One thing that's messed us up in Christian culture is when we started telling people that all sins are equal.
I don't know where we got that from. Now, all sins are equal in the fact that they all require the forgiveness of Christ. They all separate us equally from God.
But they're not equal in the fact of the effect. So, the scriptures say, Paul wrote, when you sin sexually, you sin against your own body. He doesn't say when you lie, you lie against your own body.
Or when you steal, you steal against your own body. When we sin sexually, it's our whole selves. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.
You can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. I tell you what, if there's ever a time that I'm sort of glad I'm not raising a teenager, it's right now. I mean, we did it. We've done it. Now we got grandkids.
We talk about that quite a bit. Like, can you imagine raising kids with like the access where, because our kids had cell phones, but they didn't have the internet on their cell phones. I mean, it's a crazy world. It's like the world that was out there, and your kids could come into your home and sort of have a protection, and then you send them back.
There's no barrier. It's all meshed together. The culture is right on our phone in front of us.
And especially as you talk about sexuality, yeah. So we're going to help some parents today. Parents are going to pull up and listen to this, because we all need it. Dean and Sarah is back in the studio, Family Life Today. Welcome back. It's great to be here.
I love being with you guys. We're going to talk about purity. You wrote a book called Pure, why the Bible's plan for sexuality isn't outdated, irrelevant, or oppressive.
Pastor, dad, writer, speaker, you do it all. So you deal with this culture all the time. You're raising kids. You're the guy we're saying, I'm glad I'm not that guy. Yeah, you are the guy. I have a high schooler and a middle schooler and elementary school.
Somebody who's for a long time. And you're pastoring a church where you have college students coming all the time. Yeah, we were right in the middle of a college town. Yeah. So when you, and we talked about this the last couple of days, but when you talk about the culture's views, teachings, beliefs, and you write in your book, Several Lives, how do you combat that as a parent? I think that we need to make sure that we're aware of what they are. I think that's important. Like, what is the world saying? And what messaging are our children regularly hearing?
It might just be from a friend or an older, our friend's older brother, you know, or on the, my kids play sports in the dugout, in the locker room, walking down the halls, online, on their phones. And I think we just need to make sure that we're aware of, first of all, what is being said out there and then make sure that we have the answers to it. You know, Tim Keller calls it like a reverse catechesis, that the culture is catechizing our kids.
And we have to make sure that we have answers to those things. You'll say, actually, here's what God has said. Here's why it's better.
Here's why this doesn't work. Again, the world's system is broken. It is, just look around.
It's undeniable. And I think the world even knows that. I mean, how many broken relationships, hurting people, people who are wounded by the sexual revolution, who were confused. There's so much chaos with it that so many of the things we see right now are a result of people buying into the lies of the sexual revolution. So I think we have to be really clear with our children and with our churches and our friends and our small groups, whatever areas you have, that what God has is right and it is better. And it's proven, right? Jesus has risen from the grave.
I'm not the smartest guy in Tallahassee by any means, but I'm going to go with the one who was dead and came back to life three days later, any day of the week. And the Bible is just as clear on sexual ethics as it is things like love your neighbor, help the poor, like just as clear. So we need to make sure that we're as clear. So Dean, how did you find out what the lies are? When you say parents need to know what their kids are hearing, how did you hear that? Well, I started seeing it and just witnessing it and just my relationships with people. I mean, so many of the counseling sessions are just kind of, hey, can I meet you for lunch?
I need to talk to you. I almost know what's coming. Like normally it's going to be something along. And they're not asking questions anymore, such as, is the Bible really true? Or what about dinosaurs?
Where are they at? I'm not hearing that. I'm not saying people aren't asking, but I'm not hearing those things anymore.
I'm hearing things where how do we, like, what does the Bible really say about homosexuality? You know, my girlfriend and I live together. Is that really wrong? Like why?
Why is that wrong? Like we're saving money and, you know, we're going to get married eventually. And, you know, those types of ideas, or we don't get married anytime soon because first we need to, you know, save a lot of money and get our degrees and go backpack Europe and, you know, go chase our dreams.
And then once we do all that, then we'll get married. Yeah. There's just all these things that they're saying. I just hear it. And then that just kind of caused me to start just putting out my thoughts about it all.
And then Pure, the book kind of came from that experience, just being around so many conversations like that. Yeah. Well, one of the first lies you mentioned is sex is expected. That is true.
So I'm just going to throw the lies back at you. Yeah. And you tell us what you... Sex is expected. I tell people what used to be the first kiss on a date is now basically agreeing to sleep with someone. I mean, there are stories in Tallahassee of people who pack bags and they go out at night in case they meet someone. And that means someone to be their girlfriend or boyfriend.
Wait, wait, wait. They pack their bag like an overnight... Overnight bag. Because they know. That's kind of one of the purposes of going out. So to meet someone and to agree to hang out with someone afterwards is to agree to sleep together. Like sex is expected now. Like it's kind of part of going out on a date.
Not even dating, just going out on a date. It's expected. It's so funny because that's how they get to know each other.
Like that's one of the things they do. It's not a long conversation necessarily, or it could be, but sometimes that's the first thing that happens. I had lunch with someone who wanted to talk to me about that one time. Single guy in town, kind of living the single life, real successful kind of business guy in town. And he was like, well, you know, you got to make sure you're compatible first before you agree to date. And by compatible, he meant sexually compatible. I know what that means. That's a world's definition.
And so he, that's what, that was his reasoning for it. So he, because sex is expected to make sure that you are getting along in that manner. And then we'll decide based on that, if we want to keep dating.
Like that's the world's logic right now. You're telling me that's not going to lead to extreme brokenness? And expectations.
So many things. I'm sitting there thinking like, well, maybe that could happen, but then you have a baby and then you have another baby. And then you have stress in your life and maybe you're not as compatible then.
Yeah. And in God's design, you don't have to, you know, lay there at night going, what if I'm pregnant? What if he doesn't like me? You know, what if there's somebody else tomorrow? In God's design, you have to think and fear those kinds of things because there's commitment, there's relationship. So what's happening right now is people want the benefits of marriage without the covenant of marriage. And that's one of the biggest lies right now that our world's putting forward. So what do you say to the couple that's living together?
Like, hey, this is, you know, financially, it's way better. They have a lot of different reasons. That's one of your lies.
Lie number seven, cohabitation just makes sense. Just makes sense. So they're believers. Now, I'm talking to believers differently.
Right. Because people who claim they're trying to follow Jesus. So I expect the world to think like the world. I still want them to go by God's design because I think it's in common grace.
It allows human flourishing and just out of love of our neighbor. Yeah, I'd rather have them do things God's way. I want them to get saved first. That's their biggest concern. It's not that they live together.
They don't know Jesus. But for a couple that claims to know Christ, you know, I will tell them I'm saying, well, you're sane right now. You might not use these exact words, but you're figuratively flashing a neon sign that says that financial stability is more important than sexual purity.
That is what you were saying. If your reason for living together is it just makes sense. We save money. We're getting married anyways.
You're telling me that financial stability is more important than sexual immorality. And our culture almost says, yeah. And their parents even fuel that.
Oh, yeah. I mean, oftentimes now you hear Christian parents say, well, we don't want you to get married yet. You know, you're too young. And by too young, they mean they're like 22 and out of college and you're too young. They forget they got married when they were 22 as well. But what's happening now is we have a generation that their parents empower them to live at 22 like their parents are living at 52. When the parents have forgotten that when they were 22, they weren't living like they were at 52.
You get there. You know, you work to that. So the lifestyle, they don't want their lifestyles to change at all. And it's really bizarre what has resulted from those type of shifts in culture, but the whole, but I almost think this just sounds so cynical. I don't mean it to be this way. It's not my spirit about this, but I almost expect couples to live together now. It's so common.
The guy someone asked me like do their wedding or get together. I almost expect it. So we have to have those conversations and we push hard. You know, we'll say that this is, you are not living in God's design.
You can call it whatever you want. And one of the reasons you said this yesterday is you're not living in God's design because he's put some boundaries around this because you said last couple of days, actually, it isn't just sex. There's a lot more going on. It's not just physical. It's emotional.
It's mental. It's soul. It's a oneness that God has designed. It's a one flesh union. So I say regularly that sex is not for in love people or engage people or mature people or ready people.
It's for married people. You know, God is clear to find sex between a man and a woman. And the one flesh union is what has designed to be from the very beginning.
There's a oneness to sex. Talk about dating. I know you wrote about that in your book and you don't like the idea of courtship. You know, dating is complicated right now because the Bible doesn't talk about dating. That doesn't make it bad.
It just makes it neutral. There's no such thing as a boyfriend or a girlfriend in the Bible. That category is not there. You're married, unmarried, or a widow.
Like those are the three categories in the Bible. But in our culture, the way you meet someone is through dating. So Christians have to participate in this neutral setting called dating. It's not in itself bad, but it's almost like a pretend kind of marriage where you kind of act like you're married, but you're not. And it's just really an area of temptation where people are giving so much of their emotional life to someone.
I had a college student one time and he was engaged in getting married. And he was talking about how he tries to make sure that he and his fiance aren't too emotionally like connected. And I said, what do you mean by that? Because on the surface, that sounds terrible, right? You're like, what?
You're not emotionally connected or getting married? He goes, no, no, no. Listen here. 21-year-old told me this. It was like this lesson for me. He said, if the only thing that changes when we get married is sex, that's a problem. It means that our dating was not as it was supposed to be.
That we were acting like we were married while we were dating. And you see when couples date, all of a sudden they don't have their same friends anymore. They're only together. They're at each other's houses till forever. They got tired.
They spent the night. The famous I don't want to drive back excuse. I see all of it. But what's happening is dating can really set us up for a lot of failure, a lot of sin, a lot of heartbreak, unrealistic expectations. Because it's not a biblical category, but we're inventing it. So we're trying to live for Christ in this dating institution. So I just want to warn people in their dating relationships just to be really careful.
And to make expectations known. If it is the person that you think that you want to spend the rest of your life with and the other person reciprocates that, then move towards marriage. Dating for the sake of dating for a Christian just doesn't make very much sense to me.
If you're trying to live a life that honors God. But again, dating is how we meet people. It's not anti-dating. I'm saying dating for the sake of dating. What are you going to do with your kids? So my son had a homecoming date so far, that type of thing.
And now when that time comes for them to want to take a girl on a date, I think that's great. I'm just going to be really careful with them on what all this means now. You don't need to be over at her house every single day. You're not going to be inseparable. Like you're not a package deal, you're 16. If you want to go have dinner together, go to a movie or go to Chick-fil-A, that's a different story.
And it's like your girlfriend, that's great. But in terms of you're not going to be this inseparable, where you're always at the hip, we're just not going to do it that way. Will it be different with your daughter? Will there be the talk?
So I hope not. So just emotionally in my flesh, you want to be like, if any boy comes near my daughter. But Jenna Wilkin, who's a friend, she's a great writer. She read a post one time talking about how that whole, like, I'm going to have my shotgun at the door to scare the guy. He said, without realizing it, that kind of macho move can objectify your daughter and make her feel like she's this sexual object that needs to be treated differently than her brothers. I do think men and women are different. And I do think there is a vulnerability difference, but I would hope that I had the same expectations with my boys that I have with my daughter and that. So I'm not there yet, she's only eight.
So that's my hope is that I think my wife will keep me very kind of stable and level headed, I hope during that time. I'm thinking about back when our kids were in high school. I don't even, I'm not sure they were even that old yet.
They might have been 14 to 16. But I can remember being in the kitchen hearing them talk about I kiss dating goodbye. One son said, I'm doing this. I'm not going to kiss my wife until I know I'm going to marry her.
I'm not going to kiss my girl until we're going to get married. And I heard the other son say, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. And so, you know, both of them are Wilson boys.
Yeah. And so I was loving that they're having the dialogue. So when your son is going on his homecoming date, like, do you guys have that talk? Is it okay to kiss her dad? You know, what's okay? So we were saying, my dad used to say it with me every time.
And it's funny because all my friends learned it. So we'd all be leaving the house together. And my dad would yell, not yell, he would just stay on the way out the door. He'd go, boys, don't do anything.
And we'd all go, stupid. That was our rule, don't do anything stupid. So I think that's more the conversation I would have. And I'll say, also, man, just know that, like, I'm not going to tell you not to kiss your girlfriend, but I am going to tell you that it rarely just stays there. So if you're going to try to live your life, he's a believer, you know, serious about the Lord, he's a Christian leader in his school, he's president of his FCA at his public school.
I'm really proud of him. Like this is going to not just damage your fellowship with the Lord. It's going to be a bad witness to your school that you've worked hard to have a witness at. And also how she's going to view, this girl's going to view the faith of you as a man can really be altered if you're not taking care of her in those ways. Now you don't have responsibilities a husband has. It's not your job to spiritually lead her.
She's your girlfriend, not your wife. Like boyfriends are not spiritual leaders. But you're also preparing to be a Christian man. So there are qualities you need to possess in that.
And one of them is loving your neighbor, your sister in Christ, by protecting not just your purity, but hers. Not that she doesn't have her own mind, you know, the future date or whoever, but you have a responsibility as a man to be able to do that. So that's kind of more the approach that I'll take. And it is easy as a young man, teenager, high school, college, to think it's just a kiss.
It won't go any farther. And that's great wisdom to go, yeah, when you're in that moment, you're going to be so tempted to just keep going. Or the cycle. So let's say there's always that kind of, think back to your teenage days.
And for our listeners, think about your teenage days. That first kiss, you're like nervous, you know, it's like this moment. But then what happens next time you're together?
You've already done that. So you kiss immediately. That's a danger zone. Because then from there, guess what happens? Like there's like a ladder you climb, like a figurative ladder that kind of keeps going. And as Christians, we seem to be really on guard towards these things.
Yeah, you gotta be careful. All right, lie number two, marriage is a capstone, not a cornerstone. So I'm passionate about this.
Good, let's hear it. Yeah, so right now, so marriage, I believe, is the cornerstone. Like that God has given us to build our lives from. What's happened is it's become a capstone, as in I'm going to build my life.
And then after I do all those things, then, and only if I'm really ready, then I'm going to get married. You're just asking for sexual morality, right? That's individualism, I think, in a way that God never intended. It's not good for man to be alone. I know there are people who God has given, you know, the call or the gift. Sometimes it's a gift, sometimes for some they maybe feel like it's a weight to carry of singleness, you know?
So I'm not saying that they're out of God's will. But for people that are ready to date, that want to date, you're ready to get married. Like don't date unless you have marriage in mind. So I would say if you don't want to get married anytime soon, that is you, if you're just saying, hey, I don't want to get married, you know, till I'm 35, I want to go do these things. That's okay. You have every right to do that. Then don't date.
Yeah. Then don't date until that time because marriage is not something that we build our lives to, something we build our lives from. So I'm a huge proponent of getting married young and not carelessly, not recklessly or flippantly, but getting married young and building your life together from that.
And if you have, I asked a professor when I was in college, I took a marriage and family class and it was taught by a husband and a wife. And that actually reminded me of y'all. Yeah, you'd be great.
I'm not sure you'd do some of that, but you'd be great at that. And so I went up to Mrs. Dr. Anderson afterwards. And I, cause I was dating Christy pretty seriously at the time. And I was in college and she was in college.
She was at Florida State and I was at Liberty University. And I went up to her and I said, Dr. Anderson. I said, I have a question. And she said, sure, what's going on? I said, how much money do you have to have in order to get married?
I just really wanted to know, like, I need to go save up those money. And she goes, huh, that's a good question. You guys see her thicken for a minute. She said, can you pay for your rent now? And I was like, yes, ma'am. And she said, can your wife pay for her rent? And I said, yeah. She's like, so y'all could pay for your rent. And I said, yeah. She goes, well, and she shrugged her shoulders and said, maybe one month's living expenses.
I was like, okay, that was really helpful for me. You know, so we could have one month's living expenses that are early days of being married. You know, now if I only had one month living expenses, I'd be in panic mode because I have kids and have mortgage and all those kinds of things. But, you know, we're 21, 22 years old and like, we could pay for our rent and have groceries.
You know, we were okay. So I just want to really encourage people out there to see marriage as something you build your life from, not something you build your life to. And for Christian parents that have adult children who are 21, 22 years old, don't be the hurdle. You know, don't be the hurdle towards that. Because again, what you might be saying without realizing it is that fulfilling your dreams or a graduate degree or financial stability is more important than God's design in sexual immorality.
I know you don't believe that. That's how you're figuratively acting when you do those things. And that's really the culture we're living in. It is.
Couples are getting married much later. They do want 50 to 100 grand in the bank. You know, it's like- Want a down payment for a house. And again, there's nothing wrong with having some of those dreams, but you're right. And we're the first culture in the history of civilization to think that way. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was 19 when we got married. Dave was 22. We grew. We learned. We didn't know anything. And had no money.
Nothing. We graduated from college and got married. Yep.
I had just turned 23 a month before and she had just turned 22. All right. Here's another lie. Yeah, we don't have a lot of time.
So let's see how much time we can spend on this. Porn is the norm. Oh, it is. And it's from, it used to be where you had to go to a 7-Eleven or a gas station and to kind of shamefully walk up there and they would have them in the packages behind the register and kind of whisper, can I have one of those magazines? Now you just go to your phone. And even if you have filters on your phone, there's still ways people can find it. So people need to realize how poisonous this is, how demonic porn is, how the enemy is using to destroy people, destroy marriages, destroy your mind. And sadly, it's just far too normal and far too accepted now. There's no stigma on it anymore.
I think it was a good thing there was a stigma. I'm not saying, I don't mean the guilt and shame way, but if you're an unbeliever, like you are, we need you to have guilt. Like we see in the book of Acts when the gospel is preached, it pierced their hearts, right?
That's what actually happened. For the Christian, there should be conviction, right? But by the guilt and shame is we don't remain in that.
So I mean like we go towards Christ for redemption and forgiveness, but there's no stigma whatsoever with pornography anymore. What do you do with your kids in terms of phones and boundaries? Yeah, well, the first rule is it's my phone and your mom's phone. It's not your phone.
Even though you have it, it's your phone number, it's your contacts, your friends, we own the phone. So that means we can ask for it at any time whatsoever. And then also on TV and things like that, I've kind of developed some trust with them, not in a naive way, but like they know where we stand on this stuff and how serious it is. To the point where if we're watching a movie together and there's like a moment where it looks like it gets a little dicey, they see me fast forward right through it. You know, and I tell them it's not just because they're there. Like in general, I don't need to see that.
So I'll say there's only one person that's ever seen with their clothes off or in that kind of setting, and that's your mother. And God said, that's a good thing. It's not the sex that's bad.
It's the location of it. And that our eyes and our minds are not meant for that to be played out anywhere else, but in the institution of marriage. So I think couples I know that the husband or the wife are just heartbroken over and they find out about a pornography addiction. They feel like they were like physically cheated on. Like it feels like adultery.
I've talked to people before. That's how they truly felt. And it feels like betrayal. There's so much shame. Am I not this enough for you?
Why do you need this? It is a serious problem in our culture and Christians have to be a strong voice about what we think of it. Yeah, and I would just add, you know, I think pastoring for 30 years, I can't talk about women, but men that really wanted to honor God and go for it in their, you could feel in their soul, I want to surrender everything. And yet they had this porn, whether it's an addiction or even a struggle, I don't think they understood that one issue because it's deeper than I'm looking at some sex, it's soul, it's body, it's the thing that's keeping them from running after God.
They're running, but they're not. And they're like, oh, it's just one part of my life. Nope, that one encompasses every part of you. One thing that's messed us up in the Christian culture is when we started telling people that all sins are equal, I don't know where we got that from. Now all sins are equal in the fact that they all require the forgiveness of Christ. They all separate us equally from God.
But they're not equal in the fact of the effect. So the scriptures say, Paul wrote, when you sin sexually, you sin against your own body. He doesn't say when you lie, you lie against your own body. Or when you steal, you steal against your own body. Those two things are still, the wages of sin is death, they're still very important. That's why Jesus had to die. But when we sin sexually, it's our whole selves. And that's a big deal.
And it really does, especially you have that baggage, you bring it into your marriage, and now it affects your marriage relationship, it affects your parenting, it affects everything. Your legacy. Everything. Everything.
And we're not judging it. There are deeper issues. I think there's some ways to get help, therapy, help, counseling, the Bible.
To be in God's word, to be in fellowship, all of that makes a difference. Yeah, Dean, what would you say to the person, and I've felt this way for a long time, it feels sexually broken. I've made mistakes. I'm scarred. It's irreparable.
How do I dig out? Or maybe you love Jesus, you're walking with him, but you keep falling back into that sin. Yeah, I am so thankful for Romans 8. That tells us at the very beginning of the chapter, there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ. At the end of the chapter, it tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. So don't see yourself differently than God actually sees you. How does God see you? He doesn't see you as a broken person. He sees you as someone he has restored, that Jesus' life was given for.
That's how much it took to restore you. And that also that it's supposed to be broken when we depart from God's design. So you don't stay in that guilt.
Now you go recover and pursue that. So not only does God restore us, he also calls us as his co-laborers to go recover, not go live in God's design, go pursue God's design for you regarding this. But my biggest just encouragement to everyone is please see yourself the way God sees you. And he sees you as someone he loves, someone who's a new creation. He does not see you as someone who committed these sins back 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago.
He sees you as his child who he's adopted in his family through Christ. And there is more grace in God than there is sin in us. Even though there's a ton of sin in us, it means God's grace is that big. That's why we call the gospel good news. So please believe the good news for yourself. Because oftentimes we can find ourselves believing the good news for other people. We'll tell them that God forgives you and he loves, like that's not Christian cliche. We really actually believe these things. And it's true for you as well. So please believe that for you, what you also believe for other people.
There's no combination of those that are in Christ and absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God. Yeah, and I would just end with thanks, Dean. I mean, this has been really helpful.
Thanks for answering the hard questions too. I think it's so important. Yeah, and I would say to any person, get the book.
And parents, especially, this is a great tool to help talk to your kids about this, because this is a big deal. Please see yourself the way God sees you. This is so hard when shame and regret is just incredibly powerful. But if the gospel is true, and it is, then we know that his grace is more powerful than our regret and shame. What if we just defaulted to that when it was so difficult to believe? What if we leaned on that by faith when our temptation was to spiral down into shame? Our lives would really be an accurate reflection of the grace of God and the goodness of the gospel. I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Dean and Sarah on Family Life Today.
Dean has written an incredible book called Pure, and the subtitle is Why the Bible's Plan for Sexuality Isn't Outdated, Irrelevant, or Oppressive. You know, this book is going to be our gift to you. When you partner financially with us today, in order to make more conversations like the one you heard today actually possible. So if you want to partner with us, you can go online to familylifetoday.com, or you could give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, the number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today.
And feel free to drop us something in the mail. Our address is Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. So is having kids in Sunday school and Christian school going to be enough for them?
Ultimately, we need to understand that salvation belongs to the Lord. Well, tomorrow on Family Life Today, Dave and Ann Wilson are joined by Jared Kennedy, who will be talking with us about how to keep your children's ministry actually on mission. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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