After years of being a single Christian woman, I am still learning how to practically apply the teachings of celibacy. Mainly because no one has taught me exactly how. I’m learning this all on my own through the grace of God, which is great! The only downside is that church leaders everywhere shame men and women for not being celibate, and don’t teach them how or why it’s important. Celibacy, to the modern Christian, is a decision to abstain from any and all sexual encounters until you are married. The main scripture that is used to promote Celibacy is found in 1 Corinthians 7. Apostle Paul also acknowledges that celibacy is a gift, meaning that men and women who can remain celibate for their lifetime have a gift of celibacy so that they can completely dedicate their lives for ministry. The concept of celibacy before marriage originates from Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Not many “fleshes,” just ONE flesh. It is a very important to understand that having sexual desires is not wrong, nor is the desire to marry, have children, etc. In fact, God created sexual desire but wants us to share our bodies with our spouse under the Godly covenant of marriage. Without the covering and protection of covenant, you open yourselves up to a world of chaos, inviting soul ties, unwanted pregnancies, STD’s, and heart break. Not to mention you begin to grieve the Holy Spirit because the Bible tells us to flee from sexual immorality, adultery, homosexuality, and fornication (the wording depends on which version you use but the message is all the same). This information is not given to scare or shame you, just to inform you.
So, what happens if you just got saved, like yesterday (or last year), and the whole idea of virginity is long gone? What if you lived your entire adult life having sex? What if you’re now divorced? Lastly, what if you were molested, or raped and the seed for sexual immorality was planted at no fault of your own?
Answering these questions are where most churches fall short. They tell you all day that you’re just supposed to pray and read, read and pray, pray some more, deny your flesh, and all that. However, for those who did not grow up in the church and don’t understand the concept or have outrageous desires due to biochemistry or may be dealing with demonic seeds of lust, this is not an easy thing to do and sounds like gibberish. I’m not saying this as a judgement towards any teachers who say this, but merely as constructive feedback from a recipient of these teachings. What most people are dealing with are not just obedience issues, there are deeply rooted seeds, heart issues, and strongholds that need to be uprooted, healed, and released for a person to be a healthy, celibate Christian. As I mentioned before, I am still trying to figure this celibate life out. And too be honest, I’ve only been celibate since May. After a few conversations with trusted sisters in Christ, and a few more with God, I realized that my inability to remain celibate is an issue because of a seed that was planted decades ago when I was first molested. It stole my innocence and any idea of purity or celibacy. These strongholds can be removed, however; read my article about soul ties, it may help you with your journey to healing. I truly believe that if we focus too much on behavior, we miss the root. For some, the response shouldn’t be, “keep it in your pants or keep your legs closed,” but rather, “let’s pray that God will reveal where the root is.” As a leader, you cannot simply assume someone is struggling with celibacy simply because they just like sex and don’t want to stop.
It may be beneficial to have a ministry designed for sex education. Not simply teaching how part A fits into part B, but how sex is a sacred act, and a gift from God for us to enjoy within marriage. I mean, think about it. Once every month, a woman’s body will try to get pregnant, and we all know how that happens, so women are must vulnerable during that time. Men are also known to have fluctuations of hormones where sexual urges are stronger. It has less to do with lust, and more to do with how our bodies are designed. We must learn how to not let these urges take over, and that takes practice, believe me. Within a protected environment, open up dialogues to see how others handle their sexual urges or even form a support group for those that are struggling. Safe sex isn’t just about using condoms and birth control, it’s also about understanding the potential consequences from our actions and why it’s best reserved for marriage. Hey these are just ideas…I would just hate to bring problems without a probable solution.
There are both physical and spiritual reasons as to why we want sex. Addressing the physical as stated above is merely half the battle but it helps to lead into the spiritual issues. Promiscuous people tend to also be hurt people; they’ve been molested or raped at early ages when children are most vulnerable. The notion that you must train a child in the way they should go applies both ways, for evil or for good. Children exposed to sex are more likely to be promiscuous adults. (I hate that term btw but there aren’t many other words to describe this. Sigh). It is of no fault of their own, so they can’t be blamed, but as an adult it must be dealt with so that they can receive healing and be freed from any strongholds. Not just for purposes of being celibate but so they can truly be healed and be consumed by the love of Christ and live out their purpose!
I believe that once a root of lust is found, the work needs to begin immediately. When you are uprooting something, you tend to get dirty, tired, weak, and all around uncomfortable. This is when we need the most support from our trusted brethren. This is where transparency and honesty are required from both sides. I know I am not the only one struggling with celibacy yet no one is talking about it and there are no support groups for this at my local church. Getting into a relationship and getting married just to solve the act of fornication itself is NOT the solution. Although Apostle Paul does say it is better to marry than to burn with lust, he does say he would rather we be like him, celibate and okay with it. I hated the idea of giving up sex at first because I felt like it was the only good thing I had in life. Once I saw the truth, it helped guide me closer to God, and closer to living a pure life. Right now, I am celibate but I am also not even dating (there just aren’t any suitors lol). I am grateful for that because I have been given appropriate time to heal and be strengthened, and I don’t want to start dating again until the seed of lust is fully uprooted.
I pray that this has shed some light for you and helped you in some way. Share this with someone you know is struggling, or a church leader, or anyone!