Doesn’t my body know that I started to follow Jesus my freshman year of college? Yet, why does it constantly not follow Jesus? My mind. My heart. My body. All connected, and yet all do their own thing. Christian dating is hard. Setting physical boundaries is hard. You can only read so many devotionals, Christian blogs and Bible verses on purity before you begin to wonder, what am I doing wrong? Why is none of this controlling my body?
What do you do if you’ve set physical boundaries and you’re pursuing purity in dating, yet your body is doing its own thing?
Allow me to share my story, one of the many stories where my body acts differently from my heart and mind. Through my story and through Scripture, let’s learn together what to do when our bodies don’t know we are Christians.
When My Body Doesn’t Know I’m a Christian
I can train my heart and my mind. I can pursue pure thoughts and try to glorify God in purity. But my body… it doesn’t listen. It does its own thing.
We were just sitting on the grass holding hands and talking by the lake, the purest action of any newly dating couple. We had set our physical boundaries and in this moment we were following them. As a Christian dating couple, we longed to bring God glory in everything we did, including the way we loved each other physically. (Click to read the Benefits of Boundaries in Dating).
Yet in this moment, my body didn’t care. Our bodies were connected only by our hands, but my body had already begun preparing for sex. Without breaking any boundaries, my body had made its own decision. My body wanted sex.
In that moment, I felt betrayed by my body.
I blamed myself for my body’s reaction and even began to feel shameful. Should my boyfriend and I never touch? Never hug? Never hold hands? Should we remove all simple acts that show affection in a pure and innocent way?
I came to a realization: maybe my body doesn’t know that I’m a Christian. (Click to Tweet this!)
If you are acting in a God honoring way and pursuing purity in your dating relationship yet your body is still desiring sex outside of marriage, I want you to know that this is normal. You are not weird or messed up. You are God’s daughter, who was created as a sexual being.
God designed sex for a perfect place – in marriage. So what do we do now, in singleness and in dating, when our bodies are working just as God created them? Thankfully, the Bible had a lot to say on this topic. Let’s read what Paul says about the turmoil in our bodies.
Read Romans 7:15-24:
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am!”
What does this teach us? Paul did not understand why he did what he did. He didn’t understand why he hated his sin, yet sinned. As humans, sin will live in us until heaven.
What is sin? Transgression against the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7). Sin has been around since the fall of creation in Genesis 3 and still plagues us as believers today. We are sinners not because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners.
As Christian single women, we have to remember two things: we are sinful and we are sexual beings. Let me explain.
1. We are sinful beings. Our bodies are naturally inclined towards sin. So even if we aren’t breaking physical boundaries, our bodies are more inclined towards sin than holiness. When Adam sinned, his inner nature was transformed by his sin of rebellion, bringing to him spiritual death and depravity which would be passed on to all who came after him.
2. We are sexual beings. In the act of creating “man in His own image” as male and female, God created human sexuality. It’s His design. It’s His idea, His gift to us. And the very first command given from God to man is to “be fruitful and multiply.” God is commanding us to have sex in marriage. He could have chosen another way to populate the earth, but He chose to make the sexual union part of His design, and He blessed that relationship. God created our bodies to prepare for sex, and that is a beautiful gift, but it is not meant for us to use now, in dating.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28.
So while we are still on earth, what do we do about our sinful bodies? Let’s go back to Paul’s words.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”
If your body is acting out on its own, take heart that you are not sinning. Jesus was tempted in every way and yet he never sinned. When you are tempted, don’t give in. The worst thing to do is stop fighting for purity and give into the desires of the flesh. We are weak. Our bodies betray us, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us to fight for us.
Friends, have hope. There is a solution to our struggle. Jesus.
Look at how Paul ended the passage, “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7:24b-25.
Jesus took on our sins and died for us on the cross. Giving our sin to Jesus, God treated His Son as if He were a sinner, though He was not, and had Him die for the entire world (1 John 2:2). In exchange, God gave us the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). What an exchange! As a believer, we trade in our sinfulness for Jesus’ righteousness. (Learn how to have a personal relationship with God.)
When your body doesn’t know you’re a Christian, take heart. Have hope. One day Jesus will rescue us from our bodies and give us NEW heavenly bodies.
For now, here are a few practical steps to take:
- Ask the Holy Spirit to take over in those moments. (Read about the power of the Holy Spirit in sexual addiction.)
- Flee from temptation. (Read 5 action steps to flee from impurity.)
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18.
- Memorize scripture. (Read an easy way to memorize scripture.)
- Be honest with yourself and your boyfriend. Are there specific situations you should avoid? Scenarios that allow more chances for your body to betray you? When he knows you are struggling, he will help you. If he’s a godly man, he will fight with you and partner beside you. Together, you can pursue purity.
- Check out this post on my friend Phylicia’s blog: Divine Design, Sexual Desire, and Purity While Waiting.
“But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13