We have been hearing those words together for decades, sometimes as a component of abstinence-based sex education and sometimes a purity challenge for church youth groups. In fact, True Love Waits is an official product resource line from Lifeway Christian Resources and includes a variety of supporting resources such as Bible studies, videos, books, jewelry, and apparel. Over the past 20 plus years, hundreds of thousands of young people have been impacted by this movement. And I am grateful for that.
Today, however, I want to share an example of True Love Waits (TLW) that has nothing to do with sexuality. I would even suggest that the TLW approach to sexuality is drawn from an even deeper concept as demonstrated in this example from the life of Jesus.
A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. (John 11:1-6, New Living Translation)
Wait a minute! Did you see that? He loved them, but He didn’t go? What kind of love is that?
Some might call that love fickle, conditional, or convenient. Remember it is Jesus we’re talking about here. The One who proved His love by dying for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). The One who took all our sins on Himself so that we might be right with God (2 Corinthians 5:20).
I’m going to suggest that the heart of TLW may be seen in this passage. Jesus not only had, but was true love personified. And He waited. Why? For a greater purpose of revealing God’s glory. True love maintains a God-focus, that is, a determined focus on God’s purpose and glory.
Why should we encourage sexual abstinence until marriage? Because it is safer? Because it is good for us? Because it shows our faith or our perseverance? Deeper than all that is the reality of connection to God’s purpose and glory. The same is true of any delayed gratification of our God-given urges and passions. God is glorified when we find fulfillment (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally) in concert with His glory and purpose.
Question: How can that concept of True Love Waits encourage you in a season of waiting?
Leave a comment. I’d love to hear your perspective.