What do you do if you’re a single Christian woman and a non-Christian man is attracted to you? What do you do if you’re attracted to him too? In this frank and helpful article, an anonymous Briefing reader shares some advice.
The other day, I received a text message from a non-Christian friend of mine. It went something like this: “I like you. I think you’re really sexy & intelligent, and I think sex before marriage is fine. But I’m not a slut. Do you want to catch up for lunch or dinner this week?” I was so shocked, I dropped my mobile phone. When I recovered, I messaged back, apologizing if I had done anything to give him the idea I wanted to be anything more than friends.
I wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with this particular non-Christian man. But what if I was? I’d spent years as a youth group leader telling teenage girls not to have sex before marriage and not to date or marry non-Christians. But had I told them what they should do if they fell in love or started being attracted to a non-Christian man? No. I’d failed to give them practical advice, and knowing that makes me feel physically ill.
In this article, I’d like to look at some practical ways that Christian women can stay pure—how you can stop yourself from dating, having premarital sex with and marrying a non-Christian. This advice is designed for Christian women who are single, not Christian women who are married to non-believers. Furthermore, it’s written with the assumption that, as a Christian who loves Jesus, you know that God’s word says marrying a non-Christian inadvisable and having sex before marriage is wrong. I’m speaking from my experience of managing to stay sexually pure; it’s not meant to be a legalistic list of dos or don’ts. So please read it for what it is—advice from your sister in Christ.
So what do you do when you become attracted to a non-Christian man, or when you are being pursued by one? You may find the following suggestions helpful for fending them off.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
Admit your feelings are natural, but know that that doesn’t make it right to give in to temptation. It’s natural for women to be sexually attracted to men and vice versa, but just because it feels good doesn’t make it right. Recognizing that you’re attracted to someone can actually be helpful for avoiding sin because you know that that person is a temptation.
When you know that a man is a temptation for you, respond by asking God to deliver you from that temptation. But remember, there’s no use praying ‘lead me not into temptation’ (Matt 6:13) and then putting yourself in a situation with the person you’re attracted to.
2. Practise self-control
If you are getting along really well with a non-Christian man and you are attracted to him in a romantic way, it’s wise to pull back. This might involve not hanging out with him as much as you have been, cutting down on texting, not replying to emails or messages on social networking sites, and shortening phone calls. We can control how intimate we become with people. The more time you spend with someone, the more intimate you’ll become, with friendship quickly turning into something more. So exercise your self-control.
3. Don’t flirt
Flirting: don’t do it. Not only is it sexually immoral, it’s cruel to flirt if you have no intention of entering a romantic relationship with a person.
4. Dress modestly
How you dress says a lot about you. If you’re serious about obeying God’s command to be sexually pure, you will dress accordingly. If you wouldn’t wear an outfit to church because it’s too risqué, why are you wearing it outside of church?
5. Be accountable
Make yourself accountable to another Christian regarding your sexual purity. Choose this person wisely. I think it’s good to choose a Christian who scares you a bit—someone you respect. Meet regularly. Pray together. Do a Bible study about sex and marriage.
6. Maintain good friendships
When everyone else seems to be paired up, you can feel very alone. So it’s important to keep close friendships with other women. Friendships with Christian men are great too. I think it’s healthy and refreshing for Christians to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, not as potential husbands or wives.
7. Mourn your singleness
If you believe that God’s word says that you should only marry a believer, you may never get married. Thinking that you may never get married can be frightening and depressing, and it’s incredibly frustrating when non-Christian men find you attractive and Christian men don’t pursue you. However, you need to come out of your grief and enter a place of contentment.
I wish that I could be happy in my singleness, but God doesn’t say I have to be happy; he tells me to be content. I think that, for me at least, discontentment is about fear—fear that I’m never going to get married, fear that I’m not going to have children, fear of being alone. God’s word talks about his perfect love driving out fear (1 John 4:18). I think the love of Jesus is the only thing that can calm my fears about remaining single.
Discontentment is dangerous because it leads some Christians to date or marry unbelievers. However, although deciding to fix the ‘problem’ of singleness by dating and possibly marrying a non-Christian might solve some of the problems singleness brings, it will also create new problems.
8. Flee from sexual immorality
Don’t get into situations where you’re tempted to sin. In Genesis 39, Joseph literally runs away from another man’s wife when she tries to seduce him. So if someone’s trying to seduce you, run:
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:18-20)
9. Remember God
Recognize the one you’re sinning against: God. When David turns back to God after committing adultery with Bathsheba, he pours out his feelings and says, “Against you, you only, have I sinned” (Ps 51:4). Thinking about Jesus when you’re in a tempting situation is a powerful incentive to keep yourself pure.
What happens if you don’t flee sexual immorality? What if you fall sexually? If that happens, repent—turn away from your sin and take comfort in the fact that you have been saved by grace, not works. You may still feel bad about your sin, but remember Psalm 103:12: “[A]s far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us”. Confess your sin to God and ask for his forgiveness.
Being sexually pure doesn’t just happen; like any area of godliness in our lives, it requires work. And like any sin, if you sin sexually, you need to flee to the cross. I’ve always prided myself on being sexually moral; all I’ve ever done is kiss a guy when I was a teenager. Yet, recently, I foolishly got myself in a tempting situation where I ignored most of the advice you’ve just read. I ended up alone with a non-Christian guy I was attracted to, and I know he was attracted to me too because he pulled me close, he started touching me and he whispered things in my ear such as “There’s a lot of things I can do that will make you feel really good without us actually having sex”. It was very hard to say no and make him let me go.
So when forced to choose between satisfying the desires of the flesh and the heart by being with a non-Christian and being obedient to God, remember that God sent his Son Jesus to die for you. Thinking about Jesus on the cross, his resurrection and the hope of heaven is a great incentive to obey. When you say no to a romantic relationship with a non-Christian for Jesus’ sake, that pleases God. Life on earth is very short compared to eternity in heaven.