Today sex is a matter of life and death. Sex may be pleasurable. It may be fun. Everyone may be doing it, but it could cost you your life. You could catch one of more than twenty-five different sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, that run rampant in our society. If that moment of passion doesn't kill you, it can change your life forever. 425,493 live babies were born to teen-age mothers 15-19 in 2002, according to the National Center For Health Statistics (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/teenbrth.htm). Changing diapers. Child-care. Three o'clock feedings.
In I Thessalonians 4:3b, the Bible instructs "You should avoid sexual immorality." Sexual immortality is Biblically defined as having sex outside marriage and extra-marital affairs. Marriage is to be a place to experience truly committed love, a lifelong commitment. God wants sex to be something special between people who totally commit to each other. The only commitment that God recognizes is the vows of marriage.
Several teens from Christian Fellowship Church (CFC) in Phoenix, Arizona commented on sexual purity. One of them, Rebecca, 15, said, "I think people who wait to have sex respect themselves, and I respect them for it."
God commands us to be pure, to wait until we are married to have sex. Galatians 5:19 says "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immortality, impurity, and debauchery." His reasons are not to preventing you from having fun but to protect you from being hurt physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sex is to be set aside for marriage because it requires a total emotional commitment from both the husband and the wife. Waiting until you are married, rewards you with true fulfillment, dignity, maturity, and above all, God's blessing. There is only one "first" time for everyone. Don't despair if you have already lost your virginity, you can still commit yourself to abstinence until you are married.
How does pre-marital sex affect us physically?
According to The Counseling Center for Human Development at the University of Florida (http://usfweb.usf.edu/counsel/self-hlp/daterape.htm), thirty-five to seventy-five percent of all rapes against women are committed by someone they know. Fifty-two percent of female students have been victimization sexually in one form or another. Out of eight college women, one has been a rape victim. One in twelve college men confess that they have abused women sexually.
Forty-seven percent of rapes occur on first or casual dates or by romantic acquaintances. Females between the ages of 16-24 are at greater risk of being date raped (Women's Coalition of St. Croix http://www.wcstx.com/friendrp.htm).
It's not only women. Before they reach sixteen years old, one in six males are sexually abused (Escaping Hades http://www.escapinghades.com/statistics.html).
Sexually active teens run the risk of premature delivery, prolonged labor, anemia and high blood pressure. Nine point five percent of teen mothers give birth to low-weight babies--under 5.5 pounds (March Of Dimes, http://www.modimes.org/).
One in three teen mothers drop out of high school. With limited education, it is difficult to find a good job.
"I think it's sad when girls purposely have sex, not wanting a baby," said Julie, 15, another member of CFC.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
It is through semen, blood and vaginal fluids that sexually transmitted diseases spread. Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia can be serious. Consequences include pelvic inflammation disease, complications in pregnancy, and blood infections. Sexually transmitted diseases do not cause AIDS, but it can make a person more susceptible to HIV. Bacterial sexually transmitted diseases--gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis--can be cured with antibiotics. Viral infections--genital herpes--are lifelong infections.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus causes AIDS. The virus slowly destroys the body's immune system. You can contract AIDS four ways: if you had intercourse with an infected person, have injected drugs using needles or syringes that have previously been utilized by an infected person, through a blood transfusion, or infected mothers can give it to their unborn babies. People can be infected with HIV for two or more years without knowing it. No symptoms may be shown for two years or more. To confirm the existence of HIV and AIDS, you must be tested by a doctor after exposure. At least ninety-six percent of infected people will test positive within two to twelve weeks. Although for some, it might take as long as six months..
Emotionally, pre-marital sex prevents you and your girlfriend/boyfriend from building the trust you need as the foundation to your relationship. Waiting allows you the opportunity to develop a strong friendship. Getting to know each others' interests, fears, and dreams. If you have sex before you are married, your self-esteem will plummet because you will have lost respect for yourself and will feel ashamed before God. Because sex becomes the focus, your communication with your girlfriend/boyfriend will fail. Sex bonds the couple together; they become one. Breaking up is difficult and will leave emotional scars that only God can heal. Sex outside of marriage will also take the "specialness" out of sex when you do finally marry.
Spiritually, sex outside of marriage is a sin. As you harbor sin in your life, you will stop praying. You will stop reading the Bible. When you sit in church, you might feel guilty, having flashbacks of your boyfriend. Your relationship with God suffers. God cannot be a part of your life if you are habitually sinning against Him.
In "Teens Speak Out...," Josh McDowell outlines God's three-step plan for marriage in Genesis 2:18-25. "Leave the child relationship with your parents; then cleave, or totally commit yourself to your mate; and then become one flesh sexually, mentally and spiritually in service to God." He concludes that "And being anywhere outside God's plan is sin."
How do you save yourself for marriage? Lorina, a 13-year-old who goes to church at CFC, answered, "By personal choice and God's help." First of all, start praying for the future mate that God has for you. Before going on a date, pray. You should make praying a part of your preparation, just like combing your hair. Make your standards clear to your date from the beginning. If you get into a situation that you aren't sure about, pray, ask yourself what Jesus would do, and listen to your inner voice.
Be selective in the books and magazines you read, the television shows and movies you watch, the music you listen to. If you feed your mind with material that exploits sex, you will struggle to stay pure. Until you trust your date, go out in groups. "Don't hang out with bad people, stay safe, and think of what Jesus would do," LaToya advised.
Jesus forgave the adulterous woman in John 8. He can also forgive you, if you have had pre-marital sex. He is a second-chance God. The Pharisees had caught the woman committing adultery and brought her before Jesus to be stoned. Jesus instructed that the person without sin should throw the first stone. Her accusers ran away. In John 8:11, Jesus told the woman, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." First, you must confess your sin to Him. Then commit yourself to abstinence until you marry, asking God to help you.
Now that you know why to wait, what are you going to do?
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