Tag Archives: Beatitudes in the bedroom

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Experiencing God’s Promises

The Beatitudes. Lately, I’ve been covering how these principles can be applied to our marriage and marriage bed. However, I’d be surprised if some of you haven’t thought of an image like this during this series on my blog:

Bee - Attitudes!

(Yes, I used to work in Children’s Ministry.)

That’s really not a bad way to think about these commands from Jesus: They are attitudes that we take and people we want to be, whether we’re dealing with fellow church goers, co-workers or friends, or our spouse. And the be-attitude we adopt impacts how we view our world, including sexual intimacy in our marriage.

One more time, I want to give you the passage from the Sermon in the Mount that we refer to as The Beatitudes. If you’ve been following this series, you may be tempted to skim these familiar verses, but I encourage you to really read through them and let each sink into your mind and heart.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Experiencing God's Promises

There are two more verses that complete this section of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” They expand on the final beatitude of “Blessed are those who are persecuted….”

Now I firmly believe that God’s commands reach every aspect of our lives. But His promises delve into every crevice as well. What if, living according to the Beatitudes, your marriage experienced these promises? What if your marriage itself:

  • belonged in the kingdom of heaven
  • was comforted
  • inherited the earth
  • felt filled
  • received mercy
  • saw God
  • was called a child of God
  • knew the kingdom of heaven

Sounds pretty good, huh?

In wrapping up my own study of this passage, I read a little further in Matthew 5. Now the Books of Matthew and Luke both give an accounting of Jesus’ sermon, and while there is a great deal of overlap, their different perspectives give us a slightly take on what was said and when. No, this isn’t a problem in verifying the truth of what Jesus said; rather, it’s how eyewitnesses report the same incident — with main points that agree and enough variations in detail to conclude they didn’t rehearse a false story. But Matthew may have chosen what came next in his account, rather than this being the order in which Jesus delivered his words.

Still, I was intrigued when I read:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16

That’s how I often feel about the godly sexual intimacy. While it’s a very private affair, how we conduct ourselves in this area can become a public testimony to the world about our Christian commitment and our spiritual fruit.

As you pour yourself into sexual intimacy, as one of several forms of intimacy you can have in marriage, some of that goodness overflows and shows. Your relationship is holier, heathier, and happier. Your friends and family may never fully know what all is behind your better, stronger, sweeter marriage, but your light shines.

My prayer for you and your marriage is that you will be blessed. That you will be salt and light. That you will experience God’s promises.

Blessed are those…

Let’s be those. Let’s be blessed.

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Persecuted

On Saturdays, we’ve been looking into how the Beatitudes impact our marriage and our marriage beds. Once again, from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

We’ve been through Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, The Meek, Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, The Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers. And now we’ve reached the final one: persecuted because of righteousness.The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Persecuted Bible verse

Some of you definitely feel persecuted when it comes to sexual intimacy in your marriage. I can already hear those of you who say your spouse has persecuted you for your perspective when it comes to sex.

I feel for you, but that’s not what this verse is talking about. Let’s break it down.

In the New Testament Greek, the phrase “persecuted because of righteousness” comes from three words: Dioko Heneka Dikaiosune.

Dioko. The New Testament Greek word Dioko is one of three words used to mean persecute. This particular word carries with it the notion of pursuing someone in a hostile manner. It’s not just mistreatment, but persistent pursuit to harass or oppress.

Where I live, in a well-churched suburb of Houston, I don’t think we have a good sense of what it’s like to be really persecuted. We certainly haven’t ever had to make a choice between confessing our faith and having our freedom or our lives. For that, I’m grateful — and I pray for those Christians in our world who live in places where they are outright persecuted.

But most Christians know what it’s like to be mocked by someone for their faith. That’s a low form of persecution, but it is harassment or even hostility. And yes, we can be mocked for our position on sexual intimacy in marriage. But, before I go into more detail, let’s get to the next Greek word.

Heneka. This is the word translated as because ofbut it’s also translated in other verses simply as “for” (see Matthew 10:39, 19:5). So why am I focusing on an itty-bitty preposition?

Because we might read, “Blessed are those who are persecuted,” and immediately start listing all the ways we feel put upon and harassed and mistreated. But God isn’t saying you’re blessed just because you’re having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad decade. There are other verses that give you comfort and answers for that.

This verse says you’re blessed if it’s because of something. The reason why you feel like things are going badly matters. Some of us are experiencing bad stuff in our marriage because, truth be told, we aren’t fully seeking the next part of this verse.

Dikaiosune. I love this definition of the word used for righteousness, from Bible Study Tools: “integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting.” When I consider applying those principles to my marriage bed, a beautiful image emerges. What if we all treated our sexual intimacy with integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, and correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting? What if we all aligned our desires with God’s design for sex in marriage?

Our marriage beds can be places of righteousness. Not simply in those black-and-white ways of having sex in marriage but not outside of marriage (which is definitely important), but with each choice we make in how we treat our spouse, what attitude toward sex we adopt, whether we pursue God’s plan for deeper love and intimacy through physical closeness, and how we express Christ-like love as we make love.

So bringing this all together…

What could it possibly mean to be persecuted because of righteousness — when it comes to the marriage bed?

I don’t think this is about feeling mistreated by your own spouse. Rather, I know spouses and couples who have tried to seek righteousness in this area of their marriage … and things got harder. It’s tough to admit that, because I’m always saying stuff like, “Work on your marriage bed! Things can get better!” Which is true, but that doesn’t mean that Satan, and other people, will be cheering you on as you seek righteousness.

See if you recognize any of these forms of harassment or hostility:

  • Your friends mock your desire for more and more intimate sex, saying that husbands should be glad they get any.
  • Your single friends suggest that marriage is where sex goes to die and mock your commitment to monogamy.
  • Others suggest skipping all the work needed to improve your sexual intimacy and taking care of your own self with sex toys or pornography.
  • You start to see improvement in your sex life, and other stressors begin to interfere: job stress, family problems, illness. As if Satan himself is attacking your desire to seek righteousness.
  • You try to speak up about godly sex in church or among friends, but get shut down for speaking about “private things” in public.
  • You iterate your commitment to avoiding lust of others — whether pornography, erotica, or simply TV/movie choices — and get ridiculed for being a prude.

You could probably add to list, and none of these is insurmountable. I certainly don’t know anyone whose stance on godly sex in marriage has resulted in a threat that they’ll be burned at the stake or hung in the public square.

But I have seen couples who have made real progress in the bedroom, and instead of having others celebrate their steps toward righteousness — life seems to attack them from various directions. I can tell you that every marriage blogger I’ve talked to about this says they’ve felt spiritually attacked in their marriage at one point or another.

So maybe there is some persecution because of righteousness in the marriage bed. But whatever. “…theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I think I’ll take that trade.

Pursuing righteousness in your marriage bed has its own rewards between you and your spouse, but ultimately we do the right thing for the sake of God and His kingdom. We are His children, and our lives — all the way down to our sexuality — should reflect the Father.

Have you felt any persecution, or harassment, because of your stance or pursuit of godly sexuality? Has your marriage felt attacked in some way since you began working toward better sexual intimacy?

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Peacemakers

On Saturdays, we’ve been (slowly) working through how the Beatitudes impact our marriage and our marriage beds. Here’s that passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

We’ve covered Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, The Meek, Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, The Merciful, and Pure in Heart. Which brings us to peacemakers.The Beatitudes in the Bedroom - Peacemakers verse

I once again sought out the meaning of the primary word here — peacemakers — in the original New Testament Greek. As it turns out, this is the only time that word, eirenopoios, is used. But since it’s a compound word, you can break it down into two words just as you can in English — eirene for peace, and poieo for make. When I realized that, I thought, Now we’re getting somewhere! Only eirene (peace) is used 86 times in the New Testament and poieo (make) is used a whopping 519 times.

Look, I love y’all but this post isn’t my doctoral dissertation, so there is no way I’m researching all of those verses. Instead, let’s look at a few of the definitions of these words from the New Testament Greek Lexicon provided by BibleStudyTools.com.

Eirene

2. peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3. security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

Poieo

1. to make: a) to be the authors of, the cause; b) to make ready, to prepare; c) to produce, bear, shoot forth

At this point, you’re probably thinking as I did: So it means exactly what it says — to make peace.

Only, I have to admit that the word for make includes a definition I like a whole lot, given what I do — “to be the authors of.” Think about that. When you’re the author, you get to say whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. You decide what gets made. It sounds really powerful and marvelous when I put it like that, but the best writers do not take that freedom lightly. With that freedom, they recognize deep responsibility and the need to create something they can be proud of, others will gravitate to, and in line with their values.

Considering that, what does it mean to be a peacemaker in your marriage bed? I recognize that you are not the only “author” there — or shouldn’t be. It’s like you’re co-writing this epic called Marital Intimacy. But what do you bring to the page? Are your actions promoting “peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord”? Do you help to make your marriage bed a place of “security, safety, prosperity, felicity”?

If you’re honest, some of you recognize that no, you’re not a peacemaker when it comes to sexual intimacy in your marriage. Rather, you’re adding to the tension, conflict, and even hostility in your marriage regarding this topic. Or maybe it’s not that bad, but you do things that make your spouse feel uncertain of your love in this area, resulting in him (or her) feeling insecure, unsafe, and unhappy (the opposite of felicity).

How can you be a peacemaker? What gives you the right to call yourself a child of God when it comes to how you approach your spouse’s sexuality?

How about asking some questions?

  • What makes my spouse feel unsafe in the bedroom? Have I requested or demanded sexual acts that make my spouse feel disgusted, degraded, or simply not enough?
  • Do I know my spouse’s sexual history and how it impacts them? Do I recognize what sensitivities they have and where their trigger points are, and feel compassion accordingly? Am I working toward a healthier and holier approach in our marriage bed?
  • Do I make an effort to help my spouse feel good about their body and their sexuality? Do I honor the way God made them, in terms of their gender, personality, appearance, and uniqueness?
  • Do I try to communicate clearly what I want in our marriage bed, and then listen to what my spouse desires? Do I really consider and try to understand their point of view, avoiding defensiveness and counterattack?
  • Do I take all rejections personally or try to see the woundedness behind the walled-off parts of their sexuality and deal with that? Am I safe place for my spouse to share their concerns, worries, and hurts? Can I be counted on to work toward a more sexually intimate marriage while treating my spouse’s heart with tender care?
  • Do I appreciate the difference between a cease-fire and unity? Do I reject the status quo of contention or stalemate and pursue true harmony and concord between us? Even if that involves difficult conversations, rethinking my positions, and/or pursuing marriage counseling?
  • Do I confront our issues with the goal of sexual “prosperity” and satisfaction for both of us? Do I take the words “one flesh” earnestly, looking for ways to make the two of us as one in Christ (see Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:6, Ephesians 5:31, and John 17:20-22)?

If we’re all being real, you know from that list that we are not perfect peacemakers. We have failed in some way to pursue perfect peace in our marriage beds. Thankfully, we have the grace of Christ, the opportunity for second chances (or 67th chances, if that’s where you are), the ability to change direction, and the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide us to a better path.

Start right here — with asking yourself what you can do today and tomorrow to promise true peace in your marriage bed. How can you pursue the harmony and unity God wants us to have, especially in this most vulnerable, beautiful, and bonding of experiences?

Let’s make love in our bedrooms, but let’s also make peace.

Let's make love in our bedrooms, but let's also make peace. Click To Tweet

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Pure in Heart

It’s been a few weeks since I talked about the Beatitudes in the Bedroom. I’ve been looking at how this passage relates to our marriages and marriage beds. Here’s the passage of Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

My previous posts have covered Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, The Meek, Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, and The Merciful. This week let’s talk about pure in heart.The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Pure in Heart verseBeing a curious gal, I once again wanted to know the original Greek words for pure and heart. The heart word is kardia, which is really straightforward. Think about the English root word cardio; put it in front of anything, and you know we’re talking heart (cardiovascular, cardiologist, cardiogram, etc.).

But the Greek word for pure is katharos. You might also recognize that one, because it’s where we derive our word catharsis. If something is cathartic, it’s emotionally cleansing, so to speak. And indeed, katharos is typically translated as either pure or clean.

In the Bible, a couple of other uses of katharos caught my attention. John 13 shares the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet at the Passover supper before His death, burial, and resurrection. When Jesus gets to Peter, there’s this exchange:

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

Just because our skin is clean doesn’t mean that we are truly pure, as Jesus pointed out in His last statement. The purity in heart that we seek really comes from being washed by Jesus!

The next passage with katharos that caught my eye, and which I want to focus on, is from Revelation 19:

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

Marriage is often used in the Word of God as a representation of God’s relationship to His people, both in the Old and New Testaments. Here in Revelation, once again God’s people are compared to a bride … and our groom is the Lamb Himself, Jesus Christ. What does the bride wear for such an event? She is given fine linen, bright and pure.

I think about this image of a bride in pure garments readying herself not only for the nuptials, but the wedding night and the honeymoon. Here she’s at her very purest, embracing God’s design for intimacy.

And that’s so very different from how many Christian wives feel about sex in their marriage. The messages they received in the Church, or even receive now, make it seem like purity and sex are opposites.

Come close, girlfriend, because I want to tell you God’s truth: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. And your heart is 100% pure if you are pursuing sexual intimacy according to God’s design for marriage.

This was one of my biggest struggles when I got married. I honestly thought that, with a couple of I Dos, I would leave my premarital promiscuous past behind, never to feel the burden of guilt again. But my actions had connected these two things in my heart: sex and sin. And there wasn’t anyone insisting that God had an entirely different way of looking at things. So while I enjoyed sex in my marriage, I felt unclean at some level, as if me desiring sex with my husband was not quite the fine, clean linen I should be wearing.

What a lie!

Impurity is seeking and engaging in things outside of God’s will. Sin is often defined as missing the mark. But God’s will is for His married children to engage in healthy, holy, and even heat-rising sex — it’s right on target for marriage.

Sweet, sexy wife, please know that your libido is a beautiful provision, that your sensuality is God-given, that your pleasure in the marriage bed is pure. Yes, we can mess up our marriage beds in all kinds of ways, but the healthy desire to engage in God’s gift of sex is a blessing. It’s a pure-in-heart thing.

Seek His purity in your marital bedroom. Find out what that looks like. Wrestle with the wrong messages you’ve received and replace them with biblical truths. Dig deep for answers to the problems you’re facing with your sexuality or your relationship with your husband. Pray for Jesus to wash your heart completely and make it pure in your marriage. Then enjoy the blessings that God wants you to have.

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The Merciful

Recently, I’ve been looking at the Beatitudes in the Bedroom, how this passage relates to our marriages and marriage beds. To get us started, let’s review the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

If you want to read the ones I’ve covered so far, check out Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, The Meek, and Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness. And now we’re up to the merciful.The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The Merciful

I already know what some of you are thinking: Please talk about how my sex-resistant spouse needs to have mercy on me and give me some much-needed physical intimacy!

I’ll actually get to that. But first, I did a bit of word study on the Greek term used for mercy: eleeo (pronounced el-eh-eh’-o). I expected to see New Testament verses about how God showed us mercy when He saved us from sin. But the most common use occurred when Jesus was healing the sick. People often approached Jesus and cried out, “Have mercy,” just before he cured them of their ailments.

So eleeomercy,” often connoted healing and wholeness.

And honestly, that’s what so many of our marriage beds need. Not just frequency of sex or mutual pleasure, but healing and wholeness to be able to engage fully in the experience of sexual intimacy God gifted marriage.

In what area of your sexual struggles do you wish you could cry out to Jesus, “Have mercy!” and know that His healing would immediately follow? Did you experience sexual abuse in your past? Have you struggled to get past your spouse’s prior infidelity? Are you continually tempted by porn? Do you have pain during intercourse? Have you faced the hollow ache of infertility?

We can cry out for God’s mercy, and He delivers. Not always on the timetable we want or in the way we expect, but He is faithful:

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT).

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

But the Beatitude here isn’t about God’s mercy specifically, but our mercy: “Blessed are those who merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Thinking back to the physical and emotional ailments we experience in our marital bedroom, what is your beloved dealing with? What baggage or challenges confront him when it comes to sexual intimacy?

Have you shown him mercy? Helped him seek healing? Contributed to his wholeness?

We can get so caught up in our own perspective that we fail to fully consider what sexual issues our mate is confronting. Maybe your husband is trying to break a porn habit or facing a lower sex drive or aching for more sexual intimacy with you. Whatever his concerns, can you show mercy?

And no, I’m not suggesting having pity sex. Rather, true mercy involves reaching out with your heart. Indeed, Romans 12:8 advises that if we show mercy, we should “do it cheerfully.” Grudging compassion isn’t compassion at all.

Mercy might include more sex, more communication about sex, counseling about sex, or a myriad of other options.

But let’s seek one another’s healing and wholeness. Let’s extend to our spouse what we wish to receive from God.  Let’s be merciful in our marriage beds. And then, let’s see how God blesses us.