I have reworded the below questions as the writer prefers to remain anonymous
Should a single woman assume that a normal relationship includes engaging in sex before marriage? Should it even be expected? Should we not make this an issue among our friends? anonymous
I really appreciate the honesty in what you've shared with me regarding your situation. I do hear what you are asking and I definitely want to encourage you to live according to the life that is in you so that you are not swayed by what amounts to another face of the law.
That's right, living according to law doesn't merely force us to view ourselves according to performance it also suggests to us that real life (which of course is only the life of God) and everything that comes forth out of real life is irrelevant or immaterial. It is through a legal basis that we learned how to tip-toe through a sin-conscious life, so that instead of living in the freedom of true life we end up establishing the same kind of comparison lifestyle as found in the world. And so we approach life as if we have to justify both what we do or don't do. And that's how we end up doing things based upon whether or not it is accepted by the part of society we find ourselves judged by.
So, when a person is dealing with condemnation in his or her life then that person is not seeing Christ because all he or she CAN see is SIN. The making of truly wise choices is not even an option! Why not? Because even the right choices before the condemned mind is SIN because that mindset has merely created scenarios of choosing between the lesser of evils. Only when true freedom breaks through do we realize that we are no longer slaves of sin who are presented with a life of choosing between good and evil but instead are freed to live as those who have been raised to a life in which there is no sin.
The somewhat recently-accepted lifestyles we see in the world around us (even in many Christian communities) have been established through a delicate balance based upon the same old law-based mindset that formerly rejected such lifestyles. You see, the conformity of the world goes much deeper than the end results we have struggled with because this conformity has to do with the very identity of the existence that is devoid of true life. When we, as new creations raised up with Christ, begin to entertain that the foundation of our lives consists of a higher morality or better lifestyle based upon wise and/or God-ordained commands then what we have accepted is not the miraculous life within us through Christ but a set of standards that can be broken and also can be adjusted.
Do you realize what conformity to the legal mindset produces within us? It produces the same continual nagging sense of desperation and emptiness found in the world. This is why we fall into those patterns of behavior where we are always looking to someone or something else to fulfill us. As your confidence is established in your fulfillment in Christ then that old sense of emptiness and desperation can be seen for what it is, and you also know that its demand upon your life is bogus ... no matter what your friends think or say about it.
If from true freedom you have been taught by God then you know that you don't have to live under the bondage found in the desperate search to fulfill yourself through empty sexual relationships. The simple fact that sex is expected from a single woman only accentuates the sense of emptiness we desire to fulfill, if we can get enough of it, that is. But it is never enough, is it? It is true freedom to know that which can not fulfill you; it is also freedom to know that you cannot fulfill another!
Perhaps your friends' own lack of confidence has them living from a sense of desperation and an emptiness that is not being filled in Christ alone. I do not think that you should ignore what you see going on with your friends, but instead to listen for a sense of life or maybe the lack of it in relation to how they live their lives. Do they speak as those who rationalize what they do by comparing themselves to others or do they speak from a place of true life and freedom? Now, I don't mean, do they SAY the right words, but do you sense life or death, freedom or bondage in what they say? Speak with them, ask them questions, according to what you are really hearing.