Posted March 16, 2013 by in Sexual Purity

Sex Is Not the Problem, Lust Is

During the period of time between meeting my husband and actually getting married, I learned so much about sexual purity. In that season, I learned the importance of honoring God with your body and I was challenged to implement that knowledge and actually live out those principles of sexual purity. One book that was a game-changer during this time was Joshua Harris’ Sex is Not the Problem, Lust Is. The book challenged me to look at my sexuality through a whole new lens and I learned three important principles that every single person should know. Read on to learn more.

The Mind Game
You know from my writings, that I embarked on a journey of celibacy before I got married. And I naively thought that it since it was such a great sacrifice, God was pleased with my efforts. However, Sex is Not the Problem, Lust Is blew my mind. And I realized there so much more to purity than just avoiding the physical act of sex. It’s also about bringing your thoughts under God’s order and conquering lust. I assumed that because I wasn’t “doing it” – I was okay. But, truth be told, I thought about doing it all the time, so I was not fully walking in purity. My thoughts were lustful and I needed to bring them to God. This is one area that has to be conquered.

Pushing the Limits
Another thing that the book discussed was boundaries. I was blessed to have several single friends who walked the purity journey with me and we encouraged each other. I remember someone asking me if I thought oral sex was okay because it wasn’t penetration and therefore “technically” not sex. I didn’t have a good answer at the time but after reading the book, I began to understand that the goal before marriage is not be to see how far you can go – without going all the way. But rather, to see how much you can save for marriage. If you aim to see how far you can go, then you’ll have a mental checklist of things that don’t officially cross the line to sex. But the problem is, eventually that list will grow, the lines will blur and you’ll find yourself teetering and tempted to go all the way.

On the other hand, if you try to think saving something, then you’ll see marriage as an opportunity to explore new things with your spouse. And you’ll want to hold off, so that each experience is a new cherished experience. This mindset gives you something to anticipate and helps to create boundaries. And this mindset is also why it only took 7 months to plan our wedding! We were waiting and eagerly looking forward to what was in store on the other side in marriage.

Pleasure Points
Finally, this book pointed out that with each sexual thought, encounter or action before marriage that is not God-pleasing, you are actually defrauding your future spouse. In other words, if you spend your time daydreaming about sex and entertaining lustful thoughts, you were taking a piece of your sexuality away from your future spouse and chipping away at the foundation of a fulfilling sexual relationship in marriage. The book goes on to say that if you engaged in pornography, you are also taking a piece of your sexuality away from your future spouse. And if you pleasure yourself through masturbation, you are taking a piece of your sexuality away from your future spouse. As www.bethefruit.com points out in its critique, “This book also takes on the issue of masturbation, describing it as ‘self-centered sex.’ The key principle is that masturbation is “solely about you and your pleasure (103).” This self-centered pleasure distorts God’s intent for sexual pleasure between a husband and wife.”

Collectively, everything that you do with your sexuality as a single that isn’t God-pleasing erodes the fulfilling sexual relationship that God designed for marriage. I had never thought about it that way and hadn’t made the connection that what you do with your sexuality as a single person will ultimately affect your sexuality as a married person. It was an interesting revelation that I think often goes overlooked.

In short, I found Sex is Not the Problem, Lust Is to be very eye-opening and enlightening and would likely recommend it to every single person. It will challenge your pre-conceptions about dating, sex and celibacy, so check it out. And I’d love to hear from you. Have you been victorious in overcoming lust? How do you find strength to stand in your relationships. Let me know your thoughts below.

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Photos Courtesy of: amazon.com