How to Wait Well – Sex, Relationships, and the Single Life
Sam Bacon – Children’s Ministry Admin
Picture this: you have been on a diet for three weeks and you’ve met your goal…yay! To celebrate, you and your friends go out to your favorite restaurant for a good meal. You get there and know exactly what you want to order and so when the waitress asks what you would like to drink you’re already ordering your meal - you are that eager! You’re starving but have to wait for them to make it and you want them to do it right. After waiting for what feels like an eternity, the waitress brings the food. As she is handing out everyone’s meals, you notice yours isn’t there. “I’m sorry…I just realized I didn’t give yours to the cook. Let me go and do that!” Um, excuse me? Now you’re going to have to wait another twenty minutes. Not to mention, all of your friends are already eating and enjoying their meals! How is that fair? You don’t deserve this!
Waiting is Hard.
Sometimes, waiting for a spouse or the fulfillment of a deep desire can feel like an eternity. You have been “good” your whole life. All your friends are finding love, getting married, and having babies. You long for more - a companion, a partner, someone to love you and for you to love. Likely, if you’re reading this and feel like I’m speaking to you, then you’re filled with desire. But you are still waiting. So, how are you waiting? Why are you waiting? Waiting is hard, but waiting well is even harder. Let me challenge you - God wants you to wait well because the outcome is great. Even better, God’s standard for purity and sex are high because the reward is worth it.
Compromise is easy.
My husband and I have been serving in ministry with high school students for over six years now and from that experience, I’ve learned that regardless of your gender, background, or schooling - at one point in your life, you will face a struggle with purity. Whether it’s in high school and the world is throwing sex in your face from all directions or in your 30s, and you’re engaged and giving into desires on the way to the altar (you have one of the rings and you’re “spiritually married” - that’s enough, right?).
Purity is all-caps, italicized HARD and compromise is far too easy. You don’t have to get a piercing, a tattoo, and abandon all your morals for Satan’s lies to take root. He loves the easy compromises and wants you to live in the “It’s just this once, no one will know.” and the “I can clear my browser history and it will look like it never happened.” Compromise is easy and may even feel right in the moment, but is always followed by defeat and disappointment.
What’s in the waiting?
First things first, sex outside of marriage is sin (1 Corinthians 7:2, Hebrews 13:4). If you aren’t married and aren’t having sex - Satan wants to tell you that you are missing out. Sleeping around with people, looking at porn on the internet, sending inappropriate photos to a guy you like…why wouldn’t you do those things? But that’s the world’s standard. Ephesians 5:4 says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” This is God’s standard for purity.
The NIV puts it this way, “there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” Not even a hint! This means that what you wear, your texts to your girlfriend, that guilty-pleasure romance novel you secretly read, porn (Matthew 5:28)…all of these things, while they aren’t technically sex, are hints of sexual immorality. If you’re wondering about what qualifies as a “hint” in your life, I would encourage you to seek God and pray about it, get wise counsel from your community, and rely on the Holy Spirit for conviction. The Spirit is generous and kind and when you hear His voice, be quick to listen. The second part of the verse is the cure - “…but instead, let there be thanksgiving.” Choosing to be thankful is the alternative to these hints we often give into.
How do I wait well?
1 Corinthians 10:13 gives us great hope in our waiting - “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” When you dwell on the goodness of the Lord and remind yourself of this promise, you can endure because He will make a way. Not in our own strength but by grace alone.
When I am faced with temptation, I often hear this phrase in my mind - “You’re dead to that!” When you live a life that is covered by the blood of Christ and know you are a new creation, the old has passed and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17) living in freedom and victory from sin is waiting well. In Jesus Christ, we’re dead to our temptations!
Is it even worth the wait?
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:13-14)
Waiting well means knowing you aren’t missing out on God’s best for you in the moment. This isn’t some spiritual cliche or Christian guilt trip. God really isn’t holding you back from living your best life now! He isn’t saying that Christians aren’t on the list for the club. He isn’t keeping you from fulfillment or gratification. If you feel like you’re single and you feel like you’re missing something, the answer is not pleasure or sex or marriage.
God provides for all we’ve ever needed in the sacrifice of His Son for us. When Jesus came and walked among us, He lived a life just like ours. No, he didn’t Instagram His loaves of bread and fish (can we all agree that that would be the most liked picture on Instagram though?) But He was tempted and went through everything that we’re going through (and more!) He knows the struggle to wait and He waited well even to the point of death on a cross. Doesn’t this make your waiting seem more possible?
In waiting for what you think you want, God wants to give you what you need. He has so much He wants to show you and teach you, and that is far greater than any earthly desire we wait to fulfill!