Sunday, June 04, 2006

Resisting Temptation in College

Graduations (whether high school or college) always cause me to think about the pressures students will face or have faced in the university setting. In particular, I'm thinking of the immense sexual pressure that will be faced. David Wheaton says that only 14% of all college graduates leave with their virginity intact. That's an incredibly sad statistic!

When you put the equation together, it's bad. A whole bunch of 18-to-22 year-olds plus raging hormones plus being away from home plus easy availability of members of the opposite sex plus the strong current of contemporary culture toward sex with anyone minus the presence of authority figures equals temptations that are nearly impossible to resist.

How can we impress upon our students the importance of sexual purity? God commands it (see 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 for at least one passage), and it's the best course for us. Should we stress the scourge of sexually transmitted diseases? The fact is that they're rampant. Should we emphasize the emotional scars that sex outside of God's boundaries inevitably brings? Absolutely!

But it's my contention that we should spend far more time preparing students for sexual temptation by developing the attitude of Joseph. You remember Joseph, don't you? We find his story in Genesis 37 through 50. After being sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph finds himself in Egypt working in the household of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's bodyguards. Joseph was "handsome in form and appearance," and Potiphar's wife noticed him and liked what she saw. Day after day, she asked him to have sex with her. Day after day, he refused. In Genesis 39:9 he said, "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" Joseph resisted real and repeated temptations - not by quoting statistics or thinking about emotional consequences - but because of his love and fear of God. He loved God so much and feared Him so fully that he wouldn't dare bring himself to sin against Him. Joseph didn't want to disappoint the Lord or hurt Him by his own sin. That, in my opinion, will keep a college student from sexual sin - a deep sense of the love and fear of God. It's easier to simply proclaim the bad effects of sexual activity outside of marriage than to do the hard work of developing a heart attitude of the loving fear of God - harder, but better and more effective in the long run.


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