Archive for the ‘sex’ Category

Sex– everybody makes a big deal about sex, or they don’t.

What’s up with that?

Sex is a normal, natural and enjoyable part of life, like eating ice cream, or sleeping in late, or playing a game.

My view is that sex is God-made and USDA approved.

Sting once said, “If God’s got anything better than sex to offer, he’s certainly keeping it to himself.”

On the other hand, many people get along fine without being sexually active.

Tracey Ullman once said, “As I get older, I just prefer to knit.” Hey, whatever works. Singleness, not being sexually active, getting older has no shame in it, it is just the right place for some of us.

Whatever stage of life we are at, it is healthy to talk about sexual culture because competing views on sexuality have caused a lot of confusion, and harm.

Some of us might see sex as dirty, shameful, something to keep secret, to avoid talking about. Others may have come to see sex as something so casual and free that it is not restrained by anything — marriage or morals or sensitivity.

We Americans are bipolar on sex. On one hand, we are Puritanical, we claim high morals, we shame people over sexual misconduct, on the other hand, many of us just can’t seem to keep our pants on.

So what to think?

First sex is something God came up with, it’s his idea, and it’s a really cool one. The Bible looks at sexuality as part of our God-made identity. I like this. When I experience my own sexuality, I’m like, “God made me this way. It’s his fault.”

Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made male and female out of himself. So our sexuality is an-in-his-image thing. Then the Bible tells us that God set us up to pair up, and make babies. This is why Christians are prolific,  pro-life, baby-making and baby adopting. We grow our own, or we pick up others along the way. We Christians are pro-sex.

That’s good. It’s spiritual.

Your sexuality is a God-made pleasure, a sacred way to oneness in marriage and a spiritual way to join God in his creative work. How cool is that! Sex is divine!

1 Corinthians 6:12 explains this, esp in the Message version of the Bible.

“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.”

This scripture is clearly marking out sex as spiritual thing, not simply a skin thing. This follows Jesus when he says, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?”

If sex is about spiritual oneness in a marriage, then, what about sex outside of marriage, sex by people who aren’t married or by people who are gay? The answer is so important for Christians.

1. God’s love for us any of us is not stopped by our sexual behavior or even our sexual sin.

2. Salvation is not achieved by sexual purity.

That’s really good news for most of us.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ep. 2:8

God saves us by what he does, not by what we did. God is very compassionate toward our sexuality.

So many of us fall into sexually immoral or harmful behavior because we just want to be loved. I was talking to someone recently, who slept around a bit when she was younger. She said something like, “I wanted love, I just got sex, I still wanted and needed love.”

God, he get’s that, and so he comes to help us into moral, lasting, loving relationships.

But we still need to understand that not everything is good for us.

1 Cor. 6 says, “Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.

There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another.

Don’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

God loves and values us so much he doesn’t want us harmed by misusing your sexuality. God wants us to build trust and safety with him, and each other, in our marriages and churches. Therefore we must carefully and mindfully avoid sinful sexual behavior such as lusting, cheating, sex outside of marriage and adultery.

God doesn’t want us to do these things, because they deeply damage trust, erode relationships and just crush love.

Consider water. Sex is like water. It can be tasty, life-giving, healthy and satisfying and it can also flood your house, and wash it away.

This is why the Proverbs speak of drinking water from your own well. Drink your sexuality from your own marriage, and do not go outside of that where you may encounter a flood of damage and harm.

What to do?

1. Mind your own moral business.

Steward your own sexuality, work on your own purity, not on others. This enough work, to work on yourself.

Of course some people are called to bring justice to this area of life, to prosecute sexual predators, to protect with laws, to stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves.

But too many Christians have gotten so busy judging non-Christians for how they have messed up, or how they have compromised marriage that we end up presenting Christianity to them as a judgmental, rule-based, hateful religion.

I get it. Not many people take their sexual morals from the Bible. But the truth is, I can’t control others, and I am personally responsible before God for only my own sexuality, and for the sacredness of my own marriage.

And here is the cool thing.

My wife and I — by our faithfulness to each other and God — make our lives and our marriage sacred and this is not compromised by anything anyone else decides to do.

I encourage you and me, to mind our own sexual business.

That will keep us busy enough.

2. Don’t condemn others. especially for their sexual choices or failures.

Jesus didn’t.

John 3:17

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

God did not call us to be the moral sheriffs of the world. We won’t redeem the world by condemning it. We know our work is to help them see Jesus, and that his death on the cross, and his forgiveness, will clean them up. When we point people to God, he points them to righteousness.

3. Let God work his purity in you.

Lastly, I advise you to get off the shaming treadmill of trying to make yourself pure, and to let Christ live out his purity in you. This is such a deeply mature and spiritual way to view yourself. Righteousness is something God gives me, and works in me, not something I do by just trying harder.

I have little hope in the world managing sexuality well. There is no good track record! But Christ at work in us, that is the hope of righteousness.

Once when my wife and I were house shopping, I wanted to buy this one house, she didn’t. So we didn’t buy the house. God — well my wife — said not to! A few months later, we found another house, perfect for us. There we raised our girls.

Sexuality works well when it is like houses shopping with God along as the Realtor. When God says, “No, this is not a good deal,” then “No” is best.

God always has the best in mind for us — regarding sexuality and love — therefore, it is best to wait on him, to hear his voice, and to follow his ways.

I have been thinking about sex.

It’s such a fun, funny, touchy topic.

Jimmy Demaret, remarking on sex once said “Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at.”

Henry Kissinger said, “No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there is just too much fraternizing with the enemy.”

Sex — it’s just something we humans want, that we like, that by nature we are made for.

Famous pastor Rick Warren says, “We were made to worship.” True.

But I verily, verily I say unto you, “We were also made for sex.” We’ve got the equipment.

For anyone has never had sex, or not for a while, they don’t worry that that they won’t know what to do when the time comes. They will!

Sex is natural for us.

But I have been thinking about it from a spiritual point of view too, and I’m wondering, what did Jesus say about sex.

What Jesus said seems different from what the church has often taught about sex.

Tony Campolo once remarked that the church has put out the message, “ that sex is a dirty, filthy thing, and you should save it for the person you marry!”

You should save what is nasty and yucky for your spouse. Really?

It reminds me of Za Za Gabor’s cynical jibe on marriage and sex.

She quipped, “I don’t know anything about sex. I’ve alway been married.”

But what did Jesus say?

“Haven’t you read … that at the beginning … the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”  (Matthew 19)

Cool! I don’t see anything dirty or shameful here.

Jesus said taht God made made male and female. God made sex. God made us as sexual beings.

And further, we know from Genesis 1:26-27 that God made male and female in his image, so our very sexuality is the image of God in us.

Holy Bikini Batman, God likes sex!

Sex is the gold of God, shinning within us, decorating the core of our divine personhood.

Question: Is this the way in which Christians view sexuality? We should. We should see our own sexuality in a positive, Biblical way.

But to get real about this, some of us, have shame over our past sexual behavior? Even if we are old, or disabled and not sexually active any more, we may judge ourselves for our sexual past? We may judge ourselves as sexually impure.

Maybe this is because we have misused the gift of our sexuality or we think we have.

I think for all of us, on this topic, we need to be told some good news.

Here is the good news. In Christ we are all forgiven for our past sins. Jesus’s death on the cross covers our sexual failures, sins and hurts too. In him, they are removed as far as the East from the West. And in him we are restored to the sexual identity God originally created in us.

To heal we might say to our selves, “I am a sexual being. My sexuality is good. Where I have misused it, I am forgiven in Christ. Dear God, through Christ, please forgive my sexual mistakes. My sexuality is not a dirty thing. It is beautiful. My sexuality is a gift from God.”

Recently my daughter moved from a dark, older apartment to a bright, fresh, newly remodel house —  a new kitchen, new laminate flooring, a tasteful, modern grey, white and black decor, a white crown molding in the bedrooms, a red front door. Gorgeous! Apparently the house had been trashed, then just before she moved in, completely retored.

Old things can become new again. What was trashed can be remodeled. Restoration is a beautiful thing.

God is like a good landlord. He restores what he is responsible for. God is a restoration God, and he can redeem a harmful sexual past. He can make all things new, and he can remodel our sexuality and the relationships that surround it.

As we know, sex is intrinsically a social thing; it takes two to tingle. It is an aspect of how we humans relate to each other, and as such it was intended by God to be one of the ingredients of good relationships.

When Jesus said in Matthew 19, “the two will become one flesh,” he was saying that when a person leaves their father and mother, and chooses a spouse, and marries and has sex, the sex is part of them becoming one with their mate.

When Jesus prayed in John 17 that we would all become we were reminded that sex is a part of that plan. Sex creates a deep spiritual oneness with another person.

This so goes against what we are currently being taught in our culture, in movies and music. We are currently being taught that sex is just a physical act, that it is a casual behavior, like eating, and we should feel free to do it with any one we like if they consent.

Billy Crystal captured this casualness when he quipped, “Women (just) need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.”

But consider, by way of contrast, Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:16,  Message version of scripture. Here Paul echoes Jesus.

“There is more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.'”

Here as with Jesus we are told that sex is more than a physical act, it is deeply spiritual. It creates spiritual oneness.

Paul goes on, ” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.'”

Paul is addressing the issue of sex outside of marriage. Here, and throughout the Bible, we are  insructed to keep sex within marriage. The Bible never counsels young people to leave their father and mother and shack up with a friend.

But why reserve sex only for marriage? The church has been good at saying this, but  not good at explaining “Why.”

Here is the “Why.” When we have sex with another person, scripture observes, that our identities combine. We become one in intimacy, one in vulnerability, one in shared history and one spiritually.

“We did it,” means we merged!

As a result we never again think of that other person the same, or will our relationship with them be the same. We have crossed a line and entered into the “us” zone. Whether we just fall asleep afterwards or have a long talk into the night, we will in some sense carry that person with us as we go forward.

One of the difficulties that ensues from this if the sex is premarital is that, in a sense, we have acted married and so we may feel married because we have married our most intimate selves to another soul.

Scientists tell us that the chemicals of sex — endorphins and oxytocin — make us feel bonded. Oxytocin is known as the “cuddling hormone” because it causes us to feel a connection and bond with our lovers, even when we aren’t really bonded.

Sex, in this way, actually confuses our thinking. Sex makes us stupid. Once we sleep with someone, we may, in effect stay mentally asleep and fail to notice areas of deep incompatibility that will eventually undo the relationship.

We might say, “It was nothing! It was just a one-night-stand.” That’s not true; sex is always something — it is intrinsically the kind of thing that people build lives on, the kind of thing that has always been honored as sacred, respected for centuries and centuries, as a gateway to family.

Pretending sex isn’t best reserved for marriage, won’t dilute the profound mutuality of it.

That special person, chosen to share in that delicious, memorable, soul bonding feast will remain inside, long after the phone stops ringing.

The truth is that if the relationship doesn’t last there will be a ripping apart of what was bonded, whether we hear the tear or not. Sex bonds, and that bond undone. It’s a ripping of our hearts.

It is so sad for those this has happened to. We can recovery, but we will need to seek healing and help to do so.

Rings and vows, increase our odds of staying together, and of us not damaging our fragile identities  and the identifies of others.

1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us,  “Our body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit” and that we, “can’t live however … [we] please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?”

Good, all good counsel.  Paul got it right, and so did Jesus, when it came to sex. It’s  good, when we stick to the plan of the one who created it.