We currently live in a culture that is promoting celibacy without intimacy....with God. I mean there are 101 reasons to practice abstinence but our focus is swiftly shifting away from honouring Christ to our own agendas. Maybe part of the reason is because we are using the term celibacy which is based upon a biblical principle, but is practiced even by non-Christians. Either way, for those of us following the will and Way of God, here are a few things to remember;
Celibacy doesn't mean purity
Abstaining from sex before marriage is the starting point of your sexual purity, but it is not the entirety of it. You can not engage in sexual acts physically but be struggling with fantasy, porn and masturbation. Remember Jesus said that to even look at someone lustfully is adultery. We as Christ followers must push for purity in *every area* our lives and not just celibacy, as the latter can become a form of godliness but lacking power (2 Tim 3:5).
Our abstinence should be motivated by a love for God
Keeping ourselves sexually pure should be because we want our relationship with God to flourish. We want to grow and mature spiritually and enjoy His friendship. It's less about "the future spouse we're waiting for and more about our present bridegroom". Simply put we want to honour God first. It's also a command in scripture to flee sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18), and as great as it is to talk to God about why that is, we shouldn't make His word optional. Abstinence is not a suggestion from God, it's an instruction. Our motive needs to be Him. To please and not grieve His heart, and experience the freedom from sin Christ died for us to have.
Waiting is part of your testimony, but it shouldn't be an achievement that puffs up
I've heard awesome testimonies of addicts sharing how many years they've been sober. And being 'celibate' for X amount of years can be part of your testimony too. No one can take that away from you. However, since this is an act that seeks to abstain from works of the flesh ( Gal 5:19-21), if it becomes a trophy to us we end up feeding our ego which still gratifies the flesh! It is the glory of God, and by His Spirit that we are able to walk in obedience with pure motives, and not of ourselves.
I pray these points have been a reminder and encouragement for you on your journey. Yes wait for marriage. Keep yourself for your future spouse and be excited for that, but let your heart, mind, thoughts be fixed on Christ. On this moment and season. On the eternal lover of your soul. On your exceeding great reward. Let Him be your why.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God - Matthew 5:8
Be blessed Xx