Trust me. I tried. Before I was married, I did my best to be a good girl. But with every relationship, I caved in to the temptation to have sex. I thought my convictions were strong, but the temptation was more than my flesh could handle.
But so was the disappointment. Disappointment not only in myself, but in the guy who said he wanted to wait too. That he understood my convictions because his were the same.
Then the justification came to drown out the shame.
Temptation is a duel with our flesh. And without a revelation, it often wins.
So how can you fight this giant? Here’s the story about how I finally killed mine and how I got a giant blessing in return.
First let me start by telling you how I learned the difference between having resolve and having a revelation.
A few years back my husband John told me he was ditching his plans to write a New Year’s resolution. I couldn’t believe my ears. My man of no-compromise was bowing out of the game. “What’s up with that?” I asked.
“Resolutions only last a month or so,” he sighed. “What I really need is a New Year’s revelation!”
What a powerful thought.
The reality is that 100 percent of people who make resolutions intend to keep them, but the facts are that 80 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions eventually break them. Most won’t even make it until the end of January. One of my friends resolved to lose thirty pounds. Instead, she gave up after she put on ten more.
The same is true when it comes to our resolve to maintain our purity. Our good intentions often fail. One of my friends decided not to date. She declared a man-ban. No dating for an entire year. She lasted two months. She was serious, but she needed more than her own strength.
Like so many do, my friends made New Year’s resolutions, but they ultimately gave up. Why do so many of us break our resolutions? We have the desire, we have the goal and we’ve even written it down, which is supposedly the magical requirement for obtaining our goals. What are we missing?
Listen to what the book of Proverbs says: Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18 NIV).
The NLT puts it this way: When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.
The NASB says this: Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.
Whether it’s the lack of revelation, divine guidance or vision, here’s the bottom line: In order to achieve a human goal, we need divine direction.
When temptation taunts our own ideas, temptation usually wins. When a vision is God’s idea, however, the revelation empowers us to maintain our focus.
When John and I started dating, we knew little about God’s plan for relationships. By the time he had proposed, we were buried in the standards of the world. I knew we weren’t supposed to be sleeping together, but my resolve wasn’t strong enough to overcome the temptation. After all, everyone else was having sex.
But then I had a revelation. One day the Lord spoke firmly to me. “Christy, I have a gift to give you and John, but the only way you can receive it is through abstinence.”
All of my life, I had heard the “no-sex-until-marriage” rule. But that’s all it was—a rule. A “should not”. A must not. But for the first time, God was adding revelation, divine guidance and vision to strengthen my resolve. And best of all, there was a prize for compliance. I had never heard that before. All of a sudden my human efforts had reinforcements! I had never felt so empowered to practice restraint.
Previously, my own willpower had always failed. But with the revelation of heaven, the last eight months of our courtship were spent building and strengthening our spiritual and emotional relationship, not our physical relationship. I wanted that prize!
On January 1, 1999, we said I do and God gave us the gift. Now 20 years later, that same revelation continues to empower our resolve. Even though we can have all the sex we want now, the strength we gained from exercising restraint during our courtship strengthened our resolve to follow God’s standards when other types of challenges came after we got married. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean we no longer need to abstain from temptation. It’s just that the temptations are different. After marriage, we need to abstain from the temptation to criticize, blame, argue and take offense.
So what about you? What do you need a revelation for? Let me encourage you to pray about it and, most importantly—ask the Lord for a revelation to strengthen your will power.
A resolution that sticks is one that adds divine vision to human strength. If you keep the vision of heaven, you will succeed!
Want to read more?
For more on this topic, chapters 18-21 in Love Junkies deals with the habit of resolve, the practice of adding divine revelation to our human strength. Here are some of the topics covered:
- Chemistry…Fact or Fiction?
- The Affection Connection…What you need to know about the love hormone, oxytocin
- Avoiding Seduction
- Is it Lust or Love?
- And as with all of the 7 steps for breaking the toxic relationship cycle in Love Junkies, you’ll get a list of action points to help you overcome.
Thank God for using you to write this book. You have helped me understand a lot of my foolish actions and God is teaching me the difference between love and lust. I was sexually abused by my step father for 7 years so I got into relationships and married 2 times once sex before marriage and the marriage didn’t work . I thought I was showing love and they would love me. Though counseling and prayers I have learned the difference. This book , I believe is sent for me by God
I’m so glad you’ve plowed through the pain with counseling and prayer! When we allow God to heal us past abuse, Satan looses his power! I’m glad your eyes are open to the deception. The enemy wants us to think that the emotional bond that sex creates will improve our relationship, but before marriage it compromises our ability to make wise choices.
i am in a relationship and we have a son together but since i started praying and taking god seriously he has made some of the problems in the relationship better but we are still having sex but we are not married and my partner i do not think he will be interested to abstain until we are married….we have been together for 6 years and our son is 3yrs old…..what should i do
Your situation, while common, is very difficult. You didn’t say whether or not you are living together. Of course, it would be an easier choice if you didn’t have to rearrange households. I can’t tell you what to do. That is a personal choice. We all have the free will to decide. All I can say is that the blessing and strength that comes from obedience is worth the wait. I’m convinced that my marriage is strong today because we allowed God to help us build a firm foundation. Our spiritual life would be non-existent or weak at best had we not re-dedicated our relationship to God and allowed Him to guide us. It built a firm foundation for our relationship so that when the storms came, and oh they did, we had a secure foundation spiritually to stand against difficulties. Please give this important decision a lot of prayer focus. With a strong conviction and insight from the Lord, it will be much easier to stand firm.
Me, I’m old fashioned. I’m waiting to God sends the right person along. But if a guy doesn’t understand why I want wait he’s not for me.
Amen to that. Trying to change a guy’s mind about waiting is a recipe for disaster!
Hi I read the book and have told all my friends female and male about your book. This book is a blessing. I almost broke up with a great guy that I’ve been seeing for a year it’s long distance. Though we get along great I did have a and issue with his co parenting with his ex. He wasn’t doing anything wrong it’s just that my ex husband’s before we married was doing the same with his daughter mom but they were sleeping together behind my back. I had trust issues really bad I also went through 2 other bad relationships before my current guy. Your book taught me to let go of the hurt and memories of my past and forgive them I forgave so I thought long time ago so I could move on with my life and I did. But I never really trust anyone I thought negative and received negative results. Those guys weren’t great guys anyway but I held on looking for a change and nothing happened. I’m happy with this new guy. I even expressed to him the pain I’ve held in all these years. He’s in love with me ad I am with him. He wants to marry me. But my thoughts process wasn’t ready for that. I’m getting better 1 day at a time time. He says he not letting me go he’s going to help me in the process. I even read some of the the book with him over the phone. Thanks so much for writing this book.
Selma, I’m so happy you’re healing and so thankful God is speaking to you through Love Junkies. My next book is about the process of forgiveness and breaks it down into 8 freedom essentials. I’m super excited about it! So…thinking out loud here…well, actually, typing out loud here..LOL. I wonder about trust issues. Sometimes our trust issues are warranted. When we ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit and give our trust away to a man who is not trustworthy, it takes time to get over the pain. But that doesn’t mean all men are like that. It’s up to us to use caution and discernment and ultimately to put our trust in God. All relationships will disappoint us at some point, because none of us are perfect. When men have hurt us in the past, was it because we overlooked character flaws and gave our trust away before it was earned? If that’s the case, learning how to discern character can help us trust more the next time. When we give trust away without testing the character of a man, it’s like running out on a frozen pond. Will the ice support us or will it crack?
This was such a blessing and confirmation for me! I too got a revelation from praying about being disciplined not just maintaining abstinence but just pursuing holiness in different ways in things I believe God is leading me to do. It’s hard but I realized changing from relying on myself and relying on God to strengthen me has helped a lot and my prayers are more honest and vulnerable. I relied too much on people’s opinions, my feelings and pop culture but less on Holy Spirit and I’m learning to rely on Him more it causes me to ask for healing too because I realized some decisions I made I would justify them with nonsense that wasn’t according to His revelations or written word. Thank you for sharing this!!! God bless you I believe I’ll meet my husband at some point although I’m single now and I believe the whole process of prayer, letting God lead & listening to Holy Spirit warnings will help me because I ignored it in the past I got hurt later to realize I should’ve listened. I also realized I was longing for affirmation from a man when that needs to be grounded in the Lord I’m still growing there’s still battles & struggles but I’m grateful for your post and that I can receive the wisdom
Jasmine, you’re on the right track! I’m so glad you listening to Holy Spirit and allowing Him to guide you. His choice is always better than ours! Can’t wait for Him to introduce you to your man from heaven!
A very hard concept to walk through.
I am a widow it’s been 7 years since my husband passed, we were married for 18 years. I loved my husband so much I can’t see myself with another man ever I don’t know anything about dating, but I do know this I will not go there with a man having sex. When my husband and I were dating we did have sex before marriage and we did not do like you and your husband and stop and practice abstence. I wish we would have. We did ask God for forgiveness I read to my husband about what Paul said about fleeing fornication and how every other sin we do outside our body but when we fornicate we sin against our own body. And now that I know this I am asking the Lord for relevation and strength. And to be a woman of God I know God will take care of the widows and orphans and he had certainly taken care of me. I love you for helping women we all need this wisdom regardless of what season we are in our life.
Robin, I’m so sorry about your husband’s passing. I can’t imagine the sorrow, but I find comfort in knowing that God provides grace for each of us to endure whatever path is before us. I’m glad you’re convicted about sex before marriage. The strength that our relationships develop during the wait speaks volumes about our commitment to one another and builds a strong foundation of trust.
I have been in a relationship for 2 1/2 years. We vowed to wait for marriage to have sex and agreed no masturbation by either of us. In the first year, we kissed passionately and cuddled. He would sleep over for movie night. We were good at sticking to our plan of no sex and got engaged after 1 1/2 years.
For the past year or more, he stopped kissing me passionately and stopped sleeping over. The intimacy disappeared and things have been strained for the past year. He is a recovering sex addict and is addicted to porn. He has tried to stop and tells me he watches porn and masturbates only occasionally. He says it happens when he is stressed and upset- he sexualizes his emotions. He claims his ‘recovery’ is the best it’s ever been. We are in couple therapy every two weeks for the past year. I asked for him to completely stop porn and masturbation now and then of course none after we get married. He says he cannot commit to that, because he has tried for many years and it’s clear to him he cannot stop. However, he believes he can stop once we are married. He thinks GOD will fix all problems once we get married.
Now I am thinking to end the engagement and the relationship. I appreciate your thoughts.
What you see is what you get. Rarely do issues improve after marriage. Typically what we experience in dating is magnified after marriage. It’s been said to keep your eyes wide open while dating and half shut after marriage. Only you can decide what you’re willing to tolerate and deal with. Recovery is always possible for addiction, but only if the addict is willing to repent and pour themselves into recovery.
Thank you for this article. It showed up in my feed just at the right time and was pointing directly at everything. J believe God used you.
Thank you Christy for this, i’m really encouraged.
I was in a relationship for 5 years. Somewhere in between our relationship trust was broken. I broke off the relationship. I wanted to break the cycle I been having with my past relationships, settling and holding on to “hope” that things will change. In my mind I would think being intimate would get us close, and that I would get his love and his acceptance. It’s been a year since we broke up and he has tried to get me back by offering to take things slow (we started off with sex at the beginning of our relationship), really get to know each other, and no sex. I agreed. But I caught myself with lots of anxiety, losing sleep, and in a bad mood. So I pushed him away. This happened several times. It was a big battle in my mind. Part of me missed him and the other huge part of me wanted to run away. I didn’t trust him. We had finally agreed to the right thing but many things were broken in our past that it feels I can’t get past that.
I am still struggling but I have taken steps forward since I came across your reading plan on the Holy Bible app and now your book Love Junkies. It’s amazing how God is using you to help so many women who have the same struggles you once did. He’s AMAZING! Thank you
Keep pressing past the part of missing him. If you don’t grow weary in well doing, eventually all that longing turns into contentment. There are some great action steps in the chapters on Resolve in Love Junkies. I hope they help!
Your devotional was sent to me by a woman I’ve loved more than anyone I’ve ever known. We started our relationship by breaking up my marriage of 30 years. Physically I have never been attracted to another woman like I was to her. The note she sent me today roughly 7 weeks after we split up the last time indicated to me if I had just done this everything would’ve worked out.
Although the time I’m sure doesn’t matter, but we are both in our 50s. She has been married and divorced three times, I have been married and divorced twice. As I stated in my reply to her today, there’s nothing I didn’t or wouldn’t do to make things work.
The one thing I did do, that is most difficult for someone of my age was to try and change to be a better man, and I’m confident that I did make that choice and I didn’t stick to it. I have been since the beginning very much involved with her family her only surviving daughter her mother and father and her brothers. No one can understand why we can’t get this right. I have prayed to God daily to make this work even though I know it will hurt the people on my side who love me and watch me go through this the last 5 1/2 years. I do appreciate what you wrote, because it did inspire her to reach out to me . What will be come of it, I have no idea. So I would ask for your prayers, because this woman truly makes me want to be a better man.
May God bless you