From nucleus - summer 2005 - What the Bible says about going out, sex and marriage (Book Review) [p41]
This small book provides excellent practical advice for Christian young people on how to view and express their sexuality.
In a culture where sex is often portrayed as all-important and without much moral framework other than self-fulfilment, it can be very hard for young Christian singles to work out how they should live their lives as sexual beings.
Richards and Jones encourage us to view sex as God’s wonderful gift, far too valuable to be wasted by using it in the wrong situation. Marriage is presented very positively, with biblical and practical reasons why sex is only appropriate in a marriage relationship, along with the consequences of getting this wrong – emotional hurt, unwanted pregnancy, infection and consequences for future relationships.
For those in dating relationships it provides sensible advice about the purpose: ‘“Going out” should wisely be considered as a time of getting to know each other, in order to test out if marriage is a future possibility.’ The focus should be on the good of our boy/girlfriend rather than on ourselves and our needs, just like in marriage. There are suggestions on how to encourage intimacy without provoking each other in inappropriate ways: making time for listening, doing practical things to help each other and learning to show appreciation in ways other than only the physical.
Of course, wrong choices are all too often a reality and there are consequences to these. Thankfully our God is gracious and although some consequences cannot easily be removed, forgiveness is always available, along with the opportunity to change.
There is a healthy balance between presenting God’s model positively, warning clearly about the consequences of ignoring his laws and remembering the grace available in our failure. Young people (and the not so young!) can live in sexual purity, though it may not be easy. The foreword reads:
The Lord, who gave us sexual desire, is willing to also give the desire and strength to live as he knows is best for us. God’s standards and commands in the Bible are not there to frustrate us, but to protect us and liberate us from the pressures of society.
The book is useful to students and particularly to teenagers. It would be highly appropriate to use in church youth group situations and I recommend reading it and thinking who else might benefit.