By Sarah Garrett, Crosswalk.com
It only takes a few minutes engaging with modern culture to see its obsession with sex and sexuality. Billboards show lingerie-clad women, pop songs sing about sex, social media and television are full of it. Sex is also used to sell virtually everything from food, to cars, to clothing.
The proliferation of pornography, the glorification of the “hook-up culture,” and the lack of any sort of abstinence education suggests that sex is something to have any time with any other consenting person.
In fact, the thought of waiting to have sex until one is married proves an overall foreign concept in American culture. According to one statistic, only 3% of the U.S. population chooses to save sexual intimacy for marriage.
With all of this in mind, it may seem like an impossible task to convince youth that sex is a gift worth waiting for—a gift that God designed for marriage. However, this article aims to provide practical steps to help teens realize the safety and beauty that awaits if students choose to follow God’s design.
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The Biblical Model for Sex
The foundation of this discussion needs to center on what the Bible says about sexual intimacy. The Bible has much to say on this topic, and the verses mentioned below are more well-known and can keep the discussion from becoming overwhelming for a teen audience.
The earliest mention about this topic is in Genesis 1:27-28. It states, “So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”
This verse shows that God blesses the male/female union and instructs the two to multiply.
In the next chapter, Genesis 2:24, the Bible also explains, “Therefore a man shall leave his mother and father and be joined with his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” This specifically shows that “becoming one flesh,” or sex, is only to be within the unity of marriage.
These verses teach that from the very beginning, God designed sex to be within the confines of marriage.
Biblical Warnings for Not Following God’s Design for Sex
With the basics of sex covered in Genesis, next, move to the warnings the Bible has for those who do not follow God’s design.
A common set of verses in the New Testament that deal with the topic of sexual immorality is 1 Corinthians 6:18-19. It asserts, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
This explicitly declares that sexual sin hurts our bodies differently than other types of sin. It tells people to flee from it. That does not mean walk away in haste away from it, it means “run for your life” away from it.
Another familiar verse on the topic is Hebrews 13:4. The author here says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
This shows that marriage is in an honorable place in the eyes of God and should be in society as well. It also gives another warning about sex being outside of God’s plan for marriage.
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Teach Youth about the Real-Life Risk of STIs
In a perfect world, simply using “the Bible says so” approach would suffice. However, for many, that simply is not convincing enough. Thankfully, the culture provides a plethora of examples that show the consequences of what happens when people have sex outside of God’s design.
One of the more prominent negatives is sexually transmitted infections (STI).
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States has significant information on the top four STIs including: Primary and Secondary Syphilis, Congenital Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. In 2018, the statistics are as follows
- 35,063 cases of Primary and Secondary Syphilis (71% increase since 2014)
- 1,306 cases of Congenial Syphilis (185% increase since 2014)
- 583,405 cases of Gonorrhea (63% increase since 2014)
- 1.8 million cases of Chlamydia (19% increase since 2014)
Some STIs can cause HIV/AIDS, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, or damage to unborn children. Some are also completely incurable.
Unless an STI is passed from mother to child, or through a blood transfusion (like HIV), then following God’s design for sex will keep youth from ever having to deal with an STI or its fallout.
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Teach Youth There Are Serious Consequences of Sex Outside of Marriage
Another major fallout of subverting God’s design for sex is emotional strife. Maybe a girl has sex with her boyfriend because he says he loves her. A few months later, he breaks up with her and she is left to deal with the emotional baggage.
On the other hand, maybe there is a guy that follows the world’s plan and has multiple partners and fills in any gaps with porn. He is stunting his ability to have a functioning intimate relationship.
Pornography is also a type of sexual immorality. It subverts God’s design because people have sex with themselves stimulated through a screen. The negative effects of porn are far-reaching:
- it has a propensity for addiction
- the majority shows violence against women
- it fuels the sex trafficking industry
Furthermore, it also teaches unhealthy relationships and shows people as objects to be used for another person’s satisfaction.
Abortion is another horrific consequence to sex outside of God’s design. American society teaches that if recreational sex causes a baby, just exercise the “right to choose” a.k.a. murder your unborn child. In many cases, women who do “choose” admit to lifelong regret and depression.
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A Practical 4- Step Way to Teach Sexual Purity to Youth
Some students will grasp these concepts if you simply give a lecture about it; however, if the students are engaged in the learning process, here’s an idea that will help the information “stick” better.
Step 1: Have the students write down what they already know about what the Bible says and its warnings about sex. Then, fill in any gaps and mention, or have students find a read aloud, the verses mentioned above.
Step 2: Put them in small groups and have them write down a list of everything they have been taught about the fallout of sexual immorality. Most of them will likely come up with STIs and unwanted pregnancies but give them time to think and discuss to come up with as much as they can.
Step 3: Then, have the groups share what they come up with and write it on a white board or type it up on a PowerPoint on a projected screen if available. Writing it all in one place helps the students see how wide-ranging the consequences are. Then, go over the facts of the consequences mentioned above.
Step 4: Discuss how following God’s design is meant to protect the students themselves and give future children the best opportunity to thrive. Remind them it’s not a burden to follow God’s commands (1 John 5:3), it actually allows the students to walk in freedom without the baggage of sexual sin and bondage.
If you’re reading this, you’re already becoming part of the solution by taking an interest in investing in the youth in your life. Teaching the next generation about God’s beautiful design for sex is a must in our sex modern American culture.
Showing students the consequences of sinful sexual choices and making them see that God’s design is actually for their protection will hopefully shift the way they approach the topic. The truth can more effectively protect them when we help them understand on a deeper than simply saying “because the Bible says so.”
Sarah Garrett is a passionate educator and the founder of Transformed4More.com. She has a calling on her life to share God’s truth to teenagers and young adults to help them live transformed lives for Jesus Christ. She is the author of So, You Think You’re Ready to Date? a 40-day devotional for teenage girls to learn how to set a Biblical foundation for romantic relationships.
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