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Giving Up Sex

By Fern Horst

"For 55 million dollars, would give up sex for the rest of your life?"

What a question! It invoked some interesting answers from listeners to a radio talk show I was listening to recently. Some who called in said they would be more than willing to forfeit sex forever for this amount of money; others said, "no way!"

While this was not a Christian program, it made me think of a similar question posed by my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. He has asked me and every Christian single, "Out of obedience to Me, will you say 'no' to sex if marriage is not my will for you?"

Before you answer, remember, there's no 55 million dollar "reward" for an affirmative answer to this version of the question! There are rewards, definitely, but they aren't easily measured and aren't always readily seen or felt. In fact, we sometimes have to struggle to convince ourselves that it truly is worth the wait for God's perfect timing - and perhaps even the possible complete forfeiture of this pleasure for the rest of our lives.

But the rewards are long-lasting, even if not immediate: wholeness from not being torn asunder after becoming one flesh with another, freedom from the guilt of going against what our Lord has commanded, healthy bodies free from sexually transmitted dieseases, the respect of our family and friends, and perhaps most importantly - the guarantee that a child will not be born into a situation where his parents have not commtted themselves to each other for life. God obviously has good reasons for His commands.

But aside from any "reward," our answer to Christ's question is obvious when we realize it's part of a larger decision we've already made to follow Christ.

It's this focus on our devotion to Christ that will enable us to say "no" when the pressure is on. Do you think the guy who accepted the 55 million dollars will continue to refrain from sex by focusing on what he's missing? Probably not. It's what he gains - the 55 million bucks - that will continue to motivate him.

As Christians, we have a much greater motivation: a love relationship with the God of the Universe, a God we will spend eternity with, a God who loves us more completely than any human being can. Many around us - the media, our co-workers, friends, even at times other Christians - make it sound as though giving up sex is an unnatural and impossible thing to do. But we're not giving up sex just to give it up. We're giving up sex because we love the Lord and want to be obedient to His will for our lives.

The rewards, though we can't completely comprehend them all now, are even greater and longer-lasting than 55 million dollars.

© 1999 Fern Horst (revised 2003)

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