The struggle for sexual purity is real yet it is not impossible to attain. God has appointed different means (such as believing in the gospel, applying the Word and having the Word applied rightly by a healthy community, and marriage) that ought to be pursued and practiced in order to be holy. Yet, we must not forget that the goal is not purity for the sake of purity. Rather, the God-established end of godliness is to become more like Christ Jesus.
In the previous article, I wrote about two of the three principles that aid young men (and women) in pursuing and practicing sexual purity: Getting the gospel right, and applying the Word to your life by yourself and by others. In this second part, we will look at the third principle.
“Be a Man!”: Marriage as a Means to Christlikeness
The final principle that I want to suggest is probably the most overlooked and under-discussed solution on purity: get married. Now, I would readily grant and defend the fact that marriage will not solve or rectify your sexual struggles or loneliness. Without resting your identity and treasuring Christ as your end-all, your heart’s craving for intimacy and companionship will not be satisfied either with sex or with marriage.1
Yet, even with such a qualification, it cannot be denied that one of the means that the Lord uses to meet our need for intimacy and companionship is marriage (cf. 1 Cor 7:9b). After all, was it not God himself who, after making and declaring all things ‘good’, says “it is not good for a man to be alone” (Gen 2:18)? However, the question remains: how does this relate to sexual purity? May I gently suggest that one of the many, but important reasons for the radical increase in sexual struggles among young men and women is their inexplicable delaying of marriage.
The glamour of the extended ‘carefree single life’ is a cover for immaturity, self-centeredness, worldly ambition, and a lack of disregard for the biblical teaching on marriage. And, therefore, when young men and women seek to extend their “carefree, single life” they are actually modelling what homosexuals have popularized. So, what happens when young men and women disregard the God-given desire and drive for intimacy and companionship in pursuit of worldly goals? The desire and drive do not go away. Rather, they would seek ungodly avenues to fulfil God-given needs.R. R. Reno makes this startling but astute observation namely that, “Homosexuals, especially gay men, are…associated with scrupulous self-care and glamorous consumption. They pioneered the now upper-middle-class norm of extended adolescence, the carefree single life that extends for decades. Gay life also realizes the dreams of many feminists—professional success and self-realization without the burdens of fertility.”2 (emphasis mine)
Young Christian men and women, unless called by the Lord to a life of singleness in serving Him, whatever else they may pursue in life, they ought to get married, raise children and be godly parents. Marriage and parenting have the potential to enable men and women to sober down and mature. How much more so when done within the context of a church community! It truly enables one to grow in godliness.