Recently I was thinking about the importance of sexual purity…not just being a “technical virgin” and saving the act of sex for marriage. But sexual purity in the sense of saving it all – kisses, emotional attachments, etc – truly guarding one’s heart until it is time to give it fully to the man who is to become one’s husband, or the woman who is to become one’s wife. I wondered if this stance was something necessary or too extreme to encourage today’s generation of younger girls to apply to their lives. God graciously answered my questioning thoughts with a passage from the Song of Solomon: “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right” (Song of Solomon 8:4). That passage immediately stifled any doubts as to whether the “save it all – not just your ‘technical virginity’ ” mindset is a message worth sharing.
Think about it. Solomon had the opportunity to ask God for anything in the world, and the one thing he asked for was wisdom. God granted his request, along with immeasurable wealth and influence. Solomon is considered to be the wisest man who ever walked the face of the earth. He wrote many of the Proverbs, as well as the Book of Ecclesiastes. So…it would seem that we too would be wise to apply Solomon’s advice, especially since he tells us three separate times that we are “not [to] awaken love until the time is right” (see Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, & 8:4)!! Apparently he was quite concerned with trying to get his point across. But are we listening?
In today’s sex-saturated society – from television shows and movies, to pop icons, billboards, and magazine ads – teens and pre-teens are overwhelmed with images and examples that could result in love being awakened far too early. Regarding their personal convictions and decision as to how far they will go physically with a member of the opposite sex, I believe Solomon’s advice is more important than ever today: “Do not awaken love until the time is right.” So when exactly is the time right? Well, marriage – between one man and one woman – would be the context of the entire Song of Solomon. Thus we can safely assume that Solomon is warning the women of his time – as well as women of all ages in our day – not to allow their love to be awakened until marriage, when it can be fully expressed without hindrance, and with God’s complete blessing.
The question then remains, what causes love to be awakened? Answers to this may be different for each individual. Yet it would seem safe to say that physical contact with a member of the opposite sex – including kissing – is not possible without love being awakened. The reality is that those intense feelings are often not really love; rather they are lust. Yet raging hormones, instant gratification, and momentary acceptance can be interpreted as “love” in the heat of the moment.
I believe there needs to be a switch from the mindset of just “saving sex” for marriage, to saving everything for marriage. With a culture that screams the opposite – where nothing is saved, guarded, or kept a secret – we must encourage this next generation to not allow their love to be awakened prematurely. They need to understand the potential connections from any sort of physical contact like kissing and even holding hands with a member of the opposite sex. If it can’t be done without awakening love, according to Solomon, it probably shouldn’t be done until marriage. I don’t believe we can err on the side of being too safe. The benefits are endless and life-long, including less heartache…less emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental baggage to work through…and increased blessings and satisfaction from being in God’s perfect will!!