THE KINGDOM of God is like a huge wave. It's full of power, movement and depth. It's exhilarating and refreshing. At times, perhaps, even threatening. Celibacy is like a surfboard that enables me to ride the kingdom waves more effectively.
Jesus said that some would choose not to marry for the sake of God's kingdom. The Bible says that those who are single are more able to get on board with what God is doing. Free from the responsibilities of marriage and children, they are more available to God and others. Celibacy multiplies opportunities for kingdom activity, such as serving, evangelism and prayer.
God called me to be celibate in October 2001. At first I was really excited – it was as though I was placing my whole future in the hands of a limitless God.
Shortly afterwards, I lived in a house where I spent a lot of time on my own. I felt lonely and at times depressed. Although I prayed and had some deep times with God, I couldn't help feeling like I'd drawn the short straw. Celibacy seemed pointless and I wished I'd chosen marriage.
A few months later, however, I moved into a Jesus Fellowship Christian community called Promise House. I was living with lots of committed Christians, including a number of celibates. Almost immediately, celibacy clicked! It made sense. This was the kingdom lifestyle that God had called me to. It was as though I'd been carrying around a heavy, awkward surfboard for the last six months and I had finally arrived at the beach.
Just as a surfboard only really has any purpose if there are waves for surfing, so celibacy only carries meaning in the waves of God's new society. I didn't choose celibacy because I was excited by the prospect of being single and never having children; I chose celibacy because I was captured by a vision of God and His love. I bought the celibacy surfboard because I saw the waves of God's kingdom.
I live near a small village called Meriden. It prides itself as being the heart of England. There is a small monument on the village green claiming to be the very centre of the country, the point in England that is furthest from any sea. Guess what? They don't sell many surfboards in Meriden! Who would want to buy a surfboard when there are no waves?
A few hundred miles south in the seaside town of Newquay, they sell hundreds of surfboards. It's the surf capital of England. People look out to sea and think 'I want to ride those waves!'
If we want celibacy to be attractive to the next generation, we need to ensure that the waves of the new-creation culture are still strong. Show them the kingdom waves and many will buy the celibacy surfboard as well!