So, you desire to be celibate, but, well, you’re no longer a virgin and you think that, even though you are a Christian, the celibacy ship has sailed. You wonder if there is any hope for those who have already tossed sexual purity to the side and given in to sexual temptation. Well, there is. In Christ, there is always hope. God is a God who showers His grace and mercy on those who seek after Him. He will forgive and restore when we turn back to Him. If you choose to follow the Bible and trust it as God’s word, here are four scriptures that will help those who gave in to their sexual struggle, feel disheartened, and truly desire to change.
Step #1: Repent
I know “repent” is a really strong religious word. But, Acts 3:19 says: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (NIV). Turning back to the Lord after we have fallen short starts with repentance. To repent means to change directions or make a U-turn.
When someone repents, they turn back to the Lord as they turns away from their sin. If there is no heart’s desire to change one’s behavior, then there is no true repentance. But, when we come to the Lord with godly sorrow for the sin in our life and with a longing for our actions to be different moving forward, then God graciously receives us and restores us. It all starts with repentance.
Step #2: Be Forgiven
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2, NIV). These verses show the heart of God. He loves to wash us clean. He loves to forgive our sin and lavish His compassion and mercy on us.
If you have blown it when it comes to sexual purity, that does not mean that all is lost. Come to the Lord, confess your sin, and commit to living differently moving forward. Because true repentance is not a revolving door in and out of sin, your journey of celibacy will take on a whole new meaning when God is at the forefront.
Step #3: Receive that Forgiveness
One of the most difficult things for Christians to do is to forgive themselves. When we refuse to forgive ourselves we are underestimating the power of God and the grace of God. If God says that He forgives us, who do we think we are that we will not walk in the truth of that forgiveness? That is an insult to the Lord who wants to show His goodness by forgiving us. Listen to this great promise: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”(Romans 8:1, NIV).
Paul says that for anyone who is in Christ, who has been covered by the blood of the perfect and spotless lamb, Jesus, there is no condemnation. When you repent and receive God’s forgiveness, you no longer have to carry around the guilt, the shame, or the judgment that sin brings. The forgiveness doesn’t come because you deserve it but because God is so gracious to give it. Your “no condemnation” status points to God’s greatness not your goodness. Once that sin is forgiven, let go of it and walk in the freedom that forgiveness brings.
Step #4: Walk in the Strength of the Holy Spirit
Once you repent, God forgives, and you receive that forgiveness, God calls you to no longer walk in that sin that He just forgave. You may say, “I can’t change. I’ll never beat this sin. I can’t stop.” The strength to change your life and no longer walk in that sin does not come from you. It can only come from the Spirit of God that lives in you.
Galatians 5:16-17 says: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (NIV).
The only way to win the victory over sexual sin in your life is to walk in the Spirit. That means to depend on His strength rather than you own. When you do things your way (walk in the flesh), you will fail every time. But, when you do things God’s way (walk in the Spirit), the Lord will get it right in you.
If you have already given in to the sexual temptation and have fallen short of the sexual purity that you wanted and that God wanted for you, don’t lose hope. Come to the Lord. Repent. Be forgiven. Receive that forgiveness. And, walk in the strength of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.
Recommit to being sexually pure from this day forward. Commit to the Lord, to yourself, and to your future husband that from this moment until your wedding night, you will stay sexually pure. God will honor that. You will relish the freedom of forgiveness. And, you will be moving toward a healthier, happier marriage. Today, you can have a brand new start in Christ. Step up and commit to being pure. It does matter.
BMWK, are you ready to take the journey of celibacy?