“I could be just like you if I wanted to be,” I heard Joaquin say in response to a jeering group of teenage boys. “But you can never be like me again.” I was a teenager myself at the time but I knew, even back then, that I was way more sheltered than this guy was. My dad was a hard-core protector; Joaquin’s father, on the other hand, left him and his mom many years before. He cried as he told me and my dad that all throughout school (even as an elementary-age kid) he was pressured. I had endured some of the same pressure in school but not nearly as much he described. Sex was the focus of everything and every influence he had outside of church. The movies his friends wanted to go see, every song they listened to, even the girls they hung out with were primed for the act. His entire life, each moment of the day was a fight for focus; he wanted more for his life but often felt like giving up. As he put it, he had to “dig down and pray hard.”
Joaquin was an inspiration to me. If he could do it, so could I. And, if I can do it, there’s no question you can. I realized that there’s power in innocence. Yes, propaganda plasters our world with the message that we’re handicapped or simply a backward minority if we haven’t had this so-called basic life experience. However, if we think for just a minute, we realize that passion without selfless commitment and direction is primal, pointless, and just plain stupid. A hot body is just a hot body. Without the love of Jesus Christ living through us, our all-consuming passion is just selfish excitement over a new toy. That obsessive-possessiveness of another person and an addiction to sex (or even just thoughts of sex) will wrap us in a web so tight and oppressive that we may never get out of it. That is not sexual liberation; it’s bondage! You’ll begin to think about and want it continually… to what end? It’ll be the driving obsession behind a roller coaster ride of drama and mediocrity.
Remarkably, virgins are often made to feel like less. A billboard I saw in southern California last year said “Still a virgin? Call 1-800-951-0000” – as if virgins need the help of a counselor to get over some kind of “sexual handicap?” Please! Virginity is not a disability; it’s heavy-duty discipline. People who save sex for marriage are reaching for more than the average. This means that we look at ourselves in the mirror every day and remind our reflection (however perfect or imperfect we believe it to be) that our bodies don’t belong to us (Romans 12:1-2), that the world and its messages are screwed up (John 15:18), and that sex without commitment doesn’t last and isn’t what’s right or good (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). It means saying “NO” a lot and having a backbone of steel even when your heart and head turns to mush in the face of a beautiful seducer/seductress. It means begging God for the strength He’s promised in our oh-so-human weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Those of us who are still virgins in the United States of America, wage war in our heads and hearts every day. If we let our guard down for even a moment, we could lose everything we’re fighting to defend in our thoughts, words, and actions. .
I know and have cried with many who’ve made mistakes. They’ve been hurt and still carry horrific scars from giving it all away before they committed themselves to God and to their life-partner. Sex alone doesn’t represent commitment any more than having a brain means you’re going to use it. Yes, we have the parts but do we have right priorities? (They’d better be time-proven and Bible-based.) In a weak moment, we believe the lie that physical desire equals true love, only to wake up alone and naked in the shadow of another Satanic counterfeit. Unfortunately, just like a counterfeit dollar bill, the trick is on us and all hell is laughing. We are left with nothing in exchange for something priceless (our own innocence).
Despite this, even those who have given everything away can regain the purpose of purity if they’re willing to fight for something more than what they’ve had. God specializes in new beginnings and fixing broken things. Virgins (whether they’re reborn by choice or pure from day-1) are a not a group of sexually-impaired individuals; they’re fighters. Neither is innocence passive weakness or blind naiveté; it’s an aggressive stand or action to protect what’s sweet, clean, and beautiful, laying a foundation of faithfulness to a future spouse. You could choose to gratify fleeting physical desires and wallow in mediocrity or you could wait, however long it takes, to achieve God’s best and fulfill a destiny that’s greater than yourself. Which will you choose?
“The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will be here soon. So get rid of your dark deeds like you would dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual looseness and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to give in to your evil desires.” (Romans 13:12-14)
Dedicated to: the amazing man I’m going to marry someday