Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Amy Baker and her fiancé, Jeff, decided to set high standards during their courtship. They didn't hold hands or kiss and it had an unintended benefit. Here's Amy.

Amy Baker: Because we had set up the standard that we were not going to do that, we had to learn to communicate those things in words. That was certainly something that I didn't have much experience at and I wasn't very polished at.

But looking back at it now, some of my sweetest and most precious memories are the things that Jeff said to me.

It's Thursday, July 8; and you are listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Our guest this week is Dr. Amy Baker. Amy is a biblical counselor and, Amy, one of the things I really appreciate about you is that when you are presented with a problem or an issue in your counseling and even in the course of our conversation, you always take it back to, What does God's Word say about this?

That really is the source of authority for life. So thank you for being here with us this week to talk about what God's Word has to say particularly to our lives as singles.

Amy Baker: It's great to be here and it's great to know that God's Word has answers for every single area of our lives.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You have some life experience in the matter of singleness. You were single for the first 40+ years of your life. You have now been married about a year and half, long enough to prove what you already knew was true and that is that marriage doesn't solve every issue in life and the goal remains the same.

Amy Baker: The goal is still to please God in whatever we are doing whether we eat, whether we drink, whether we are married, whether we are single, the goal is still to please God in whatever we are doing. So although my circumstances may have changed, the goal remains the same.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: God's purpose in every circumstance that He brings into our lives is to sanctify us, to conform us to the image of Christ. And God certainly can use marriage to do that.

But he can also use singleness and I certainly have experienced that to be true as you have as well. Now I wrote a book some years ago. And we are offering it this week, called Singled Out for Him, the subtitle is Embracing the gift, the blessings and the challenges of Singleness.

I want us to talk today about what I think for many is one of the greatest challenges of singleness. That's the whole area of physical relationships. Let me start by just reading a passage that maybe will give us a foundation for our discussion.

In 1Thessalonians, chapter 4 [:3-8] the apostle Paul says "This is the will of God." Now he's talking to marrieds and to singles, in every season of life. "This is the will of God, your sanctification," that is that you should be pure.

And Paul says that "you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you should know how to control his own body in holiness and in honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God and that no one should transgress and wrong his brother in this matter because the Lord is an avenger in all these things as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you for God has not called us for impurity but in holiness, therefore whoever disregards this disregards not man but God who gives his Holy Spirit to you."

Now, Amy, as a woman in your 20's and 30's, who was seeking to glorify God, to bring honor to Him but you didn't have a husband during that period of time. What were some of the things that God taught you about how to live a morally pure life and how did you deal with some of these issues and perhaps temptations when it came to issues of moral purity?

Amy Baker: I think, in my younger years, I would have naively believed that the physical desires aren't as powerful as they really are. But as I counseled and talked with women who battled in this area and who may have had some defeats in this area, I became more and more sensitive to just how powerful this is and very, very thankful for a Savior who not only saves us for eternity from the penalty of our sin but daily gives us help that we need to please Him.

I had a friend tell me that if he and the girl he was dating never married, her future husband would be thankful if he hadn't had his paws all over her. You know I never really thought about that before.

At that point in my thinking there were a lot of things that I believed that you could do physically and it wasn't going to be defrauding; it wasn't going to lead to an increased desire to do something that God forbids.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Although for many it would.

Amy Baker: Exactly, but I was fairly naïve in my thinking at that point and thought, What would be the harm in that.

I was so appreciative of someone thinking it through like that and thinking what it actually talks about in the continuing passage in 1 Thessalonians 4.

God warns us of the danger of sexual immorality. And then He gives us and here's how you should be thinking instead, "Instead you should be putting on love" and thinking about others and replacing that self-focus (what I want and my passions that are driving me) and instead thinking about others.

Here was a guy who was thinking not about himself and the relationship with this girl he was in but about, if they didn't marry, what her future spouse would want.

As I began dating in our relationship one of the things we had to come to grips with was our physical standards. You know that our culture doesn't encourage you to think that way. And all around us, just in our media, we are certainly encouraged to go as far as you want.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How did you and Jeff think that through and how did God lead you in that?

Amy Baker: We decided to establish physical standards and this was our application. This was not what God commanded in His Word that we had to do, but our application was that we weren't going to have any physical contact at all. The first time we kissed was on our wedding day.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What was that, say that again, you said that so fast. I know some people are going to wonder if they really heard it right. Say it again.

Amy Baker: The first time Jeff and I kissed was on our wedding day. In fact I made Jeff come over early on our wedding day so we could practice kissing because I didn't want to stand in front of a group of people and to have my first kiss ever to be with people watching. But you know.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Was that hard? Not the practicing, but waiting?

Amy Baker: You know certainly I would have enjoyed that a long, long time before in our relationship. There certainly was physical desire there. And the closer our relationship became, the greater that desire was.

But one of the things I would say to myself is, "You know if we marry, we are going to get to do this for the rest of our lives. And if we don't marry, I am going to wish that I never had and love is patient."

In 1 Corinthians 13 [:4] God says that one of the characteristics of love is that it is willing to be patient. And if I wanted to have a relationship that brought glory and honor to God that meant I had to be doing it His way.

And that meant that I was willing to be patient. If I wasn't willing to be patient, what was going to happen later in marriage if I had already set up patterns of being impatient? One of the other blessings is that we had to learn to communicate with each other in words.

Had we not set those standards, it would have been very easy to seek to communicate my love and affection for Jeff physically by holding hands or kissing or that kind of thing. But looking back at it now some of my sweetest and most precious memories are the things that Jeff said to me.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Amy, what would you say to the single woman who, younger or older, who is already in a dating relationship and is physically involved. There is perhaps sexual activity going on or a physical intimacy that could easily lead to sexual intimacy, that woman claims to be a Christian, she says she wants to please the Lord but she feels like she has crossed the line. What does she do? How would you counsel her?

Amy Baker: You know at the time the emotions seem so powerful and so overwhelming that it can feel as if you have no choice. And then you live by those emotions and learn later that they have a significant bite to them.

And I've never counseled anyone who said, "I would do it all over again because it was worth it. The temporal satisfaction was worth it."

But you know one of the great things about the God that we have is that he is a God of second chances. And we see that repeatedly throughout Scripture. I think probably one of the most obvious examples is in the life of David, where, here is a man who committed adultery and God allowed him to experience some consequences of that.

But David, being a man after God's own heart, repented of that and God blessed him for his repentance. He called him, "a man after God's own heart."

And so for those who have made choices that they look back on now and say, "Oh, I wish I had not done that. Looking at it now, I know that God's Word is true. And when He says in 1 Thessalonians 4 and other places that we should not be involved in sexual immorality, I understand that now. And although I may have blown it in this area, who of us haven't blown it in some area of our lives; that's why we needed a savior."

I have the opportunity now to ask forgiveness and to put off old habits, to put on new habits, to begin to learn habits of genuinely loving my brothers by being selfless, by doing what would edify them, build them up, help them to please God more instead of making it harder for them to obey God and live a life that is going to bring glory and honor to Him.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So let me challenge you as a single woman in whatever season of life particularly if you are in a relationship, a dating relationship, a courting relationship, perhaps engaged, are you committed to God's principles, God's standard of sanctification? Are you committed to be morally pure?

This is one of the huge challenges of singleness, but there is grace, grace that is greater than your need, grace that is greater than the temptation, grace that is greater than any failure you may have in your past or your present.

You know God can't bless the sin of our past, but He can and He will bless a broken and repentant heart. When you say to Him, "Lord, honestly I acknowledge my sin. I have blown it. I've crossed over the line.

"I have transgressed my brothers in this way by being morally impure, by physical intimacy that is not what You intended for that relationship" acknowledging it to God, confessing it, seeking His forgiveness and then saying, "God by Your grace, by the power of Your Holy Spirit who lives within me, I covenant with You to live a morally pure life, to abstain from sexual activity until the time that You would bring a husband into my life.

That may seem impossible and humanly speaking it may be impossible. But God has grace and His Holy Spirit lives inside of us to enable us to please Him and to bring glory to Him as we cooperate with Him by saying, "Lord, that's what I want, that's what I choose because I know that's what will bring You glory."

Leslie Basham: If our listeners want to learn more about how to do that we have a variety of resources at ReviveOurHearts.com including the booklet you wrote Singled Out for Him at our Web site. We also have this week's entire conversation with our guest Amy Baker available on CD.

You know, Nancy, this series is on singleness. But it is really great information for anyone who wants to learn more about living according to God's plan for her life.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know here at Revive Our Hearts we are really trying to minister to the needs of both married woman, wives, moms, as well as single women through programs like the series you are hearing this week with Amy Baker.

I'm also so thankful for the fact that we have both married and single individuals who support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. That's especially meaningful during these summer months when our income is typically diminished because people are away on vacation or doing different things during the summer.

So can I ask if you would just take a moment to pray and ask the Lord to meet the needs of this ministry during July and August and then would you ask Him if he would want you to give a special gift to help make it possible for us to continue reaching into the hearts and homes of women throughout this country.

Leslie Basham: Let me tell you how you can do that. You can call us with your donation. It's toll free 1-800-569-5959.  Or mail a check to Revive Our Hearts.

Now say you have learned to trust God with singleness and He's ready to lead you into marriage? How can you know that He's leading you? We'll talk about that tomorrow. We hope you can join us again for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.