Building Relationships in the “Sex 180”February 13, 2009
What do you think about premarital sex? Chip Ingram and Tim Walker talk about what it means for a Christian to “do a 180” when handling sex and relationships in the 21st century.
What do you think about premarital sex? Chip Ingram and Tim Walker talk about what it means for a Christian to “do a 180” when handling sex and relationships in the 21st century.
Building Relationships in the “Sex 180”
Teenager: Do you ever watch MTV and that show "Undressed?" They don't go on dates to get to know each other, they go on, like, dates to have sex with each other.
Teenager: Two girls on my cheerleading squad were bisexual.
Teenager: Forget about marriage. You don't need marriage. All that is is a barrier to hinder, it ties you down, you can't have fun, you've got to go to work, support your wife, and you come back to the same girl every night and have sex with the same girl. How fun is that?
Teenager: You can go to church, and you'll see so many people say, "Don't have sex," and stuff, but then you go out, and it's like the real world, and they think it's cool to do it.
Teenager: It's kind of surprising. I go to a Baptist college, but there is a fairly large homosexual population there.
Teenager: Everything we like doing has some kind of thing to do with sex. We like to listen to music, they talk about sex; we like to watch a movie, they talk about sex. Everything that we like doing has something to do with sex. So that's why, you know, it's in our minds all the time.
Teenager: Once you see it, eventually it enters your life, it becomes part of you.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition, and we're going to spend time looking at the whole issue of teenagers and sexuality on today's program, but before we do that, this is the 40th day of our 40-day Love Dare. We have been following the book, "The Love Dare," that was a part of the movie, "Fireproof" when it was released back in the fall, and we thought between the first of the year and Valentine's Day, we ought to have our own 40-day Love Dare, and we're there.
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I might just mention that tonight we kick off our FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences in cities all across the country. We've got conferences taking place this weekend in Washington, D.C., in Dallas/Fort Worth at the Gaylord Texan Resort; out at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and in other cities across the country and, in fact, throughout the spring, we'll have conferences taking place each weekend where couples can go and have a fun, romantic getaway weekend as a couple, and that may be one way you want to celebrate your participation in the Love Dare over the last 40 days.
On Day 40, the authors write "Congratulations, you've reached the end of "The Love Dare," the book, but this is not the end of the experience or the challenge of loving your mate. That never comes to an end. It goes on for the rest of your life. Love is a covenant. In Ruth, chapter 1, the Bible says, "Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people; and your God my God."
So here is your final assignment on the 40-day Love Dare. Are you ready? Write out a renewal of your vows and place them in your home. If it's appropriate, you might want to make arrangements to formally renew your vows before a pastor with family present; make it a living testament of the value of your marriage in God's eyes and the high honor of being one with your mate.
And I'll tell you, if you do wind up going to a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference, you'll have the opportunity to renew your vows, which is something we think you ought to do more than just once or twice in your marriage.
So – if you need more information about the book, "The Love Dare," or about the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences and when they're coming to a city near you, go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com.
Now, we've been talking this week about the whole issue of teenagers and sexuality and the fact that 40 years ago there was a significant revolution that took place in our culture, a sexual revolution that those of us who are older, many of us lived through that time, and we believe it's time for a new sexual revolution, one that points us in a more biblical direction, and we've got a couple of guys who have been joining us this week to point us in that direction.
Dennis: The authors of "Sex 180" join us on FamilyLife Today – Tim Walker and Chip Ingram. Welcome back, gentlemen.
Tim: Thank you.
Chip: Good to be here.
Dennis: Chip is the President and CEO of Walk Through the Bible Ministries, Tim is senior editor of Youth Walk, which is a monthly magazine by Walk Through the Bible for youth. If folks are interested in getting a copy of that devotional for their teenager, how can they do it, Tim?
Tim: Probably the best way to get more information about Youth Walk is to go to our website, and then they can subscribe there, or they can check out some of the devotionals or the articles or whatever.
Bob: We've got a link on our website at FamilyLife.com to your website, so if folks want to come to our website, they can navigate easily to where you are.
Dennis: And the subject we're talking about all this week is the subject of human sexuality. It has to do with, well, who we are in terms of our gender, our sexual desires, how we relate to one another. Chip, you write in the book that when you were a college student, you felt the tug of sexual temptation, but it was – well, seemingly, a harmless interaction with a young married couple that gave you a picture that changed the course of your life.
Chip: Well, I was in the – the revolution began in the 60s, but, I mean, it was full-blown in the early 70s, so I'm – you know, things that were unheard of, co-ed dorms, everybody sleeping with one another, I mean, there was no restraint. So I'm in this college, and there are four girls to every guy, and I'm a brand-new Christian, and I don't know much about the Bible, but I've read through the New Testament a couple of times, and I picked up the part that sex is for marriage, and I'm going, "Lord, you know, could we go, like eight out of 10 on these commandments?"
You know? If I kept, like, eight would that be – and I thought – and so I really had made a commitment that I wanted to be sexually pure, and although my external behavior, though far, far from flawless, you know, I wasn't involved in sleeping around a lot, but struggle, struggle, struggle, and I really had this view that God was anti-sex, anti-joy, and trying to keep something good from me.
And I went to this little farmhouse of this young couple, and they seemed really old then, so I think they must have been in their very early 30s, and they had these two small kids, one about 5, one about 3, and I sat down in this – I mean, it was like Norman Rockwell. Drive out on these country roads, the barn, the white furniture, you know, the whole deal, and there was a gleam in their eye toward one another, and there was a richness that you could tell – I mean, they're not only happily married, I mean, there was some real exciting action, not just from the sexual side but emotionally, and it was, like, I drove home in my little Volkswagen bug back to campus, and I realized in my heart of hearts, what I'm really looking for isn't to have sex with some girl one time somewhere to "make me feel like a man" or solve my lust for eight minutes. What I really want is what I saw in that living room.
And as I was driving down – I can still tell you, I could go back to that campus, it was a steep hill down to my dorm, just about halfway down, I was just learning to memorize verses, and Romans 8:32 came to my mind – spirit of God – "He that spared not His own Son, how will He not with Him freely give us all things." And, for the first time in my life, literally, the lights came on, and I got this word picture, you know, I guess before they were calling them word pictures, of being on this highway and there are guardrails on the highway, but it's a real windy road, that if you went over the guardrail, you know, 1,000 foot drop to your death.
And, for the first time ever, I realized God's commands, all of them, but especially the ones about sexuality. They were guardrails to keep me on this highway, and then I pictured in my mind, you know, how they have in those cartoons where you go all the way up to the top – there was this beautiful chalet, and there was a beautiful person there, and there was a garden there, and the sun came through, and, I mean, "That's what I want for you, and it's awesome, guilt-free, no diseases, of the heart, spiritual, soul, body – Chip, those guardrails are so you get to the top of the mountain and get the right person at the right time in the right way," and something clicked inside where, all of a sudden, I realized, "God is for me, He's not against me, and get off of this battle that sex, sex, sex, and why can't I, why can't it I?" And I decided, I think I'm going to start, by Your grace, starting to look at different parts of girls when I see them as an individual instead of a body part or an object, and I think I'd like to figure out how to get to know the rest of girls instead of just "their bodies." If this is really what you want for me.
And I'm not going to tell you that I never lusted again and never had any problems, I mean, I think I memorized about 30 verses on lust alone, and I'm glad I did, because I remember one son coming home from college, and he's really struggling, and, you know, similar situation, and this is – when you talk with your kids lots, early and often, in the car and everywhere, he asked me what I would have never dreamed of asking my dad. He said, "Hey, Dad." I said, "Yes?" "Can we talk for a minute?" "Yeah." And I got in on the bed, and we sat down, and he said, "You know, I thought of looking stuff up in a book and it's just eating me up inside. I'm not doing very well. My thought life is terrible, and I'm really lusting," and – "You know, I've heard you preach on this stuff. Would you just sit down right now and tell me how I can break this habit of lusting in my mind, because, man, it's killing me, and it's killing my relationship with God." And I said, "Yes, son, I've got about 15 verses that are my top verses on this," and I wrote down my top five or six, and I said, "You know what? God understands. He's for you, He loves you. The fact that it bothers you is great."
And I think it's a journey. So, it takes God's Word, it takes renewing our mind, but I think it's that bigger picture of realizing there is a road, and Isaiah calls it "the highway of holiness," and there's a road that God wants us on that is good. That was a kind of turning point in my whole life.
Dennis: You know, this is a generation, though, that has tested those guardrails. I mean, it has plowed right through those guardrails. In fact, Bob and I have talked many times before coming into the studio just about the collective guilt of this nation having come out of a sexual revolution of the past three or four decades. I mean, it has to be an enormous anguish of the soul of looking backwards on your life at the hookups and one-night stands and sexual infidelities and sexual indiscretions over and over and over again. What's the hope for a person who has gone over the guardrail, who is smashed at the bottom?
Tim: I think the – I mean, the hope is the same hope that's always been there, and to realize that there is a God who cares enough to say, "I've created these boundaries, I created these guardrails, but also there is a way out." This brings to mind the passage about the woman who was brought before Jesus that was caught in the act of adultery. Jesus's response to her was not one of "I'm sorry you got caught," "This was not a good choice and do better next time." Jesus loved her where she was at, but he also said, "Go and sin no more."
It's more than just acknowledging, "Hey, I've done this," because so many times we can – if we get caught in that, we just simply say, "You know what? I've messed up. I'm hopeless, I may as well continue." But Jesus says, "No, I've got something better for you. I've always had something better for you. Go and sin no more. Follow me," and I think that's a key part of that – is to walk away from that and follow Him and to really realize, to look back at those experiences honestly and say "You know what? Those really did leave a lot of scars in my life. I really do see that what You said in your Word is true, God, that there is a reason why there are these guardrails there, and you must have something better, so I am going to trust this to You."
Chip: Forgiveness is available. I mean, the answer, the hope, there's sexual sin, there's all kinds of other sin is that Jesus died on the cross for me. I have blown it. I have failed. I have sinned, and I desperately need you, and I can't measure up. And to come broken, as an unbeliever in that situation and ask Him to forgive you and come into your life or to come as a believer and acknowledge, confess that I own this, and to take that pain, not just the forgiveness, but that promise of 1 John 1:9 is not just that He'll forgive us when we confess, but He'll cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
And I believe we've got to take those pains and hurts and the whys right into the Father's presence and work those through and talk with Him about what we did and why and claim the promise He has given us of Christ's work on our behalf.
Bob: I've spent a lot of time this year just meditating on the simplicity of the Gospel, and it's simple because it addresses the two fundamental human needs that everybody has – the need to be forgiven, and the need to be transformed. The Gospel addresses both of them, and, you know, whether you're a Christian or not a Christian, you need to be forgiven and you need to be transformed. The difference between the Christians and the non-Christians is that the Christian has said, "I know where I'm going to go for forgiveness and transformation. I'm going to go to Jesus." The non-Christian that says, "I'm going to keep trying other things to see if that will work."
And the Gospel is the message that says, "Only God can forgive, and we all need it, and only God can transform," and that's really where our hope is, it's in coming to God and saying, "Here is what I need. I need to be cleansed, I need to be forgiven, and I need to be changed fundamentally from who I am. Can you do that?" And God says yes He's the only one who can.
Chip: And I think that's the core of what we are saying in this book, and that's why we say if you're going to launch a revolution, first of all, it has to start with you. It has to be something that you believe deep down in your core, and that transformation and that belief, and even that kind of passion for this particular revolution has to begin as a part of that transformation and that relationship with Jesus Christ.
Dennis: One of my favorite passages in Isaiah is in Isaiah 43, verses 18 and 19, and it's talking about both concepts of forgiveness that we've discussed here – one, cleansing; and, secondly, transformation. It's interesting – God says, "Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new. Will it spring forth? Will you not be aware of it?" And then this is a beautiful picture of what God does – He says, "I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." You'd have to go to the Holy Land to picture kind of what this is talking about, but we're picturing Death Valley, you know, a big sandbox with craggy mountains and no streams, no roadways, and He's saying, "I'll make a roadway there, I'll put a river there," and where you have a river, what do you have – life. Lots of life.
Dennis: And no matter what you've done, no matter how many times you've done it, the Gospel is complete, total forgiveness for the person who cries out Jesus Christ. That's the offer. That's what He came to do – to declare us not guilty before Almighty God, who is the ultimate one that we've sinned against.
Chip: And I think what people need to hear as well is this happens in a moment of time and many may have heard that and said, "You know, gosh, thank you so much for that reminder, Dennis. I prayed that prayer, I know that's true, but my life isn't working out that way. We've got to return people to the reality that I am called to live this transformational life in community. I cannot do it by myself. It's not just praying a prayer, and I'm going to really trust you, and I'll go in the back bedroom and read a few chapters of the Bible and try hard.
I've got to get these issues on the table with fellow people who love me, care for me, and deal with them. I've got to pray with others. Accountability is inviting others into my life and saying, "Will you help me keep my commitments to God? This isn't like point your finger at me. I've got to do life in community. I've got to be a part of some kind of small group, and it can be called your family, if it's functional, or it could be a small group at church, it could be a handful of teenagers like Tim and I saw, who share and pray and got up three and four times a week in their outreach to other students to meet at 6 and 6:30 to reach out to other students to have Bible study, to break up into small groups, to have accountability groups. These are teenagers.
And I just want to say to those people listening – let's stop thinking that people can't live the life, and let's get off of the hormones are raging, they're getting married later, and making up all this stuff. We have a supernatural God with supernatural power, and I have watched 15 and 16-year-olds who have been Christian a year and a half, whose parents have been divorced two, three, and four times that had moms and dads that are live-in boyfriends who are living sexually pure lives and saying, "That's not enough. We're going to transform this campus."
And you know what? And God has always used teenagers that way. Daniel was a teenager. Mary was a teenager. I mean, when God has wanted to do revolutions, the one in the '60s, who was that? Eighteen, 19-year-olds, maybe a few 20-year-olds, right?
Chip: Well, so we spend all our time trying to protect them, and God's trying to say there's an idealism I've put in their soul, revolutionize the world. Well, let's start and revolutionize the church, and let's start with the prayer that they prayed, some of them, in terms of really asking for God's forgiveness, and they've blown it, and let's move past getting off of how terrible you've been, what you've done, and be able to believe, hey, you're forgiven, there's a fresh start, team up, make a difference.
Bob: You know, it seems like it's easier to lead a revolution that sends people in the direction of sin and personal pleasure than in the direction of holiness and righteousness, and yet God has put a conscience in the heart of every man as well, and the Holy Spirit can awaken that conscience if we'll be faithful to call men and women to right living, right?
Chip: And I think one of the things Tim and I would say – this book is designed – you know, someone has said to me, "'Sex 180' – another book on sex to teenagers. Give me a break." And what I would say is this is for that 10 percent to 15 percent who say, "I want to be sexually pure. I want to change my world. Would someone give me some tools to make a difference instead of giving me 17 reasons why I shouldn't have physical sex with someone or stop looking at dirty pictures."
This book is not about how we're going to protect you through this bubble. This book is a manual for revolutionaries. This book is for that 10 percent or 15 percent of your youth group that will change your whole youth group, that can change campuses in high school and college, and they say, "But I need a manual. I need some help. If I'm not going to do it the world's way, tell me how to do it. How do I build friendships, how do I think, how do I make this happen?"
Bob: You're kind of passionate about this.
Chip: I really am.
Dennis: You know, if we're going to see young people become revolutionaries, they are going to have to be infected with a real disease, and that's what you guys are challenging both young people to do but also the parents to do as well. And I'm thinking back to my sixth grade Sunday school class that I taught for 11 years and how I ended that class. And I told the kids how I was going to end the class.
I said, "Every one of you is going to go into your teenage years either as a missionary reaching others, or as a mission field in need of being reached." Now, the question is, which group are you going to be in?
I think today one of the great needs in the Christian community, especially in the church, is to not merely raise our young people in junior high and high school, to be a part of those youth groups, but to begin to put that revolutionary spirit you're talking about, Chip, Tim, and instill in them as they go to college, the need to become not a Jesus freak, that's what it was called back in the 60s and 70s when …
Bob: When you were one.
Dennis: When I was one, that's right.
Bob: That's right.
Dennis: But to be a follower of Christ and to refuse to do the hookups, and refuse, as they go to college, to be a part of the sexual permissiveness and the freedom of just exploring one another's bodies that's occurring today. You're going to send your young people to work, to service, or to college in one of two ways – they are either going to be a mission field or they are going to be a missionary.
Now, the question is – how are you going to send them?
Bob: Well, and if they don't have a game plan, if they don't have a strategy, guess which one they're going to be? They're not going to be missionaries. I've never met a missionary who didn't go out with a strategy and game plan. If you go out without that, you'll be a mission field, that's the default position. It's the intentional position to be the missionary, and what you guys have done in the book, "Sex 180," is you have given us a manual, a strategy, a game plan, so that people can be what you're talking about them being.
Dennis: And I just appreciate having a couple of revolutionaries on the broadcast. Tim, Chip, thanks for joining us and thanks for your work, "Sex 180," I think this is going to be – well, I think it's going to be a revolutionary's manual for a lot of young people, not only junior high and high school but also as they go to college. Thanks for joining us.
Chip: You bet.
Tim: Thank you.
Bob: Yeah, and we want to encourage not only the revolutionaries but maybe their parents to stop by our website, which is FamilyLifeToday.com, and there is information available there about the book, "Sex 180." We have it in our resource center, and you can order a copy from us online. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and when you contact us, someone on the team can let you know how you can get a copy of this book, or they can tell you about other resources we have available to help teenagers and young adults rethink the whole issue of human sexuality. Again, the toll-free number, 1-800-FLTODAY, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
And then don't forget tonight in Washington, D.C. and in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Dallas/Forth Worth; Albuquerque, New Mexico, other cities all across the country, we're kicking off our spring season of FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences where you can learn to love like you mean it, and we hope you'll consider attending one of these conferences when it comes to a city near where you live.
If you don't have plans for Valentine's weekend, and you live near one of these cities, and you'd like to join us, call 1-800-FLTODAY, and we can let you know if we still have seats available in any of these locations, or we can let you know about other conferences coming up this spring.
The Weekend to Remember really is a fun, romantic weekend getaway for couples, and we would encourage you to make the investment this spring in your marriage. Attend a Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference. Details are on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, or call for more information at 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and we hope you'll join us this spring for a Weekend to Remember.
And we hope you have a great weekend this weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and we hope you can join us back on Monday. Susie Larson is going to be here to talk about the experience of being married but feeling very alone. We'll hear about how she and her husband drifted toward isolation in their marriage and how they found their way back to one another. I hope you can be with us for that conversation on Monday.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas – help for today; hope for tomorrow.
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