I met the Nicole, also known as the Modern Reject at Catalyst a couple of years ago, just as she was launching. I’ve been amazed at how quickly MR has become a community of people who love to ask tough questions. Nicole is provocative, thoughtful and sharp. Join the conversation at ModernReject.com and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
I didn’t come to Jesus a virgin. Instead, I came to Jesus with far more sexual experience a girl of 16 should have. I also came to Jesus, however, somehow knowing that He didn’t care about any of that. He saw me as a virgin. It was a new day.
So, I suppose on some level, I expected the church to talk about this fact, too. I expected to hear rousing sermons on the gift of sex, ordained by God, pleasing to Him when experienced between man and wife. I expected to hear exactly what it was I was now waiting for, having once had sex, only to give it up in pursuit of Christ.
But, those messages from the church never came. Different ones did, however.
I think a youth pastor once talked about what not to do–how to not let things go too far with your boyfriend–so as to remain a virgin. You know, since virginity was the prize and all.
Virginity, it seemed, was what all young Christian people were to aspire to.
It wasn’t the powerful, supernatural, superglue-like bond that formed between two people who had only had intercouse with one another. It wasn’t the protection from emotional damage and even physical ramifications that comes from waiting. It wasn’t the lifelong guarantee of a healthier and more satisfying sex life with your spouse, if both were each other’s only sexual partner. It wasn’t the holiness and clarity that comes from a life surrendered to purity–purity of mind, spirit, and body.
No, those were not the messages I heard. Those rewards and blessings from the Lord were not discussed. It was simply stated within the church that sex was not good. Virginity was good. Sex could wait…you just never knew exactly why.
The world sells the lie that sex is love. Yet, on the flip side, the church sells the lie that sex isn’t love.
Young Christians swallow this up believing that marriage and sex are somehow not related, somehow not wholly and spiritually intertwined.
Sex, it seems, is simply a byproduct of marriage instead of an integral and intimate part. So, it becomes easy for us to dabble in sex outside of marriage. It becomes easy for us to view sex as just an action or an activity, and not the spiritual, emotional, and physical oneness described in Genesis.
And the two shall become one flesh, is quite literal. Sex is two becoming one and is nothing short of glorifying God.
Of course, when I finally got married at the tender age of 25, I had to unlearn all that I had been taught…and subsequently hadn’t been taught about sex between a husband and wife. No longer was I able to compartmentalize sex or view it as separate from love.
You see, both the world and the church have it wrong. Sex is love but…in marriage.
In the context of a marriage covenant between a man and a woman, sex and love are forever and inextricably linked. You cannot love your spouse without enjoying the gift of sex God has given you both to enjoy. Nor can you love sex, apart from your spouse, whom God gave you to enjoy it with.
God receives glory when we enjoy the gifts He has given us, whether it be good food, a child, a home, a loving spouse, or…sex. To put it plainly, when we enjoy sex within marriage we are worshipping the Lord. Strange to think, perhaps. It was for me, until the Spirit revealed this truth. Now, on Sundays, my husband and I sometimes skip church and choose instead to stay in bed and “worship the Lord.”
YOUR TURN: What were you falsely taught…or not taught about sex? What is the one thing you know now, that you wish you had known then? What would you tell young people today about sex and marriage?
Nicole Cottrell is…a hopeful romantic, baby wrangler, blogger on a mission, wife to her hero. Most importantly, follower of the One. She’s the Modern Reject. Stalk her on Twitter @modernreject or on Facebook at Modern Reject. She’ll be your BFF.