I often feel like a prehistoric dinosaur wearing the "Christian" label. While friends and acquaintances accept my beliefs, the questions I get asked and comments I receive suggest that there is an underlying feeling that my beliefs are slightly outdated, not to mention seriously restrictive, especially when it comes to the area of pre-marital sex.
One has to "try before they buy," I was often told by people. And sex is completely fine between two loving couple.
Now, I am not writing this to judge or condemn anyone, but more to reflect on the struggles of being a young Christian woman in a modern society, where things such as pre-marital sex, and cohabitation before marriage are accepted as the norm.
An ex-boyfriend once pointed out that God couldn't have been serious about us waiting for marriage to have sex, because back in the day, women married younger than they do now, so it was perfectly OK for women to wait till marriage to have sex. But surely the same standard cannot be applied to the modern day woman, who is delaying marriage until later in life, he contended.
Needless to say, the relationship didn't last, but did get me wondering if indeed, the religion I profess to believe in is irrelevant. A relic of the past only to be left in churches with stained glass windows, to be admired from a distance, without any active participation.
I sometimes wonder what life would be like unfettered by my religious restrictions. Imagine not having to explain my stance on pre-marital sex to friends, acquaintances, and at first dates.
Imagine being able to move in with one's partner to save on rent, and have a life together before tying the knot. Best of all, imagine the freedom of being able to date anyone, both Christian and non-Christian alike. But the irony is, as limiting as Christianity may sound, I have also found profound freedom in a God who has laid down these safeguards out of His love for me.
Worries such as, "Is it OK to have sex by our third date?", or "Am I making myself too available?", are not on my radar, as the answer from me will always be, "Until I get married." It also means I am not plagued by insecurities such as if perhaps I was just a one-night thing, or if the guy has real feelings for me.
Yet, I am still stumped whenever I am asked if my faith is a little irrelevant in a Western society. What kind of sound answer am I able to give them? But what is clear to me is that all believers are called to be able to give a defence for the faith we have (1 Peter 3:15). And a few practical ways that I believe can help all of us struggling with such questions involve these simple steps:
- Keep soaking in the Word to seek answers
Reading the Bible, and spending time soaking in God's truth allows us to be always ready with answers for questions friends have for us regarding our faith. Our answers may not be perfect, and friends may have more questions for us, but a good knowledge of the Bible means we can point them to the correct Scriptures in relation to their questions. The Bible says God's word is "alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12), and the verses we point them to could change their lives.
- Keep praying to God for wisdom to understand His word
Sometimes reading and understanding Bible Scriptures can be a little difficult, especially books in the Old Testament. If we are finding it hard deciphering the Bible, then how are we meant to share it with our non-Christian friends?
Thankfully, we can pray for wisdom, and for the Holy Spirit to instruct and guide us as we read our Bibles, that God's word will be made known to us. The Scripture says, "the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26)
- Keep engaging in community to learn from other more experienced Christians
In order to further equip myself with the knowledge of God's word, I also often look up written commentaries, sermons or videos by pastors and Bible teachers. Materials like these allow me to see another perspective on a certain opinion, and it gives me knowledge on how to respond to a certain question. Keeping in conversation with experienced Christian leaders are also important for my spiritual growth.
Christianity may be outdated and irrelevant - to the world. But I believe there is nothing more redeeming and refreshing than the true joy of knowing God, and I am challenged to understand my faith better in order to effectively represent the hope I have been called to.
Would you join me in taking the above steps above so we are able to share our beliefs with others?
Courtesy of Press Service International