By Keren Kanyago, Crosswalk.com
Ever wondered what sex has to do with a car battery or chewing gum advertisement? Society believes that sex sells. Advertisers use sexual imagery to capture their audience’s attention. Little wonder that sex appeal is sprinkled everywhere, whichever side you turn. Our music, radio, TV, advertisements, movies, magazines, social platforms, and other entertainment avenues reek of sexual imagery. Tragically, we even have these sexual innuendos sneaked into kids' programs and cartoons.
Culture portrays sex as casual, cheap, and within reach. After all, everyone is involved in it. This sexually charged environment does little to help as we seek to live holy lives and as we raise our children. Seeing that Christians are called to be the light of the world, the onus is on us to pass on the right message about sex both to our kids and to society. Here are 6 ways to counter culture's take on sex.
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1. Only Permit Sex in Marriage
Society has trouble accepting that sex is exclusive to marriage. Sex outside marriage has been glorified in the name of freedom of choice and civilization. “It’s my body so I choose what to do with it!” or “Times have changed, nobody waits anymore!” Yet, God does not mince His words while addressing this matter. He ordained sex to be enjoyed exclusively in the confines of a marriage. Paul referred to sex outside marriage as sexual immorality:
“Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me, It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:1-2, NKJV).
Paul further encourages those who cannot exercise self-control to marry rather than burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:9). This means that God gives us only two options where sex is concerned. You can either abstain from sex and exercise self-control or get married and enjoy sex. God only allows sex within marriage.
2. Live Like Sex is Holy
God created sex as holy, purely between a husband and his wife. This is in sharp contrast to how society views and portrays sex. Sex is tossed around on our TVs and even shoved in the faces of our kids. It is sad that something so sacred can be treated with utter contempt. Sexual intimacy is the sacred seal of the marriage covenant. It symbolizes that man and woman have become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). This is a covenant between the two partners and God. Paul warned that anyone who united himself with a prostitute was one with her in the body (1 Corinthians 6:16). This shows that there’s more to sex than physical pleasure. It unites those who engage in it.
But what message is passed on in our society today? We see actors hopping from one sexual partner to another without batting an eyelid. Sex is painted as casual. If you can’t get it from one person, you may as well get it from the next available person. This certainly grieves the heart of God. Paul asked the Hebrew church to keep the marriage bed pure because God will judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral (Hebrews 13:4).
3. Remember that Sexual Sin is Much More Than Sexual Intimacy Outside Marriage
Nobody just wakes up and plunges headfirst into sexual sin. More often than not, their actions have been laying the groundwork for sexual sin. Perhaps they are married but have been flirting with a coworker. Or maybe they have been hooked on pornography for several years. Perhaps they have been keeping the wrong company. Sexual sin doesn't just pounce on innocent, unsuspecting people, but it’s a gradual process. Culture would have us believe that it’s okay to play with sin as long as you are “careful.” You can flirt with a coworker as long as you don’t get sexually intimate. You can ogle over another man’s wife as long as you don’t “cross the line”.
According to scripture, however, all the inappropriate actions that precede sexual intimacy outside marriage are sinful:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”(Mathew 5:27-28, NKJV).
There you have it. Lusting after a woman is equivalent to committing adultery with her. God wants us to have pure thoughts and motives as we relate to members of the opposite sex. Society, on the other hand, wants us to belittle the actions that culminate to sexual sin. King David fell into sexual sin when his eyes lingered too long on Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). Meanwhile, Job knew the secret to sexual purity:
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman” (Job 31:1 NIV). Job knew that a lustful look is not innocent. It is sinful. It may appear harmless, but it is loaded with potential for sexual immorality.
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15, NKJV). Sin is progressive and it ultimately leads to death.
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4. Define Sex as "For the Long Haul"
After creation, God looked upon all that he had made and declared that it was very good (Genesis 1:31). This goodness included man and woman. This means that God created sex as a pleasant thing. It was not meant to be a burden or obligation. In our culture, sex within marriage has been depicted as hot and steamy only in the initial stages. As time passes, the attraction fizzles out and sex takes a back seat. Enter extramarital affairs and ultimately separation or divorce. It’s as if sex within the bounds of marriage comes with an expiration date.
But not according to God. He wanted man to be bound to one woman all His days. Only death would separate the two. According to God, your spouse is well able to meet all your sexual needs for a whopping lifetime.
“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:9, NIV). This scripture affirms that a man only needs one wife to get a kick out of life:
“Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well” (Proverbs 5:15, NKJV).
Furthermore, the Bible depicts married love as nothing short of enthralling in the book of Songs of Solomon. So ditch society’s claim that good, married sex is short-lived. God intended it for the long haul.
5. Swallow the Truth: Sex Isn't Just About You
In a society that exhorts self-gratification, people use sex to settle scores and manipulate others. In marriage, a wife may deny her husband his conjugal rights for the mere fact that he forgot their anniversary. While it is a grave mistake to forget an anniversary, using sex to punish your partner is no less grievous. God intended for sex to be sacrificial. You will not always feel like being intimate with your spouse, but you still need to show up for them.
“The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:4). In view of this scripture, sex is not largely about you but your spouse. In 1 Corinthians 13, love is described as long-suffering. It also doesn't seek its own interests but the interests of others. God has called married couples into sacrificial love even where sex is involved.
6. Don't Permit Sexual Sin That Grieves God
Sadly, people are so used to sexual sin that it no longer pricks their conscience. On the flipside, sexual sin greatly grieves God.
“Keep far away from sexual sins. All the other sins a person commits are outside the body. But sexual sins are sins against their own body. Don’t you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit is in you, and you have received the Spirit from God. You do not belong to yourselves" (1 Corinthians 6:18-19, NKJV).
Imagine leaving someone in your house only to return and find your home reeking of filth. That would make you so incensed. In the same way, God abhors sexual impurity because it defiles His temple. The scripture above reminds us that our bodies are not our own. When we defile them through sexual impurity, we grieve the owner.
After David had slept with Bathsheba and had her husband killed, God was greatly displeased:
“But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27).
No matter how much our society trivializes sex outside marriage, it is a great offense in the eyes of God. Let's strive to treat sex as a holy blessing from God so others may find its righteous fulfillment.
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