Imagine you’re Russell Wilson. Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Good-looking. Rich. The world’s assumption is that you could play the party scene. Be on the cover of tabloids for serial dating. Because it’s what we expect from athletes. It’s almost what American culture demands from its celebrities. And no one bats an eye.
However, if you’re Russell Wilson and you decide to talk about honoring God by not having sex with your equally famous (and good-looking) girlfriend, singer Ciara, the world may think you’re crazy.
Which is what happened this week.
On Sunday, July 5th, quarterback Russell Wilson sat down with Miles McPhereson, pastor of The Rock Church in San Deigo, CA to talk about life, faith, and football — among other things. In the course of the conversation, Wilson mentioned that he’s dating singer Ciara. Here’s what he said:
RW: We’re talking about sex. I knew that God had brought me into her (Ciara’s) life to bless her and for her to bless me and to bless so many people with the impact that she has, that I have. We’re not going to be perfect by any means. Life’s not perfect. We’re not perfect. But I know He’s called us to something miraculous and something special. I told her and she completely agreed that if we can love each other without all of this other stuff on the table, then we can really love one another.
Wilson also made it clear that God had told him to lead Ciara in their relationship. And that Ciara is totally on board with taking a sexual relationship off the table and living in a way that respects the Lord and each other. He admitted the difficulty of keeping such a promise and asked those following and attending to pray for them.
What Russell Wilson expressed is that as he and Ciara abstain from sex, they honor the Lord. They are withholding something so intimate so they can get to know one another and grow in love for one another. When the time is right — after marriage — sex can be something that they share together, totally committed to the other in love.
Abstaining is a concept the world cannot grasp. Our society is full of messages about instant gratification. Russell Wilson and Ciara are famous, rich and good looking. The world sees every opportunity for them to indulge in whatever they want, and it’s okay. Media outlets and people on social media are mocking Russell and Ciara’s decision at every turn. They don’t believe that abstaining is something that is necessary or can even happen anymore.
However, the Word of God calls those who love the Lord to walk counter-culturally. Scripture tells us about many people who had influence in their culture and with their leaders. People like Daniel, Joseph, Moses, and Paul. God didn’t let them off the hook just because they were famous or in a position of power. Instead, He held them to His standard and His word, and He walked with them.
The world will continue to be shocked, befuddled — even mocking of what the Lord asks His people to do. People are watching, and they don’t understand. For Russell Wilson and Ciara, for you and me and millions of other Christians, there is no better time to live out what the gospel means. Whether it’s abstaining from sex or ministering to the poorest of the poor, we have opportunities at every turn to live out the truth of the Lord. As we do this, let us pray for one another, that we would not fall, but that we would stand firm in our devotion.
You can watch the full Q&A with Russell Wilson below.