It gets talked about a lot or not at all depending on the place and the people. Media has no problem addressing and even exploiting sex through movies, sit-coms, talk shows, magazines, and the like. It isn’t always blatant but certainly the innuendoes are there! Sex therapists and counselors, along with how-to books abound with worldly answers as they promote sex as a leisure activity to be enjoyed, emphasizing attraction, sensuality, and lust more than love and commitment. Then there is the extreme with x-rated video stores, strip clubs (moronically called gentlemen clubs), while the internet and movie industry is riddled with pornography making it both accessible and easy to hide for most anyone who chooses to feed their fantasies.
While all this is going on, the opposite extreme exists in the Church where people by and large treat sex as hush-hush! We tend to act more like prudes, easily shocked and offended by matters about sex. Just try mentioning it in the Church and the atmosphere gets charged with uneasiness and anxiety as eyebrows go up, faces turn several shades of red, and people walk away. Undoubtedly comments like these can be heard: “Get your mind out of the gutter!” “Awkward!” “Dirty!” Or, people put their hands over their ears exclaiming “I don’t want to hear this!” Young people hear older people talk about sex and are quick to say “Ewwww” or “Get a room” or “I don’t want to think of old people doing it”!
But even in the face of such opposition, sex is still a valid subject in the Church because God speaks about it! Certainly we should be discerning and selective when discussing sex, but remaining silent is not an option. The local church, the place we build relationships and are equipped to be light in the world is the place to get real with each other and tackle these topics. Whether we admit it or not most people, especially women, have lots of questions about sex. These range from simple mechanics, to what is permissible, to what is normal, to deeper spiritual issues like what happens when two become one (beyond the obvious). Over time, unanswered questions give way to careless living as people redefine sex on their own terms, freely engaging on a whim. Many in the Church have cast aside or completely ignored God’s ideal for sex, letting the world pervert what He created to be a beautiful union between husband and wife.
We can think of God’s boundaries for sex like curbs on roads. Curbs are built for safety as they impose limitations forming a frame or edge to control and direct traffic while keeping debris off the road. Staying within the confines of the curbs should allow us to travel safely and unhindered. God built a curb to pave the way for us to experience sex safely and intimately. It is called marriage! It serves as a boundary to control our sinful desires and direct us as we fulfill sexual desires in a godly way. It also keeps all the sexual garbage and debris off our path. When we stay between the curbs, we enjoy and relish our sexual journey, unhindered by the perversity (debris) that undoubtedly tries to get in and clutter our lives. We may think ourselves more adventurous and free-flowing if we jump the curb and make our own way, but the time will come when we know we are lost with nowhere to turn because without God’s curb we get out of control.
Outside of God’s curb, we see the world avidly promoting sex, depicting it as a casual activity, inferring that participation is natural and expected where attraction exists, permissible if consensual, and the logical “next step” in a relationship. Though some Christians might not appreciate sex illustrated this way, it unfortunately does not motivate us to promote it rightly either. We still talk “around” the subject rather than discussing it as the natural “next step” after marriage. We continue to treat sex as dirty, shameful, or simply not an open topic, while the world unabashedly allures people to it. We ought to be the ones who give sex the respect and honor it deserves because God designed it as part of His plan in creation and procreation. Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
In the beginning there was no shame about nakedness or sex (becoming one flesh). But as a result of disobedience, fear and shame entered our world. Genesis 3:7,10 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings…I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” God always has a remedy and He covered Adam and Eve’s shame by making clothing for them but didn’t do away with the two becoming one flesh. In fact, He even placed desire for sex in them. Genesis 3:16, 21 “To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them.”
The world does not acknowledge God, therefore does not see disobedience as sin and simply lets people ignore the feelings of shame and fear that undoubtedly come with sex outside the curb. The world offers no answers to people who freely take part in immoral sex, refusing to recognize boundaries. Christians on the other hand ought to feel naked before their holy God when they walk in sexual disobedience with an awareness they need to be covered. Jesus provided a covering for our sin through confession and repentance (you can read “The Great Cover-Up” blog on this site to understand God’s covering). If we continue to hide from Him, deny our wrongdoing, redefine what He calls sin, refuse to confess and repent, then we are not forgiven. It is through exposure that our sins are forgiven! Just as Jesus was fully exposed when He suffered and died, our sins must be fully exposed in His presence so that we may die to them.
Our avoidance, embarrassment, or awkwardness about sex only sends us tumbling into the many downfalls, stumbling blocks, and traps involved. Sex should be highly valued, honored, and approached with dignity and decency, not flaunted and exploited. It is a beautiful act of love, a treasure to be sought and explored, a gift to be spoken of with utmost sincerity, and a jewel to be experienced. God designed it to be enjoyed within the safeguards of a godly husband/wife relationship. Keeping it between the curbs enables us to clearly identify the misuse and abuse of it.
This is a major life principle – Identifying wrong things by knowing the right ones. We can’t detect something fake unless we know the real deal! We will not perceive the shallowness of sex outside of a godly covenant marriage until we know what God ordained sex to be IN the context of a godly union. Unfortunately, most people including Christians experience the fake first, getting into sexual encounters outside the curbs before knowing God’s plan. Or if they do know His plan, they discount it as being old-fashioned, religious, or there is no harm because He will forgive them anyway. Part of the problem with promiscuity is our refusal to talk about godly sex so we simply accept and embrace what the world has to offer. But God always has a remedy and plan for restoration. If you have experienced sex outside of marriage already, stop, confess, repent, and start new, so that you can experience the real deal. God will cleanse, purify, and set you apart for His purposes. No need to live in shame and guilt if you have fallen. Just get up and hear the Word of the Lord in this hour!
Let’s look at it in terms of counterfeit money. The people who make fake bills work hard to fool us, the fakes can be easily identified IF a person knows details on real money and takes the time to carefully and thoroughly compare the suspected counterfeit bill TO a real one. Looking for differences such as type and texture of paper, quality of print, seals, border, serial numbers, color-shifting ink, and watermark makes the counterfeit easily recognizable. Note: Seeking DIFFERENCES is key to exposing the counterfeit and in fact, counterfeiters are literally counting on people to look only for similarities in bills, preventing the recognition of forgery. We get so used to handling bills we can easily forget that not all money is real money! It passes for money, feels like money, gets us what we want, but in the end, if we are caught, big trouble awaits us.
It is the same for sex. We can get so lazy and accustomed to what the world offers us in sex that we forget or maybe never learn, not all sex is real sex. Sure it can pass for sex, feels like sex, gets us what we want, but in the end, if we do not learn to stay within the curbs, we will get burned. The world uses elaborate and deceptive schemes to fool us and bring a cheap imitation but it is easily detectable IF we know God’s ideal for sex. If we take time to carefully and thoroughly seek God in His Word, talk with our spiritual leaders, ask the hard and sometimes “uncomfortable” questions, looking for the differences between worldly and godly sex, the fake (immoral) sex is easily distinguishable. Again, looking for differences is key. The world and Satan are counting on us to focus only on the similarities, keeping us from discerning the dark holes in our souls as a result of becoming one with people but not living as one.
The differences jump out at us by knowing God’s reality! Sex within marriage (the curb) brings freedom, enjoyment, exploration, and a vulnerability to know and be known in a covenant relationship. Worldly sex is performance based and more about the “act” itself. It tends to bring frustration, guilt, and shame as people struggle with vulnerability. Godly sex is not self-seeking but considers the needs and desires of the other. Worldly sex is all about lust, attraction, and pleasure for self. Godly sex produces a oneness between husband and wife as they share physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Worldly sex produces a oneness between two people who may or may not be around the next day which leaves them unknowingly fractured. Godly sex provides a safe haven where two people can bask in a true, deep covenant relationship. With no curbs, worldly sex is unsafe leaving us void of trust and intimacy because with no commitment or covenant, people can simply walk away when dissatisfied, disinterested, or bored.
Let me also add that indeed, people who actively participate in sex outside of a godly marital relationship most certainly enjoy some level of pleasure and may even think they experience the ultimate in bliss. However, they have no idea how gratifying sex can be within the safe confines of a godly, committed marital relationship. In order for this knowledge to perpetuate, married Christians must take seriously our responsibility to embrace sexuality so that we might help other Christians experience a godly marriage in every respect. Too many long married Christian couples are lackadaisical and unenthusiastic about their sex life, giving the impression it gets old and boring. We stop taking care of our bodies, stop presenting ourselves to one another as a bride and groom, get sloppy and sluggish in our willingness to share love deeply, and then wonder why younger people turn to the world for answers in fulfilling sexual pleasure. People of God, we have been created with desires, including sexual ones. God made a way for us to fulfill those desires fully, freely, and fantastically! Let’s do it His way – instead of our own!