Let’s Start From the Beginning: Lessons from Christmas Regarding Sexual Purity

Filed under Relationships Your Heart on Dec 12 12 by

Yes, I realize that we typically do not talk about the Christmas story while contemplating the lessons it may hold for our dating relationships, let alone for our purity, but work with me here.

The key challenge that Jesus has been laying on my heart so far this Christmas season has been the call to humility. As Paul so urges us in his letter to the Philippians,

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (2:3-11)

As a great pastor I know says, humility is not thinking of yourself as lower than you ought, but simply thinking of yourself less. Jesus’ birth is the ultimate display of this type of humility. Jesus displayed this for us in his choice to leave the splendor of Heaven and make his entrance into the world in a barn. He came as a child, helpless and needy, through a birth among barn animals to find a resting place in a feeding trough. He came in the lowliest way possible after giving up the highest glory possible. He chose to lay down his glorious rule with God the Father in Heaven to bear human flesh, experiencing all of the agony that we experience which ultimately led him to the agony of the cross for our sake. He thought of himself less and thought of us more.

This is a key and crucial principle for all human relationships, but it is one that is usually severely lacking in our modern dating relationships. Our culture places grand emphasis on seeking our own happiness and pleasure. This thought process is blaringly evident in the way that sex is pursued outside of marriage. We see those who would consider themselves ‘in a relationship’, as well as those who just entertain casual ‘hook-ups’, displaying nothing but selfish ambition. They are considering their needs as more important than anyone else’s, looking only to their own interests, and pursuing their own pleasure with no regards for the other. Let me be clear: pursuing sexual pleasure outside of marriage is entirely self-centered. Ladies, through ignoring the loving boundaries God has given us in His word regarding sexual purity, we are completely disrespecting our brothers in Christ. We are selfishly putting our own sinful desires before their well-being, and we are ignoring the very example set before us in the person of Jesus.

As a professing Christian during my teenage and college years, I pushed the boundaries of sexual purity in every relationship I was involved in and sometimes, although it grieves my soul to admit, even at times when a relationship was the farthest thing from my mind. Sure, the desire may not have simply been physical pleasure, but it was always unmistakably about fulfilling the deep desires I had to be seen as beautiful, attractive, wanted, and worthy. It was all about me: my ambitions and my fulfillment.

The message that Paul is communicating to us in this passage and the example that Jesus sets for us in His most humble arrival here on the earth both call us to lay aside our own desires and consider others more important than ourselves. This perspective is completely counter-cultural and contrary to the totality of our human nature. But we need to recognize it and we need to analyze it—not only in its obvious implications, but also in its not so obvious ones. Jesus sets the standard for our lives in every way, including the standard of sexual purity. Jesus thought of himself less. He was born for us and died for us, despite our self-centeredness, and ge gives more grace (James 4:6). And He also promises us joy and abundant life through living humbly. We don’t have to worry about fulfilling our own needs, because he will do it for us—and in a greater and more marvelous way than we ever could on our own!

Loving Father,
Humble us. We have a problem that we cannot remedy apart from your grace and mercy. We are prone to seeking our own pleasure and pursuing our own ambitions, but we know that you call us to consider other’s needs as more important than our own. Help us to do this in our relationships and through the purity we long to display in our lives. We love you and we need you.

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Shannon Tyson
Shannon is a relationships blogger for The You Are Project, discussing topics surrounding the issues of dating and marriage. Through spending many years working in ministry geared toward young girls and women and through the path the Lord has led her down personally, she has developed a passion to encourage women to date and pursue marriage the way that God intended. Follow her thoughts here monthly!