The sounds of whispered prayers are heartd in a candle-lit atmosphere in a small sanctuary. A congregation has gathered together to praise God. This worship is one young Christian woman’s basis for being. With long black hair with thick full curls, brown heartfelt eyes, and lips singing praises, she looks like any other 26-year-old Christian woman worshiping during a service.
Christine Comis exhibits all things extraordinary in Christian living. Comis has grown up in Faith Community Church International (FCCI) located in Staten Island, New York. FCCI was founded by her grandmother, Ellen Comis. Her mother and father, Gary & Doreen, are now Senior Pastor and Reverend, respectively.
While most young women aren’t as directly connected to faith and involved on a daily basis with a church as Comis is, many can relate to her story. Her strong Christian upbringing does not exempt her from the typical temptations of daily living, particularly the most difficult, that of purity and living an abstinent life.
According to a Pew Forum on Religion And Politics February 2008 report, one in four young adults aged 18 to 29 claim no religious affiliation. This increasing gap between young people who believe and those who do not makes understanding they choice of remaining abstinent more difficult. Living an abstinent life in modern day society is not easy.
Living as a pure Christian woman is imperative in Comis’ daily life as Youth Minister at FCCI. Her reason for remaining abstinent is clear. “If we proclaim to be Christians and believe in the Word of God, then we need to not only read and speak His Word, but live it out,” Comis says. “Our lives need to be consistent no matter where we are and who we are with and God’s love and Word needs to remain a constant throughout it.”
Her struggles as a young Christian woman are realistic. Comis was once involved in an off and on again three-year relationship and found dating someone who didn’t share her Christian beliefs difficult. “[Lately], I don’t date often, but when I do, I keep myself accountable by not putting myself in compromising positions. Dating someone who shares the same beliefs as me is also vital, rare unfortunately.”
While remaining a social norm, sex exists as more than just a physical act and has dangerous long-term consequences. “The emotional damage that sex can produce is the most destructive aspect of sex before marriage. However, our culture rarely acknowledges it,” Comis says.
The issue of abstinence is not a new battle for young Christian women. The initial purity pledges, which attempted to educate young Christians on abstinence, began in 1993 by the 2.5 million members of the Southern Baptist Church with the “True Love Waits” movement. While most of these pledges were geared toward teenagers, the pledge’s intent was to guarantee that young adults waited to have sex until marriage.
As Christian women we recognize that God intended sex for a man and wife, however why is it important and what can purity do to our spiritual walk? Proverbs 15:26 proclaims: “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him.” As Christian doctrine explains, a sexual union was originally intended for those in a lifelong commitment to one another. Therefore any sexual act committed outside of marriage lessens the impact and dedication to one’s spouse in the future. “Being pure allows us to have full dependency on God,” Comis says. “We learn to turn to Him to fill any lack that lies within us.”
Sexual temptation begins in our thoughts. Martin Luther once said: “We can’t avoid every temptation, but we can avoid many of them, and we can certainly resist their attempts to take hold of us.” The battle to remain abstinent is one that is fought internally in both the mind and the heart. Turning to God with a simple prayer or asking for help and strength in our struggle can determine the difference in giving into sex or staying abstinent.
But, why is purity so important? Purity was first intended to allow young Christians stronger relationships with God. “Purity gives our minds and hearts a clear route to hearing God. Throughout those times when our bodies long for sexual interaction, God is there to satisfy our souls and lessen the wants of our humanness,” Comis says.
Whether one has remained abstinent their entire life or has had sex before, a clean heart is always available. Comis advises women who have embarked in sexual activities to repent. “T rue repentance is the key to living a pure lifestyle. Once we do that, relying on God’s strength is the only way we can remain pure,” Comis says.
As an influential role model for FCCI’s youth, Comis helps new generations of young Christian women to live an abstinent life. She strongly believes in the importance of living by example. After speaking with several young women in her church’s youth group, IdentiTy, it can be concluded that Comis’ strength in staying abstinent has influenced other young women.
“It’s important for young women to remain pure because we are seeking truth and love,” Nicole, a 17-year-old FCCI youth member says. “A sexual relationship should only come together when both [individuals are] searching for God and growing in His word in marriage.”
Another youth member, Sarah, a 15-year-old, wisely explains that when one gives their life to Jesus, a woman is surrendering herself to God. We were created and thus redeemed by Him to live for Him and only Him,” she says. “It’s important to stay pure because we are living in His temple. We belong to Him. If you respect God, you should respect His house as well as yourself.”
With constant sexual imagery presented in the media on a daily basis, sex is displayed as a social norm in today’s society as merely something to do. “[The media] shows a girl that gives in to society as a person that is having the time of their life and is exciting and lively,” Faith, another 17-year-old FCCI youth group member says.
Because of the sensitivity of the topic of this article, the youth group members (all under age 18) asked to be addressed by their first names only. By choosing to remain anonymous, this further emphasizes the pressure from society that young Christian women face when choosing to remain abstinent.
As young Christian women who are looking to influence and inspire other generations, remaining pure regardless of the mass media’s inappropriate interpretations, is imperative. “Your singleness and purity is a gift. Don’t take a season of singleness forgranted,” Comis says. “We have the chance to grow with God with no other relationship distracting us. Hold on to your purity like it’s a treasure. No man can fill the emptiness God can fill and not one sexual indulgence can satisfy you. Only God can and He will forever remain.”
Many women see an abstinent lifestyle as a constant struggle. However, women such as Comis and her youth group members find strength together. The freedom to seek time for ourselves as well as our spirituality is valuable to future struggles, endeavors, and adventures that we may encounter as young Christian women.