Sex, God, and Marriage


14-January-2012

But as desperately as people want to believe in the sexual revolution of the last few decades, it is clear to many of them that something has gone terribly wrong.

  Instead of bringing freedom, the sexual revolution has left countless wounded and isolated souls.

  As we face the great anguish around us, it is more important than ever for all of us, young and old, to consider the direction of our lives and ask ourselves where we are headed.

There is little that is so difficult for a person to bear as loneliness.

 Prisoners held in solitary confinement have told of rejoicing to see even a spider – at least it is something alive.  God created us to be communal beings.

  Yet our modern world is frighteningly devoid of relationships.  In many areas of life, technological progress has resulted in the deterioration of community.  Increasingly, technology has made people seem unnecessary.
  
As the elderly are placed into retirement communities or personal-care homes, as factory workers are replaced by hi-tech robotics, as young men and women search in vain for meaningful employment, they fall into cycles of hopelessness.

  Some depend on the help of therapists or psychologists, and others seek avenues of escape such as alcoholism, drugs, and suicide.

  Cut off from God and each other, thousands of people lead lives of quiet desperation.
 
To live in isolation, whether outwardly or inwardly, can lead to despair.

  Someone once said, “Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love.”  It is reached when a man deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost.

  But a man who is truly humble cannot despair, because in a humble man there is no longer any such thing as self-pity.

God created us to live with and for others
 
God has planted in each of us an instinctive longing to achieve a closer likeness to him, a longing that urges us toward love, community, and unity.

  In his last prayer, Jesus points out the importance of this longing:  “May they all be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, so also may they be in us, that the world may believe that thou didst send me”  John 17:20–21
No one can truly live without love: it is God’s will for every person to be the “thou” for every other.

 Every person is called to love and help those around him on God’s behalf Gen. 4:8–10.  God wants us to find community with one another and to help one another in love.
 
Our lives are fulfilled only when love is kindled, proved, and brought to fruition.  Jesus tells us that the two most important commandments are to love God with our whole heart, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves.  And these two commandments cannot be separated: love to God must always mean love to one’s neighbor.

  We cannot find a relationship to God if we disregard others 1 John 4:19– 21.  Our way to God must be through our brothers and sisters, and in marriage, through our partner.
 
If we are filled with God’s love, we can never be lonely or withdrawn for long; we will always find someone to love.
 
God and our neighbour will always be near us.  When we suffer from loneliness, it is often simply because we desire to be loved rather than to give love.  Real happiness comes from giving love to others.

  We need to seek community of love with our neighbour again and again, and in this seeking we must each become a helper, a brother or a sister.

  Let us ask God to free our choked-up hearts for this love, knowing that we can find it only in the humility of the cross. 

 

Marriage is more than living happily together

Marriage is sacred. In the Old Testament, the proph¬ets use it to describe God’s relationship with his people Israel:  “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.
  I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord” Hos. 2:19.  God reveals his love to all people in a special way in the unique bond between husband and wife.
 
We can see from Jesus’ sharpness what a horror adultery is in the eyes of God.  The whole Bible protests against it, from the books of the Prophets, where the idol worship of the children of Israel is called adultery Jer. 13:25–27, to Revelation, where we read of God’s wrath against the harlot.  When the bond of marriage is broken, love – the unity of spirit and soul between two – is broken and smashed, and not only between the adulterer and his spouse, but between himself and God.

In our present-day culture, the institution of marriage is teetering on the brink of disaster.  Much of what is called love is nothing but selfish desire.  Even in marriage many couples live together selfishly.  People are deceived in thinking that fulfillment can be found without sacrifice and faithfulness, and even though they may live together, they are afraid to love each other unconditionally.

True fulfillment comes from giving love to another person.  Yet love does not only seek to give; it also longs to unite.  If I really love another person, I will be interested in knowing what is in him and willing to be led out of my one-sidedness.  In love and humility I will help him to the possibility of a full awakening, first toward God, and then toward others.  True love is never possessive.  It always leads to the freedom of faithfulness and purity.

Sexual love can give God’s love visible form

There is a difference between the love of an engaged or married couple and the love among other men and women.

  Nowhere is a person more dependent on another than in marriage.  There is a special joy in the heart of a married person when the beloved is near; and even when separated, there is a unique bond between them.  Through the intimate relationship of marriage, something takes place which may even show in a couple’s faces.
 
In the unique bond of marriage we discover the deeper meaning of becoming one flesh.  Obviously to become one flesh means to become one physically and sexually, but it is far more than that!  It is a symbol of two people bound and melted together, heart, body, and soul, in mutual giving and total oneness.

Unity of heart, soul, and body is possible

In God’s order of marriage there are at least three different levels of experience.  The first, most wonderful level is unity of spirit: the oneness of heart and soul in God.

 In this oneness we can have community not only with our spouse but with all believing persons.  The second level is unity of emotion: the current of love from one heart toward another that is so strong that a person can, so to
speak, hear the heartbeat of another. The third level is physical unity: the expression of oneness found when two bodies are fused in perfect union.

Too many couples today are content with the third level alone, or perhaps the second. A marriage based only on the physical and emotional is doomed to disappointment.  Even though waves of emotional or physical attraction are natural, they can leave deep wounds if they are not placed under Christ. 

If a marriage is to be truly healthy, it must be founded in the order of God – on unity of spirit, heart, and soul.  Most people today, including those of us who claim to be Christians, have no idea how much God has prepared for those who truly love and honor him. When we embrace God’s order for our relationships, we will experience God’s blessings.

Sex is the focal point, and often unity of heart is not even sought or mentioned.  Is it any wonder that so few couples remain faithful to each other for life? Anyone who has lived near the ocean knows something of nature’s power in the pull of high and low tides. In marriage, as in friendship, there are high and low tides.

  When a relationship is at low ebb, it is all too easy for us to lose patience, to distance ourselves from our partner, and even to abandon efforts toward a renewal of love.
 
When God is at the center, we can turn to him and find faith and strength even at our lowest ebb.  The more we live up to the image of God in which we are created, the more strongly will we sense that God must remain our center, and that his commandments are fitting for us.  We will sense that his commandments are not laid on us as alien laws and commands.  Rather, we will see that they are in keeping with our true nature as created in his image.  But the more we betray and destroy God’s image within us, the more his rulership will appear to us as something foreign, a moral compulsion that crushes us.

To be fruitful for each other, by complementing each other in love, and to be fruitful with each other in bearing children – it is these purposes that make marriage blessed and holy, and a joy in heaven.

 Even so, in the story of the creation, before God’s command “to be fruitful,” comes a blessing: his gift of a partner to the first man.

 In giving the man this gift, it is as if God is saying, “My image lives in you.” Whenever we approach marriage, we must consider this with great reverence.  In every person and in every marriage lives the potential for a genuine expression of the image of God.

By Pastor David Koin
Winners’ Chapel International
www.winnerschapelseychelles.org

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