Celibate Singleness? Can I Get A Witness?

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I’ve noticed a new trend lately. Some churches are amending their mission statements to include “celibate singleness” in addition to heterosexual marriage. Here is an example from the First Baptist Church of Monroeville in Pennsylvania:

“We believe that God calls us to either of two patterns He has designed for us: celibate singleness or a faithful heterosexual marriage. We believe that marriage was instituted by God as a sacred and permanent covenant between a man and a woman for the purposes of companionship, enjoyment, completeness, fruitfulness, protection, and illustration of Christ’s relationship with the church. We believe that parents’ chief responsibility is to raise their children to love and serve the Lord.” http://www.fbcmon.org/we-believe.html

Churches, I can go through your Sunday bulletins, sit through your sermons, read your announcements in the local paper – and give you thousands upon thousands of examples of “faithful heterosexual marriages” through wedding and death announcements. However, I can’t find one example of celibate singleness. I can’t find one living witness to the lifestyle Paul encouraged in 1 Corinthians. Do you think that is . . . odd? I do. Do you think a couple of obligatory words in a mission statement is enough to reverse the idolatry of marriage and family in this country? I find it interesting that when church leaders talk about the gift of celibacy, it is always in terms of some theoretical misionary serving Jesus in some dangerous far off land. It’s never a real person, just some rare individual that may exist . . . somewhere in the world. I guess this makes some churches feel better about themselves and more inclusive. Some of them probably look at the addition of this language as a defense against homosexuality. For some of them, their theology on celibacy gets no further than same sex unions. To them, celibacy is just “something gays do to get right with the Lord.” To see celibacy as a vocation of at least as equal proportion to marriage would take a major theological upgrade. Notice that the above mission statement from Monroeville only included the word celibacy. They did not elaborate on it as they did marriage. So in essence, 99% of their statement on family is . . . marriage and family.

My challenge to churches: For every wedding anniversary that you announce in your church, in your bulletins, in your local newspapers, on your local radios, find at least one celibate single, affirm the godliness of their lifestyle, and announce the number of years they have been celibate – just as you do wedding anniversaries. Who are they? Have you ever asked? Want that make some people uncomfortable? Look at the price you’ve paid for comfort so far – abortion, contraception, fornication, adultery, pornography, prostitution, homosexuality. In a few short years, every church in this country will be required to persom same sex “marriages.” Most churches have a repuation already as “just a bunch of hypocrits.” Words are but ink on paper. Witnesses serve as living testaments to the grace of God. If you can’t affirm celibacy as you do marriage, your not qualified to include celibate singles in your mission statements.

True Singles Versus True Widows

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I’ve asked the question before – What is a single? Fifty years ago they were people who had not married. They were those who made up singles groups in churches. The word “single” had a biblical basis. They were expected to be chaste and to have had no visitors in their temples. They were honored and respected by church families. Single men and women were given responsibilities in church, like mentoring young people. Not anymore. Singles groups have given way to the divorced group, divorced again group, newly widowed group, I left my spouse because of abuse group, single parents group, “I think I might be gay group,” etc. Today, to remind someone of their past is synonymous with making them feel uncomfortable. And sadly churches reinforce the notion that histories don’t matter and that when Jesus forgives sins he erases everything from your memory – sin with no consequences. Yes, for the politically correct church, that’s the goal – to make you feel comfortable and good about yourself – like a glorified support group. “Single? Step this way. Are you widowed or divorced? Door number two.” But is it really possible to separate one’s marital status from their sexual history? Socially yes. Biblically no. Because the Bible makes it very clear that if your vessel has been inhabited, you have been married (1 Corinthians 3:16). That becomes your history, regardless of church attendance or good works.

The Bible also talks about the issue of past histories. In 1 Timothy 5:3-9, Apostle Paul addressed the role of widows this way:

3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.

Widows indeed? In some versions (NKJV, NAB), they are referred to as “true widows.” Why did Paul qualify them with “indeed”? Because the word widow cannot be defined without a past history. According to the Oxford Dictionary a widow is: “A woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried.” Notice that Paul listed four qualifications for a true widow: 1) She did not have children or other family that could take care of her. 2) She did not live in pleasure. 3) She was at least 60 years of age. 4) She had lived without sex since her husband’s death, the wife of one man. The word single cannot be defined without a past history either. With the exception of the minimum 60 years of age (which is irrelevant), what’s the difference between a true widow and a true single? There is none, exceed that a widow has had sex and a single has not. In our family idolatry culture today, the widow is a “known quantity.” The single is not. The widow will leave a legacy of a husband and/or children. The single will not. That’s a good enough reason to punish true singles, isn’t it?

“Liveth in pleasure” can only be interpreted one way. A true widow has lived without a sexual relationship after her husband died. She had enough dignity and class to honor him even after his death by remaining chaste (wife of one man). How did a community determine that? There’s only one way – Sexual histories and reputations were discussed in homes and synagogues. Reputations are not made with gossip, but with facts. Verse 10 even states that a true widow is “well reported of for good works.” Her history mattered that much. What does the history of singles matter? Not too much in churches today. “Taken into a number” in verse 9 suggests that true widows were part of a special social order. If there was a special order, and I think there was, their reputations were the only way of determining who could put their name on the roll. Imagine what would happen today if churches followed the recommendations of Paul and identified the true widows that were qualified to receive assistance from the church. Imagine what would happen if a church set out to determine who had lived a life of chastity after their husband’s death and who were false widows. I don’t think many churches would have to worry about their financial status. I tend to think that the true widows of the New Testament were not only honored – but also had authority in the Christian community, had designated functions, and had leadership roles before the churches came under city/state control. What kind of leadership roles do true singles have today? Outside the Catholic church, single men are not even allowed to be pastors in most denominations. That’s a lot of honor, isn’t it?

Following Paul’s line of thinking, I think we can just as well say there are true singles today and false singles or, biblically speaking, true unmarrieds and false unmarrieds. True singles are authentic solitary people who have had no visitors in their temple. They have had no relationships and have waited on marriage to have sex. False singles live in pleasure and have not waited. Yes, I’m a true single. But the sexual component is not a fraction of who I am as a whole. There are more profound things that separate me from social singles today. Probably the greatest thing is my solitary life. I like peace and quiet. I fix my own breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I wash my own clothes. I shop for my own groceries. I pay my own bills. I clean my own house. I schedule my own activities. I go to bed by myself and wake up by myself. Nobody knows when I leave or come back home. I go to church by myself. And I still live in the dark ages because I don’t have a portable device. Don’t worry. I feel fine. Having an empty vessel has allowed me to do things I would not be able to do if married. My interests are not divided. I’m able to get to know people on a level deeper than most spouses know each other.

Most people today couldn’t comprehend such a solitary life. If true widows were desolate, how much more are true singles who don’t even have children? I think true singles today are even more desolate, trust God just as much, and continue to pray night and day. I have known churches to help widows by establishing dependant funds, providing them with food and clothes, adopting their children, visiting them during the holidays, providing volunteers to help them with ADLs, teaching them new skills, getting them jobs, sending them cards and letters, helping them pay bills, building them new homes, helping them clean their homes, visiting them in the hospital, helping them clean their yards, visiting them, helping them connect with Godly men, taking their children to and from school, giving them a listening ear, assigning deacons and wives to care for their emotional needs, helping them connect to the rest of the church family, creating support networks for them, and helping them with transportation to doctors offices and grocery stores. What has your church done lately to honor true singles?

Purity – The False Witness Of Today

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about purity or, as the critics like to call it, the purity culture. Purity balls have especially come under fire. Here are a few snippets from recent writings on the subject:

“They also assert that purity balls define a woman’s worth by her virginity rather than her whole being, actions and attitudes, and emphasize her role as a possession to be passed by her father to her husband.”

“Instead, the father/daughter purity culture feeds the idea that girls are only valuable inasmuch as they are valued in the eyes of the men around them, be that their boyfriends or their fathers.”

“But what message does it send to that same girl (to have) Daddy publicly announcing to the world in her presence that he alone controls her sexuality until marriage?”

“Purity culture is, at its heart, a shame-based approach to sexual ethics. It creates a world where secrecy, silence, and shame surround sex, all in the name of God. And it harms women.”

Did you notice something missing in the above comments? Yep, that would be boys. Where did the guys go in the purity equation? Let’s take a look at the definition of purity. According to Merriam-Webster it is: 1) Lack of dirty or harmful substances. 2) Lack of guilt or evil thoughts. The giant elephant in the room is this: It is not gender specific. It is not just a girl thing. Not only is purity not gender specific in our dictionaries, it’s also not gender specific in the Bible. Fornication is never defined in scripture as applying to women only. But that is the witness the church is sending out to the world today, a visually based system of ethics that befalls women simply because pregnancy is visible to man’s eyes. Imagine what society would be like if a man’s hair turned purple after he had sex the first time. God could have very well made us that way. But that doesn’t give us the right to abdicate responsibility for sexual ethics. Rather, it should remind us that God created us with an intellectual capacity above that of animals and the ability to control our desires. That means purity is just as important for us guys. It should be MORE our responsibility than the girl’s. So when we’re not included, a false witness is sent to the world; that includes every purity ball, purity conference, abstinence class, etc., not to mention the jewelry and other paraphanalia that sells purity today. And it begs the question – What are the girls waiting for? Is all of your manhood wrapped up in the fact that you have a . . . tool? There are too many girls only purity groups to name all of them. Here are just a few:

Radiant Purity Conferences For Girls
Pure in Heart Conferences For Girls
Power of Purity Conference For Girls
The Pink Lid – A Girls Conference
Girls of Grace
Pure Freedom/Secret Keeper Girl – Dannah Gresh
Hannah Elise Girls Conferences
Life In Progress Purity Conferences For Teen Girls
Strong In The Lord Conferences For Girls
Purity Talks Girls Conferences For Girls
Vertical Love Retreats For Girls
Generation Keepsake Conferences For Girls
SHINE Girls Conferences
Pure Excitement Conferences For Girls
Tina Marie Griffin Conferences For Girls
American Heritage Girls Conferences
Girls On The Move Conferences
Wellspring Girls’ Conferences

There are literally hundreds more. How many purity conferences did I find targeted to guys only? A grand total of zero. What message does that send to a lost world? I’m afraid it sends one message loud and clear – The Christian community endorses a double standard when it comes to sexual ethics: He’s a stud, she’s a slut. Boys will be boys, girls will be Cinderellas. Women are hoes, men are players. Nearly everything the church does today in regards to purity reinforces this double standard. Conferences for girls only says that it’s okay to objectify women, that it’s okay for guys to have sex with as many girls as possible, that it’s okay to revert to . . . being an animal. Traditional thinking faults men for these double standards. But when you consider all of the events targeted to girls and the involvement of churches, I’m afraid that is not the case. In my opinion, the cause of the double standard falls on the shoulders of women just as much as men – maybe even more. Every time one of these gender specific events takes place, every time a purity ball is scheduled, every time a church schedules a purity conference for girls – it’s worse than a chapter of the Bible being ripped out. Apostle Paul talked about the perilous times he lived in. We live in world that is probably darker than what he saw. Lost souls have no clue what the Bible says about sexual ethics. They have no sexual standards to pass to their children. The ONLY thing they know is what they see and hear in the media and how they’re treated by “church people.” They are looking for something to point their fingers at. I’m afraid the double standards reinforced by the purity movement today is giving them quite enough to point at and laugh about.

Churches, think about it this way: Would you consider offering an alter call for women only? That sounds silly, doesn’t it? It’s just as ludicrous to hold women accountable for abstaining from sex before marriage while expecting boys to be boys. Christianity is based on sexual ethics. That’s why we’re in a moral crisis today in America. Sex has been separated from spirituality, thanks to a church that idolizes marriage and family and frowns on solitary lives and celibacy. Sex has been separated from marriage, thanks to man made weddings and state involvement. Sex has been separated from reproduction, thanks to contraception and abortion. And now sexual ethics have been separated from self control thanks to a purity double standard reinforced by the church. Being a real man today means having sex and making babies. Self control is not even in the picture. So men of virtue, I encourage you to speak up on these issues.

Everything the Christian community does that comes under media spotlight does one of two things: It builds up the body of Christ or it tears down the body of Christ. There is no comfortable fence in the middle. Even things that we think are insignificant, like a purity conference, become ammunition for those who wage war against us, the principalities and rulers of darkness. I much prefer an honest witness to the world, a witness that says it is just as much (if not more) the responsibility of guys to master their self control and not define sexual ethics as “whenever she says no.” I prefer a witness to the world that says it is the responsibility of girls to not view their bodies as only objects of man’s desire and to define their value as creatures of God and not just ladies waiting for a man. Dads – What if marriage is not in your daughter’s plans? Do you still want to walk down a church isle with her and promise to protect her virginity until she finds a husband? As Genesis tells us, male and female he made them – not husband and wife. One is not more valuable than the other. Did God guarantee your daughter a husband?

Eunuchs – Only To Those Whom It Is Given

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There’s a lot in the Bible that flies in the face of modern man. One concept that has to be at the top is exclusivity. The very idea that some people will go to heaven and some people will go to hell is offensive to most today. On top of that, it’s not going to be a politically correct 50-50 split. The Bible even tells us that few people will enter heaven: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14.

There are other exclusions in the Bible that are hardly ever mentioned. For example, when was the last time you heard the eunuchs of Matthew 19 discussed in church? Probably never. However, what seems to be an irrelevant biblical term takes on a whole new meaning when looked at from a different perspective. In Matthew 19, Jesus was having another heated discussion with the Pharisees and disciples about adultery and divorce. After Jesus explained what the standards were in marriage, one of the disciples came to the conclusion that “if this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Matthew 19:10. He erroneously came to the conclusion that everybody could skip marriage and have eternal fun forever and forever. But Jesus answered: “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19:11-12. I want to focus on the third type of eunuch, those who choose singleness for the kingdom of God. Can you see Jesus stepping on the breaks? Can you see the car come to a screeching stop with the words “only those to whom it has been given?” Besides the Lamb of God, the eunuch metaphor mentioned here in Matthew 19 in my opinion is the most profound – and least understood – in the entire Bible. First, we must understand that a metaphor is “a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar.” Merriam-Webster. The definition of a eunuch today is: “A man who has been castrated, especially (in the past), one employed to guard the women’s living areas at an oriental court.” What is he referring to?

The metaphor Jesus is using is the link between the permanence associated with castration and the permanence associated with those who choose to live without marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God. It has nothing to do with a surgical procedure. And it is just as true for women as it is for men. I’m sure Jesus’ audience understood what he was referring to a lot better than we do today. “Okay, if we decide not to marry, we won’t be playing around and making babies. We’ll be eunuchs.” Eunuchs in Jesus’ time and all throughout the Old Testament were considered the lowest of the low on the social ladder, absolutely useless to society, just a clump of dry trees. Since they had no heirs, a few of them were used to guard royal jewelry and property. Deuteronomy 23:1 tells us: “No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the LORD.” So not only were they excluded from society, they were excluded from religious ceremonies. They weren’t even allowed in church. Does that sound a little like the plight of singles today? Hebrew men thought that passing their name to offspring was the only way to guarantee the survival of their name and their country. The idea of an honorable single man was completely foreign. They were dead-enders. Families with children were the gold standard in Old Testament times. Sounds a whole lot like today, doesn’t it?

But the status of eunuchs was about to change. The Old Testament hints of the coming changes in Isaiah 56:4-5: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant— to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.” God is referring to young Hebrew men who forsook choosing a wife, sex, children, and propagating the nation of Israel. He is affirming those who chose a life of celibacy and concerns about his affairs.

Their status did change forever when Christ came to earth as a eunuch, standing in solidarity with them. He chose to come in the form of the lowest of the low. In Matthew 19, Christ is stating the same thing God did in Isaiah, that those who choose celibacy for the Kingdom of God (eunuchs) will have a special place in heaven and their names will endure forever. I’ve always wondered how the status of eunuchs in the Old Testament and during Jesus’ time compare to the status of eunuchs today. I have a feeling not much has changed for those whom it is given.

Let us be mindful that we need to delete the world’s dictionary when we read God’s word. Think about how eunuchs today serve as reminders of a coming heaven where there are no marriages or nuclear families and where there are things more important than sex. Only to those to whom it is given may not be politically correct lingo today. It doesn’t have that ring of inclusiveness. But statistics do not matter to God and they shouldn’t matter to us. There could be three eunuchs in the world today or three million. Is your daily life based on the unlimited possibilities of God or the limited expectations of man?

False Assumptions

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Assumptions have become so much a part of our everyday life that it’s difficult to tell the biblical from the non-biblical. Yes, there are issues about sexuality that are not addressed in the Bible. And our human brains are pretty good at filling in the blanks with worldly expectations. But that does not mean that God is silent. If you know him, he speaks to your heart. He writes his laws in your heart. But all the wisdom of God and all the wisdom you need to know to be fruitful on this earth cannot be contained within the pages of one book. That’s why a relationship with him is imperative before we stoke the flames of a romantic relationship. If marriage is for you, it’s absolutely necessary to be able to discern the right person to marry. But doesn’t discernment take time?

If there’s one word in the English language I would change the definition of, it would be “wait.” According to the Oxford dictionary, it means: “Stay where one is, or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens.” A hundred years ago, waiting was probably looked at more favorably. It was associated with the hope that people of the depression era had to have to survive. It was associated with the conservative values that America was built on. More importantly, waiting was associated with Christians who were looking for the second coming of Christ. But today we have an America of gluttony. Nobody waits to get what they want. Today we have an America that has been taken over by the liberal agenda where everybody has a right to everything. Today we have an America where the majority are not Christians and are not looking for anything except their next dollar and moment of pleasure. To them, waiting has no more meaning than standing in a checkout line, lining up at a service station, and waiting on the interest rates to go up.

But we must rise above these assumptions and maintain the dignity that was once associated with waiting. If we put everything in perspective, which is more important: Waiting faithfully for a spouse or waiting faithfully for the second coming of Christ? Which signal do we send the world? How are we defining the “wait” in waiting for marriage to have sex? If we follow the Oxford dictionary, we are “delaying action.” I’d say we’re following God’s will for our lives. It’s sort of like asking someone who is parked at a red light “Hey, are you driving on the road?” That should be obvious, right? The same thing applies to our lives. Our walk with Christ should be so obvious that no one has to ask “Are you waiting for marriage to have sex?” We should not shirk from breaking assumptions, from putting the positive back into waiting. I like the word anticipation better. Advent is built on anticipation. Whether we marry or not, all Christians are anticipating the return of Christ. That timing is completely in his hands. It is not something we delay. Do we stand idle until that time? Certainly not. We have the Great Commission:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20.

He made no mention of go ye therefore and find our spouse. He made no mention of planning our marriage. He made no mention of planning our children. If we go forth and teach about Christ, there is no need to put a label of “dating” or “courting” on every relationship we have. If we cherish friends, there is no need to sexualize every person we meet. When we adopt the assumptions of the world, we are telling everybody that finding a spouse is more important than leading people to Christ. We are all walking testaments of either the world’s assumptions or heavenly expectations.

Advent this year is November 30th to December 24th. What are you waiting for?

Why Am I Waiting?

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I guess the first question should be: What am I waiting for? My life has taken a different course. I’m not waiting for an earthly marriage, but for Christ’s imminent return and the marriage feast in heaven. At 53, I know that puts me off of any statistical chart. But I decided that in my 20s. It’s a done deal. I’ve walked down the isle. The unending challenge for me has been – How do I live a celibate life outside the walls of a monastary and the Catholic church? How can a guy be a monk in a Protestant world? How do I relate to a world that worships marriage and family? A deeper question: Why is sex even necessary to define who I am? Is it necessary for a deep sea creature to be able to define air to all the other fish he encounters? No, God designed him without a requirement for air. God designed me without a requirement for sex. So why should I describe myself as “celibate,” a word that is associated with homosexuality and catholicism? I’m afraid it’s the best word we have. What word would Apostle Paul use today if he were alive? Would he be in your church’s singles class planning the next movie night out? Where would you put him? Answers to these questions would probably take a book. I would LOVE to hear my readers answers.

Over the years, I’ve heard many reasons why sex should wait until marriage. And I’m sure you’ve heard them too: STDs, unplanned pregnancies, it’s what my parents expect, to avoid heartbreak, because I signed a pledge, the Bible said so, preacher said so, etc. Some of those reasons helped me through the early years. But today I’d say there are two main reasons:

1. I know God created my body and knows what’s best for it. Sex without marriage would be a disaster for my entire being, especially emotionally. It was harder for me to understand that when I was younger and testoserone was raging through my brian. But I’ve come to the realization that God’s ways are beyond my reasoning. He created every cell in my body. I don’t need to know the how and why behind every function. I’ve always liked mysteries. Really. Books, movies, stories – all mysteries. I grew up reading Agatha Christie and Orson Welles. I can live without knowing a woman’s body. It’s unfortunate that’s not respected today.

2. The words Paul used in 1 Corinthians 7 have become a part of who I am. I’ve freely chosen the concerns of the Lord as a completely solitary man instead of the concerns of the world as a married husband. I definitely don’t feel single or incomplete. In some ways, I don’t think “waiting” is an accurate word to describe my life. That’s because the world associates waiting and sex with one thing – marriage. Celibacy takes it to a more spiritual level. The biblical word “eunuch” (Matthew 19) is better – but the masses wouldn’t be able to define that without a scalpel. I do know for sure that I’m content with who I am. And for those of us who are called to this life, I really don’t think it’s necessary for the world to understand these things.

Am I completely void of desire? No.
Does a celibate life require some sort of supernatural intervention? Yes.
Does it re-arrange every cell in your body? Yes.
Does it alter the priorities in your life? Yes.
Do I have a heart as cold as ice? No.
Can I appreciate feminine beauty? Yes.
Do I value marriage? Yes. It’s just as biblical as celibacy.

But all of this has been trumped by the glimpse of what I’ve seen on the other side of eternity.

One of those concerns of the Lord that I care deeply about – Making sure Christian young people today know that it is possible to wait until any age to have sex, that sex is not as important as food and water, and that God does not promise everybody marriage.

Ageism’s Effect on Virtuous Women

Sycamore Tree by John Morgan

Sycamore Tree by John Morgan

Isn’t it odd that virginity is not supposed to exist today after 30, especially for guys? The result is a lot of lonely girls looking for Mr. Right and the typical “I’m too good for you” man-hating language infiltrating the internet dating profiles. How does the virtuous guy interpret that? Not too good. Here’s a sample from a 23 year old girl:

“I’m a virgin and plan on staying that way till I get married. You shouldn’t message me if you’re older then 28. I’m not gonna date you. I’m really not even comfortable being your friend at that point. You better be ready for a conversation. None of this 20 question crap. It’s uncomfortable. I won’t play. You best be ready for a friendship first. That’s right, I only date from my friend zone pile. That’s how I know your character. You are fine with the fact that I will not be willing to meet up with you for a while. I’m wary and if you don’t get why, turn on the news. i don’t wanna hear you aren’t like that. How am I supposed to know that?”

I guess in her world those of us over 28 and waiting don’t exist. This is what happens when even the eyes of decent girls get fogged over with the ways of the world, when they spend so much time in front of TVs watching the rape and murder stories on the local news that they can’t discern reality. Fornication becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you expect no better than that, you will see no better than that. If you expect all Mr. Wrongs, you will see only Mr. Wrongs. Have you ever come across a deer in the road at night? Have you watched it jump around in the glare of your headlights? I’m afraid this is what’s happening to girls today. They are running scared, afraid of men, hunkering down in front of computer screens. Then when they reach 30 or so, they panic and fall into a ditch, broken and battered – with not even a mentor to turn to for encouragement. No matter what the news stories or what the statistics show when it comes to waiting until marriage, you must allow room for impossibilities – for miracles that only God can perform. When you close your mind to the existence of Godly men, become so frozen with paranoia that you can’t say “hello” to a stranger on the street, and have a sign hanging out your window that says “how am I supposed to know,” you are going to reap what you sew – a dry field; or even worse, no mentor to turn to. Sure, there are guys who are jerks out there. But if you know what your standards are, ignore them. Why allow them to pour dirt over your expectations? This may be a surprise, but virtuous guys see the same thing.

How are you supposed to discern the good guys from the bad? First, watch very carefally what goes in your eyes and ears. As 1 Phillippians 4:8 tells us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” We cannot think about what is pure and lovely watching the evening news. Turn it off. We also have to fellowship with other unmarried believers. For most Christians, that means church. You can’t sit at home and pick out Mr. Right from an onlight catalog. And, most importantly I think, we have to be open to the guidance of someone older than ourselves. That is not possible when you put a world-defined age limit on virginity. Your parents may be able to encourage you up to a certain age. But if they married at 21 and you’re 25, it will not be too convincing.

This is why you see ages attached to virginity headlines, book titles, and movie titles. 21, 22, 23, 24 . . . 28 years old. It becomes more and more difficult. It is an accomplishment that is measured and valued in years. But like anything else, the glass can be half full or half empty. You’re either grateful that God has gotten you this far or your dreading another day without a husband. God did not promise us a spouse. In my opinion, chastity is more of an intellectual achievement than it is of controlling hormones. Can a 20 year old virgin authentically teach and inspire a 40 year old virgin? Not so much. Can a lady who doesn’t know how to ride a bicycle teach another lady how to fly the space shuttle? I don’t think so. And yes, I think that is a valid analogy. When the 20 year old that spent her younger years talking about how all men are jerks reaches 40 without a husband, she looks around and says “why am I the only one?” I wonder if the Godly man who she brushed off earlier would have stuck around a while longer if she had given him some encouragement? Plus, why am I the only one shouldn’t even be a question to ask. You’re only following God’s will, whether you’re the only one or the one-thousandth one. That’s right. If we did things God’s way, a 60 year old virgin would be as common as leaves on a tree, not even newsworthy.

I just think these choices in life should be made from a position of strength, not from a position of weakness – from a position of hope, not from a position of defeatism. The only time age is mentioned in the Bible is to shatter the early Christians’ expectations. How would people react today if a 91 year old woman gave birth? That’s how old Sarah was when she gave birth to Isaac. In eternity, where will all the clocks be?