Advent And Celibacy

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Most people think of Advent as waiting for the Christmas tree to go up and presents to be opened. Do you see Rudolph on radar yet? Many in the family idolatry church today think it symbolizes waiting on Christ’s birth, being fruitful and multiplying, and everything good about family life. Breaking news: Avent has nothing to do with family life. Jesus was the first baby born and the last baby born. He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. For those who choose celibacy, Advent not only recognizes those who waited on Christ’s birth in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, but also those who wait on his second coming today. Preparation for this second Advent is one of the “affairs of the Lord” that Apostle Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 7:34. I’m not saying that married people can’t understand waiting on the rapture. But I am saying they can’t understand its full reality and immediacy. Their fire and longing has been extinguished. Their need for comfort and pleasure has been answered. Their time goes no further than the clock hanging on the wall. No matter how heavy their spiritual concerns may be, they are easily trumped by a wet diaper, a hungry spouse, a bigger house, and a bigger inheritance for their children. That’s why Protestant churches are plagued with weak pastors. They can’t preach the truth because they’ll lose their job and starve their children.

But for those of us who have foregone marriage and wait on the Lord in all things, Advent has a much deeper meaning. We are able to testify with our lives that this world is passing away and point towards a new heaven and a new earth where no one is given in marriage and no diapers need to be changed. We are able to renounce earthly inheritance for life everlasting. We can hang a shingle on our souls that reads: “There’s something better to come.” In a real sense, our whole lives are an advent – not just the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It is our responsibility to make sure everybody knows the baby is coming back with full unbridled Godly authority, not as a sacrificial lamb. His vengeance will be swift and final. For a lot of people, that means they are waiting to die. I’m waiting to live.

Our pessimistic world knows only how to live in a moment of pleasure, where men have to get it up and women have to put it out – a dumbed down society. Consider the paradox of Christ’s poverty – a man who had everything but owned nothing in this world. As Jesus told the scribe in Matthew 8:20: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” How do you think Jesus would fair in the business world today? Imagine if the American dream was to be homeless. Could you get on board with that? Would you be willing to bet that God’s plan is bigger than our individual lives? He was a homeless man. Yet he was the wealthiest man who ever lived. He was an unmarried man who never had sex or children. Yet he passed everything to his children. He was a man who lived a short while on earth. Yet he defined time out of time. He was a radical man.

Celibacy is just as radical today. There are still Pharisees among us who scoff and worship the idols of marriage and children. Instead of conforming their lives to Christ, they cling to Old Testament and Mosaic law and throw the New Testament out the window. The only thing they know how to wait for is the next fruitful romp in the hay, the next moment of pleasure. As someone who has chosen the Lord’s affairs, I see Advent as anticipation and preparation rather than waiting. For the lost world, waiting is a passive thing. We wait in line at Walmart. It’s a waste of time. Instead, we who are celibate actively anticipate and prepare for the new world. By renouncing marriage, we are actively affirming the expectant arrival of our King Jesus. We point not just to the next generation or next millennium, but to a time beyond this time. Celibacy is like the Hubble telescope on steroids. It peers as deep into space as man can see, but still can’t see all of eternity. It can’t see all the preparations that are underway in heaven.

So how do we actively anticipate? One way is by making sure all the grain is brought in from the fields. Do you know lost souls who don’t even know the true meaning of Christmas? This is the time to remind them that . . . time is short. The tablecloths are being spread on heavenly tables. The candles are being lit. Make sure all of your friends have their names in the Lamb’s book of life. It’s also a good time to affirm the consistency of God, the fulfillment of his promises, and how the Christ returning is the same Christ that Simeon and Anna met in the temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2). Serve as a reminder of their patience and faith. And realize that the more things we don’t have, the more room we have for Christ’s concerns. Light a candle so that the world will see you are here.

Does Man’s Virtue Have Any Value?

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An interesting phenomenom I’ve noticed lately in the world of singleness is that nearly all personal testimonies include a sordid tale of sexual sin and redemption.  No stories about self control and righteousness.  And it seems the more selacious the story the bigger the audience.  It all falls in line with a morally corrupt society, one where a story of purity becomes more and more uncomfortable.  Where does purity fit in a society that worships sex and marriage?  Purity today is seen as emptiness, immaturity, self righteousness, lack of responsibility, adolescence.   Not worth much for the masses.  It won’t sell car insurance, can’t express your freedom, doesn’t need protection, and doesn’t sell on a street corners.  In short, it doesn’ have a story to tell a sin filled world that would rather hear about adultery, fornication, pedophilia, homosexuality, and all other kinds of perversion.  And unfortuately this trend has worked its way into churches and other religious circles.   Here’s a sampling of singles’ “testimonies” from the internet:

Then all of a sudden one day our eyes were opened and we realized that our bodies began to notice things about each other physically and that’s when sex happened.”

“I had PRE MARITAL SEX I AM CONDEMNING MYSELF and I can’t forgive the guy. After I gave everything to him , he dropped me and choose the other girl.”

“I’m pregnant and I don’t know what to do. I intentionally sinned when I made the decision to let my desire control me and have sex last month”

” . . . my boyfriend who i met in church is also active in church we have managed to remain pure until today the temptation was so much and we gave in . . . “

Apparently many people today think that a tragic story of downfall is required to become a Christian, that you’ve got to go through Sodom to get to heaven.  Of course that is not a requirement.  It is possible to accept Christ at a young age and live a life of self control and righteousness.  Consider the story of Joseph in the Bible.  He committed his life to God and purity at a young age.  Even after being sold into slavery to Potiphar, his committment to sexual purity did not change.   According to Genesis 39:12-20:

“When Potiphar’s wife “came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.  When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled, she called out to her servants.  Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said.  My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.  She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home.  Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said.  “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!”  Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her.  So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained.”

Three powerful words – tore himself away.  Imagine that, a man rejecting sex!   Notice though that Joseph didn’t get to tell his story.   Potiphar believed his wife with no questions asked.  Men’s virtue in those days didn’t have much value either.  Just as today, it was a woman/child worship society where women were expected to set the sexual standards.   How many testimonies do we hear from men today who tore themselves away from seducers and defended their purity?  Unfortunately, men of character today have to deal with false accusations just as well – from homosexuality to irresponsibility.  Not only is their virtue considered worthless, it has fallen onto the negative side of the balance sheet.   Virtuous Christian single ladies – I encourage you to listen to the stories of men of honor, set aside your suspiciousness and listen to the Josephs in the real world today.  Not all their testimonies sound like sex in the city.  There are men today who accepted Christ at a young age too and are saving sex until marriage.  Potiphar’s wife screamed to the masses and they believed her.  You are going to have to communicate to the world the value you place on virtuous men and stand up to Potiphar’s wife and say “shut up and sit down woman!”  Should stories of brokeness and forgiveness be worth more than stories of self control and righteousness?  Who have you listened too lately?  How much is a virtuous man worth to you?