I’ve been giving this question a lot of thought lately — what people use as their foundation on views about sex. Plenty of Christians proclaim a strong belief, read the Word of God, and try to live godly lives.
However, when it comes to the bedroom, we may be tempted to base our beliefs on traditional viewpoints about sex, our guttural feelings about the issue, or secular teachings about sexuality. Let me take each of these in turn:
The way it’s always been done. I’ve got nothing against tradition. There’s definitely a role for it. Indeed, if something has been successfully done a certain way for a number of years, we should take notice that we may want to do the same. That approach is the basis of the Proverbs in the Bible — godly people sharing hard-earned wisdom. However, our traditions can often get off kilter. After all, Jesus was on a constant mission to rid His people of traditions that didn’t make sense and led to undue burden.
I hear this at times from people who are extremely uncomfortable with Christians talking about sex or advocating things like different positions or oral sex. Or from wives who don’t want to rock the boat of men-like-sex-women-don’t and prefer not to be told they can enjoy it too. It comes from believers who don’t think the word “sex” should be mentioned in church or that Song of Solomon is a legitimate sermon topic.
The basis of their objections seems to be tradition — that traditionally sex was hush-hush, primarily for procreation, and a wife’s duty rather than her pleasure. These people likely wouldn’t describe their views as such, but tradition plays a huge part in how they view sex and what they’re comfortable with. To them, anything outside of that realm seems distasteful or even anathema. “Why can’t we do things like we’ve always done them?”
What I feel in my gut. I could easily stand on my soapbox and rant about all of the nice-sounding but somewhat ridiculous sayings our society has spread. Such non-gems as “follow your heart” (see Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-22), “do what feels right” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25), and “be true to yourself” (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 10:24). It’s a common belief in our society that our minds, hearts, and guts will clue us into the right decisions — that if only we’ll listen to the still voice inside us, we’ll know what’s right.
Sometimes, we even cover our Christian tracks by talking about “having peace” about something — which is fine if your peace is entirely in line with God’s will, but we can misinterpret as well. (“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12)
Of course, we can train ourselves through study of the Bible, time with God and His people, and prayer to have more godly discernment. However, our guts can still get things wrong at times. After all, even the Apostle Paul’s gut told him to go preach in Bithynia, but he was wrong; an angel had to point him in the right direction of Macedonia (Acts 16:7-10).
Look at all we now know about sex! The secular world has exploded with information and advice about sexuality. Not to mention aids and products to assist our arousal and satisfaction. Certainly, there are good research studies, quality advice, and helpful aids for marital intimacy. However, there are many horrible ideas and suspect recommendations. It’s fairly easy to spot the horrible stuff, but not as obvious when a suggestion trumpeted by secular society is subtly bad — undermining God’s plan for sexual intimacy or causing damage over a long period of time.
Indeed, I’ve been personally disheartened by a few Christian authors and speakers who address sexual intimacy in a way that gives far more credence to psychology and human sexuality experts than their faith. Perhaps lip service is paid to biblical teachings, but as long as something isn’t strictly, word-by-word, forbidden in the Scripture, not much biblical study is involved and the sexual experts are taken as the definitive voice.
I’m not arguing with those responsible Christians who differ with me, or others, on particular points here and there. I’m simply contrasting those who look at the world through a biblical lens, and those who look at the Bible through a world lens.
Ultimately, the foundation for our views on sex should be the Creator of sex Himself — God. And He reveals His plan and purpose in His Word — through direct teachings on marriage and sexuality and through instruction on how to honor Him and treat others well.
It took me a long time to realize the importance of starting with God’s truth. Even when I was sexually sinning prior to my marriage, I was a believer and merely rationalized my choices. I applied my own beliefs to the Bible, not the other way around. Since then, I have time and time again seen the wisdom of setting God’s Word as the foundation for my life, including sexual intimacy.
I understand that my interpretation and someone else’s can differ on various theological and practical points, so we may not always reach the same conclusions. However, those who begin with God as their foundation will look first for answers in His Word, they will apply biblical principles to the marriage bed, they will align their sex lives with Christianity and proclaim the Gospel even in the marital bedroom. In doing so, they will reap the rewards of having sown good seed.
Likely, their sexuality will reflect God’s intention for their lives, their spouses will feel their Christ-centered love, and their marriages will be better for having taken the higher, narrower road. Because it’s the best road that leads to the right destination: That moment of “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
So what’s the foundation for your views on sex? Have you laid the right groundwork for sexual intimacy in your marriage?
2 thoughts on “What’s the Foundation for Your Views on Sex?”
Excellent article, J–well said! Keep them coming.
The foundation for my views on sexual intimacy is a hybrid of sorts. Yes, God’s truth is very important. My gut (“instincts”?) also play a role. Even though I am no saint, it seems that on most issues these 2 are in agreement, more or less. I also consider the collective experience of humanity on various sexual issues.
Tradition can be a problem, at least for me. We see things that are now accepted in our society, even ingrained in the society that are not going away and yet are not moral. Tradition and social custom are not necessarily valid guides to the Christian in various matters. As well, the world view is problematic as we are living in a fallen or flawed world. When the laws of man conflict with God’s laws, I think we ought to pay attention to and adhere to God’s laws. His laws are meant to protect us from our own self-destructive tendencies. (In other words, do what is right, even when it is not popular.)
One thing for the Christian to bear in mind, especially in these challenging times, is to make use of the larger ethical principles contained in the Bible. The Bible does not give specific and explicit instructions about every issue we deal with these days. It is distressing to me that not a few Christians seem to assume that if a specific activity (or birth control regimen or device) is not specifically prohibited in the Bible, it is therefore permissible. This is not necessarily so. Sometimes, we have to use our reasoning ability and look at the larger picture. (I addressed this in an essay on my blog back in March.)
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