Conventional Thinking: ‘It can wait’
If you have been to the movie theatre or a mall this summer, you may have seen the advertising campaign, “It can wait.” The powerful (and expensive) marketing campaign is directing people to refrain from sending text messages while driving.
It is encouraging to see society make use of positive social pressure to curb dangerous habits, with some of the ads even having the moralistic tone of a fundamentalist preacher. I only wish the public would allow the very same when Christians warn against not saving sex until marriage.
Although texting when driving can be terribly dangerous, society seems to have missed the point that sex outside of marriage can be equally dangerous in the following ways:
It has been reported that the average college student is more likely to leave a four-year university with a sexually-transmitted disease than a diploma. With the “hooking-up,” casual sex college culture, it is no wonder students—especially women—are turned into damaged vessels.
Research promoted by the Hope Pregnancy Ministries of Oklahoma Baptists show how rapidly sexual contact spreads. If a woman has relations with a man who who has had one other partner, she is exposed not only to the man, but also to all of the people with whom he has had sexual contact. When multiplied a few times, the exposure to potential STDs grows exponentially.
This says nothing of the sheer fact that a woman can become pregnant. While a baby is not a negative physical consequence (but rather each child is a gift from God), it can be tremendously difficult for a woman to raise a child herself.
Somewhere along the way, people came to believe that sex is only about the body—only a physical act. The Bible, however, makes it clear that the union transcends the physical into the emotional realm.
Speaking to the Corinthian church (which has many similarities to our day), Paul underscores just how serious the sexual union is. “Don’t you know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For Scripture says, the two will become one flesh.” (1 Cor. 6:16).
God created sex for procreation purposes, but also that the two may become bonded together as one for life. The gift of sex, when given out to multiple people over time, only diminishes its meaning. While automobiles come with seat belts and air bags to protect the driver in case of a crash, there is no seat belt to protect your heart from damage caused by misusing sex.
The Greek philosopher Plato understood that only people have a spirit. While plants have a body and animals have a body and a mind, mankind is unique in having a spirit, which allows us to commune with the divine.
In Christianity, we understand more clearly that spiritual consequences are what count most. We also understand that our mental and physical actions have spiritual consequences. Jesus went so far as to say that he who looks at another woman with lust in his heart has already committed adultery (Matt. 5:28). The apostle Paul went even further in saying that the sexually immoral who do not repent and trust Christ have no inheritance in Heaven (1 Cor. 6:9).
When dealing with sexual matters, we are dealing with weighty issues that have eternal consequences. Because of this, we must recommit to helping people understand that sex, like that seemingly urgent text message, can wait for the right time and place.