How open should single people be about their sexual purity to a potential spouse that they are interested in?
(Note: This question was asked from the audience during another question that was being dealt with.)
Someone asked: I have a question. So, let's say you're single and that's been a struggle for you and suddenly the Lord's brought you out of it. Then, the Lord brings you a spouse. Before you get married, is that something you should be up front with and say that had been a struggle with you before going into the marriage so your wife can maybe be more understanding?
Tim: Well, I think in the church, I would say this. I would say that if you're a father, you should be putting the question to any young man that wants to marry your daughter. If you are a young lady, if you're not going to put the question to them, you should have your pastors put the question to them or your dad put the question to them. Yes. Why? Because you have characteristics like the Proverbs 31 woman. You have characteristics of a godly woman. Guys, that's there on purpose. So that you can look at it and try to find a woman that's like that. Same thing. You have qualities of godly young men displayed to you ladies in Scripture. What kind of husband do you want? Do you want one that bears resemblance? Then you need to be getting to know one another. I recently heard Paul Washer do a message. He did a message based on 1 Thessalonians 4 - sanctification, specifically concerning sexual purity. And he made the statement that if you are failing with sexual purity, you're not even at the first rung of spiritual maturity. And so here's the thing, what I would want to see is is God doing something in the life of that young man where there is a marked victory?
I'm not looking for perfection. Look, when God saves a young man - young women too - the battle for sexual purity, it can be savage. It can be incredibly intense battle with the desires of the flesh in that area. But what I'd be looking for is this: is there evidence that the Spirit of God is real in that guy's life and that there is some kind of progress, there is some kind of victory that they are getting to the place where they're going weeks and months and years without failure. Because if there are constant regular falls, I am absolutely convinced you cannot live that way - you can't live that way for too long and be a genuine Christian. But you cannot live that way and think that the Spirit is not going to be grieved. And it says something about where a man's character is at, and so I think those questions need to be asked. And what's happening more and more is I am asking young men very pointedly - like I want to know space between falls. I want to know the details because I want to see what God does in men's lives. And I think in this very area it's a tell-tale sign. And if somebody's just living in fairly perpetual failure, no way are they going to marry one of my daughters. And as a pastor in the church, I would tell a woman, if there is not some indication of victory here, stay away from him. You do not want to go there. (incomplete thought) Yes, I think there needs to be transparency at this point. Now look, I think too, if we're faithful (incomplete thought).
I mean, just today, I was reading 1 Corinthians, and I got all the way to like chapter 10. So I read 1 Corinthians 7 today. And you know, there is a place - obviously, there is a place for somebody to get married for the sake of sexual temptation. I mean, I would say this, as a young man, you need to strive for purity. If the battle is intense, get married. But look, if you're a Christian, by the Spirit, strive to put to death the deeds of the body and get married. That seems to be very biblical. Rather, it's better to marry than to burn. And I think finding a wife is a good thing, but you need to be the caliber of young man that a godly young lady is going to want to marry, because if your life is sloppy and full of failure and defeat, you shouldn't expect that you're ready to get married. You shouldn't. That is not putting too high a standard to expect that you're striving to walk before the Lord and that there is evidence of victory in the life.