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Sexual purity commitment requires Christ, speakers tell teenagers

ATLANTA (BP)–Even if she received no cards, no roses and no candy for Valentine’s Day, a 50-year-old single New Orleans author and storyteller said she would still go to bed that night feeling like the Queen of Sheba.
Her sense of worth does not depend on a man’s attention, said Gwen Williams. A relationship with Jesus Christ is what gives her confidence, she said, declaring that a commitment to Christ is essential for young people wanting to keep their pledge to wait until marriage to have sex.
“I ain’t slept with nobody but my teddy bear … and that’s a stuffed bear,” Williams told 1,100 youth attending a True Love Waits conference at Greenforest Community Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta. “Jesus is keeping me, and he will give you the strength to wait.”
The conference was held in conjunction with the annual True Love Waits Goes Campus campaign, sponsored by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Launched on Valentine’s Day 1997 and held again Feb. 13, the campaign gives teens who make a pledge to sexual abstinence the opportunity to display their commitment cards at school.
James E. Brown Jr., youth and college student minister at Greenforest, told the youth that signing the True Love Waits pledge to sexual abstinence until marriage is not enough to make youth keep their commitment.
“What’s going to pull you through those tough times is your commitment to Jesus Christ,” he said.
Created in April 1993 by Sunday School Board officials, True Love Waits is an international campaign that challenges teenagers and college students to remain sexually abstinent until marriage.
Williams acknowledged that sexual satisfaction can be a temptation. Yet when she’s tempted, “the Spirit of God says, you better leave that alone. That’s not yours. I’m celibate because Christ lives in me.”
Williams noted that 1 Peter 2:9 refers to Christians as part of a holy nation and royal priesthood and that the psalmist says God’s people are fearfully and wonderfully made. “You are fantastic. Quit letting Satan mess with you,” she said.
A healthy self-image is an important tool for teenagers to use to resist sexual temptation, Williams said, using several analogies to make her point.
“We are not a Kmart blue light special. You say you want to try before you buy. You can look, but you don’t cook your food and eat it before you pay for it.”
Known as “Miss Chocolate” for her love of candy, Williams is popular for using humor in her speeches. She told the youth at this conference, however, she “didn’t come here to play. Teen pregnancies are killing us. AIDS is killing us. It’s got to stop, and it’s got to stop today.”
God’s command to refrain from sex outside the marriage relationship is like a gate that parents put up to protect their children, Williams said.
“Sometimes I get to the gate and look out because I’m curious, but the Holy Spirit pulls me in,” she said. “Inside the gate you don’t have to worry about HIV or flunking out of school. Going to college is inside the gate. Joy is inside the gate.”
Williams spoke during a general session of the two-day conference that included multiple seminars for teenagers and parents.
Nate Barnes, a member of Berean Christian Church, Lithonia, Ga., said he learned that sex before marriage is “sin against your own body.” His fellow church member, Brian Jackson, said, “It’s like raping God.”
To resist sexual temptation, Christians need to starve the flesh and feed the spirit, said George McCalep, senior pastor of the host church.
“Your flesh is weak. You cannot risk going to certain movies or reading certain magazines. You must treat your flesh rudely, but at the same time feed your spirit. Feed your spirit by giving God praise.”
On April 14, True Love Waits leaders are expected to deliver the results of the latest campaign effort, True Love Waits Goes Campus, to national and state government leaders. Officials are hoping to have two figures — those who participated in the latest campaign and those who have signed abstinence pledges since the movement was created in 1993.
Individuals who have signed abstinence pledges in the past and schools, churches or clubs that participated in the Goes Campus event this year may fax their reports to (615) 251-2830, send them via e-mail to [email protected], or issue them electronically through an on-line reporting mechanism at www.bssb.com/tlwbase.htm.
For more information, call 1-800-LUV WAIT.

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  • Sarah Zimmerman