My first year in high school I was required to take a child development class. My friends and I were looking forward to the class because we knew the teacher was going to discuss “where babies come from.”
Before classes started that fall, my girlfriends and I chatted and wondered about the teacher who was going to give us the real nitty-gritty on sex!
This class would offer me “two firsts”: First, I was going to meet a teacher who shared my first name, Naomi.
Second, I was going to find out what information Mama had been withholding! Oh, boy! Let the fireworks begin.
The big day arrived in September 1965. On that eventful Monday morning, I walked into class and saw a petite African-American woman. The classroom was filled with eager teenage girls. However, the boys had been sent to a shop class to learn how to make objects instead of babies.
“My name is Mrs. Naomi Smith and I will be your child development instructor. I want you to learn one word this week. Celibacy. And I want you to learn the importance of practicing celibacy.”
My friends and I looked at one another and shrugged our shoulders. What in the heck does celibacy mean?
Mrs. Smith continued, “Celibacy is withholding, celibacy is saying no, celibacy is saying wait. I am going to teach you how to get a baby and not where babies come from.” Believe me, when you are fifteen years old, the rhetoric she used became awfully confusing!
Of course, Mrs. Smith was talking about waiting for sex until we were married. About saying no. About withholding ourselves from sexual intimacy. Those are good things. The right things to do. But what about spiritual celibacy? Is that good too? I think not.
I see celibate Christians in the church today. They are withholding themselves from a day-to-day relationship with Jesus. Saying no to the things He is calling them to do. Waiting until they’ve tried everything else before asking Him to help.
We’ve all been there. Maybe some of us are practicing spiritual celibacy right now. We may be sitting on the pew, but our minds and trust is elsewhere. We are waiting for a promotion at work, so we are placing our faith in our boss. Depending on our job instead of Jesus for our security. He may choose to provide for us through a job or promotion, but we need to remember He is our source.
Some of us may be looking for a spouse. Are we depending on Jesus to guide us to “the one” or are we depending on our own choices—guided only by an online dating service.
Some Christians today are just staring at Jesus Christ and not interacting with Him at all. We too often say no to Jesus and yes to everything else we think may solve our problems, give us pleasure, and make us happy. But Jesus is the only answer.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 ASV)
A relationship with Jesus is not developed by just going to church, reading the Bible now and then, or even serving in ministry or other good endeavors. A relationship with Jesus means living together every moment. Being unceasingly aware of His presence. Getting better acquainted by spending time in the Bible and talking to him. Not just a 10-minute prayer time in the morning or evening . . . Interacting throughout the day. He is not only your Lord and Savior. He wants to be your best friend. Discuss everything with Him. Trust His answers. Everything in His way and His time.
Stop practicing spiritual celibacy and start practicing Christ. Put your hand in the hand of the man who can do for you what no one else can!