If Christians have given the impression that sex is dirty and shameful, we have given a wrong impression. It is God who created mankind “male and female”, and He created us with a sexual identity. Contrary to being “dirty”, the sexual relationship that God intended a man and woman to experience is pure, meaningful, and very powerful. It provides the means to express love and trust in a unique way affecting both the body and soul. Because God made sex with such potential, He also set the boundary of marriage in which it should be used.
My radial saw has some fine print instructions intended to protect the user, like “Check the blade guard before each use”. These cautions serve to warn against misuse and harm. So also, God limited the boundaries for using the sexual relationship to that of heterosexual marriage. Within that context, the Bible teaches the marriage bed is undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). When used as directed by God (ie. expressing love and trust within marriage), sex is pure. On the other hand, when used outside of God’s limits, it may become a raging torrent and cruel master. Ancient Solomon encouraged his son to “drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well.” He then asks, “Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets?” (Proverbs 5:15-16) The instruction here is to keep your sexual relations limited to your spouse alone, not scatter them widely (“in the streets”). We are to guard this carefully with the person to whom we have taken marriage vows. The Mississippi is a beautiful river, and functions well carrying goods and people on its waters. Yet when it overflows its banks and submerges towns as it did recently, this beautiful waterway become a destructive force out of control.
The sexual drive is a powerful instinct that God has built into the human body. How that force is harnessed and related to the other areas of our life helps determine the quality and stability of our relationships, the productivity of our communities, and the happiness of our families. Many years ago, Margaret Mead studied the sexually expressive Samoan culture finding that their permissiveness caused other problems, leaving the culture unproductive and primitive. Beyond that, adults in that culture showed an inability to make deep commitments to other people. Promiscuous sexual behavior does not produce satisfaction (either in oneself or in one’s relationships), but rather produces an itching for excitement. Dr. Peter Blitchington (of Andrews University) wrote that “as is true of poison ivy, the more fervently it is scratched, the more excruciating becomes the itch.” Misusing God’s gift of sexuality has throughout history caused much destruction and pain: broken trust, broken relationships, broken families, broken lives, loss of respect for self and others, not to mention scores of sexually transmitted diseases. Although promiscuous behavior may provide a temporary thrill, the long term costs are extremely high. May God help us see the true value of this gift, so that we protect it rather than cheapen or misuse it. Thanks for reading and have a great week.