On the outside, I am probably what many would deem an average millennial youth — aiming to get established into my career and learning to navigate the nuances of adulthood. However, those in my inner circle would attest that I have made some different choices from most youths around me. For one, I am 27 and a virgin who has also decided not to engage in peri-sexual activities.
I want to encourage others who may be on a similar journey or contemplating rededicating their life for purity. I attest that God’s faithfulness in the wait can manifest itself in unexpected ways.
Over the years, my decision to wait for sex until marriage received mixed responses among my peers. While some supported the idea, others in my circle seemed even more determined to break out. Attending an all-girl Catholic high school, I learned from others that having a boyfriend meant gazes of admiration, excitement, and increased popularity.
Friends in my circle spoke freely of intimacy. All the while, those like me who chose to wait often dealt with loneliness, rejection, and misunderstanding. Frequently seen alone in my outings, including my graduation prom, I questioned whether being alone would remain a never-ending struggle.
Blessings of obedience
In today’s world, the commitment to purity remains unpopular, even to the point of ridicule, especially among many youths. With all the ideologies glorifying sexuality in our music, movies, advertising, and school curricula, it is not surprising. Despite the intermittent discomfort that celibacy can bring, this season has cultivated faithfulness through my decision to honor God with my body.
One of the biggest blessings I have experienced in the wait is heightened clarity of mind when dealing with temptations. Just as prolonged physical exercise strengthens the muscles, a conscious choice of celibacy brings heightened levels of patience and self-control. In my life, friends have told me of decisions they regretted. This proves that when a person takes one step toward the edge, the pull of gravity becomes more evident, and resisting a fall becomes more difficult.
As the Bible illustrates in the story of David and Bathsheba, the creep of sin into a person’s life is a real problem. David’s lust for Bathsheba while she bathed led him to commit adultery, then murder (2 Samuel 11). This teaches us that making a conscious decision to flee from tempting situations goes a long way toward avoiding unnecessary entanglement and regretful actions. It’s too bad David didn’t do this.
When it comes to the lust of the flesh, depending on human clarity of mind may not be enough. I have found that when God sees your heart and intentions, He will block situations that can potentially derail your life.
One of the recurring experiences where I have seen proof of this is what I interpreted as unrequited love. My feelings were ready and high, but I felt invisible. In the moment, frustration and hope erupted like a twisted internal geyser — frustration over feeling invisible and hope that one day things would change, that the admired party would confess mutual feelings.
However, I have seen time and again how God’s faithfulness is even manifested through short-term storms of aggravation and uncertainty, sparing me a potential lifetime of pain. Each of these unrequited love moments I soon found out worked for my good.
Through this season of singleness, God has also been faithful in allowing me more time to truly understand myself — my purpose, my goals, and my vision. Accomplishments in ministry would likely have been delayed had I made different decisions regarding my sexual purity.
While the prospect of celibacy may be daunting to some, I continually strive to honor God in what I do with my body. It is a doable task in the twenty-first century — and certainly a fulfilling one. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (vv. 18-20).
The journey continues, and although not always easy, the sacrifice to wait for God’s best makes the wait a process with purpose. As a Christian, my union with Christ makes me complete, with or without a spouse. And as the Bridegroom is always faithful in His promises to us, I have learned to humbly follow His leading.
For those who, like me, are on the road of celibacy, keep persevering! God’s reward for faithfulness is sure, even if not manifested in ways we expect. For those whose life choices may not have been similar to mine, living a pure life is one that has much fewer regrets. The faithfulness of God is so marvelous that each day is an opportunity to make a renewed effort to serve God with all we can.
I challenge you to try this road. Our faithfulness to God in daily life is the least we can give to such a faithful God!
Sarah Buckland writes from Jamaica, West Indies.