“Drink from your own rain barrel, draw water from your own spring-fed well.”
~Proverbs 5:15 (Msg).
Sex, and its portents, within the realm of couples is complicated enough—then we simply extend the difficulty to the context of Christian singles. Where do they fit in the territory of sexual relations? We could almost be forgiven for thinking they’re not sexual beings; though it would make us highly ignorant of an important fact.
Sexual Beings – All of Us
The fact is singles are sexual beings—no less than the married person. We are all sexual beings. And if not via our propensity for wanting to engage sexually (men?) it is generally more about the companionship and intimacy any well-adjusted human being clamours for; this generally always leads eventually to sex—sex is the ultimate objective.
The passage in Proverbs 5:15-18 introduces many images for us related to water and the need to contain it as an allusion for protecting our sexuality and the health of our relationships; maritally we must strive to not give into the simplest of temptations; for singles, we must strive to retain our waters, which are held on consignment, for the lover of our future—fully believing that God might have plans of love manifest for our future.
It is necessary that we believe.
The Inordinately Strong Tension – Requiring Patience, Courage and Wisdom
This brings out some marvellous, though occasionally hopeless, tensions for the single person hoping to obey God and invest for their future life partner—a designation which is the very essence of faith; to hope positively for—believing in—something we cannot yet see.
The temptations for the single person so far as sex is concerned are alarmingly familiar.
For the male, sexuality is likely to be a very key facet of his identity. He will need to work through a process to get to a place of comfortable understanding with God—this is hard but necessary work. For the female, she more often than not desires a man for less sexual reasons, but sexuality is always part of the equation in dating and courting circles. No matter how pious we are, the temptations—whether directly or indirectly motivated—can be rich and lucid.
It is all too easy to say singles should remain pure. Many do but also many do not. The ones who do not are not condemned by God. God has constructed the words of passages like Proverbs 5 in broaching wisdom; the better way of living.
None of us, we know, chooses to live wisely all the time; we know we should but at times we don’t. It’s just the way life is.
For a single person hoping to save their virginity (plus, plus i.e. not only sexual intercourse) for their future life partner, there will need to be boundaries designed and constructed to protect such a venture. Boundaries and prayer are necessary—prayer for an understanding, respecting and otherwise likeminded mate.
Having said this, the concept of ‘second virginity’ for singles who have trodden the path of sexual experience—and, again, many of us do/have—is a vibrant and spiritually-true concept. There is no condemnation, now, for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
The passage of Proverbs 5:15f is primarily set in teaching a young man how to conduct himself as a sexual being, in the context of future marriage and other sexual liaisons—beforehand or during. And this is easily applicable for the young women, older, mature people etc. i.e. it’s applicable to all of us.
For the single person the simplest analogy is in containing or saving their sexual waters for their partner of the future, holding same ‘in trust’ (like an investment at a bank) with God.
This, as mentioned, is as translucent a test of biblical faith as anyone would be able to find. For this, the single person could positively focus on the fact that God cares so much for their Christian growth he’s placed a faith-held hope in their heart—one for which requires much patience, courage and wisdom; though it is achievable.
Being single, in this context, is never easy. But the rewards (eventually) will be worth it.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.