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The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Poor in Spirit

In the course of my life and as I’ve grown this ministry, I’ve become convinced of this truth: Whatever the Bible says about how we should be outside the bedroom applies to how we should be inside the bedroom as well.

Not only are there specific verses about marriage and sexuality in the Bible, but many principles can be applied to how we should treat our spouse when it comes to sexual intimacy in marriage.

Last week while I was at church camp (with 350 kids in the Texas Hill Country near San Antonio), we studied the Beatitudes all week. These statements of blessing are at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and are found in Matthew 5:3-10:

“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.”

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

The word translated blessed is “makarios.” This Greek word has also been translated as “happy” but carries the meaning of “fortunate” or “favored.” It’s perhaps the equivalent of someone who wins the lotto or marries a terrific woman, and others say, “What a lucky guy!”

Although, of course, blessedness isn’t pure luck, but rather the gift of our Heavenly Father. With the Beatitudes, I believe He’s stating both a truth and a promise: You will be happier if you live according to My principles, and I will bless you with My favor.

Being me, I got to thinking about how the Beatitudes apply to our marriage beds. What does being poor in spirit or meek or merciful have to do with how we approach sexual intimacy? Do any of these principles apply to our sex lives? Or are the Beatitudes solely about spirituality?

Since I believe our spirituality seeps out into our physical lives, I think there is an application. God wants us to love and honor him with our whole selves (see Luke 10:27), which includes our physical bodies on earth.

Let’s take the first Beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? This is most often explained as the trait of humility; that is, understanding our spiritual poverty and need for God. The opposite, therefore, would be selfishness and arrogance.

How could “poor in spirit” apply to the marriage bed?

Someone who is selfish and arrogant might feel entitled to sexual pleasure, seek their own satisfaction, and/or blindly assert that they are great lovers, regardless of whether their mate is enjoying the experience. They justify their porn habit or sexual refusal or a myriad of other sins. Or perhaps they’re simply unwilling to discuss the problems that exist in the marriage, even blaming the other for miscommunication and dissatisfaction.

However, someone who is poor in spirit understands that he or she isn’t the be-all-end-all of the sexual experience. They recognize their flaws and need for improvement. They turn to God for help when things are tough, and accept help from their spouse when needed. They seek the best for their mate, not merely themselves. They pursue the spiritual health — and thus physical and emotional well-being — of their beloved.

Humility is among the toughest virtues to consistently pursue. Because we’re always looking at the world through own needs, desires, and perspective. We’re naturally selfish. And, as I’ve said more than once, if I didn’t believe my opinion to be 100% right, I wouldn’t have that opinion.

Humility requires a willingness to listen to your beloved and let go of your knee-jerk reaction to take care of your own needs. It doesn’t mean getting run over by your spouse (by no means!), but rather recognizing your own imperfections and submitting yourself to God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

What a great promise. And a worthy goal for us to pursue in our marriage and marriage beds, starting right now.

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The Ugly Side of Christian Sex Blogging

I consider myself extremely blessed by my readers. The conversation, encouragement, and support I receive is nothing short of breathtaking at times. 95% of the time, my task of writing about godly sexuality in marriage is a joy. Not in the sense that I’m always happy writing about a particular subject — because some definitely break my heart — but in the sense that I feel peace and assurance that I’m doing what God has called me to do.

However. (You knew that was coming, right?) There is an ugly side of Christian sex blogging, and it’s not one y’all usually see. Basically, it’s comments I’ve gotten that say things like:

  • You’re a filthy person to talk about sex in public.
  • What you’re writing is tantamount to Christian porn.
  • You encourage wives to be mistreated by telling them to have sex no matter what.
  • You are a prude and an idiot for opposing porn and erotica.
  • Your husband is unlucky to have sex with you.

When I first started getting not merely negative comments or debate — which I’m fine with — but personal attacks, I was deeply hurt. I carried around the comments all day long and let them burrow into my brain and my chest until I wanted to cry. But what I’ve learned since is that I probably poked a tender wound for someone, unintentionally of course, but it happened. And what they’re saying about me likely isn’t about me at all.

Still, although I simply delete personal attacks these days (against me or other commenters), I tend to answer their charges in my head before I move on, like:

  • You’re a filthy person to talk about sex in public. Are you saying God was a filthy person? Because He did it.
  • What you’re writing is tantamount to Christian porn. Have you ever seen porn? What I write is a biblical yet honest treatment of sex that is absolutely nothing like the twisted version of sex promoted by porn.
  • You encourage wives to be mistreated by telling them to have sex no matter what. I’ve never said that. I encourage wives to be intentional about sexual intimacy and equip them to enjoy this gift from their Heavenly Father.
  • You are a prude and an idiot for opposing porn and erotica. I’m neither, and the evidence is piling up to support God’s opposition to this sinful version of sex.
  • Your husband is unlucky to have sex with you. Yes, really. Someone said that. And I simply defer to my husband, who says that he’s one lucky bloke. So there!

Now don’t go shooting sympathy messages my way, because I’m really okay. It’s not tear-inducing anymore; just annoying.

But I have been giving some thought to how this might expand as my ministry expands. With the release of Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design that will reach a wider audience and the launch of my speaking ministry, I’m likely to get more push-back from people who don’t appreciate what I’m doing. While I’m fine with disagreement and debate, personal attacks might also come with the territory.

Which got me thinking more broadly about Christian sex authors. I don’t know everything my colleagues have faced in this regard, but I expect they’ve had some difficult challenges. It’s never easy to proclaim the Word of God among people who resist the truth. And there are many reasons people resist God’s design for sex in marriage — some understandable reasons, like past abuse or shame, and some selfish reasons.

I’d like to think that we are not alone in talking about God’s plan for sex in marriage. That Christian authors and speakers are merely the mouthpieces for what the Church wants people to know about God’s design and His heart for His children.

That’s why this week, I’m asking your memory verse for marriage to involve the larger message about sexual intimacy that we proclaim to the world.

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…” Colossians 4:3 Marriage Memory Verse 6-11-16

Pray that God will open a door for His message in your own marriage; in churches that need a clear, biblical approach to sexuality; in the world at large that needs this hopeful and healthy view of sexual intimacy. Pray that Christian authors and speakers will proclaim the mystery of Christ, which permeates all the way to our marriage beds.

Coming back to your marriage, I know many of you need that open door with your spouse, that you are aching for something better in your marital bedroom. Please know that I’m praying for you as well. Let’s have a bedroom revolution where married Christians enjoy all the blessings of sexual intimacy.

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