In his recent article on Sexual Atheism: Christian Dating Data Reveals a Deeper Spiritual Malaise, Kenny Luck observes the what we can practically call “sexual atheism” among many self-proclaimed Christians who are single.
In a recent study conducted by ChristianMingle.com Christian singles between the ages of 18 to 59 were asked, “Would you have sex before marriage?” The response? Sixty-three percent of the single Christian respondents indicated yes. In my 30 years of youth and adult ministry experience, this is as unfiltered, direct and honest as a question and answer can be.
It is equally honest to say that nearly nine out of 10 self-proclaimed single Christians are, in practice, sexual atheists. In other words, God has nothing to say to them on that subject of any consequence or, at least, anything meaningful enough to dissuade them from following their own course of conduct. It is the ultimate oxymoron. A person who at once believes in a wise, sovereign and loving God who created them and all things, can also believe simultaneously He should not, cannot or will not inform their thinking or living sexually. It reminds me of those famous red letters in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46, NIV). There is disconnect between identity and activity.
J.D. Greear writes,
What business do we have saying we would die for Jesus when we aren’t willing to obey him with our lives today? Dying isn’t the hard part; living is.
So many, particularly young, Christians enthusiastically claim they want to follow Jesus and his will for their lives, but then they regulate “Jesus’ will” to only certain things like short term mission trips or making sure they are nice to others. And yes, these things are good, but truly following Jesus means following him in the details of our lives and honoring him over our often selfish and sinful desires.
This means honoring God with our money which means we cannot keep it all for ourselves, and making spiritual disciplines a priority which means we need to faithfully spend time with Jesus, and honoring God with our bodies which means we should honor his design for sex and marriage.
In other words, if we believe God is actually God, we don’t get to pick and choose what he is Lord over. It is not about being perfect, but when we just come out and say that we will do what he has called us not to do, it means we have another god that is getting our worship: sex.
It is one thing to struggle in the area of sexual purity, it is another thing altogether to regard it as unimportant.
And of course, this goes for married Christians as well. Pornography, being unfaithful to your spouse, unbiblical divorce, etc., are all things to be taken seriously. Following God’s design for sex is certainly hard at times, but it is the most fulfilling.
Jesus tells us to take up our cross (our life) and follow him. This means we either follow him with our lives or we don’t, there is no picking and choosing what areas of our life he gets and what areas he doesn’t.