Saying “No” to Second-Rate Sex
About the Guest
We've all heard that you shouldn't have sex because God says so, but are there other reasons? Author Chip Ingram teaches you how to say no to second-rate sex.
Chip IngramChip serves as CEO and Teaching Pastor of Living on the Edge – an international teaching and discipleship ministry. For over thirty-five years, Chip has pastored churches and served as president of Walk Thru the Bible. Chip holds an M.S. degree from West Virginia University and a Th.M. degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored 15 books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Reaching more than a million people a week, his teaching can be hea...more
We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t have sex because God says so, but are there other reasons?
Saying “No” to Second-Rate Sex
Bob: If you think you’ve found just the right person and just the right relationship, here’s a word of caution from Chip Ingram.
Chip: Listen, this is very important. The introduction of sex in a dating relationship almost always ushers in the break-up of that relationship. That guy who says, “If you love me, you will,”—ladies, know for sure—and that gal, in our day, that says to that man, “Hey, if you love me, you will,”—you are signing the death sentence of that relationship. The entire dynamics of the relationship change once you have sex.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 10th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey; I'm Bob Lepine. We'll learn today why introducing intimacy into a relationship before marriage can mean the end of that relationship.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. You know, we can't talk about what we've been talking about this week about Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships without a few songs popping in your head. You know what I mean? (Sings) “When I fall in love, it will be forever”—You know that one?—Nat King Cole?
Dennis: Oh, I was going to guess Perry Como.
Bob: That hurts! (Laughter)
Dennis: It was your rendition that made it sound like Perry Como.
Bob: Thank you very much.
Chip: I was going to guess Engelbert Humperdinck. I knew it was right in there.
Dennis: Well, Bob will get over it here in a moment. Let me welcome back, for a fifth day, Chip Ingram. Chip, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Chip: Great to be with you, Dennis.
Dennis: We've been talking about the “Tests of Love” that—well, if you haven't completed the test that's on our website, go to FamilyLife.com. Especially if you're a single person, go to FamilyLife.com, take the test because today we want to talk about how to say, “Yes,” to love and, “No,” to second-rate sex. Now, as a single person, you ran into a couple who gave you a model of what you were looking for.
Chip: They really did. I remember it was four girls to every guy—had all the normal hormones that any guy ever had, and—
Dennis: Now, wait, what did you just say? Four girls to every guy?
Chip: Yes, there were four girls to every guy in the college that I went to.
Dennis: Oh! I thought that you meant every guy had four girls; and I'm going, “I never experienced that.” Bob, did you?
Bob: No, I went to the wrong college. (Laughter)
Chip: That’s right.
Dennis: What college was that?
Chip: West Liberty State College in West Virginia. They had a Dental Hygiene School, and these girls would come from everywhere—and I want to tell you, “To be sexually pure as a new Christian, it was like, ‘You've got to be kidding!’” I always felt like God was on one side of the fence, and I was on the other. We were always fighting over this issue, and I thought He was trying to keep something good from me. I read all these verses and was being made fun of by the basketball team because I'd made a commitment to be sexually pure. It was very unpopular and very difficult.
I remember the night a switch clicked in my heart, in my mind, and there was a young couple—they had small kids. You know, like kind of the five, three, and two. I went over to this little white farmhouse—I mean, you get a free meal in college—you go. So, drove five or six miles out in the country. You know, we had this meal, we talked, and we had apple pie ala mode. These were brand-new Christians, and I'll never forget watching them look at each other.
In my experience, as a single person—and I didn't grow up as a believer—I just thought like most people, “After they got married, sort of, the sex stuff must go away because they didn't seem like they were sending any signals.” Here, this couple, I could tell, I mean, there was some jazz in this marriage. I mean, the way they looked at each other, and loved each other, and these cute little kids. I sat at that table and I remember after about three-quarters through the meal thinking, “You know this is what I want. I want what's around this table.”
God gave me this picture. As I was driving down the hill, a real steep hill, a verse came into my mind—Romans 8:32 came into my mind. “He that spared not His own Son, how will He not, with Him, freely give us all things?”
It was like the Spirit of God said, “You know what, Chip? My plan is so good for you. I want you to have what you saw in that living room with that young couple and those kids. Every command in Scripture about not being sexually active in your mind, your thinking, or in your body is so you get that instead of something cheap and second-rate. Would you quit fighting me and realize I'm on your team?”
That idea came to me, second-rate sex—sex with guilt, sex with disease, sex with—you talk to anyone who is sexually active—and everyone, at some point in time—it’s using someone. The reason God says, “No,” is He doesn't want that for us.
Dennis: Yet, the reality is, in spite of all that evidence you're talking about, well over 50 percent of today's young people think that sex outside of marriage is now acceptable.
Dennis: All the data, all of the heartache, even what they personally have experienced in their conscience; and yet, they are questioning the standard. It's part of the reason why I wanted to spend today talking about this subject because I don't think there are enough voices today speaking truth into the lives of today's young people who are single—“Be sexually pure. Make today the first day of the rest of your life where you are going to abstain until God says, ‘You know what?—it's good. It's in marriage, and it's to be participated in and to be enjoyed.’”
You point out a number of reasons why someone should save sex for marriage.
Chip: What I found was that the moment I opened the Bible and started telling them, “Because God says in our world,” often I get turned off right away. I’ve been—I've had guys in the dorm, crowded all around, and I'm going to talk about this. Some guy, “You know what? You give me a good reason, without opening that Bible, why I should—I mean, are you—Can't you see what's going on here? Don't you know what's out here? Why in the world would I ever save sex for marriage?”
I said, “No, I can't give you one. Let me give you five, and none of these are from the Bible,”—five reasons why to say, “No.”
One: Those who abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage report the highest levels of satisfaction of sex in marriage. The most happening place in America, sexually, is not singles bars—it's from monogamous couples, with deep religious convictions. Second: Those who co-habitate, or live together before marriage, have a 50 percent higher divorce rate than those who don't. I mean, wait a minute! Do you want it to last or not? Third: Those who abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage have the highest rates of fidelity in marriage. If you want your mate to stick with you, don’t have sex before marriage.
Dennis: If you want to be trusted and you want to trust another person, the time to build that trust is not later on after you’re married; it’s now, as you establish that relationship.
Chip: Absolutely. The fourth reason is: The introduction—listen, this is very important—The introduction of sex in a dating relationship almost always ushers in the breakup of that relationship. That guy who says, “If you love me, you will,”—ladies, know for sure—and that gal, now, in our day, who says to that man, “Hey, if you love me, you will”—you are signing the death sentence to that relationship. The entire dynamics of the relationship change once you have sex. The fifth reason is sexually-transmitted diseases, including AIDS, can remain dormant for up to a decade or more but be passed on to others during that time.
So, those five reasons—I didn't open the Bible; but if you want your marriage to last, if you want to have great sex in marriage, if you want to have fidelity and want your partner and you to stick with the one you have, if you want to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases, and if you want the good relationship that you're in to be there, don't have sex.
Bob: Well, go back to the picture that you saw at the farmhouse where you were having dinner and ask the question, “If you want something less glorious than that—
Bob: —“If you want something that's got conflict and tension in the marriage relationship, if you want something where one person is not home because she is out somewhere else with someone else, if you want something where the marriage is over after a few years, if you want less than the picture you saw, then, fool around”—
Bob: —but if you want that, if you want that ultimate goal that, really, our heart longs for—
Bob: —everyone has in his heart, I think, that cry to be in the kind of a relationship, the kind of environment that you describe. It’s what got touched in you that night.
Chip: I would say, too, lest some dear, faithful, committed brothers listening to us—or sisters—think those are all very pragmatic reasons; but let me give you one that's way more important.
It says, “But let not immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you as is proper among the saints. There must be no filthiness or silly talk or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather the giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral,”—sexually immoral—“or impure,”—sexually impure—“or covetous person, who is an idolater has an inheritance in the kingdom of God.” God has spoken definitively. There’re times that people say, “Oh, the Bible doesn’t say sex before marriage is wrong”—Hello?! I mean, this is as direct as it can be.
Dennis: Yes, and I wish folks could read the mail bag here at FamilyLife, both the letters and the e-mails that come in and the stories where there are sub-cultures, where immorality is expected. I mean, it’s a part of the neighborhood. Yet, we come in with a program like today, calling single people to abstain, to remain chaste—and by the way, when we talk about abstaining from sex, we’re not just talking about abstaining from sexual intercourse because we have a whole generation, now, that has redefined what it means to have sex with another person.
We’re calling single people back to the Scripture that you read, Chip, which says, “Don’t let there even be a hint of sexual immorality be named among you.” Now, Chip, as a single man or a single woman, who may be in the midst of this culture today, where do they start? They need to develop convictions; right?
Chip: They really do, and I think they need to start with their mind.
One of the things that is out of vogue in our day is fasting. I think as beneficial as fasting from food has been in my life, especially during times of focused prayer—one of the most revolutionary things that has helped me is a media fast. We are so inundated, and we're so saturated, that we have people who really love God—I mean, they love God; but they're desensitized.
My challenge would be to take ten days and watch no movies, rent no movies, nothing on the TV—just for ten days—and spend that time getting God's Word in your life, putting positive things in your life—work out, play music. What I will tell you is, “Ten days later, some things that just didn't even register will shock you.” If you want to get really shocked, do a 30-day media fast; and you will turn on prime-time TV, and you’ll go, “Whoa!”
Dennis: That happened to us last summer because of travel and because of a television fast. Barbara and I, because of travel, ended up really fasting from TV and movies for all of July, August, and September. Now, I have to tell you, when I turned the TV on in October, and I saw what I saw, it was the very thing you're talking about, Chip. I was watching a sitcom that I've never seen before, and the contrast between the values and the message it was representing versus the Scripture—well, there was no comparison. Why would I want to embrace that? Why would I want to fill my mind with that? I think, for a lot of families today, we don't realize what impact media is having on us.
Bob: When you left that farmhouse that night and you said, “This is what I want,” did you develop a game plan in your mind?
Chip: You know, I really did. What I realized was—if I was going to get there—and this was the 70s, “The Sexual Revolution”—dorms were open, people were sleeping together, everything—now, they do it; but it was a revolution back then. What I realized was I needed to develop a game plan to win.
My game plan had kind of a threefold approach. Number one: I had to develop convictions. I believe purity requires personal commitment to the truth. I need to believe that Ephesians 5:2-4 is really true. God has my best interests in mind. It does mean you memorize a couple of passages, you pray, you ask God. A conviction is not like, “Well, this is nice when it's convenient.” It is, “This is bedrock.”
Dennis: Give me an idea what one of your convictions looked like.
Chip: My conviction was I would not watch nudity of any kind. My conviction was I would not date an unbeliever. My conviction was I would not date a believer who was not totally committed to the Lord, with a common vision. I made pre-decisions like—I still have these—I just change them—I will not go somewhere alone with another woman, other than my wife.
So, I've decided, for me, that I don't watch any R-rated movies. My mind is very sensitive. I had to develop convictions about what went into my mind. Then, that leads to the second. I made pre-decisions, or advance decisions; and that's an absolute necessity for sexual purity. You make advance decisions in the dating relationship: “What time am I going to get her home?” Advance decisions: “We won't be downstairs in the basement, unsupervised, lying around watching a movie.”
I will tell you, you can love God as much as you want at 7:30 at night. You can be as committed to Christ—the most committed, godly people in your singles group, your youth, whatever; and at 1:30 at night, after lying on the couch, watching movies and giving one other holy backrubs in the Lord, you will be someplace that you don't want to be. It's not that you don't love God. It's that you've made provision for the flesh. God made you to be attracted, and you put yourself in a situation that there's Plan A, “Fail;” there's Plan B, “Fail;” and there's Plan C, “Fail.” The only way to win is you pre-decide, “I won't go there.”
The third part was just, “You get accountability.” I have men in my life, along with my wife, who ask me—and I ask them—“So how are you doing in these pre-decisions?” I appreciate the reality of just saying, “You watched that a little too long.”
Chip: See, what we start doing is we start faking it and acting like we're doing a lot better. Every man, every woman, some part of some day, some week, or some month, we're blowing it; but when it gets to be where, “Oh, we would never, ever do that,” you are setting yourself up for failure. When you blow it, when you own it, when you confess it, there is some level of, “It's humiliating.” You know something? That is a very good thing.
Chip: It's a very purifying thing.
Bob: To have people in your life—the accountability that you're talking about—other men; other women, if you're a woman—people that are going to ask you the questions, people who are going to—I've never forgotten. Chuck Swindoll had a list of questions, “Have you watched anything you shouldn't watch?”
Bob: Question 7 was the one that I thought was the greatest question. It was, “Did you just lie to me about any of those things?” We need to be calling one another to account on those kinds of issues and get in each other's lives and each other's faces on this stuff.
Dennis: All week long, we've been speaking to singles and marrieds about the standards of Scripture and not being “conformed to the world but being transformed by the renewing of our minds.” I want to read a passage of Scripture that, I think, some of our listeners, right now, need to apply. It's found in the Book of 1 John, near the end of the New Testament. It's Chapter 1. It says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him; and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. However, if we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Then, here is the great promise of Scripture, “If we confess our sins, He”—that's Jesus Christ—“[Jesus Christ] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That passage, 1 John 1:9, that last verse that I just read, that's the essence of the Christian life. After you come to faith in Christ in the Gospel and you receive His forgiveness for eternal life, you then have to make that forgiveness a reality day-in and day-out. When you do blow it, or when you are accused in your conscience of where you failed in the past, the Scriptures say, “If you confess your sin,” if you name it, He promises, “He is faithful and righteous to forgive you of that sin and to cleanse you.”
I'd say to any person right now, as we've talked about this sexual dimension of life, if you felt convicted by something you've done in the past or are doing in the present, there is no better day than right now than just to say, “Lord God,” and then name a sin. Specifically name it before Him. He already knows it, anyway. Name the sin and say, “Thank You for dying on the cross for that sin. Thank You for forgiving it and now for cleansing me. Restore fellowship with You and help me to walk uprightly.”
Bob: Then, at that point, develop some convictions, and set some boundaries, and get some accountability so that you're not going to get snared again. Because as soon as you do that, Dennis, you know who has you in his sights.
Bob: The Enemy wants to say, “Let's put this new idealism to the test and see how you do.” You're going to have something thrown right in your way. You've got to follow the kind of pattern that Chip was talking about us following.
Dennis: The Enemy gets singles, as well as marrieds, in his crosshairs; and he uses this area of relationships to do it. I just say turn away from the temptations, and turn toward the Scriptures, and also turn toward good resources, like Chip's book here.
Chip, I just want to say, “Thanks,” to you for writing this book, and being honest and authentic, and for spending all week with us here on FamilyLife Today. We wish you the best and pray God's favor on you.
Chip: Thanks, Dennis. It has been an absolute privilege to be with you and Bob. My prayer is that God might help some people avoid some of the big pitfalls that some of us have had in our journey. For those who have made those mistakes, to know, today, there is a loving Father Who longs to forgive and restore, no matter where you're at, no matter where they've been.
Bob: We haven’t mentioned it this week, but folks who want to know more about your ministry, Living on the Edge, and find out more about the church where you serve as senior pastor, we’ve got a link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com to where you can get more information about Chip’s daily radio program and find out more about the church he serves up in Northern California.
We’ve also got information, of course, on the website about the book that we’ve been talking about this week, Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. We can make arrangements to have a copy of Chip’s book sent to you. All you have to do is go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information. FamilyLifeToday.com is the website; or call us toll-free at 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Then, I want to remind you that this weekend we are kicking off our spring season of Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. We’re going to have hundreds of couples joining us this weekend, and thousands of couples throughout the spring, who will be getting together with us at one of these weekend getaways. If you’ve never attended a Weekend to Remember, whether you are married or considering marriage, this would be a great getaway for you and your spouse, or your fiancé. You can find out more about when the Weekend to Remember is happening in a city near where you live.
When you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click on the link for the Weekend to Remember, and if you don’t find a Weekend to Remember coming to your city or if the date doesn’t work for you, you can also check into the Art of Marriage® video event. There are going to be hundreds of these events in locations all across the country this spring. So, you could sign up to attend an Art of Marriage event when it comes near where you live.
If you don’t see one near where you live or if you’d like to host one, it’s easy for a couple to do this at your local church or to invite friends over and go through the Art of Marriage material. Find out more when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or call us toll-free at 1-800-FL-TODAY. That’s 1-800-358-6329, 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”.
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This week, if you can help with a donation, we’d love to send you a couple of resources that will help you as husband and wife more clearly and more effectively express your love for one another. We have two books. One is a book of tips for husbands about how to be romantic, and another is a book of tips for wives on the same subject.
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We hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday.
Gary: [recorded audio] A second love language is gifts—gifts. Now, they don’t have to be expensive gifts. “Hey, guys! You can get flowers free!” (Laughter) Just go out in your yard and pick one. That’s what your kids do. No flowers in your yard? Your neighbor’s yard—ask them—they’ll give you a flower—or go to a funeral and ask the lady for a flower. (Laughter) Gifts—
Bob: We’re going to hear from best-selling author, Dr. Gary Chapman, with some sound counsel on how to have a stronger, more healthy marriage relationship. I hope you can tune in for that.
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 will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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© Song When I Fall in Love
Artist: Nat King Cole
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