Last updated on October 27, 2020
I really need someone’s advice. I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for over two years now. At first, we were both very committed to God and we both said no sex before marriage, but then one day we gave in to temptation. We’ve tried stopping, but I always give in! I feel so helpless and I feel so guilty every single time. It makes me feel terrible. I’ve prayed and God has heard me and I can feel His forgiveness when I cry to Him and I tell Him I want things to be different and that I’m so so so sorry and then I go and mess everything up again. I’ve stayed strong some days and fought it, but it’s so difficult. I’m in the choir at church and in the youth group leadership team. I can’t be fornicating and staying involved in church leadership, but I don’t want anyone to find out. I’m so terrified. I don’t know what to do. I can’t live like this anymore. I don’t want God to punish me. I’m so scared. I don’t know how to pray to Him anymore because I know I’m so unworthy and such a disappointment. I don’t want to lose my salvation over just a momentary pleasure. I have no idea how to stop this. I can’t take it anymore.
I find this interesting because you are presenting this as if you have no control over the situation. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13). Sex isn’t something that casually or accidentally happens. It has to be chosen and actively done.
I can’t help but also note that while you claim you are both “very committed to God,” you also say that you always give in. That tells me that your boyfriend is the one pushing for sex, which means he is not committed to God. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 6:9-10). In other words, you are pretending that the situation is slightly better than it really is.
I’m not a fan of denominations. Choirs and youth leadership teams are not found in the New Testament and are not a part of Christianity. Nor can I say that I’m interested in keeping a sinner’s sins hidden just so she can look good in front of others. What I’m interested in is seeing that you are saved from your sins.
Like many people, you are focused on stopping the final act. You have decided that so long as intercourse doesn’t take place, then you are doing right. You forget that there is a series of sins that comes before you two get naked.
Sex starts hours or days before when you two talk about sexual things. Dirty talk stirs up passion in both of you and the problem is that when you are sexually turned on, you don’t think very clearly. “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:3-7). So the battle first starts with your words. No more talking about sex. No more sending sexy pictures of each other.
Stirring up lust for each other interferes with proper behavior when you are with each other. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23). Thinking about and justifying sins in your head will eventually come out in your behavior.
From words, you move to sexual touching, which is also forbidden to unmarried couples. “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1). You and he have to keep your hands off the sexual areas of each others bodies because the igniting of passion causes the two of you not to think clearly.
The problem is that one thing leads to another. The touching becomes more intense and the clothes start to come off. You move to the next stage of sexual behavior which is foreplay. For unmarried couples, this is referred to as lewdness, which is also a sin.
Things then progress to intercourse. You can’t claim it was unintentional because you have been doing the things that lead up to sex. It is like walking along the very edge of a cliff and claiming you have no intention of falling off. “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 6:27-29).
Solomon points out the problem when he asked, “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27). You can show a hot coal all the affection you want. You can cuddle it and dote on it and it will still burn you. Your kindness to it doesn’t change its nature. How often do you hear someone say, “But I love him!” Solomon’s point is that your feelings toward your boyfriend won’t change the fact that both of you have built-in desires and capabilities for sex. Trigger them and they follow the instincts built into you.
Solomon also asked, “Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” (Proverbs 6:28). Using the same example of hot coal, if you walk on it, it will burn you. You can apologize and say you didn’t mean to step on it, but you’ll still be hurt because your intentions don’t change what it is. Thus, the excuse, “But I didn’t mean for it to go this far!” becomes an empty one because your intentions don’t change your body’s drive.
That is why Solomon concludes, “So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 6:29). Though he is talking directly about adultery, the same point is true about fornication. When you start intentionally stirring up sexual feelings, you are never innocent when things go further than you wanted.
That is why we are told not to make room for lust and lewdness. “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:13-14). Lust is those thoughts and desires you keep battling about taking things even further. Lewdness is engaging in sexual foreplay that gets the body ready for intercourse. The Christian must recognize the danger and not start a sequence of events that can’t be legitimately completed because you are not yet married.
The biggest problem that I see is that while you have some desire to do what is right, your boyfriend is focused on having sex. Even when you say no more, he keeps pushing until you give in. Without the dedication of both of you to live righteously, he will be always pulling you into bed. You’ll have to make up your mind which is more important to you: God or your boyfriend. If you are going to serve God, you can’t have a boyfriend who serves the devil.