We have been taught that love and sex are interchangeable. Love is a word we flippantly toss around, like a ball on a basketball court, and sex is nothing more than an expected, biological act. We've been conditioned to think this way, no doubt, by Hollywood's ever increasing stack of romantic films that plop two people in bed together for a heated night of passion. It's portrayed to be romantic and the normal thing to do when you are in a relationship, but all it is, is a knock-off counterfeit, full of the dirt and mire of sin.
Wait until marriage. Just say "No!" True Love Waits.
If you grew up in Church, there is a good chance you heard those phrases. I know I did. So did nearly everyone I grew up with. Maybe you had them inscribed on a ring or scribbled and pasted on your wall. I had the jewelry, the posters, the books, and would be among the first to raise my hand and proudly say that I was "saving myself" for marriage. Those things don't mean much, though. I have sat in many youth group services and I have heard many energetic youth leaders try to fire everyone up by shouting, "Just say "no!" to sin. We would pump our fists, stomp our feet, and thunderously yell with a good amount of believability. And yet, I would watch the same young people - my peers - sneak out into a back room to make-out or announce an unplanned pregnancy a few months later. So what went wrong?
By the grace of God, I waited and I did "say no" until marriage. But it wasn't the same for everyone. In fact, take a look around and you'd be hard pressed to find 10 high school teenagers who are still virgins, by choice. You see, catch phrases are fun, but they hold no power.
I am thankful for some of the youth leaders I have met in recent years who are fighting for the younger generation. Instead of watering down the truth in order to be more "relevant" and "appealing," they are doing all they can to lead them closer to Jesus Christ. Sadly, they are few and far between. Far too many youth leaders seem to assume that teenagers are incapable of living righteously, so they make out like it's normal to compromise and be to physically intimate, just so long as you hang on to the last few shreds of your virginity. This is dangerous ground and, because of this, every generation slips further and further away from pure and godly living, even with all the resources and events and youth rallies at their disposal.
Over 50% of all marriages fail. That's a hefty amount of break-ups! It burdens my heart when I see an entire generation of young people who truly believe that broken homes, abusive situations, and pornography addictions are the new normal in marriage and family life. This is so far from God's design! So what's wrong? Why don't people believe that waiting is truly worth it in the end? Here's what I think:
1) They have not been taught to love and fear God. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." We can spit out slogans and motto's all we want. We can be shown statistics, given a list of rules, be involved in youth events, and even memorize Scripture. But at the end of it all, it comes down to this one fact: If we don't have a genuine love for God and a reverent fear of His holiness, we probably won't obey His Word much, if ever. The aim should not be to produce more Christian teenagers who know the Bible stories but live no differently than those who have never encountered Christ. Our aim should be to raise up a generation of young people who are wholly surrendered to the Lord, and who love Him with all their being.
2) They haven't been shown a marriage relationship worth waiting for. Simply put: they just don't buy it. There are married Christian couples who have nothing positive to say about marriage, they just gripe and complain about how unsatisfied they are. They don't exhibit a Biblical, happy marital life, and the ones looking up to them...well, they see it. Actions speak louder than words. If the younger people do not see anything worth waiting for....seriously, why should they wait? It becomes a joke and a lie. But when they have caught a glimpse of a God-scripted life, the cultural picture in front of them won't be appealing anymore, because they have seen a vision of something far better. And they will want it. In my personal life, watching my parents fall more in love with age made me desire a marriage that was built and constructed by the same Constructor.
We have scores of young people who attend Church regularly, yet are struggling with the most basic moral issues. As parents and Church leaders, if something doesn't change, it will continue to go downhill and we will reap the harvest because of our disobedience. As a parent now, I want my children to pursue a life of purity and obedience to God. It's my primary job to not only teach my children the Bible, but teach them about the character and nature of God. If they can be taught to fall in love with God and with His Word, then they will have a desire to obey Him. As a wife, I want to obey Scripture and demonstrate a marital life that is not of this world to my children. When they see their mommy and daddy in love with Jesus and in love with one another, I'm convinced they will want it too.
Today I am praying for the hearts of today's young people.
"This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy face...." - Psalm 24:6a