I recently started to share my journey with celibacy. Back in 2012 when I rededicated my life to Christ, I made the decision then that I wanted to remain celibate until marriage. Of course, my newfound sisters in Christ were happy for me because they were in the same boat. But when I told my longtime friends, they were confused. Instead of praising me, they questioned me. They asked, “Why are you doing that?” “How are you going to abstain?” “What if you never get married?” All questions I never thought of and never had to answer. All questions that were difficult for me to answer at the time. So after that, I decided not to tell anyone about me being celibate. I remained quite. If it’s not out there, no one will know and I won’t have to explain myself. No harm done right? Wrong!
In 2013, I got in a relationship with Joe and if you’ve read my previous post, you know what happened. I fell. I never told him so he didn’t know. Then when I told him I wanted to be celibate again, he didn’t believe me because I kept falling. “Flee from temptation.” 1 Corinthians 6:18. Instead of fleeing I stood around thinking I could handle my feelings. I thought since I was now going to church and reading the bible, I was stronger than my flesh. The Bible says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” Galatians 5:17.
Sex and lust were two things I struggled with greatly and being in a relationship with a man that wasn’t a believer in God did not help. When I finally had enough courage to break things off with him and walk in my purpose, the decision to be celibate and remain celibate became a reality.
Now, I am not afraid to share my testimony with believers and nonbelievers. Believers are usually happy for me and understand I am doing this because I respect God with my body. Nonbeliever’s reactions vary. I still get the same confused looks, but surprisingly I receive admiration from non-believers as well. They call me a “strong woman” or “strong-willed.” I recently spoke to a girl who is an atheist. She was so amazed at my testimony of celibacy. She said I was awesome and told me she admired my stance of abstinence. Then I realized she considered my testimony not a resemblance of God or my Christian faith but a symbol of feminism. I explained to her that it was solely for my faith and knowing God’s purpose for me. My explanation didn’t sink in because in her mind it was a feminist act. This made me think: how many other people think of celibacy is a feminist movement rather than God’s word? Well, I found out a lot of people think this way. From TV shows to reality shows and social media. Celibacy is a resemblance of a strong woman rather than a kingdom movement.
This kind of thinking can be confusing and make people believe celibacy is an independent act and you can abstain on your own- meaning without God. This is absolutely false and you need God to get you through this season.
Here are two things I learned while remaining celibate:
1. Guard your heart! Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
We must guard our hearts at all times. If you’re trying to abstain, you have to watch what you’re feeding your spirit. One example is music. Don’t listen to baby making music if you’re not making a baby. I love R&B music. So it was a hard to let it go. I went without it for months. Because at the beginning of my walk with Christ, I still struggled. Now I can listen to it here and there but I know if it takes me to that place I have to turn it off. Next example: TV shows and movies. I used to watch shows that portrayed adultery, lust and fornication. I thought it was just harmless entertainment. The plot was intense and engaging. I would justify the show or movie by telling myself that it’s ok to watch because everyone else is watching it. Well that planted bad seeds and soon I had to turn that off too.
This is not to say you can’t listen to music or watch TV. I’m just saying be aware of what you are watching and listening to. If the entertainment is not bearing fruit — then it’s not of God, which can hinder your walk in celibacy.
2.) Flee from Temptation! “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
At the beginning of my walk, I thought I was Wonder Woman. I didn’t think I needed to flee from sexual sin. Before I would have remained silent about my faith until the guy came over. Then I would have tried to fight my flesh and my feelings, thinking that I could handle it on my own. The Bible also says:
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
There are many opportunities for a way out. It can be just as simple as- staying away from the person that tempts you.
An example: Last month, a guy texted me from my Before Christ (BC) days. He said he wanted to come over and watch a movie. At first I thought – Sure. It’ll be cool to watch a movie and have some male attention. Then God convicted me and discernment kicked in! Immediately, I knew, he didn’t want me; he wanted my body. So to confirm this revelation, I asked the guy “What are your intentions?” He boldly and nonchalantly texted me exactly what he wanted to do. (Hint: It wasn’t just to chill and watch a movie.) My first reaction was to send him an angry text message telling him off. But I didn’t. I sat in my living room with my phone in my hand and I began to pray. I asked God for the words to put in my response. I responded something like this:
“I appreciate your honesty. I assumed that was your intention… I don’t do movie nights… I’m saved now so I don’t invite guys over to my house to chill. When I see you around we can catch up…”
Once I let him know, he respected that.
I’ve come a long way. I had to learn these lessons over time. I hope my testimony and my celibacy journey will encourage you all. Walk in purpose, know God’s truth and continue to Strive for God’s Excellence.
By Patrice McKenzie