Godly UNmarried Sexuality (Part 1) – What Porn Doesn’t Provide

 

Many unmarried people struggle with abstinence and wrestle with God-given desires for intimate relationships and sexual expression. In the wrestling, some are drawn to the temporary pleasures of pornography.

The world of porn-viewing offers an illusion of intimate connection and it does stir and lead to satisfaction of sexual urges, either with self or with others. However, this supposed intimacy and expression of sexuality is far from the goodness of God’s plan for sexuality, because it is outside of His design.

Let’s consider four principles that govern godly unmarried sexuality and the treasures that we have in Christ that are so much better than what porn offers.

Godly UNmarried sexuality . . . what’s that?!

1. It is Jesus-centric and Jesus exalting.

The world in which we live belongs to God, loving and good in all His ways! In God’s world, Jesus is central to all aspects of life (Colossians 1:15-17). This means that His design for the unmarried is to live out our sexuality (being a male or female image bearer capable of sexual expression) with Jesus as the focus of our lives. This doesn’t mean the denial of sexual desires or of a struggle to be chaste; but it does mean that we are to align the way we ‘deal with’ our sexuality as unmarried people, with Christ and His purposes for us.

Drinking from the well of porn and feasting at the supposed banquet table of porn pushes aside Christ, the Bread of Life and Living Water, and places ME and my desires at the center of my world and of my sexual universe. An addiction to porn is the result of living, perhaps, with a “me plus Jesus-when-I-feel-like-trusting-Him” worldview. This is ungodly sexuality.

2. It leads me to love my neighbor as I put others before myself.

The second of Jesus’ two great commandments – “Love your neighbor as yourself” – is core to godly sexuality inside and outside of marriage. This leads us to not sin against others through participating in sexual sin. This includes our thought lives, our affections and seemingly “private” sins such as solo sex and pornography. No sin is truly private. Others are always impacted. I am never to honor, esteem and love myself more than my neighbor.

Think about it, when someone is viewing porn and perhaps masturbating, are they loving others well? Are they engaging in the blessing of others, including, perhaps, a preparation for the marriage bed they may one day share with a husband or wife? Ouch.

Pornography viewing is an expression of ungodly sexuality because of its radical self-centeredness. For this reason (and others) it leads us away from true intimacy with God and others, which comes only as we live in light of #1!

3. It involves worship through fasting.

Godly unmarried sexuality involves something normal, good and holy being abstained or ‘fasted’ from until ( and if) God gives His blessing. Sexual activity in God’s design is meant to be experienced only within the context of a one-man with one-woman married life-long union. Any actions or thoughts that lead towards sexual arousal (which can only be fulfilled through sexual intercourse) are considered sexual activity. And so the unmarried person is called to “fast” from sexual activity for as long as he or she is single. This kind of ‘fast’ calls us to once again remember that we don’t belong to ourselves, that our lives, relationships, bodies, sexuality etc. belong to Him, and that we are called to “no longer live for ourselves but for Christ who died for us” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

Pornography and any other expression of ungodly sexuality is a fist raised toward the God of heaven; it is a temper tantrum ‘thrown’ in the privacy of our cubicle or home office that says, “I will live life my way and have a sexual experience on my terms!”  We singles may say, “But this fast isn’t fair! Why did You create me as sexual when You are not allowing me to express it except within a context that You have withheld from me?!” What desire is ruling and reigning in our hearts when we fight God with these attitudes? Who and what is worshiped as the center of our universe?

Pornography (and the sex with self that accompany it most of the time), is evidence of a worship disorder, because creation, rather than the Creator, is bowed down to, is ‘worshiped’ as the focus of our energies, affections and sexual desires.

4. Is not only possible, but good in God’s design!

Godly unmarried sexuality is not “Plan B.” It is not an elementary level of sexuality that is graduated from into advanced married sexuality. If that were the case, then Jesus Himself was lacking, since He never experienced married sexuality. The expression of our sexuality may differ if we become married, but that does not mean that it is somehow “better.”

Psalm 84:11 really is true: “No good thing does He withhold, from those who do what is right” (NLT). God, a loving and providing Father, defines what is good and what is “not good” for us. We are to grow as followers of Jesus who please God with a faith that says,

“Lord, You made me and You sustain me. I came into this world with NOTHING, and I will leave this world only with what You give me to bring with me into eternity: Christ. You give and You take away . . . blessed be Your name. Help me to trust You that You give what is good and withhold what is not good for me . . . and that You define what is good for me during this season of my life. Grow my faith Lord, and my desire to live a surrendered life so that, of me, it could be said, ‘He/she loved and treasured Jesus during his/her days on earth . . . even when it hurt, was costly and a struggle, he/she was devoted to Christ!’”

Porn is not good, is not godly, and it does not give us what our hearts most deeply crave, which is Christ and a soul satisfied in Him. As we live in God’s design for us as singles, as sexual beings submitted to the loving and tender reign of Christ, God’s grace actually unfolds a path for us that will free us from entanglement in the prison of pornography.

Read Part 2

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This post is by Ellen Dykas. Ellen is the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at Harvest USA in Philadelphia. She has a MA in Biblical Studies from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Graduate Certificate in Biblical Counseling through the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF). Ellen’s focus at Harvest is on discipleship with women who are struggling with sexual and relational sins in their own lives, as well as women who are impacted by the sexual sins of their spouses or others.