One year as a teen, my parents sent me to a True Love Waits retreat for the weekend. The purpose of this retreat was to encourage teens to save sex until marriage and reconsider what dating could look like. At a couple different points in that weekend, there were times for anonymous questions to be asked by the teens and answered honestly by the staff. I think those were the teens’ favorite moments (and potentially the staff’s least). There was one Q & A that occurred during that time that I will never forget. The question submitted was this:
Let’s say I decide to save myself for marriage by not having sex. How far CAN I go with my girlfriend/boyfriend until then (physically)?
You could literally hear a pin drop as we all waited anxiously for the answer. The brave man answering this question was quiet for about 30 seconds before he spoke. When he did, he said
I’m going to answer your question with a question. What if, instead of wondering how much you can get away with before you’ve gone too far, you all asked a different question – “How much do I want to save for my future husband or wife?”
I know now, being married, how powerful that question actually is when lived out. I also think it can apply to so much more than just a bunch of curious teenagers. Where in my life today do I find myself asking “How much of this can I have in my life before it becomes dangerous?”
In the first two chapters of the book of Judges, Joshua sends the 12 tribes to take ownership of their designated territories and clear out the pockets of areas still inhabited by others. Even though God gave them the task of COMPLETELY eliminating everyone from this land he promised to his people, they didn’t COMPLETELY obey. Each tribe left some land unclaimed and inhabited by foreigners. For whatever reason – exhaustion, fear, lack of faith, etc. – they saw their lack of follow-through as just one step less than what God asked them to do. (Not a big deal, right?) Joshua knew otherwise. He told them:
“For your part, you were not to make any covenants with people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. Why, then, have you disobeyed my command? Since you have done this, I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.“ (Judges 2:2+3 nlt)
They were blinded by the temporary relief of controlling MOST OF the land. They got tired of fighting and waiting and decided that they could try to have their cake and eat it too. Just like the curious teenager, they decided to see how far they could go with a bad choice before it became dangerous. They didn’t believe that TRUE LOVE WAITS.
I have made enough bad decisions in my life to know what the resulting thorns and temptations feel like. I also have known God long enough to see what grace can do, regardless. I want to live each day as a thank offering, asking God how I can live COMPLETELY for him, rather than just looking for a way to do “good enough” for now.
Challenge: Each day, I want to consider what it means to believe the phrase “True Love Waits” applies to my love for God. When I am tired or frustrated or afraid, I will pause before making decisions and choose the one that allows me to save as much of my soul for God, rather than giving away pieces now.