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Rebecca St. James
Did Ya Know...

The average high school relationship lasts only three weeks after the first sexual experience.

In the United States, more than 65 million people are currently living with an incurable STD.

Each year approximately 4 million American teenagers are infected with an STD.

Young women are biologically more susceptible to chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV than any other group of people.

Rates of gonorrhea are highest in females 15–19 years old.

HIV is the eighth leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds in the United States.

In the past decade, sexual experiences among high school students have decreased by 16 percent.

 
What Are God’s Rules About Sex?

Married sex: Sex is good when it’s between a husband and a wife. God designed sex for us to enjoy. “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:24).

Premarital sex: Sex is not good before you’re married. “We must not engage in sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 10:8).

Adultery: Sex is not good with someone other than your husband. “You must not commit adultery” (Mark 10:19).

Homosexuality: Sex is not good with someone who’s the same gender. “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

 
Get Personal

Do you find yourself in compromising situations with guys?

Do you have trouble believing that God has your best interests at heart with the sex rules he established, or do you feel he’s trying to keep you from having fun?

Do you believe sexual purity is a myth and impossible for you to obtain?

Do you look at guys in a sexual way?

Do you feel that since you’ve fallen in the past, there’s no point in trying to be pure again?

Do you dress immodestly so guys will pay attention to you?

Do you struggle with impure thoughts?

Do you expose your mind to images on the computer you shouldn’t be looking at?

Are you toying with the idea of getting involved sexually with someone?

 
PURITY

Rebecca St. James: Passionate about Purity

By Rebecca St. James

CBN.comJennifer grew up in a Christian home, but her parents divorced when she was young. She felt cheated and hurt as she watched other girls her age enjoy their relationship with their dad.

FROM AN EARLY AGE, Jennifer loved God. She attended church and completed Bible studies at home. She listened to Christian music, wore Christian T-shirts, and read Christian books. Jennifer even signed a True Love Waits pledge to stay sexually pure until marriage. And she refused to read and watch and say things that she felt displeased God.

THEN CAME MIDDLE SCHOOL. Her family moved, and Jennifer struggled to find her place among her peers. The price for fitting in with other girls was watching movies she thought she’d never watch, saying things she thought she’d never say, and going places she thought she’d never go.

AT LAST SHE FIT IN. Then she met a boy. He told her she was pretty and smart. Jennifer found the daily affirmation from him she’d missed from her dad. One day at age 14, she found herself in bed with her boyfriend. Then he was gone.

SHE MET SOMEONE ELSE, and she found herself in bed with him.

AND THEN ANOTHER.

AND ANOTHER.

JENNIFER NOW WRESTLES WITH HPV.

What’s HPV? you may be wondering. Let’s put it this way: It’s short for human papillomavirus—the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It hits more than 2.5 million people each year. It has no cure. It can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.

JENNIFER WISHES LIFE CAME WITH AN "UNDO" BUTTON. But it doesn’t. She recently told her mother, “I’ve gone too far. I don’t know how to get back.”

What’s the BIG Deal?

So you’ve heard this before . . . your health teacher gives you all the warnings about STDs, your parents get on your case about not going too far with guys, and you’re pretty sure you don’t want to sign up for teen motherhood. But has anyone ever given you a real reason—an at-the-core-of-your-being reason—to save your purity?

God created you, and he knows how you work. He created sex and the rules for sex. He knows what’s best for you, and he made those rules to protect you. It’s true that when you stay pure you avoid a lot of negative consequences—diseases, heartbreak, pregnancy. But did you know there are also positive consequences when you choose to stay pure?

• You reflect part of God’s character: his purity. “Be holy because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45).


• You learn to develop healthy relationships with guys. “Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters” (1 Peter 2:17).


• You will have a wedding gift for your future husband no money could ever buy. “A man . . . is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Matthew 19:5).


• You have a living testimony of how God is working in you. “Be an example to all believers . . . in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

Sex is a big deal to God because you are a big deal to God.

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Let’s say you saved up all your cash and bought that really expensive prom dress you’ve had your eye on for months. If you loaned it to your friend for the dance at her school, you’d expect her to take care of it, right? To remember it’s your dress, treat it extra-carefully, that kind of thing. Well, you’ve been bought for a way higher price—the price of Christ’s blood. So really our body belongs to God—it’s sort of on loan to us for a while. So God expects us to follow his plan for sex—not because he wants to stifle our fun, but because he created it for a special purpose.

If you are feeling hopeless because you’ve already given your purity away, God is a God of second chances. You may not be able to go back to exactly how things used to be, but God can give you a fresh start. "Look, I am making everything new!" Revelation 21:5

Whether you’ve kept this rule and want strategies for staying pure or you’ve broken it and want to build standards that will keep you from compromising again, SHE cannot be healthy without being pure.

Girl Talk!
Get together with a few of your friends. Find a plastic cup from the kitchen and take turns spitting in the cup. Anybody feel inspired to take a drink from the community spittoon? (We didn’t think so!)

Talk about it: When you have sex with someone, you have sex with every other person your partner has had sex with.

Has it been a long time since you played with Play-Doh? Spend a little dough and buy some dough—Play-Doh, that is. Divide the dough so that each of you has a specific color. Take your Play-Doh and hand it to the person next to you and mix your colors together. Have her do the same thing with the person beside her and so on until the last person holds the whole multicolored mess. Now try to separate the colors to their original purity.

Talk about it: Once you have sex with someone, you give something away that can never be gotten back. Sex is more than something you do, it is part of who you are. It’s an outward indicator of what’s going on inside of you.

Rebecca Says: I have a huge passion for the issue of sexual purity—so much so that I’ve spoken about it at almost all of my concerts for the past 10 years. It’s an issue that spans all marital, economic, and age barriers. I’ve written a song about it and a book called Wait for Me. My passion for this issue is fueled by seeing so many of my generation being ripped off by Satan. He has promoted his lies far too well, and far too few believers are talking about and living the truth that combats those lies. I’ve spoken to college students in Kyrgyzstan, to a downtown club audience in Paris, and to thousands of people elsewhere around the world about the fact that I’m a virgin and I’m waiting until marriage for sex. Yet I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve caught any flak for speaking up on this issue. I believe that deep down, most people respect those who stand for purity, and underneath it all, they know it’s the right way to go.

Purity Warriors
The good news: You can stay pure. God not only gives us rules, but he also provides the means to keep them. Purity is the only way to break sin’s cycle of devastation and death and to find wholeness and health.

Sex doesn’t just happen out of the blue, and neither does purity. Though temptation takes place all the time, sexual sin happens only as part of a descending process. A little of this, a little of that. You go here, you look there. You push the boundaries today, and you go a little further tomorrow. One small pleasure combined with one seemingly insignificant compromise, and before you know it, sin has taken over. You may be able to recognize the wrong moves you’ve made, but can you pinpoint the individual choices that led to them? If you can learn to see and resist the early compromises, you’re on your way to preventing the mistakes. Your goal, then, should be to become a good compromise spotter, to stay on your toes, and to defend your purity at all cost.

9 Steps You Can Take to Stay Pure
There’s a story in the Bible you won’t believe. It was written over 3,000 years ago, but it could just as easily happen today. Even though the main character is a man, the purity struggle is something that applies to us women too.

While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home. She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner. She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, “I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning.
Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip. He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month.” So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.
Proverbs 7:6-23

1. Be wise.
“. . . naive young men . . . who lacked common sense. . .”

Know what you will and will not do ahead of time. Recognize temptation before it gets too big for you to handle. Your first line of defense against impurity: your running shoes! “Run from sexual sin” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Rebecca Says: I maintain a “shoe-in-the-door” policy with guys I date. If circumstances are such that we happen to be in a room alone together, I literally put a shoe in the door to prop it open. This way we both know that someone could walk in at any minute. Though taking this stand has not been easy at times, it has helped me in my effort to live above reproach. Dating only Christian men and keeping accountability people in my life are other biblical boundaries that I adhere to without exception.

2. Don’t go where you shouldn’t go.
“. . . crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman . . .”

Are there parties you know you shouldn’t go to? Are there hangouts where you’ll fall back into your old (bad) habits? Don’t go there! Some girls don’t physically go where they shouldn’t go, but their minds and emotions do. They think and daydream themselves to places they don’t belong. Don’t go where you shouldn’t—emotionally and physically!

What about You?
Where have you gone physically or emotionally that made you feel dirty and compromised?

What was it about the temptation that first got your attention?

How will you avoid going there again?

3. Stay in the light.
“It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. . . .”

If it has to be done in the dark when no one is watching, it’s wrong!

Quick Questions
If you’re about to do something with your boyfriend and it feels wrong, it probably is. Before you do anything, ask yourself:

Would I do this at Starbucks?

Would I do this if my youth pastor or my little sister was sitting in the room?

Does this act bring me closer to God or push me further away?

4. Be able to spot sin’s many disguises.
“. . . seductively dressed and sly of heart . . .”

Arm yourself with what is right so you will know wrong when it comes. Know the truth so you’ll call the lies for what they are. Temptation is kinda like those plastic desserts they have on display at some restaurants—do you know which ones we’re talking about? They look enticing on the outside, but one bite and you realize looks aren’t everything. Satan likes to wrap sin and lies into pretty packages—but the consequences are more deadly than a mouthful of plastic.

5. Don’t hang out with the wrong people.
“. . . the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home . . . often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner . . .”

Choose Christian friends who challenge you to step your faith up a notch, not friends who drag you down.

“If you play in the mud with white gloves on, the gloves always get muddy, the mud never gets ‘glovey.’”
Chuck Swindoll

Name three people you have hung out with when you shouldn’t have. What effect did it have on you?

6. Draw your lines carefully (and stick to ’em).
“. . . threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, . . . ‘You’re the one I was looking for!’”

Draw the solid line of what you will and won’t do. Talk to your now-boyfriend or your someday-boyfriend about the boundaries you have set. Then walk that line carefully. Put yourself only in situations where you can uphold the standards you’ve set for yourself.

7. Don’t let yourself get worn down.
“My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.”

You’re most vulnerable when you’re tired, lonely, depressed, angry, or struggling in a relationship. Satan even tried this tactic on Jesus. “When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came” (Luke 4:13). Satisfy yourself with Christ, then sin will seem less attractive (see John 6:35).

When you get into a situation and you are no longer sure of what’s right, follow this battle plan:
1. Retreat! Get out of the dangerous situation.
2. Go to the top. Ask God for help.
3. Find an ally. Ask a friend or mentor to keep you accountable.
4. Regroup. Come up with a plan to avoid a close call like this in the future.

8. Don’t believe everyone’s doing it.
“Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses.”

Sex outside God’s plan has consequences: unplanned pregnancy, STDs, destroyed reputations, emotional pain. Don’t be duped into believing that no one will know.

You may be sure that your sin will find you out.
Numbers 32:23

Those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.
Proverbs 10:9

But even if no one did find out, the most important audience would know: your Father who sees all. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. Psalm 11:4

When it comes to sex, statistics say that everybody is not doing it. In fact, purity is on the rise. The percentage of high school students who said they’d had sexual intercourse dropped from 54 percent in 1991 to 47 percent in 2003.

But even if everyone else were doing it, the Bible tells us that when we follow a blind man, he’ll lead us into a ditch (Matthew 15:14). If we follow a blind culture, it will lead us to destruction.

Girl Talk!
Think of at least three people who stand for the same things you do when it comes to purity. Get together with them and make an agreement to hold each other accountable for making your rules on sex and keeping these rules.

What accountability questions will you ask each other when you’re not dating anyone?

What accountability questions will you ask each other when you’re considering dating a guy?

What accountability questions will you ask when you’re going out with someone?

9. Know a Trap When You See One
“She seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.”

She's Been There
Ask a trusted, godly woman (such as your mom, your grandma, a family friend, or your youth pastor) about some regrets she's had in her relationships with guys. What have these regrets meant in her life?

Together, think about some girls you know who've gone too far and the consequences that have resulted.

Talk about people you know who've made purity their goal and the blessings that have resulted in their life.

SHEism: The truly pure SHE keeps her heart clean before God and enjoys the health of a pure mind and body.


Excerpted from: SHE Teen by Rebecca St. James and Lynda Hunter Bjorklund. Copyright © 2005. Published by Tyndale. Used by permission.

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