During this Wednesday’s Voices Against the Grain radio show, we had a candid conversation on “Sexual Abstinence: Understanding Who You Are and Whose You Are.” Music was brought to my ears regarding our teens and sex: Despite what it looks like, not everybody’s doin’ it. Not everybody is “droppin’ it like it’s hot.” Praise God! I am pleased! As shared during the show by Michelle Shirley, CEO of Abstinence Between Strong Teens International (ABSTI), a Miami-based nonprofit founded in 1992 by Althea McMillan, more teens are rethinking having sex before marriage as they witness increasingly negative consequences experienced in their peers’ lives who engage in premarital sex (ex: teen pregnancy, STDs, emotional and mental immaturity and unpreparedness to handle sex, etc.). And this is one of the goals of ABSTI: to get our young people to THINK, to be critical thinkers in all situations, to develop healthy image of self and healthy relationships and marriages.
Another one of their goals is character development. Shirley, who has her bachelors in business administration and masters in health administration, excelled in school but called herself “an educated fool” when she was engaging in behaviors that were not only outside of God’s will but that were also wrecking her reputation/character. God has since restored her and wow, does she have a ministry!
During our interview she said, “Your mind and your abilities can take you as far as you want to go. But it is your CHARACTER that will have to sustain you while you are there.” Absolutely. We’ve seen the sharp fall of many public figures who have risen to the top of success only to be brought down by self-produced character indiscretions. How do we protect our character? Through good decision-making and a strong foundation of standards that brings you to the people and opportunities you want in your life and steers you away from the people and situations you don’t want in your life.
We all fall short of perfection. Thankfully, those who love God and are called according to His purposes, are renewed daily by His mercies, by His love. However, it doesn’t mean we keep repeating the same mistakes. We seek to live holy and according to His Word. On the issue of protecting your character, your body from sexual immorality, God’s Word says much on these and other matters to help us successfully navigate in a world that encourages us to “operate by how you feel.” You can’t buy character. You must develop, maintain and protect it.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20. 18- Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19- Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20- you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (New International Version)
Proverbs 22:1. A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (New International Version)
Protect your body, your character and your value. You are a diamond!! We protect what we value. Thank you Michelle, for sharing your testimony and great information with us! We support you in your ministry.
Click here to listen to full interview with Michelle Shirley. I enjoyed our conversation! To learn more about ABSTI, request their “Build My House” curriculum or to invite them to speak at your church, organization or school, visit www.abstinc.com .