One of my heroes is Mark Moore. I have never met him and I have only heard him speak in person a handful of times, but he has made an impact on my life none the less.
When I heard him say the above quote I was amazed at the genius of it. In a simple sentence he managed to state the reason why so many people struggle with sex.
I want to take a few moments and unpack this sentence; because I think when we begin to grasp the meaning of it the place sex is to have in our lives will become much clearer.
Sex is sacred…
Sex is to have a place of honor in our lives. The author of Hebrews wrote; Give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery (Hebrews 13:4; NLT).
God designed sex to bring a husband and a wife into an intimate relationship that cannot be created in any other way. Sex is not dirty or shameful nor is it common and ordinary. It has a very special place in binding a husband and wife together, and when we are unwilling to hold sex as something that is sacred then it loses all of its significance. Instead sex will simply become a “fun” activity for consenting adults, while its ultimate purpose of creating an intimate relationship between husband and wife will be lost. The way people get the most out of their sexual lives is to hold sex as sacred and leave it within the bounds of marriage.
I know many people will disagree with this thought, but we, as a culture, talk too much about sex. C. S. Lewis wrote:
The reason why I must is that you and I…have been fed all day long on solid lies about sex. We have been told, till one is sick of hearing it, that sexual desire is in the same state as any of our other natural desires and that if only we abandon the silly old Victorian idea of hushing it up, everything in the garden will be lovely. It is not true. The moment you look at the facts, and away from the propaganda, you see that it is not (Mere Christianity; p. 91-92).
Our focus on sex, both in the world and in the church, has led us to make sex common, and thus not sacred. I am not advocating ignoring sex, treating it as if it doesn’t exist, but I am encouraging us hold sex in high regard so it does not form the foundation of our stories, jokes, and our lives.
But not essential…
Here comes a shocking statement: Sex is not necessary for a good life! That thought is so contrary to what we have been told, and therefore it is contrary to what many of us truly believe.
Sex is not essential to our happiness! You can have a joyful and fulfilled life, and still be a virgin. Jesus was at least 33 years old when he was crucified and he never had sex. For Jesus to command you to keep sex within the bounds of marriage means that he is not asking you to do anything that he has not already done.
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:1 writes; Now about the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to live a celibate life (NLT). Sex is not essential in our quest to live the life God created us to live. The best life is not a life filled with sex, but one given away in service to the Kingdom of God.
There is no sexual act that will give us the type of life that our hearts crave. The joyful life is not discovered through a life of sexual freedom, but it is discovered through the little joys of life: the love of a child, the knowledge of a job well done, time with friends and family, and worship of the Creator. Sex does add pleasure and intimacy to life, but it is not essential for our happiness.
And our lives say the opposite…
I don’t need to remind us how sex has gone wrong in the world. The evidence of this reality is all around us, and we are faced with it each and every day. It should not surprise us to find the world living contrary to God’s standard when it comes to sex. Remember the world twists the good blessings of God to fit its rebellious ways.
When Mark Moore says “our lives,” he is not making a judgment on people already living contrary to God’s will, rather he is pointing out how Christians are living the same way. Sexual purity isn’t very fashionable in the world or among Christians. I am continually amazed by the number of “Christian” people I know who are living with someone or who find no problem with “weekend” flings.
The movies and television shows many Christians watch carry a message contrary to God’s message on sex, and yet we don’t give these things a second thought. Treating sex as sacred is more than just keeping sex between married people. Sex will not remain sacred if it is a common element in our entertainment.
This also includes jokes. Most of the “dirty” jokes I have heard in the last few years, have not come from people of the world, but from ministers and elders. There are jokes preachers tell to each other that they would never tell to an ordinary person in their congregation.
Paul tells us:
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God (Ephesians 5:3-4; NLT).
Whether or not we hold sex to be sacred is not only seen in our actions, but also in our speech. Too often we are trying to tell the world to honor sex while we are treating it with disrespect with our jokes and stories.
As I wrap this up let me leave you with another quote from C. S. Lewis:
Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it: the old Christian rule is, ‘Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.’ Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct which has gone wrong (Mere Christianity; p. 90).