Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Biblical Womanhood series. Be sure to check out the rest of the series here.
What better topic to discuss in a Biblical Womanhood series than sex? It is a vital element of most marriages AND also affects singleness. Our culture has made a mess of it, yet the God who created it calls it worship in the proper context and gives us guidelines to help us stay within His perfect plan.
I am typically a non-fiction kind of girl. However, on vacation I’m always jonesing for the latest mindless fiction phenom. One summer, after a little research, I downloaded the bestselling and highly acclaimed book, “50 Shades of Grey”. Very early in the book I began to realize that this was basically pornography in written form. I was so confused because the masses seemed to be enthralled with it. (As of today it has sold over 100 million copies.) As I deleted it from my kindle I decided that I would ask the folks on the 50 Shades Facebook page what made it popular and if they were at all offended by the content. I was annihilated for even mentioning that it might be inappropriate. I was called “frigid” and “uneducated” and challenged to open my mind and let go of my outdated views…
We can justify. We can pretend that sexual boundaries are outdated and passé.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
We can justify. We can pretend that sexual boundaries are outdated and passé. We can choose to expose ourselves to experiences that “everyone else” is having/watching/listening to/reading. The slippery slope of rejecting God’s plan leads to devastating consequences – a one night stand, a relationship outside of the marriage deemed “no big deal”, a quick peek at a porn website or even some of the most popular shows of our day.
The slippery slope of rejecting God’s plan leads to devastating consequences.
It is, and always will be, detrimental and dangerous to expose oneself to desensitizing behaviors and actions that twist and pervert God’s initial intention for sex. We have somehow turned sex into the end and not the means. And it has become one of the best ways to sell products and attract watchers. C.S. Lewis diagnosed the human race as “far too easily pleased.” He wrote, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea” (The Weight of Glory). I love the illustration of the fire (sex) within the fireplace (marriage). It is powerful because within proper context it provides warmth and heat and beauty. Once the fire is placed outside the fireplace it leads to devastation, often destroying entire families as it burns.
We avoid talking about sex and it is often shrouded in shame from past hurts or regrets. Sexual sin is a cancer that grows best in the dark. We must bring it to light. We must confess and be broken. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
We are all formed and influenced by our past. But that history does not have to define us. If you need to forgive, forgive, including yourself. You may find much-needed healing through professional counseling or through a support group. Ask for help if needed.
In singleness, purity is a commitment made before God. Any sexual contact between unmarried people is sinful because it violates God’s perfect design.
In a world of relativism and passivity, it is difficult because our minds and hearts are constantly infiltrated with differing views. We must have courage and find strength to walk to the beat of a different drum, knowing that mockery or misunderstanding will likely occur. The path of righteousness leads to life. Proverbs 12:28
It is, and always will be, detrimental and dangerous to expose oneself to desensitizing behaviors and actions that twist and pervert God’s initial intention for sex.
As married women, we also must commit to a life of purity, keeping temptations in check. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled. Hebrews 13:4 Most people don’t PLAN to fall into adultery. They just compromise a little here, a little there and all of a sudden they are in a pit of guilt and despair, hurting everyone involved. As you do the hard work that goes in to building and deepening a marriage, the trust that is so vital in intimacy is cultivated and multiplied and leads us down the narrow path to sexual gratification. Understand your husband’s needs and the fact that God has created him with different drives and needs. Our husband’s sexuality is directly connected to his ability to feel emotive feelings of love and appreciation. A chemical reaction occurs during sex that exposes him to serotonin. Studies show that he has his highest levels of this hormone immediately following sex. If you cut him off physically you remove one of the tools most effective for bonding. This need also fuels his continual innate motivation to pursue you. God has it rigged. He shows you acts of kindness and affection and you in turn find yourself more attracted to him physically. If we use sex as a tool to withhold in order to punish, we ultimately build a barrier that can lead to deep feelings of bitterness.
I don’t want to assume in this short article that the issue is cut and dried and simple. There are those of you who cannot share intimacy due to illness, age or other reasons. In these cases I strongly believe that God knits hearts together in unique ways, and there is an extra measure of grace. I also do not want to minimize the power of addiction and how its strongholds are often much bigger than a wholehearted commitment to do better. Addiction often requires professional attention and there are systems in place to find help and support.
We all struggle. We make mistakes. We need accountability and encouragement. We must soak up God’s Word to grow in His love and understanding. God’s plan is that we live a life of purity before Him and others and view sex as a beautiful expression of love within the boundaries of the marriage covenant in order to glorify God, express intimacy, provide comfort, and when possible, bring forth children.
The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:12-14
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:1-13:14
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Image Credit: Corey Holms, Creative Commons