Sex, Singles, and the Spirit-filled Life

Sex, Singles, and the Spirit-filled Life

For a single Christian, what to do about sexual intimacy can be tough and confusing. You harbor physical urges that God gave to you, but to have sex outside of marriage is a sin. The church’s response has generally been pithy and poor – “Just say no”. Meanwhile, the enemy has seized the void by providing a counterfeit of the sexual love God intended. Through R-rated movies, explicit music and advertising, we are inundated with it. What in the world is a single person supposed to do?

As a follow up to a previous column on sex within a marital context, Minister Pamela Bell of Serenity Pastoral Counseling & Consulting, offers advice for singles.

Minister Pamela Bell, founder of Serenity Pastoral Counseling and Consulting

Minister Bell recently hosted a Valentines Day engagement ceremony for her single clients in the Baltimore area. They celebrated their love affair with the Lord. The ceremony offered the participants an opportunity to renew their vows to God and to increase passion in their relationship with him throughout the year. “Being physically alone does not necessarily equal loneliness”, Bell said. The church needs to reclaim the truth that we are never alone when we are in relationship with God. Being single is actually an opportunity to turn your full attention to your relationship with God. Being married, in fact, can bring complications and opportunities to worship your mate instead of the Lord.

Bell, who has been married 26 years to the same man, says “God allows us to have mates to be able to show our love for him onto a living breathing human being. That mate presents a physical way for us to express our love for God. Whether you’re single or married, what we all have in common is an inseparable relationship with God.”

Humans are spirit first. We are made in the image of a triune God, who is spirit. Our physical bodies are vessels for us to journey on earth until it’s time to return to God. Certainly, we want to express ourselves physically with another human being, but the object of that expression is still God, Bell said. If you understand this, your single status is not a negative, it just means less distractions to God. “It might sound like a cop out to a single person, but a mate is not your source to fulfillment. God is our source,” Bell said.

Ok, that sounds good, but let’s keep this real. What do we tell the single person who is struggling with their sexuality? Bell said she counsels her clients based on what they reveal they are struggling with and yes, many people are struggling with issues such as pornography and sex. “God gave us the ability to imagine and create,” Bell continued. “What we entertain in our minds is important because we are creators. Fantasizing about sexual acts that are against God’s will, creates sin in our lives and sin, whether it is physical or mental, causes us to turn away from God.”

Bell teaches her clients that they can master their bodies through physical exercise, eating healthy and getting proper rest. She also suggests, professional massage, meditation and relaxation techniques to release pent up tension in the body and of course there is prayer. “I often suggest that my clients start a private prayer journal in which they’re writing letters to God about their intimate thoughts and feelings,” Bell said. “David demonstrated the power of prayer journaling. He wrote about his struggles, desires and his victories in what has become the Psalms. He gives us a good example about being in a relationship with the Lord and God referred to David as a man after God’s own heart. We tend to keep our sexual frustrations separate from our relationship with the Lord but He made us and is not uncomfortable talking about sex. By keeping a journal, people can learn from their own experiences and in the future they can go back to that prayer journal and remind themselves that ‘this too shall pass.’”

Psalms for Poverty Statistics

Psalms for Poverty Statistics

The U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report today on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage. The report summarizes data for 2010 and compared it to earlier statistics to issue a gloomy economic forecast.

Here are the facts, as summarized by the Associated Press:

“The ranks of the nation’s poor swelled to nearly 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment woes left millions of Americans struggling and out of work. The number of uninsured edged up to 49.9 million, the biggest in over two decades.”

“The U.S. poverty rate from 2007-2010 has now risen faster than any three-year period since the early 1980s. …Measured by total numbers, the 46 million now living in poverty is the largest on record dating back to when the census began tracking poverty in 1959. Based on percentages, it tied the poverty level in 1993 and was the highest since 1983.”

“The share of Americans without health coverage rose from 16.1 percent to 16.3 percent — or 49.9 million people. … That is due mostly because of continued losses of employer-provided health insurance in the weakened economy.”

“Poverty rose among all race and ethnic groups except Asians. The number of Hispanics in poverty increased from 25.3 percent to 26.6 percent; for blacks it increased from 25.8 percent to 27.4 percent, and Asians it was flat at 12.1 percent. The number of whites in poverty rose from 9.4 percent to 9.9 percent.”

“The median — or midpoint — household income was $49,445, down 2.3 percent from 2009.”

In light of this news, we offer Psalms of deliverance from the NIV:

Psalm 12:5: “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD.“I will protect them from those who malign them.”

Psalm 15:5: “Who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”

Psalm 35:10: “My whole being will exclaim, ‘Who is like you, LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.’ ”

Psalm 113:7: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.”

Where do you find hope when the economic forecast seems to grow gloomier by the day?

*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.