other words, ultimately you will win with God. Now that’s a deal you shouldn’t refuse! 4. Be alert because Satan is prowling around, just like a vicious lion, waiting to find your weakest, most inattentive moment. At that time, he will attack and can devour you. 5. You are not alone. Sometimes as teenagers you do feel alone, or at least that only other teens understand you. Not so, all your brothers (and sisters) in Christ understand, and so do your parents. So let’s sum this up in two sentences: You can proudly go alone and be a tasty meal for Satan. Or you can seek the help of mature Christians and be lifted up by God. He has nothing but love for you. What is the benefit of obeying your parents? The answer is found in the sixth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, as Jehovah your God has commanded you, so that your days may be made longer, and that it may go well with you in the land which Jehovah your God gives you” (Deuteronomy 5:16). This is the only one of the Ten Commandments that has a specific promise attached. Honoring the teachings of your parents is so important to God that He is willing to give you something for obeying this commandment. Also, keep your communication with your parents open and pleasant. Let me share a story that will illustrate this very important point.
In 2001, I was part of a medical team bringing ear surgery and hearing aids to a Christian mission hospital in a Muslim country. After the two-week program was finished, we packed up our equipment in the hospital vehicle. We were headed to the capital city and then on to the U.S. Suddenly at a desolate place on the highway, there was a temporary military road block, one that had not been there on our way to the hospital. We saw every driver was handing what looked like money to the soldiers. A soldier approached our driver. After a brief conversation, the driver told us the soldier wanted money. However, the hospital had strong regulations against giving bribes. Because he did not “pay” the soldier, the driver was instructed to open the back of the vehicle. Hearing this, the American doctor jumped out of the vehicle. I could hear an argument between this doctor and the soldier who spoke some English. I knew we were in danger of losing thousands of dollars worth of medical equipment. We might also be detained. After all the army had the authority to do so and the weapons to back them up. I prayed and then got out of the car. I stood beside the doctor. Clearly both men were angry. At a break in the argument, I softly asked the soldier, “May I speak with you?” He seemed surprised that a foreign woman would speak up to him. I kept praying. He said, “Yes, speak.” I then said, “May I tell you why we have come and what we have done.” Again his responded, “Yes.” I shared how we had helped his country’s people. I shared how we brought the equipment from the U.S. and would like to use it again in other countries where there was a need. He stood silent for a moment. I prayed some more. He then said, “I like the way you talk to me.” “Go!” We returned to the U.S. without further incident. When you speak with your parents, who have been given the authority by God to watch over you, remember to speak gently and with respect. Share what is in your head and your heart. If a stranger such as this soldier would listen and grant what I wanted, how much more will your parents listen to you? And, as you speak with your parents do so with prayer. “Or what man is there of you, if his son asks a loaf, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks a fish, will he give him a snake? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” ( Matthew 7:9-11).
Finally Dear young people, you have a long life ahead of you. The decisions you make today about sex and marriage will affect the outcome of the rest of your life. These decisions must be made with wisdom. All too often infatuation with a person, based on physical attraction, drives you to making a wrong decision. Infatuation destroys wise thinking. It replaces wise thinking with our head to foolish thinking resulting from our hormones. The freedom to make decisions is called “free will.” It is a gift from God. He receives no benefit from having his beloved children be like a string puppet. He desires that you come to Him under your own willpower and that you live a life that reflects this relationship. He reaches out to you. Will you reach back? The decision is yours.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CHURCH OPPORTUNITY 1: BE A BLESSING TO THE PASTOR. The spiritual health of the church is not the sole responsibility of the pastor. As a member of the body of Christ, how can you help children and youth learn about sexual purity? If sexual morality is learned early, then there is a greater chance that they will remain pure the rest of their lives. First and foremost discover your spiritual gift. One place to start is Romans 12:4-8. “For we have many parts in one body, but these parts do not all have the same function. In the same way, even though we are many people, we are one body in Christ and individual parts connected to each other. We have different gifts based on the grace that was given to us. So if your gift is prophecy, use your gift in proportion to your faith. If your gift is serving, devote yourself to serving others. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching others. If it is encouraging, devote yourself to encouraging others. If it is sharing, share generously. If it is leading, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping, help cheerfully.” Ephesians 4:11-16 also speaks about spiritual gifts. “
It was he [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and
craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” The promise is that if each person uses the gifts and talents that God has given him, the church will come to maturity and not be led into sin. The worldview on sexual conduct is continually before our children in advertisements, the media, their friends in school, and the internet. If you do not instruct children and youth through the use of your gift, you will leave them as infants and vulnerable to the teaching of men with deceitful schemes. Scripture gives us a better way. “But as for you, teach what is consistent with healthy doctrine. Older men are to be sober, serious, sensible, and sound in faithfulness, love, and endurance. Likewise, older women are to show their reverence for God by their behavior. They are not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of goodness. They should encourage the younger women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children, sensible, pure, managers of their households, and kind, and to submit themselves to their husbands, lest the word of God be discredited. Likewise, encourage the younger men to be sensible. Always, set an example of good works. When you teach, show integrity and dignity. Use wholesome speech that cannot be condemned. Then any opponent will be ashamed because he cannot say anything bad about us.” (Titus 2:1-8). Unfortunately the members of many churches in the West left the discipleship of believers to the pastor’s preaching during the worship service. It wasn’t enough. We must use our gifts to disciple others. It will bless the pastor, you, and those whom you touch. OPPORTUNITY 2: MODEL THE CORRECT BEHAVIOR. In Matthew 5: 13-16, Jesus clearly teaches that the church is to be the example to the world. "You are the salt of the world. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It's good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can't be hidden. People don't light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” The world and more specifically your children are watching you, other church members and their Christian friends. If they see that you are acting as Christians in church and then acting as nonbelievers the rest of the week, it will have serious consequences. They watch as you talk, how
you behave toward each other, what you watch on TV, and how much time you spend with God while not in church. One of the most important commandments for maintaining a healthy society is the tenth commandment. “You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor's” (Exodus 20:17). The greed in the West is unsurpassed today. There is greed for another person’s belongings, for having an equal or better house, for his (or her) possessions and even for another person’s spouse. Greed has brought moral, social and economic disaster on many nations. Paul warns the church in Galatia. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap. For he who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But he who sows to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit. But we should not lose heart in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not faint” (Galatians 6:7-9). If we model Biblical morality by following the tenth commandment, we can fulfill the Scripture in Matthew 5: 13-16. The church will be a light to the world and an example to the youth for the benefits of moral living. OPPORTUNITY 3: PROTECT THE NEXT GENERATION. I have lived long enough to see generations of church growth and development. I have observed a sad trend. The first generation church is filled with strong believers, hungry for God’s word. This may also be true of the second generation, the children of those believers. But it is the third and subsequent generations that begin to be less enthusiastic about their faith. This generation seems to “inherit” a faith simply based on attendance at church and Sunday School. People often assume a young person who attends church or is baptized puts his (or her) faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. And the young person may be sincere at times. But often children and youth can act like Christians in the church environment and then behave like non-Christians in their school and social environment. There is tremendous peer pressure in their non-Christian environment to weaken their walk with the Lord. Many young people came to the counseling center I directed. They sat in churches and attended youth groups. Many of them had participated in the church’s sexual abstinence educational program. Yet they had come to the Center for pregnancy tests. Many had multiple sexual partners and some were as young as 13 years of age. They were more willing to speak with a perfect stranger than to speak with their parents or pastor. This is to be expected. Parents tend to react emotionally if their children confide their misdeeds. This often results in parental anger and punishment. Pastors tend to react legalistically and to provide Scripture about the “dos” and don’ts” of morality.
When I first became director of the counseling center, there were 200 client sessions per year. Many of the clients were coming for pregnancy testing and thinking about abortion. I sat with the lay counselor on staff during my first few weeks. What I saw was a lot of witnessing with words about “becoming saved,” scolding about the young person’s behavior, and warning about the sin of abortion, if the person made that decision. The girls seemed to leave so hurt and alone. I do not have a degree in counseling. However, I slowly took over the counseling, praying deeply before and during each session. I relied heavily on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Scripture. By the time I left four years later, there were over 2000 client sessions per year. Why the growth? Anyone who counseled at the center was taught to listen to the client’s heart – listen, listen, listen. The counselors were taught to understand where the person was in her relationship to God. After spending much time listening without reacting judgmentally, the other counselors and I earned the right to talk. Then we spoke with Godly love and Christ-like truth. Many listened. Babies were saved from abortion, couples who were living together got married, marriages were healed, parents and children grew closer, and some made a commitment to abstinence. I wish I could tell you that every young person changed. Some people didn’t, but changing them was not our responsibility. It is God’s responsibility to change people. And remember, some youth do not have Christian parents. If you do not come alongside them, then the world will, with devastating results. OPPORTUNITY 4: BE TRUSTWORTHY. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29-32). During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had the ability to know the sin and thoughts of those around Him. This is clearly shown in many parts of Scripture. And yet there is no mention (and it most certainly would have been noted) that He ever shared the secrets of others’ lives with His disciples and friends. Proverbs 20:19 says, “A gossip is a revealer of secrets; so do not mix with him who flatters with his lips.” Common thinking is that women are more “guilty” of gossip than men. However, this is simply not true. Knowledge is power. Whenever either men or women possess knowledge about another person’s life, there is temptation to use that power.
If a person comes to you for advice, you must never share what you hear, not even with your spouse or prayer partner. If his (or her) secret is revealed, the damage to the person may go far beyond what you think. Some may even contemplate suicide. The person has opened his heart and poured out his deepest need. He has given you a great trust. The information he confides to you belongs to him, not you. When you listen to that information, you take on a responsibility to safeguard it. If you do not safeguard it, the secret will not only pass among church members, but to unbelievers as well. Christians will gain a reputation for being untrustworthy. There is one dilemma I occasionally had in my ministry at the center that you might also have. Do I tell the parents of a minor about their child’s behavior? Do I tell a pastor if a person in his congregation is in an abusive relationship? Do I go to the police if I know there has been a rape, but the victim does not want to speak out? In almost every one of the situations, with wise counseling, you will be able to convince the person to speak to their parent, their pastor or the police. The most successful approach for me was to offer to go with the person. By confiding in you, she showed her trust and respect for you. Offering to go with her helped her rely on my strength. Your presence with the parents, pastor or the police will have a calming effect. Very often the parents are at first uncomfortable with the fact that their child has confided in you and not them. That is something you can address in a kind and loving manner. It is wise to never leave them until you know the child is safe and parental anger, if any, has been controlled. OPPORTUNITY 5: BE A BRIDGE BUILDER. As I have already written parents and teens often struggle with each other. Parents want to protect and teach their teen. And although teens love their parents, they are seeking independence. At times teens and/or the parents feel the other is “against them.” They feel a division has come between them which can’t be fixed. As I have seen the role of churches, I must honestly say that the church can work to strengthen that division without even realizing this is happening. Please let me explain. I grew up in a small church of perhaps 40 families. Ages ranged from senior citizens to young children. The Sunday School and youth programs were vital and enriching to the spiritual growth of the both individuals and the church itself. There was a great interconnection of activities for children, youth and adults. There were church picnics for the whole family. Fundraising projects were worked on together. Dinners were held and families sat together. Then over the decades, a trend started to develop. I call it specialization. We see this in many professions. The medical profession is a good example. The family doctor has often been replaced by a group of specialists. This approach to health care has great benefits. Specialists can study health issues more deeply and become more expert.
This specialist concept has worked its way into the church. There are music ministers, youth leaders, women’s leaders all drawing a special group to their teaching. Is this wrong? In theory, no. But what has resulted is a lot of separate activities where various groups no longer work together. Youth groups often have their own style of worship, their own activities, and their own pastor. This specialization approach has had some positive results, but again, there are drawbacks. Throughout their early years our children sat with us in church. Then when they were in the church youth group, they requested to sit with the youth during the church service. The youth pastor felt this would provide a special bond among the youth and encourage them to be in church. Several people, including my husband and me, protested this separation of families in worship. We wanted our children sitting next to us in church services. It bonded them to us. We wanted to work with them on projects. It bonded us to them in laboring together for the Lord. However, that was just not the way our church and other churches, were developing. I suggest that youth groups continue. But at times, the parents should join the youth for teaching on special topics, such as some of the teachings on sexual purity. Parents and teens should also join in fun activities held by the youth group. Youth groups should bond parent and teen. If they don’t, an unintended consequence will be that the youth will feel self-sufficient and that their parents have no relevance. In Ephesians 2:17, we see Christ is a ‘bridge builder.’ “And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near.” We should model Christ’s behavior by being bridge builders, too. OPPORTUNITY 6: ENCOURAGE QUALITY YOUTH PROGRAMS. Churches should have programs for the youth beginning at ages 12 through 19. Depending on the size of the church, it is wise to have two divisions – ages 12-15 and 16-19. The age division is not as important as is the aim of the youth group. All too often these groups take on a club-like quality. While Biblical living is taught, these groups frequently model themselves after secular programs with regard to music and the need for entertainment. I was so enriched by the youth program in my church when I was growing up in the 1950s. In my youth group I learned how to follow and how to lead. I learned about service to others rather than service to self. I learned how to run meetings and programs in a structured, ordered way. When my parents sent me to youth events, they were unafraid because they knew the programs would be well supervised and wholesome in teaching. They knew what I was being taught and what the activities were.
The people running the youth programs have a duty to ensure the safety of those who attend. This is particularly true for large youth groups and special events. Any meeting should have a sufficient number of adults to monitor the comings and goings of the young people. Provide a sign-in and sign-out sheet so you know who attends and can report this information to any parent who inquires. Teens need very little time and very little creative thinking for inappropriate sexual conduct. If your youth group has even one inappropriate incident, the damage to the group’s reputation and the church itself will be tremendous. God promises through the prophet Jeremiah 24: 4, “I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD.” Being called as God’s Shepherd is a great privilege and responsibility. That is why in the same passage (Jeremiah 24: 1-2), God gives a warning. “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" declares the LORD. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: "Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done," declares the LORD.” The young people who come should enjoy fellowship with each other and fellowship together with the Lord. They should have fun. However, youth programs that focus only on meeting their needs will breed self-centered, self-indulgent youth. This has been an increasing problem in the Western church. Many youth programs focus on just “fun” activities, including at times expensive trips. Thankfully that trend is reversing and many youth programs now have activities that teach stewardship of time and money. When we serve others, there are benefits. It builds self-esteem. Remember one of the reasons youth enter into premarital sexual behavior is low self-esteem. Building their self-esteem through acts of mercy towards others is very beneficial to them and to those they serve. God will bless their service. In Deuteronomy 15:10-11 we read, “You shall surely give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing Jehovah your God shall bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand to. For the poor shall never cease out of the land. Therefore, I command you saying, You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and to your needy, in your land.” And in Isaiah 58: 6-11, God clearly states his promise to those who serve. "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious
talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” A young person living under the protection of this instruction and promise will likely not fall into sexual sin. In Unit 3 of this book, the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of promiscuity are thoroughly addressed. A quality youth program will include teaching these facts to the youth and to their parents. While the youth may learn about such matters in their own way, very often parents have little understanding about the important consequences of promiscuity. Unit 4 teaches about healing from sexual sin. If you read and study both Unit 3 and Unit 4 you will be prepared to teach your children or the youth in your church. AN EXAMPLE OF THE POWER WITHIN THE CHURCH Let me tell you a true story. It is not about a teenager but about a woman who strayed far from her faith. To protect her privacy, I will call her Carol. Carol was about 30 years old. Her first visit to the counseling center was for a pregnancy test. She was dressed in a way I had rarely seen before. She looked very much like a prostitute. She told me she had many “lovers”. I also learned she had attended church as a child, but felt the church had no relevance in her life. I counseled Carol about the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of her promiscuous behavior. I tried to show her the relevance of Christ in helping her change her behaviors. She grew angrier despite my speaking in loving terms. She demanded the pregnancy test which I provided. The test was negative. She quickly left, pleased not to be pregnant, but very angry with me. A few months later she returned and I welcomed her, even though I recalled her previous angry attitude. Again her dress was so offensive I had to remove her from the waiting room where young families were sitting. Again we talked. I suggested that she at least try to find a church where she felt accepted. Again she grew angry and demanded a pregnancy test. Same result – she was not pregnant. She left relieved, but furious. About six months later, a woman came to the center. I asked if she had been there before. She said she had come twice before. The woman was Carol! Everything about her was so different that I did not recognize her. She was dressed appropriately, had a calm manner, and was attending church again! Someone had invited her to church and she went. The church lovingly embraced her and helped to restore her to Christ. This time she wasn’t at the center for a pregnancy test. She had come for ongoing counseling which we provided.
The person who invited Carol to church and I both played a role in her change. But the most significant impact was made by the entire church and the collective power of the Holy Spirit. The church members’ love and ongoing discipleship changed this woman’s life, to the Glory of God. It fulfilled what we read in Galatians 6:1-2, “ Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE GOVERNMENT I do not expect any government official will ever read this section. However, Christians can properly influence their government. Therefore the information below is important for you to read. “Be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil-doers and for praise to them that do well” (1Pe 2:13-14). God clearly teaches us in this Scripture that governments are established to keep order among people. And we are subject to these rulers and authorities. “Put them in mind to be in subjection to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready unto every good work…” (Titus 3: 1). The laws of government have a profound effect on the moral standards in society. The family is the smallest unit of society, the very core of a nation. When an overwhelming number of families are “broken,” the nation as a whole is negatively affected. Therefore the government has many opportunities to ensure that families are protected. As Christians we can encourage governments to uphold laws and regulations to protect family. Christians can express concerns in letters to the editors of newspapers, letters to government representatives, and petitions presented to government officials. Also, Christians can decide to become politically active through direct participation in elections and government jobs. Joseph and his role in Egypt and Daniel’s influence on King Nebuchadnezzar are two examples of God’s people being very influential in government. These roles are not always easy to accomplish, however, very few things of lasting value in life are easy to do. OPPORTUNITY 1: LIMIT ACCESS TO PORNOGRAPHY Without limiting freedom of speech, a government can prohibit public advertisements that promote sexual immorality through inappropriate dress, consumption of alcoholic beverages, and use of men or women as objects of lust. Laws banning the sale of pornographic magazines can be enacted without harming freedom of self-expression. Pornography plays a large role in the “red light” districts in cities. Girls advertising their availability for sexual relations often flaunt themselves in doorways, luring young people to see even more. Prompt and swift action to close these areas is very important.
OPPORTUNITY 2: ENACT LAWS WHICH LIMIT QUICK DIVORCES Laws on divorce vary greatly around the world. In the United States, the laws even vary from state to state. Many couples look to divorce as an easy way out of a “broken” marriage. However, often the marriage can be saved with the correct help and effort. Laws are meant, at times, to save us from our own foolishness. For example, speed limits are set so that reckless driving is punishable. Like reckless driving, reckless divorce can be avoided. Legislation against speedy divorces helps provide extra time before a divorce can be finalized. When divorce is more difficult, couples tend to work toward reconciliation. They might enter into counseling, take time apart for reflection, examine the economic impact, and understand the devastating effect on their children. Carefully examining these issues can help to rescue their marriage. Again as Christians, we can study these issues and bring the facts to the attention of appropriate government bodies. OPPORTUNITY 3: PROHIBIT ABORTION The topic of abortion is thoroughly explained in Gabriel International’s video presentations, Therefore Choose Life. This presentations shows the physical, emotional, and social effects of abortion on women and men. The Leader’s Guide that accompanies this presentation also shows the effect abortion has on population growth. It explains zero or negative population. The following is a quote from the Leader’s Guide: “Simply stated, [negative or zero population growth] means that more people are dying in countries than are being born.” “As of the year 2009 Russia, Latvia, Romania, Croatia, Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungry, Moldova, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic are among the countries that are at negative population growth. The number of deaths of adults is exceeding the number of births in those nations; the population is simply not replacing itself. Japan, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Italy, Sweden are at zero population growth. This means that the number of deaths is equal to the number of births.” “These may seem to be innocent, and by some of the world’s standards, desirable statistics. But they have great sociological implications. If that trend continues, entire people groups will no longer exist. Great emphasis is placed upon the potential extinction of whales, tigers and other animals. Yet, why is most of the world unconcerned about the extinction of people groups?”
Dr. Carol Clark holds a PhD. in psychology. In the video presentation Therefore Choose Life she states, “Abortion is one of the factors that leads to an attitude of casual sex and promiscuity, along with the easily obtained birth control methods, the morning after pill that is available now in some places, and the general decline of moral values in our society today. All of these lead to an acceptance of casual sex and promiscuity. If a man and a woman feel like they have an easy solution to their problem, that is, an easy way of solving their dilemma if a pregnancy occurs, then they will engage in risky sexual behavior much more frequently.” Christians know we are created in the image and likeness of God. We realize governments may not agree with this concept. But they should be made aware of the sociological impact of abortion as mentioned above so that abortion is prohibited by law. OPPORTUNITY 4: PROPERLY ENFORCE RAPE AND MOLESTATION LAWS Most countries have laws concerning rape and child molestation. However, the process involved in prosecuting the offender can place an inappropriate hardship on the victims. Even in the United States, where victim’s rights have greatly improved, women are still hesitant to report rape. The women are often subjected in court to questioning by defense attorneys who try to portray these victims as guilty. Also the sexual violation of a woman causes such low self-esteem that she often places inappropriate blame on herself. “If only I had not walked down that dark street,” or “If only I had not gone to that party.” These self-accusations can lead to a delay in or failure to report the rape. Police and medical people are often the first authority with whom a victim speaks to. Training these people to be kind and helpful will encourage other victims to step forward. Often this will lead to the apprehension of serial rapists. I recall one such incident from the counseling center where I served. A teenage girl came for a pregnancy test. I suspected she had been raped weeks before. After a long discussion, she admitted she had been raped at a party. She was afraid the police and her parents would not believe her. She permitted me to call the police who came immediately. The police officer was kind and compassionate. Her parents, although greatly distressed, also provided support. This led to a larger investigation. Eventually her rapist was arrested. It was discovered that he raped several girls. If the police officer had not been so well trained in rape victim management, the outcome might have been different. And a serial rapist would have continued raping other girls. Prompt and thorough investigation into rape will allow the community to trust in its government. If the trust is not there, the community will often take matters into their own hands. Violence from the community only propagates a lawless society. Government rule is so much better than “mob” rule.
UNIT 3 CONSEQUENCES OF SEXUAL PROMISCUITY Sexual promiscuity has three consequences. They are physical, emotional and spiritual. These consequences can last a lifetime. They have a profound economic impact because of the treatments, both medical and psychological, that are needed. In the United States, a very negative culture emerged during the 1960s. People sought to have great personal freedoms. These people are now referred to as the “me” generation. The focus on ‘self’ has brought calamity to most European and North American countries. Many people financially want to have more than their salaries can pay for. They want to work less for more money. They feel entitled to have things they didn’t earn. And most of all, they want to have happiness at any cost, even if that cost means fornication (sex before marriage) and adultery (sex with someone who is not your spouse.) Teens spend a lot of time thinking about their future. Yet they often live as though they have no future. They live very much in the moment feeling that they are invincible. But teens are not alone. Numerous adults also feel that there will be no consequences for their sin. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has created the universe which is governed by natural laws. When these laws of nature are violated, the outcome is physical illness. When the laws of social interaction are violated emotional illness will result. And when we live outside of God’s Word, the outcome is spiritual illness. Believers and non-believers alike will suffer the same consequences from sexual promiscuity. Hopefully the following pages will alert you to exactly what those consequences are. “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” “It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit” (I Thessalonians 4:1-8).
PHYSICAL CONSEQUENCES THE LIFE SHE DIDN’T PLAN I entered the counseling room. There sat a young mother in her mid-twenties. She had three children under the age of five, each fathered by a different man. She was thin and looked ill. Her skin was jaundiced and her manner indicated she was weak. She requested a pregnancy test, and was thankfully not pregnant again. Seeing some posters on the wall about adoption, she asked me for information on adoption agencies. As I talked with her, she shared her story. She had no family that was willing or capable of helping her. She had been sexually promiscuous since the age of 16. She explained she was dying from liver failure due to Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infection. The doctor told her she had about six months to live. She had not been a drug user or an alcoholic. She contracted hepatitis because of promiscuous sex with men who also had the disease. She was desperate to find a home for her children, a family that would adopt all three together. She did not want her children to lose each other after she was dead. Her children sat quietly as tears rolled down her cheeks. As tears began to fill my eyes I recalled Romans 12:15 “…weep with them that weep.” I provided a list of adoption agencies and shared the positive aspects of adoption. I prayed with her and then watched as she left the office, never to be seen again. On her 15th birthday, this girl did not plan to have three children, be infected with a fatal disease, and die within the next 10 years. So many young people think sex will not have serious consequences. I have even heard them say, “Such a thing could never happen to me”. This woman was probably no different and thought the same thing. But she was wrong. It did happen to her and it was deadly. THE PHYSICAL LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE Let us look first at the general issue of the physical laws created by God for our protection. This will help you understand about sexually transmitted infections (STI). It is important you understand this so you will not become a tragic story in someone’s book. God created the universe with unchangeable physical laws of nature. For example, there is the law of gravity. While the full scientific explanation is quite complicated it can be most easily demonstrated by dropping something from your hand. It will always fall down! Nothing ever falls “up”. If you step off a cliff you will fall and will likely be injured. Another physical law of nature is plants, animals, and humans need food and water to live. Without food and water, living things die. If you stop eating, you will eventually die!
Physical laws keep the planets in orbit, the sun rising and setting each day, the seasons with their climates, and the reproduction of human, animal, and plant species, etc. Man’s interference or disregard for these laws results in chaos and illness. OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Our immune system is one of the physical laws of the universe. Our bodies contain billions of individual cells. Cells are small, really, really small. They are smaller than a grain of sand, smaller than a speck of dust, smaller than the salt in the ocean. They are too small to be seen with the eye or even a magnifying glass. You need a special microscope. A group of cells make up our immune system. The immune system is one of the most complex biological systems we have. Each human cell in our immune system has a specific function. There are cells that notify our bodies of a problem, cells that alert, cells that assist in healing, cells that activate, cells that surround, cells that kill, even cells that clean up. Many immune cells also act as messengers, regulators, or helpers in the process of defending against invaders. Our immune system is responsible for allergies. When our bodies sense pollen or animal hair some people’s immune systems overreact. Their immune systems’ response is an allergic reaction, such as an itch, a sneeze, or a runny nose. Our immune systems do not like the presence of cells other than those our own bodies produce. Our body will try to get rid of “alien” cells. For example, when we get an infection, our temperature rises to kill the invading cells. If we eat food filled with bacteria, we will become ill. Our immune system will cause us to vomit or have diarrhea to eliminate the offending bacteria. If we touch certain poisonous plants, our immune system will react with a rash or an itch. In the mid-twentieth century, there were four sexually transmitted infections (STIs), all bacterial. Now there are over 11 different classifications of STIs. Some of these classifications have subclassifications bringing the number of STIs present today to about 30. The reason for this explosion is a very complicated scientific topic which not easily understood by most people. You do not have to understand all the details of STIs. After all, you do not have to understand the chemical and thermal properties of fire to understand the danger of fire. You just need to know you will get burned, if you put your hand in the fire. God does not have to explain the scientific details about the dangers of sexual promiscuity in the Bible. If God, who created us, says that sexual immorality is dangerous, that is enough information. In I Corinthians 6:18 we read, “Keep on running away from sexual immorality. Any other sin that a person commits is outside his body, but the person who sins sexually sins against his own body.” He also warns us that multiple sexual partners will do us harm. He
designed us to have one mate, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). If we have sexual relations with multiple people, we leave ourselves open to their infections. SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS (STIS)
Some facts about STIs are important for you to understand, particularly the incorrect worldview of “safe sex” and the use of condoms, birth control, and abortion. I will not go into great biological detail about the signs and symptoms of STIs. I am not trying to make you doctors. But you did need to understand what diseases you can get and how you get them. There are three major categories of STIs. All of them can cause disease. They are bacteria, protozoa, and virus. 1. Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms. Bacteria can reproduce or replicate themselves. A bacterial infection can be cured by antibiotics and other medications. 2. Protozoa: There is no easy, exact way to define protozoa. However, protozoa are one category of STI infections. A protozoa infection can also be cured by antibiotics. 3. Virus: The term virus comes from a Latin word meaning toxin or poison. The poisonous virus, also called an infectious agent, invades one of our body’s healthy cells. The invaded cell becomes a host cell. In the host cell the virus replicates itself and also changes the host cell. This is called mutation of the cell. Because of its ability to take over and continentally change the host cell, no cures for virus exist. Treatments can help with the symptoms, but a virus can NEVER be cured. BACTERIAL INFECTIONS
Bacterial infections can be cured with antibiotics. However, all bacterial STIs can increase the risk of transmitting or getting infected with HIV. And bacterial STIs can damage the reproductive system. Some bacterial infections have only a few symptoms. Women are often unaware they are infected. This causes them to delay receiving proper treatment. The prolonged untreated infection leads to a condition known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). The woman’s reproductive organs are mostly internal. The reproductive organs have openings to the entire abdominal cavity. When left untreated, the infection can spread to this cavity causing wide-spread and sometimes deadly infections (PID). This is particularly true in rural areas, where medical care is not easily obtainable. Such wide-spread infections require hospitalization and intra-venous (IV) antibiotics.
Furthermore, bacterial infections in the reproductive organs can cause permanent scarring in both males and females. This scarring occurs in the internal parts of the reproductive organs leading to permanent infertility. Often the permanent damage is not known until the person is married and tries to have a child, but discovers he or she cannot. Last, please understand young women, until about the age of 21, are more susceptible to getting infections. This is because their reproductive organs are still maturing. Gonorrhea (GC): GC is transmitted through infected bodily secretions in the mouth or reproductive organs. The infection is spread during sexual activity. Fifty percent (one-half ) of all infected females have no symptoms. Laboratory tests of secretions from the infected area or the urine can diagnose this disease. GC can then be cured with antibiotic, hopefully before permanent or lasting damage to the reproductive organs takes place. Syphilis: Syphilis is transmitted by skin to skin contact with the syphilis sore. In the primary stage of the disease, the sore is painless and can be located in the genital area, mouth or lips. In its secondary stage, syphilis will appear as a rash on hands, feet and other areas of the body. It can be cured with antibiotics by injection. In the late stages syphilis results in paralysis, numbness, blindness, and dementia. Because of antibiotics, only a few people reach the late stage. However, those living in very remote areas might not receive prompt enough treatment to avoid the late stage of this illness. Chlamydia: Chlamydia is transmitted by infected secretions during sexual activity involving the mouth or reproductive organs. Seventy-five percent of all infected women have no symptoms and therefore, their treatment is greatly delayed. Some females have vaginal discharge and/or abdominal pain. Males usually experience pain on urination, and tend to seek treatment sooner. Chlamydia is diagnosed by laboratory tests of secretions from the infected area. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV): Not all bacteria are harmful if kept in balanced proportions. However, an imbalance of certain harmful bacteria will produce bacterial vaginosis. This infection is almost always spread through sexual intercourse. In rare occasions women who have never had sexual intercourse are affected because of an imbalance for other reasons. Antibiotics by mouth or vaginal creams can cure this infection. PROTOZOA INFECTION
Trichomoniaisis: This STI is contracted through secretions during sexual activity. It can only be diagnosed by a laboratory test of vaginal or urethral fluid. Most men and many women do not know they are infected. Antibiotics can cure this infection.
Viral infections can never be cured. This is the most important fact you need to know about this type of infection. Some vaccines may prevent a viral infection. A few viral STI’s have treatments to eliminate some of the unpleasant symptoms. But, once an STI viral infection is contracted, you will have it for the rest of your life. And you will be able to pass that infection on to subsequent partners. All diseases are serious. But viral STIs must be taken very seriously because they cannot be cured. And it only takes one sexual experience for you to contract the STI. There are numerous people with viral STIs who have said, “But I only did it once.” Tragically the results of that “once” will last them a lifetime. Is that what you want? Would any sexual experience really be worth a lifetime of illness? I don’t think so and I don’t think you really think so either. Genital Herpes (HSV): Genital Herpes is caused by one of two different viruses – Type 1 is found in the mouth and lips. It is commonly known as a “cold sore.” It can be spread to the reproductive areas through touch. Type 2 is limited to the genital area. Type 2 does not always have blisters and therefore, you can be infected with knowing it. When a blister/sore finally appears, it will be very painful. Medications can help limit the frequency that sores appear. But, they do NOT cure the virus and sores will continue to appear for the rest of your life. It is spread by skin-skin contact. Genital herpes can be passed to a baby during the birth process. If undetected and untreated, the baby could die. Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV causes warts in the genital area. It is spread by skin-skin contact. These warts can be treated with chemicals. They can also be frozen, burned, or surgically removed. These procedures do not get rid of the virus, just the warts. New warts will appear from time to time. While there is no cure for HPV, the body’s immune system seems to get rid of the infection in some people over a period of months or years. In women the virus can cause abnormal changes in the cervix which can lead to cancer of the cervix. A mother can pass the virus to her baby during birth. A vaccine has recently been developed to prevent some forms of cervical cancer caused by HPV. This vaccine does not protect against all cervical cancers caused by HPV. Hepatitis B (HBV): Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and body fluids. It is passed through sexual contact and/or IV drug use. At times there may be no symptoms. However, many people begin to have jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Serious liver damage results in chronically infected people. This damage can lead to death. There is no cure, but medications can help control the disease, if you can afford them. A vaccine is available and is effective in the prevention of this disease. Hepatitis C (HCV): Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood. Medical professionals who are exposed to human blood, IV drug users, and infants born to infected mothers are all at risk. Hepatitis C is also transmitted through sexual intercourse. Chronic liver
disease occurs in 70 percent of chronically infected persons which can lead to liver failure, liver cancer, and death. There is no vaccine to protect against Hepatitis C. HIV/AIDS: The longer term is Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. This virus can be found in blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. HIV can be contracted through sexual activity where there is an exchange of blood or other body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids. HIV can be passed to a baby in the womb, during birth, and in breast milk. It can also be contracted through IV drug use and a transfusion of blood from an infected person. Since needles are needed for tattoos and body piercing, it is possible to pass the HIV with unclean needles during the tattoo process. Blood tests can determine if you have the virus. HIV attacks the immune system through destruction of the T-helper cells. T-helper cells find and isolate certain cells so that the immune system can function properly. In a person with HIV, the T-helper cells are destroyed and the immune system cannot function which leads to the development of AIDS. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a result of a poor immune system. Because your body cannot defend itself, you become ill with a series of diseases and infections. Eventually those diseases overpower the body resulting in death. There is no vaccine to prevent HIV and there is no cure. Very expensive medications can slow down the progression. In some instances, these medicines can prevent an unborn child from contracting the disease. HIV/AIDS will ultimately result in prolonged illness and death. THE TRUTH AND THE LIES ABOUT “SAFE SEX”
Very simply stated, the only truly safe sex is to marry someone who has been chaste and for both husband and wife to be sexually faithful within that marriage. The secular worldview will offer ideas about sexual protections. Let us look at the first one, condoms. You ask, “Aren’t condoms safe? Don’t they offer some protection?” I will not provide statistics on the failure rate of condoms. Many sexual purity programs do. I believe that correct data about condom failure is hard to prove. What I need you to focus on is the word “failure.” Condoms fail some of the time. To say anything other than that is a lie. I am a medical professional, a nurse. The doctors I have worked with and I have come in contact with blood and body fluids in order to treat our patients. While doing surgery, we wear special gowns, special boots on our shoes, caps on our heads, protective glasses for our eyes, and latex gloves on our hands. Some of these items act as a barrier for protecting the patient from our
bacteria and viruses. But equally important is that these garments also protect us from the patient’s bacteria and viruses. Medical professionals put on our garments with calm and accuracy. We do not rush except for emergencies and even then, we are trained to protect ourselves. Even with great care, on occasion, gloves rip in the process of putting them on. No problem. We simply reach for another pair. We are not putting them on while we are working on the patient’s wound or body. We put the gloves on well in advance. So we have the ability to “re-glove’ if necessary. When we work on patient’s wounds or in surgery, we are being very cautious and move precisely watching everything with great care in well lit rooms. At the first sign of an impending rip or tear in a glove, we take the time to change the gloves. Now think about the use of a condom. Professionals state that condoms require very careful placement, always using the proper technique. For example, there must be no small rips or tiny pinholes. Remember bacteria and viruses are microscopic. Thousands of them can pass through the tiniest of holes. These holes might not be noticeable with a quick look or in a poorly lit environment. It only takes one microscopic cell to infect you. Sex is not a controlled event such as you might experience in a medical procedure or operating room. It is not a time when one stops to strictly follow proper procedures for the use of a condom. Sex is passionate and accomplished with rapid, vigorous movements. Is it any wonder that condoms fail at times? And if that one failure occurs with a person infected with an STI, you will likely be infected, too. One day at the center, I received a call from the local health department. They were sending me a patient for an immediate pregnancy test. The woman arrived in great distress, crying and angry. Her partner was HIV positive. They had sex and the condom broke. Thankfully she was not pregnant. But for six months to maybe a year, she would have be tested to see if she contracted HIV from that one time. My heart broke for her. She had trusted the secular worldview lie that condoms are better than nothing. And don’t forget about those STIs that are contracted by skin-to-skin contact. They are syphilis, genital herpes and genital human papillomavirus. A condom only protects one area of the reproductive organs. There are other areas of skin that touch during sex and an STI may be transmitted to you, condom or no condom. So, remember some condoms fail, which is why governments, people and the medical profession enter into debates on the “failure rate”. Again, you should not be thinking about the word “rate,” but about the word “failure.” Another secular worldview is that safe sex simply means not bearing a child. This leads many unmarried young women to take birth control or if they become pregnant, to have an abortion.
Some parents even suggest that their daughters use birth control or abort a baby should there be a pregnancy. Birth control medications are not 100 percent effective. Secondly, birth control does not prevent STIs. In fact, some studies show that the hormones in birth control pills, especially in teens, can make the reproductive organs more susceptible to infection. And adding hormones to a teen that is still maturing simply doesn’t make sense. Doctors and athletic coaches don’t allow boys to take hormones to improve their muscle strength. It is not healthy for them. So why is it okay for girls to take hormones? And abortion? There is an entire book and two DVDs that thoroughly discuss the topic of abortion. It is available through local ministries in your country and/or Gabriel International (www.gabrielinternational.com ). These DVDs affirm that life begins at conception and that abortion ends the life of a child. It also describes the negative physical and emotional effects of abortion. I would like, however, to add this brief story. In the counseling center where I served, we really needed to improve our post-abortion counseling program. Never having had an abortion, I did not fully understand the emotional problems associated with post-abortion stress. I signed up for a seminar conducted by people who had had abortions. For two days, I listened to the physical and emotional pain as they described the day of the abortion. I heard them talk how the loss of their child had affected their lives forever. I heard how many had turned to drugs and alcohol to numb their pain and how some had even attempted suicide. I saw them weep as they talked about their journey toward Biblical healing. They knew their sin was forgiven. But their child was gone forever. Their grief was tremendous. The two days ended with a candle lighting memorial service for the lost children. The collective grief was so real and so painful over the two days, that I, myself, went into severe depression for almost a week. So please understand that abortion is not “safe sex.” There is nothing safe about it. AN URGENT MATTER If you have had sex outside of marriage YOU MUST GET MEDICALLY TESTED for STIs. Remember many of the infections can be present without you being aware. You can do yourself PERMANENT damage by not knowing. And if you do test positive for any of the STIs, you have an obligation to tell your sexual partner (or partners) so that they can get tested and treated.
EMOTIONAL CONSEQUENCES “O sons of men, how long will you turn My glory into shame? Will you love vanity and seek after a lie? (Psalm 4:2). Several times in this book, I have shown that sexual relations in a married relationship is a gift from God for procreation and for intimacy (eros) between a husband and a wife. In Psalm 4 we read how people have taken God’s gifts, His Glory, and turned them in shameful acts. This produces emotional harm to our lives and separates us from God. There are many emotional consequences to sex outside of marriage. This section will address just three: embarrassment leading to low self-esteem, distressing memories, and disappointment with ourselves. EMBARRASSMENT LEADING TO LOW SELF-ESTEEM
Human beings and animals share many similarities. Both groups eat, sleep, socialize on some level, procreate their own species, and also die of disease or natural aging. However, several things distinguish humans from animals. One important example is that humans blush. To blush is to display redness in one's face. The term is usually used when the redness is a result of an emotional response, which could reflect embarrassment, shame, or loss of modesty. Animals simply cannot blush because they have no sense of shame. One of the negative emotional consequences of sexual promiscuity is embarrassment, shame or loss of modesty. I call it the “slip and fall” condition. A toddler or even a young child falls frequently. If not hurt, they get up and feel no embarrassment or social discomfort. But when an adult slips and falls, the almost immediate response is, “Who saw me? How foolish does this make me look?” The fall may not have been the adult’s fault at all. Yet, as teens and adults, we expect to be able to control our bodies. When we fall, we show others that for a brief moment we couldn’t control our bodies. The result is embarrassment. At the center, I saw hundreds of young people in unplanned pregnancies resulting from sex before marriage. Sometimes they came with their mother or father. There were many emotions when a pregnancy test came back positive. Anger, fear, and worry were just a few. But whether the test was positive or negative, they often showed embarrassment for needing the test in the first place. For many it was a sign that they had lost control of themselves and behaved in a way that could be harmful to themselves. Some would try to hide this embarrassment. But their body language, their words, and sometimes their tears told the real truth. They had “slipped and fallen” and someone now knew about their loss of self-control.
Once this occurs it leads to a decrease in self-esteem. This is a vicious circle. Lowered selfesteem gives way to risky behaviors not limited to sexual immorality. A decrease in self-esteem can also lead to drinking and drug use. This further escalates to even lower self-esteem and then to self-hatred. Once that level is reached, the outcome is depression, increased sexual promiscuity, and more drinking and drug use. These behaviors require professional intervention and, if the person is willing, spiritual intervention by Jesus Christ. DISTRESSING MEMORIES
When God designed us, He gave us the ability to remember. It is a great gift. We can remember the joy of being with a person or at an event or a place that means so much to us. It is what helps us learn new things and then apply them to our lives. Can you imagine what it would be like if we had no memory? The arithmetic we learn in early school years would have to be taught again and again every single year! We would forget where we put things and even how to take care of ourselves. But memory also has a negative impact on us. George Santayana, a great poet and philosopher, wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I believe that God wants our memories of sinful behavior to stay with us so that we will not repeat the same sin again. If we remember the event as painful, we will be less likely to repeat it again. Only a fool would deliberately repeat something that is painful. In fact, there is a famous statement that says, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” How does our memory of sexual immorality harm us? First and foremost the answer is found in Scripture . “And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings in which you have been defiled. And you shall despise yourselves in your own sight for all your evils which you have committed” (Ezekiel 20:43). The warning is that you will despise yourself. From a very practical point, there are other factors to consider. The act of sex is a very personal matter. Different people approach it in different ways. For example, no two cooks will make the same meal exactly the same way. The outcome for both may be very tasty meal and enjoyed by those who eat it. But the process to prepare each meal is different. When you enter into a sexual relationship with a person, you and that person will develop a style of working out that “eros” in your relationship. However, because you are not married there is the risk that your relationship will not continue. In fact, I often found that relationships that were strongly based on only the “eros” type of love ended before marriage. When you do eventually marry your spouse may relate “eros” in a very different way. Because of your previous sexual experience, you will compare the two experiences. Comparison of how your spouse relates to you in the marriage bed versus how another person related to you is a distressing burden you don’t want to bear. You might argue, “But I am going to marry that person. We are just experiencing sex as a couple before we are married.” A sexual relationship before you are married means that you will
likely have to find secret locations. You may have to engage in “quick” sex so as not to be caught. In brief your initial experience with sex will be combined with risk. For some the thrill of “getting away with it” will become the goal. When you marry and the “suspense” is removed, it will negatively affect your normal, loving expression of sex within the marriage. In a marriage you stand before a Holy God and make a covenant with your spouse. Then, after making a Holy covenant, you are able to reveal your “eros” nature in a beautiful manner blessed by God. As you watch this “eros” part of your relationship grow, it will develop without negative memories. Marriage has sufficient challenges, why start the relationship with burdened with sinful memories? That serves no purpose. DISAPPOINTMENT WITH OURSELVES
A large portion of Scripture tells about the life of King David, from his boyhood to his death. This is for a definite purpose; I believe everything in the Bible is for our benefit. “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17. Reviewing events of King David’s life will help you see how sexual immorality can impact your life. His life reveals how a person can deteriorate from being proud of his actions to being very disappointed, even grief stricken over his actions. This happens because David misuses power. There is nothing wrong with power or being powerful. In Luke 1:17 we read, “And he [John the Baptist] shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” God enables us to be powerful for His purposes. However, when we use power to gain advantage over another, the results are disastrous. There are times when men and women will manipulate one another into sexual relations outside of marriage. Sometimes this stems from a false sense of power to control another person or to get that person to satisfy our own desires. Some people even take great pride in the ability to do this. Let us look at a part of David’s life beginning in First Samuel Chapter 17. David was just a young shepherd boy. Yet, God had plans for him to eventually become King over Israel. Meanwhile, the actual King of Israel, Saul, was being threatened by a huge Philistine army. In that army, was a giant named Goliath. For 40 days he stood on a hilltop and challenged Saul’s army to send a man to fight him. The victor of the one-on-one battle would decide the fate of the entire war.
David goes to Saul and suggests that he [David] fight Goliath. David and Saul have the following conversation: “And Saul said to David, You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him. For you are but a youth, and he is a man of war from his youth. And David said to Saul, Your servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock. And I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb out of its mouth…Your servant killed both the lion and the bear. And this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God. And David said, Jehovah who has delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Go, and may Jehovah be with you” (I Samuel 17:33-37). Saul tries to help by providing David with his armor and sword. But Saul’s armor is so big and David is so small that he can hardly walk! So David takes the armor off and marches toward Goliath, in the strength and power of the Lord. Very likely you know the outcome. David kills the giant Goliath with a rock from a slingshot and the Philistine army flees. David used his Godly power in an appropriate way and God was with him. Now let’s move to Second Samuel Chapter 11. David is now king over Israel. He has become politically powerful. “And it happened at the turn of the year, at the time kings go forth, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they destroyed the sons of Ammon and circled Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. And it happened one evening, David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing. And the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and asked about the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers and took her. And she came in to him, and he lay with her… And she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child” (2 Samuel 2:11-1-5). Now David has a problem. Bathsheba is pregnant with his child. He has used his authority as king to have an adulterous relationship. While the Bible does not say whether Bathsheba was also to blame, it does show she was bathing openly on a roof in full view of the palace. So she may have been a temptress which fed the lust of David. He calls Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, home from the battlefield and lies about the reason. He tries many ways to get Uriah to go to his wife. If Uriah slept with his own wife, it would be assumed the child was his. But Uriah does not cooperate with David’s plan for very noble
reasons. So David sends Uriah back to the battle and writes a letter to the commanding officer, Joab. This letter has a devastating, but deliberate result. “And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and draw back from him so that he may be stricken and die. And it happened when Joab observed the city, he sent Uriah to a place where he knew brave men were. And the men of the city went out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell. And Uriah the Hittite also died. Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war… And the wife of Uriah [Bathsheba] heard that Uriah her husband was dead, and mourned for her husband… And when her mourning was past, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the eyes of Jehovah” (2Samuel 11:1527). God sends Nathan, David’s friend, and God’s prophet to confront David about his adultery, lies and the death of Uriah. David does not deny the truth. “And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against Jehovah. And Nathan said to David, Jehovah also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Only, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of Jehovah to blaspheme, this child born to you shall surely die… And Jehovah struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it was very sick. And David prayed to God for the child. And David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the earth... And it happened on the seventh day, the child died… And David comforted his wife Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 12:13-24a). Scripture clearly reveals how David loves God and how God loves David. But Scripture also reveals in many of the Psalms written by David and in 2 Samuel that David fails to live up to his own expectations. He deeply regrets it. In other words, he is disappointed in himself. (And, David never had complete peace in his own household.) Unfortunately David is not unique. Yes, his circumstances are unique, but his nature is not unique. Each of us has a choice to use our lives to glorify God and protect each other or we can destroy others. Sexual urges can be for some people a kind of ‘Goliath.’ Sexual urges can feel like a giant need which we cannot conquer. But when we use the power of God to kill this ‘Goliath’ and thus restrain our sexual urges, we glorify God. When we use our own power, not God’s, to coerce someone else into sexual relations, we bring about our own and the other person’s destruction. Our emotional response to conquering this ‘Goliath’ is pride. But our emotional response to giving into our sexual urges is great disappointment.
SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES The spiritual consequences of sex outside of marriage are basically the same as the spiritual consequences for any sin. God does not view one sin as more serious than another. In fact, Matthew relates Jesus’ discourse on the ‘equality of sin’ in Matthew 5: 19-48. In these verses Jesus points out that not only our actions, but also our sinful thoughts break the very law of God. We know sin separates us from God. For the unbeliever, the sin of sex outside marriage must be dealt with as any other sin. The person must be called to repentance through Christ Jesus. The blood of Christ is sufficient to forgive that sin and every other sin he or she has committed. For the believer the process is a little different. There must be reconciliation with God. In 2 Corinthians, Chapter 5: 11- 21, Paul explains the ministry of reconciliation. The Corinthian church had strayed far from the life Christians should live. The Corinthians were engaging in all kinds of sinful behavior including frequent sexual immorality. In verse14, Paul states, “For Christ’s love compels us.” Christ’s love for you should move you to help another heal from sexual sin or, it should be what moves you to heal yourself. Christ’s love compels you to draw back close to God once again. In Section 4 of this book, I will explain that process. It is actually quite simple. What I want you to know is that if you do not seek reconciliation with God because of your sexual sin, you will never be fully able to come into His presence without shame. I had so many adults come into the counseling center who sat in churches week after week, striving to worship God while holding on to the dark secret of sexual sin. Once they released their sexual sin and through the proper steps became reconciled with God, they were truly set free. We cannot hide from God. King David knew that full well. In Psalm 139: 7-12 he writes, “Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I go up into Heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the furthest parts of the sea; even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light around me. Yea, the darkness does not hide from You; but the night shines as the day; as is the darkness, so is the light to You.”
David also writes in Psalm 51 about restoring his relationship with God. Who knows better than David about needing restoration to God? The entire Psalm is worth studying. But please take special note of verse 17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” God loves you and wants to restore His relationship to you and to help you restore your relationship with other people. So please read the next Unit 4 to find out how to do this.
UNIT 4 HEALING FROM SEXUAL PROMISCUITY BREAKING OFF UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Before any restoration of your relationship with God, it is absolutely necessary that you end your sexual relationship outside of marriage. Even if you are sure you are going to marry your sexual partner, you need to stop having inappropriate sexual relations. If your sexual partner is unwilling to agree, then you do not want that person for a life partner in marriage. To break off a sexual relationship and never enter into another one until after marriage, you need two character qualities – strength and courage. In Scripture, God tells his people over 75 times to be ‘strong and courageous’ or ‘not to be afraid.’ Usually God’s word of encouragement is to prepare his people for battle. Sexual temptation is a battle to keep the natural urges from causing us to sin. To break off sexual relations, avoid seeing each other as a couple. If you must be together, be sure you are always with friends and never alone together. Do not spend time on the phone with him or her. Just the sound of your voices may cause desire. Pray by yourself for yourself and your partner. But, do not pray with the person as you might find yourself alone with him or her. Prayer is an intimate act with God which could draw you into intimacy with each other. Work on your thoughts. Replace intimate memories and dwelling on sexual matters with Scripture you have memorized or are memorizing. Here are a few that will help. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). “He gives power to the faint; and to him that has no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31) “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10). “And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me.” (2Corinthians 12:9). “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2Timothy 1:7).
“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22). For additional Scripture, please see Supplemental Table of Scriptures at the end of this book. WHO SHOULD I TELL?
Sexual immorality always involves another person and so you must be very careful who you talk to about this. You may think you can be careful and no one will know who your partner was. However, sometimes people just figure it out or, they will guess and then come to the wrong conclusion about who the other person is. This leads to unnecessary pain for other people. As Christians we have direct access to God. Scripture says. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9). Based on these points, you may not need to tell anyone immediately. However, you may ask, “If I should tell someone, when should I tell them? If I marry someone other than the person I had sex with, should I tell my spouse?” Scripture has much to say about lying and the sin of lying, but is omission of the truth a lie? I believe it is in a marriage relationship. I want to remind you this is my opinion. If we want to truly enjoy an agape love with our spouse, then we must have an honest relationship. It is probably best that you tell your spouse-to-be about your previous sexual partner as a part of premarital counseling. If your future spouse cannot truly forgive, then perhaps this isn’t a person you should marry. Telling your future spouse the truth will be difficult. But, remember the truth might come out years later which could lead to huge issues of mistrust in your marriage. When you are truthful before your marriage, great trust can be built. If you are forgiven by your future spouse, then you will truly have intimacy in your marriage. But remember that it may take time for a person to adjust to such information. So be patient and prayerful as you go through the process. James 5:16 says, “Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.” And if you have a viral STI, you must tell your future spouse. Revealing your infection may result in the termination of the marriage process. However, your future spouse will probably contract the STI from you after marriage and your ‘secret’ will eventually come out. It is unthinkable to keep your viral STI a secret from an unsuspecting person.
RESTORING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
The Bible focuses on God’s restoration of sinful people to Himself. Perhaps the most concrete account comes through Peter, the Apostle, and his journey with Christ. Peter has literally walked and talked with Jesus. He has been a part of the “inner circle.” Jesus chooses Peter to witness the transfiguration. (see Matthew 17:1-9.) Peter, thinking that he is totally committed to Christ, makes this promise "Even if everyone else turns against you, I certainly won't!" But Jesus who knows all things responds, "Truly I tell you, this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny me three times." (Excerpts from Matthew 26:33-34). Within hours, Jesus is arrested and taken before Annas, the High Priest. Peter and another disciple follow. See how the events unfold in Luke 22:54-61. “Then they arrested him, led him away, and brought him to the high priest's house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had taken their seats, Peter, too, sat down among them. A servant girl saw him sitting by the fire, stared at him, and said, "This man was with him, too." But he denied it, saying, "I don't know him, woman!" A little later a man looked at him and said, "You are one of them, too." But Peter said, Mister, I am not!" About an hour later another man emphatically asserted, "This man was certainly with him, for he is a Galilean!" But Peter said, "Mister, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just then, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord and how he had said to him, "Before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three times." Can you imagine how Peter felt? He promised the Lord he would never turn against Jesus, yet quickly he denies even knowing him. But Jesus in all of His mercy chooses to help Peter restore their relationship. “Soon after the resurrection, Jesus appears to His disciples. At one time He met them by the lake where Peter and some others were fishing. In the nature of Jesus, He becomes as a servant and prepares a breakfast for them. Please read the account of what happens next. And please note that I have inserted the Greek word for love whenever the word ‘love’ is used.” “Then when they broke fast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My lambs.” “He said to him the second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My sheep.”
“He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him a third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17). Three denials and three restorations! This is a clear example of how far Jesus will go to bring you back into a right relationship with Him. If you confess your sin, any sin, even sexual sin, He will forgive. In John 8, Jesus encounters a woman who has been caught in the act of adultery. He does not condemn her. He forgives her and adds, “Go and sin no more”. Being forgiven does not give you the right to go out and continue in that sin. If you continue in sexual promiscuity, you may have a sexual addiction. It would be wise to seek professional or pastoral counseling. Remember always that “He [God] has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of the Son whom he loves. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13 & 14).
CONCLUSION The Apostle John is sometimes referred to as the ‘apostle of love, agape love’. I John is his letter to the Gentile congregations. It is filled with a theme of love and the assurance of forgiveness that lead to eternal life. In fact, in the second chapter of the book he writes: “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name” (1John 2:12). John continues with, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you have known the one who has existed from the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known the one who has existed from the beginning. I have written to you, young people, because you are strong and because God's word remains in you and you have overcome the evil one. Stop loving the world and the things that are in the world. If anyone persists in loving the world, the Father's love is not in him. For everything that is in the world-the desire for fleshly gratification, the desire for possessions, and worldly arrogance-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world and its desires are fading away, but the person who does God's will remains forever” (I John 2: 12 – 17). John spoke to three generations (parents, youth and children) concerning the importance of remaining faithful to God and resisting temptations of this world – one of those temptations being fleshly gratification. The pathway to sexual purity is not always easy. But when the church, parents and the youth work together, it is a goal that can be reached. Sexual purity is vitally important. Your physical, emotional and spiritual health depend upon it. Your present or future spouse depends on it. Society depends on it. But most importantly, God desires sexual purity because He knows it brings true happiness, genuine joy and glory to Him. Remember you are not alone on this pathway. God is always available to you.
“Now unto him that is able to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of his glory without blemish in exceeding joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, before all time, and now, and for evermore. Amen.”(Jude 1:24 & 25).
SUPPLEMENTAL TABLE OF SCRIPTURES FOR PARENTS Proverbs 22:6 Colossians 3:21 Proverbs 16:21 Proverbs 14:26 Ephesians 6:4 Deuteronomy 11:18-21
Titus 2:1 -8
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Pleasant words promote instruction. He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Remember these commands and cherish them. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. Then you and your children will live a long time in the land that the LORD your God promised to give to your ancestors. You will live there as long as there is a sky above the earth. Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. But as for you, teach what is consistent with healthy doctrine. Older men are to be sober, serious, sensible, and sound in faithfulness, love, and endurance. Likewise, older women are to show their reverence for God by their behavior. They are not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of goodness. They should encourage the younger women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children, sensible, pure, managers of their households, and kind, and to submit themselves to their husbands, lest the word of God be discredited. Likewise, encourage the younger men to be sensible. Always, set an example of good works. When you teach, show integrity and dignity. Use wholesome speech that cannot be condemned. Then any opponent will be ashamed because he cannot say anything bad about us. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor's. A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
FOR YOUTH Proverbs 3:1-2 Proverbs 3:21-22 Exodus 20:12 Ephesians 6:1 Proverbs 1:8-9 Proverbs 7:1-3
My child, don't forget what I teach you. Always remember what I tell you to do. My teaching will give you a long and prosperous life. My child, hold on to your wisdom and insight. Never let them get away from you. They will provide you with life---a pleasant and happy life. Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. Hear, my son, your fatherâ€™s instruction, and forsake not your motherâ€™s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
SUPPLEMENTAL TABLE OF SCRIPTURES (con’t.) GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU AND FOR MARRIAGE Genesis 2:24 Matthew 19:4-6
Psalm 139: 14-17 Excerpts Jeremiah 28:11-13
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one. He [Jesus] answered them, "Haven't you read that the one who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female' and said, 'That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must never separate." For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! For I know the purposes which I am purposing for you, says Jehovah; purposes of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you shall call on Me, and you shall go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; but for man there was not found a help meet for him. And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
SCRIPTURES ABOUT SEXUAL IMMORALITY 1Corinthians 6:13
1Corinthians 6:18 1Corinthians 10:6-8
Ephesians 5:3 I Thessalonians 4:1-8
Someone else will say, "Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food." Yes; but God will put an end to both. The body is not to be used for sexual immorality, but to serve the Lord; and the Lord provides for the body. Avoid immorality. Any other sin a man commits does not affect his body; but the man who is guilty of sexual immorality sins against his own body. Now, all of this is an example for us, to warn us not to desire evil things, as they did, nor to worship idols, as some of them did. As the scripture says, "The people sat down to a feast which turned into an orgy of drinking and sex." We must not be guilty of sexual immorality, as some of them were---and in one day twenty-three thousand of them fell dead. Since you are God's people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
SUPPLEMENTAL TABLE OF SCRIPTURES (conâ€™t.) CONTROLLING YOUR THOUGHTS Philippians 4:8
Psalm119:11 Romans 12:2 Psalm 19:14 Colossian 3:2 Romans 8:5
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - think about such things. I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I might not sin against You. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in thy sight, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [mind] the things of the Spirit.
DEALING WITH TEMPTATION Psalm 101:3-5 Psalm 119:37 Romans 6:14 1 Corinthians 10:13
Philippians 4:13 2 Timothy 2:22 Hebrews 2:17-18
2 Peter 2:9 James 1:13-16
I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. For this reason he [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment. Let no one being tempted say, I am tempted from God. For God is not tempted by evils, and He tempts no one. But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death. Do not err, my beloved brothers.
SUPPLEMENTAL TABLE OF SCRIPTURES (conâ€™t.) PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM SEXUAL SIN Psalm 119:11 1Peter 5:8 Isaiah 40:29-31
Isaiah 41:10 Romans 8:13 Titus 2:11-13
James 4:7 1 Peter 5:8-10
1 John 2:15-17
I keep your law in my heart, so that I will not sin against you. Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. He gives power to the faint; and to him that has no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
IF YOU FALL INTO SIN AND DO NOT REPENT 1Corinthians 5:9-11
1Corinthians 6:9 & 10
In the letter that I wrote you I [Paul] told you not to associate with immoral people. Now I did not mean pagans who are immoral or greedy or are thieves, or who worship idols. To avoid them you would have to get out of the world completely. What I meant was that you should not associate with a person who calls himself a believer but is immoral or greedy or worships idols or is a slanderer or a drunkard or a thief. Don't even sit down to eat with such a person. Do not let sexual sin, impurity of any kind, or greed even be mentioned among you, as is proper for saints. Obscene, flippant, or vulgar talk is totally inappropriate. Instead, let there be thanksgiving. For you know very well that no immoral or impure person, or anyone who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. You know that wicked people will not inherit the kingdom of God, don't you? Stop deceiving yourselves! Sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunks, slanderers, and robbers will not inherit the kingdom of God. And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings in which you have been defiled. And you shall despise yourselves in your own sight for all your evils which you have committed.
SUPPLEMENTAL TABLE OF SCRIPTURES (conâ€™t.) IF YOU FALL INTO SIN AND REPENT 1John 1:9 Matthew 9:11-13
Ephesians 1:7 Colossians 1:13-14 Isaiah 55:7
James 4:8 &10
1John 1:9 Psalm 51:17
But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. And when the Pharisees saw, they said to His disciples, Why does your master eat with taxcollectors and sinners? But when Jesus heard, He said to them, The ones who are whole do not need a physician, but the ones who are sick. But go and learn what this is, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our offenses, according to the riches of God's grace He has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of the Son whom he loves. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall exalt you. If we make it our habit to confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us those sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
THE REWARDS OF A GODLY LIFE Proverbs 15:29 Psalm 1:1-6
Proverbs 2:7-8 Galatians 6:7-8
Proverbs 3:1-2 2Timothy 4:7-8
Jehovah is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous. Blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the way of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers: But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also does not wither; And whatsoever he does shall prosper. The wicked are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For Jehovah knows the way of the righteous; But the way of the wicked shall perish. He lays up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to them that walk in integrity; That he may guard the paths of justice, And preserve the way of his saints. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life. My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments; for they shall add length of days, and long life, and peace to you. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day; and not to me only, but also to all those who love His appearing. Blessed is the man who endures temptation, because having been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
PERSONALITY ANALYSIS How do you see yourself? How do you see your potential spouse? TRAIT
Outgoing – enjoys meeting people Ability to lead Work ethic – (works hard?) Excitable Calm (gentle spirit) Soft spoken Out spoken (quick to give opinion) Quick Tempered Ability to Communicate Willing to volunteer Spends time in private devotion Self-Esteem Ability to follow (submissive) Patience Demonstrates Love and tenderness Independent in thinking Response to peer pressure Acceptance of others’ behaviors Argumentative/Aggressive Manages own time Manages money Education
WEAK OR NOT AT ALL
MORE THAN AVERAGE
WHAT TRAITS MUST YOUR SPOUSE HAVE CONSIDERING YOUR DESIRES IN LIFE? YOUR DESIRE
THE FOLLOWING AREAS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN PREMARITAL COUNSELING (Please note the word partner refers to your future spouse)
Premarital counseling questions in communication * When a problem arises, how does my partner communicate? * I could use more or less talking from my partner and how specifically? * How is my partner a good listener or not? Premarital counseling questions in conflict resolution * How does your partner settle an argument? * Do you feel understood when you have an argument with your partner? * When you think about your conflict, how often does it seem like nothing ever gets resolved? Premarital counseling questions in marital expectations * Is this person the only one with whom you could be happy and what happens if he/she passes away? * Is your partner responsible for your happiness and, if he/she is, how will he/she do that? * What, if anything, needs to change in your partner and what will happen if he/she cannot change? Premarital counseling questions in personality issues * What kind of temper/mood does your partner have and can you live with it? * Are there some habits that you partner has that you donâ€™t like? * What are some things that your partner does that embarrasses you and what will happen if they do not change? Premarital counseling questions in finances * How exactly have you discussed your financial situation? * Does my partner have some debt that concerns me? * Who will make the decisions and what decisions will be made after marriage?
Premarital counseling questions in children and parenting * What are the responsibilities of each parent in raising a child? * How many children will we have? * How did your family raise you and your other brothers and sisters? How did her family raise her and her brothers and sisters? Premarital counseling questions in spirituality * How will we specifically exercise our spiritual beliefs? * How will we share our spiritual beliefs with our children or with others? * How can spirituality help our relationship to grow?
Premarital counseling questions roles in marriage * Who will do what around the house * What adjustments will each make to accommodate the other after marriage? * Who will have a more persuasive voice, if so, and in what area(s)? Premarital counseling questions leisure activities * Do we enjoy the same activities and what are those that we enjoy the most? * Is your partner more social than you and does he/she seem to need this interaction more than you? These areas should be addressed by your counselor. If he/she does not bring them up, you should.