What really intrigued me in this article is how the issue of abstinence is linked to discipleship (which I agree with), and how Chmielesk further suggests approaching the issue as one of celibacy rather than abstinence. Here’s a quote about the problem:
The call to young Christians to be abstinent until marriage is not working.Why do I say that?The September/October 2011 issue of Relevant Magazine, in an article entitled Almost Everyones Doing It, starts with the following revelation:Eighty percent of young, unmarried Christians have had sex. Two-thirds have been sexually active in the past year. Even though, according to a recent Gallup poll, 76% of Evangelicals believe sex outside of marriage is morally wrong. 80% of young, unmarried Christians have had sex… Wow! 66% of them have been sexually active in the past year. And yet three-quarters of Evangelical Christians believe this is wrong.More evidence…
Here is his basic argument:
This is why I like the idea of celibacy over abstinence. Celibacy includes the premise of abstinence — in that you need to hold off on sexual activity until marriage (should that happen for them… someday) — but it adds to it the bigger, more inclusive notion that for now (and for always) we can delight ourselves in God. We abstain from sexual activity and redirect those energies towards our pursuit of Jesus.
One of the challenges in current Christian culture is how to combat the lack of discipleship especially as it pertains to the practice of spiritual disciplines. It does not seem that we, as Christians, know why we practice spiritual disciplines. Along with not understanding spiritual disciplines, we also do not understand why we would ever deny ourselves (even though Jesus told us to).
The article points out a phrase that should be recaptured and reintroduced into a culture that has neglected it. Focusing on the “delighting ourselves in God” could be a way to change the direction in which we, as Christians, are heading. Why practice spiritual disciples? So we can delight ourselves in God. Why should we deny ourselves? So we can delight ourselves in God. Why remain celibate outside of marriage? Again, so we can delight ourselves in God.
One of the wonderful aspects of life in Jesus is that we don’t say “no” simply to say “no.” We say no so we can say yes to something greater! Rediscovering what it means to delight ourselves in God could transform how we approach our lives; what we say yes to and what we say no to.