- How girls’ and boys’ bodies change, both inside and out
- Exactly how a woman gets pregnant and gives birth
- Why God wants you to save sex for marriage
- Love, dating, and how relationships mature
- An introduction to differing views on sex based on worldview
- More thorough material on Christian morality and the broader theological meaning of sex as appropriate for a young person
- Chapters on masturbation, sexual addiction, gender identity, and same-sex love
Read an Excerpt
Different Stories, Different Lives
Zoe can't wait to grow up. As long as she can remember, she has looked forward to being an adult, having the responsibilities and freedoms of an adult, having a grown-up body, and moving on to whatever God has in store for her.
Adam, on the other hand, wishes he wouldn't grow up. He's happy just as he is. He loves his friends; he loves to play. He feels as though everything in his life is just the way it should be, and he sees no good reason why his childhood should end.
HOW DO YOU feel about growing up? Are you excited or worried? Most of us have a mixture of good and bad feelings about growing up. It's hard! All mothers and fathers have experienced at least some of the same feelings you're having, though it's hard for some to remember — and even harder to talk about.
Almost all adults asked the same questions you may be asking: "Why is this happening? Why is God doing this to me? What will it be like to be an adult with an adult's body? What is sex? What is it for, and what does it mean?"
These are good questions. And depending on what you choose to believe about your life as a whole, the answers to them can be very different. There are many different ways for us to understand our lives. Each life is rather like a story, and sex is part of each.
Let's imagine the possibilities as four basic stories. You're moving steadily down the highway of life, and ahead of you are four different exits — four different paths to choose from. Each gives answers to the deepest questions of life, questions such as the following:
Where did the world and everything in it — including me — come from?
Is there purpose in life?
Is there anything special about being a human being?
Are truth, beauty, and goodness real?
Is love real? And what does sex have to do with love?
Your decision about which story to believe and to live by has real consequences for your life. Let's hear from four people — each one represents one of the four views.
BAILEY, THE BOLD MATERIALIST
"Sure, I can answer those questions. The first answer is 'We don't know why the world exists or where it came from. We can't ever know.' The other answers are 'No, there's no purpose, we're nothing special, and all those things like love and beauty are just labels we put on feelings. They're not real things — they don't really exist.'
"Look, scientists agree on one thing: All that there is anywhere is energy and matter. That's all that exists. We're just a complicated bunch of atoms that take human form until we die — then it's over. There's nothing else — no god, no reason, nothing. The universe happened by pure chance, life happened by pure chance, evolution happened by chance, and billions of years later, here we are.
"People imagine they have a special 'purpose' because they're too afraid to admit that it's all just the result of chance. They make up a god and other stuff like love because they're afraid to be realistic.
"The thing that comes closest to being a purpose is the instinct we feel to perpetuate life. Evolution builds into our genes the need to survive and breed. That's why there's sex. All the rest that goes along with it — love, beauty, etc. — is just an illusion. Sex is just the way for my genes to get into the next generation and beyond."
TAYLOR, THE INWARD SEEKER
"Wow, Bailey, did you ever miss the point! Yes, the universe happened, and yes, life has evolved over billions of years. But something special happened in the universe: Somehow, something bigger than just energy and matter happened.
"Human beings are part of that. We've evolved to sense and reach for something beyond the material world. We can grope toward something true, real, and purposeful — even if that something is different for each of us.
"These differences are okay because each of us is basically good. Each of us has a special spark we can find by looking inside ourselves. We must look beyond the mere physical to find our true selves. We should be seeking and defining our real selves — that's what life's about! You don't find your true self by following rules others create — you live true to yourself.
"Sex sometimes means you love someone — but it can also mean you like them, you just want to have fun with them, or whatever. As long as no one is hurt, no one is forced to do something they don't want to do, and everyone is playing fair, then anything goes.
"Some people think everyone is either male or female, but that's too limited. Our true selves aren't defined by others or even by our bodies — we're defined by the 'inner Me.' Some people are girls trapped in boys' bodies, some are boys trapped in girls' bodies, and some people are something else — whatever they choose to be."
RYAN, THE RELAXED CHURCHGOER
"Taylor, you're right that Bailey is missing some things, but so are you. God must be real, because otherwise the universe doesn't make any sense.
"I happen to be a Christian because I grew up that way, but there's not just one path to God. Jesus was a good teacher. I think he was the best teacher and the one who understood God the best, but all the major religions say basically the same things in different words. I think God loves us and wants us to find that inward spark you talked about. God wants us to be our true selves, and the teachings of Jesus can help us do that.
"God wants us to love others and be good. God means sex to be something special, an expression of love. Some fanatic weirdos get all hung up on the tiniest details of what the Bible says, but we have to use common sense to figure out how it applies today.
"Because sex is an expression of love, we should be careful with it. We should feel something strong before we share our bodies with people. Certainly love can be just as real between two men or two women as it can be between a man and a woman.
"People who love each other can get married, but they don't have to as long as they're loving and committed. A wedding is just one way to be faithful. And in an overpopulated world, the choice to have a baby is a serious one. Every woman should have the right to stop a pregnancy if she's not ready to have a child."
JORDAN, THE JESUS-FOLLOWER
"I agree that there's something real beyond the physical universe. I see beauty that's real and good, but I also see a lot of ugliness. I think we have yearnings for higher purpose for our lives. We believe goodness and justice exist — but there's a lot of evil in the world and in us. And we know there's truth — but it's often clouded by distortion and falsehood.
"The early Christians who wrote the Bible believed that God revealed himself perfectly in Jesus. If this God made people in his image, then it makes sense for us to see beauty, purpose, goodness, and truth — because God is all of those things.
"Jesus is widely admired, but if you read the Bible, you're confronted with a dilemma: Jesus was more than a nice guy. The Bible presents him as doing miraculous things and making outrageous claims about himself, such as that through him we could 'not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16) and 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me' (John 14:6).
"The most outrageous part of the story is that after Jesus died a horrible death on the cross, he rose from the dead in victory over all sin and evil. The lives of the apostles prove they really believed their claims: This defeated, discouraged group became dynamic leaders who changed the world. Of the eleven original apostles who stayed faithful, ten died by brutal execution and one died in isolated banishment, all for their faith.
"I follow Jesus, God's eternal Son, so I can have purpose, meaning, and eternal life. Because I believe in him, I believe my life should be understood and lived as he would want me to, according to his teachings.
"Through the Bible, we're taught that sex is a special gift and part of what it means to be made in God's image. If we use the gift of sex rightly, we have the best chance to experience real, faithful love that gives us joy and brings us closer to God."
Which story is closest to the one you believe makes sense of your world? Which will you choose? If your perspective is similar to that of Jordan, Jesus' follower, or even if you're undecided but open to this view, then we invite you to think with us about sex as Jesus does.
In this book we expand on Jordan's words about sex being a gift from God. We talk about the realities of how your body will change and about the very different choices young men and women make about sex because they're living by different stories.
Our most important goal is that you understand God's view of sex, because we believe that during this critical period when you're physically becoming an adult woman or man, you can begin to understand that sex is a bigger, better, more lovely gift than you ever realized.
Let's get started.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Facing the Facts"
Copyright © 2019 Jones Education Consultation & Formation, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of NavPress.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
An Important Word to Parents, xi,
PART 1: GETTING THE BIG PICTURE!,
CHAPTER 1 Different Stories, Different Lives, 3,
CHAPTER 2 God Gives the Gift of Sex, 9,
CHAPTER 3 The Meaning of Sex in God's Story, 17,
PART 2: UNDERSTANDING THE FACTS,
CHAPTER 4 How Women and Men Are Different on the Outside, 25,
CHAPTER 5 The Changes Ahead for Girls, 35,
CHAPTER 6 The Changes Ahead for Boys, 47,
CHAPTER 7 How Does a Woman Become Pregnant?, 57,
CHAPTER 8 How Does the Baby Develop and the Mother Give Birth?, 65,
PART 3: PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE: The Hard Questions,
CHAPTER 9 False Advertising: A Failed Revolution, 75,
CHAPTER 10 Saving Sex for Marriage: Thinking Practically, 85,
CHAPTER 11 Saving Sex for Marriage: Thinking Biblically, 93,
CHAPTER 12 Love before Marriage, 105,
CHAPTER 13 How Far Should I Go?, 113,
CHAPTER 14 Solitary Sex, 125,
CHAPTER 15 Slaves to a False Image, 131,
CHAPTER 16 Same-Sex Love, 143,
CHAPTER 17 Male OR Female? (or Other?), 159,
CHAPTER 18 Other Questions and Tough Challenges, 169,
CHAPTER 19 What Kind of Person Should I Become?, 177,
About the Authors, 185,