Main Verse: “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Song ofSongs 8:4, NIV
The sky was still dark that July morning. I had woken up early, excited to catch the sunrise on my 21st birthday. There by the beach, I thanked God for His gift of life to me, and made two promises to Him —one, to follow Him all the days of my life; the other, to wait on Him for my future life partner.
I took out the ring that I had bought — a simple band engraved with ‘WAITING 4 U’ — and slipped it onto my left middle finger. The ring represented my promise made in God’s presence to pursue purity —to save myself for my future husband. I wore the ring daily, as a commitment to trust God with matters of the heart, and also as a reminder to pray for my future husband — for him to be a man after God’s heart, hoping he will wait for me too.
Over the years, as friends began to find their other halves, I wondered when it would be my turn. How I wished there was a special someone to have and to hold, but no such person came along. I fought against temptations to start relationships with guys who showed interest in me but didn’t hunger after God. Then, when a potential someone appeared, my heart ached when I realised, “No, Jiamin. He’s not yours.” To numb the pain of loneliness, my eyes wandered off to viewing things I shouldn’t have seen.The images filled my mind with fantasies that stirred an intense desire for physical intimacy, but left me feeling empty and ashamed. I felt guilty for not keeping my heart and mind pure before God who is holy. But each time, with a spirit of repentance, I found forgiveness at His throne of grace. And the wait onGod for my future husband continued. The pursuit of purity went on.
One Bible verse that encouraged me was Song of Songs 8:4 — “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” This is spoken by a woman who has found her PrinceCharming, and is filled with passion for him. Yet she’s holding back, choosing to pursue purity and saving sexual intimacy for marriage. She encourages the other women, “the daughters of Jerusalem”, to guard their hearts, to wait for physical intimacy, to express love only when the time is right. In Song of Songs, this call to “not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” appears three times (2:7; 3:5; 8:4) to grab the attention of the hearers. It’s an important message to take to heart.
It may be surprising to see such vivid descriptions of sexuality in the Bible, but the Song of Songs has been recorded partly to affirm the beauty and wonder of sexual delight that God created for marriage between a man and woman. The yearning for love and intimacy is all part of God’s beautiful design, not to be shunned as shameful or dirty desires. However, it’s about awakening love at the right time — to wait for the day when a man and a woman pledge themselves to each other in marriage, that the bride will give of herself physically, fully, freely, to the groom who also gives himself to her. This intimacy is a wonderful gift from God.
Until the time comes for love to be awakened, may we spur one another to pursue purity while waiting.Guarding our hearts, bodies and minds is not only guarding what is precious to us and our future spouses, but also our act of honouring God and bearing witness to a watching world.
1. In the pursuit of purity, what are some things that you struggle with? How do you deal with them?
2. What choices can you and your friends make to guard your bodies, hearts, and minds in a way that honours God?
Read and reflect on these passages on why purity matters:
o Ephesians 5:1-211
o Thessalonians 4:1-82
o Timothy 2:22
Instead of reading your Bible alone, try reading it in community for a richer experience! Invite a friend to study a Bible passage with you, to share insights and questions that you may not have considered, and to tackle difficult issues together.
God, even though it is not easy to wait, grant me the desire and strength to pursue purity, to flee from temptations, and to honour you with my entire being. Amen.