Self Control – everyone has it, is capable of it, but most choose not to use it
There was a Tom Hanks movie where he played a guy whose plane crashes, and he ends up alone on an island for a year or more. I think it was called “Cast Away.” His only “friend” is a volleyball who washes ashore from the same plane crash. He names the ball “Wilson.”
Hank’s character was by himself on this island for a year, or maybe longer, with only Wilson the volleyball for company. There were no women for him to have sex with. There was nobody there. And yet, Hanks (his character) made it just fine without sex for a year.
If you were to end up on a desert island by yourself for a year or more, you would have no choice but to go without sex with another person.
There are military couples where one gets deployed and serves overseas for a year or longer, and neither spouse cheats. They remain celibate for a year or more.
In spite of there being plenty of examples demonstrating that even people who have normal sexual desires can go without sex, people who are left of center politically, morally, and theologically continue to insist it is impossible for anyone to go without sex for more than a few months, let alone a year or decades.
I ran into a few such Christians on another site awhile back.
When I pointed out to them, again, for the 100th time I’ve visited their site that I’m a virgin past my 40s, one who has a normal sex drive, they still retort with, “But that’s just you! Not everyone can do that!”
And they both claim to be Christ followers – the same Christ who teaches in the Bible that sex is for hetero married couples only, not for adult singles.
One of these Christians shot back, “But Paul said if you burn with lust, you should marry.”
I replied, “Why yes, but that does not negate that the same New Testament which makes that statement also says that self-control is a trait believers possess. Further, I burn with lust and desire but am single and currently unable to find a husband. Are you therefore basically telling me to cave in and have pre-marital sex?”
Both Christians remained silent on that question. Neither one had a response. They want to keep pushing the “virginity and celibacy is impossible for all but a few people” outlook.
Again, this is in spite of the fact that the Bible says self-control is possible for adults, especially Christians, and does not give an escape clause reading, “If you are single and lusty and cannot get a spouse, go ahead and fornicate.”
The concept of self control (which also involves denying one’s self, one’s urges, and the Scriptures also discuss self discipline) pops up every so often in the New Testament, such as:
- Titus 2:11-12
- For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
- Titus 1:8
- but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled
- 2 Peter 1:5-9
- Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love
- 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
- For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God
- Galatians 5:22-23
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The Bible does not contain loopholes on sexual behavior for single adults.
What it comes down to is choice and self-control. Adults are fully capable of controlling their sexual urges and not acting upon them, but they choose to give in to desire and have sex anyway.
I recently came across this interesting study that says a person can have self control – those who fail at self control are those who think they are incapable at it. Jesus Christ said, “As a man thinketh, so is he.”
If you keep telling yourself that celibacy is too hard for you, or only meant for a tiny percentage that God “gifted” with celibacy, or that it’s impossible, of course you are probably going to fail.
At the end of the day, having sex is a choice you make. You can always choose to refrain from having sex.
By the way, in light of the recent SCOTUS decision the other day to insist that states do not have a right to forbid homosexual marriage, and while I myself don’t regard homosexual marriages as being valid or moral, this means that homosexual singles who want to have sex will have to marry first, too.
Not that I really think that homosexual behavior is okay in any context, but I do not see how Christians and churches can tell homosexuals it’s okay for them to have homosexual sex in or out of marriage, but keep lecturing hetero singles they must refrain.
But everyone has self control – just because you have an urge to have sex does not mean you have to indulge it.
Imagine if all the animal sex perverts (people who are into bestiality) controlled their urges, they would stop raping animals. If pedophiles would control their urges instead of caving in, there would not be anymore molesting children.
Nobody is compelled beyond their means to cave in to perform sexual acts with animals, children, other adults – they are selfish and choose to act on their desires.
Maybe the reason I have a difficult time convincing some of these liberal Christians on this topic pertains to some of the reasons cited in this study, which says conservatives have better self control than liberals:
June 22, 2015
In a (Link): paper published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers say there is a link between political ideology and the ability to exert self-control.
In a series of three studies with more than 300 participants, the authors found that people who identify as conservative perform better on tests of self-control than those who identify as liberal regardless of race, socioeconomic status and gender.
They also report that participants’ performance on the tests was influenced by how much they believed in the idea of free will, which the researchers define as the belief that a person is largely responsible for his or her own outcomes.
For example, conservatives who are more likely to embrace the idea of free will overwhelmingly agreed with statements like “Strength of mind can always overcome the body’s desires” and “People can overcome any obstacles if they truly want to.”
Conservatives have more self-control than liberals, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the result is likely due to conservatives being more likely to believe that they have self-control.
…In explaining the significance of the findings (Link): to Science Daily, Joshua John Clarkson, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Cincinnati, said that conservatives have more self-control because they are more likely to believe that they have self-control.
“Ultimately, however, it all comes down to believing whether or not you can control your own behavior, and what we’re finding is that conservatives are more likely to believe they can control their own behavior,” he said.
…”For conservatives, their default when they experience struggle is to dig deep. But if all of a sudden you have a struggle, and then you think you are getting in your own way, you may start second-guessing yourself,” he said.
For liberals, on the other hand, believing that a belief in free will was harmful gave them comfort because they did not believe in free will to begin with.
“You tell liberals that belief in free will is bad and they are like, ‘Good, I don’t have it anyway,'” Clarkson added.
Related Articles (off site):
(Link): Typical Erroneous Teaching About Adult Celibacy Rears Its Head Again: To Paraphrase Speaker at Ethics and Public Policy Center: Lifelong Celibacy is “heroic ethical standard that is not expected of heteros, so it should not be expected of homosexuals” (ie, it’s supposedly an impossible feat for any human being to achieve)