I’ve misplaced keys in a number of creative ways. I’ve left them in a bathroom stall at a store. I’ve thrown them in my car, and they slipped between some floorboards. I’ve even locked them in a storage closet at my church. For that one, I had to enlist the help of two staff members, and after trying about twenty different keys, we finally found one that fit.
That process of trying a bunch of wrong keys in a lock then finally finding the right one could illustrate a lot of things in life. But one that strikes me as particularly applicable is our view of sex. That may seem like quite a jump, but stick with me here.
Sex was created and is defined by God. We see this established in Genesis 1:27–28 and 2:24, then described and displayed throughout the Bible. God’s creation: man and woman. God’s definition: man and woman, leaving their parents and joining together in the covenantal marriage relationship—vows made before God as witness—to become one flesh.
That “one flesh” coming together has the purpose of both bearing children and intimately uniting the man and woman. It is also a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church. So while children are a probable result of a husband and wife’s sexual relationship, so too are closeness, commitment, comfort, pleasure, and putting the covenantal relationship between Christ and the Church on display.
Unlocking the Best Gifts of Sex
Going back to my original example, God’s definition of sex is the lock and the married man and woman are the key. Though sexual sin may allow us to experience some aspects of the rewards and pleasures of sex outside the covenantal relationship God designed, the only key that can unlock both the purest pleasure and clearest metaphor of Christ and His Church is a married man and woman. There is unmatched beauty and bold declaration of the gospel as a husband and wife walk in obedience to God’s plan and pursue holiness in their sexual relationship.
Sometimes the keys are wrong . . .
- An unmarried man and woman may have a sexual relationship, but that will never unlock the full intimacy and pleasure God intended for sex. The pleasure of sex without the covenant commitment that sex is designed to illustrate falls short of God’s design.
- Two men or two women may have a sexual relationship, but again, that will never unlock the full intimacy and pleasure God intended for sex. That relationship does not match God’s description or design. While certainly sexual pleasure and/or temporary satisfaction may result, the fullness and glory of God’s purposes will not happen in those relationships.
And sometimes the right key might be trying to fit in the wrong lock . . .
- A married man and woman may have a self-focused view of pleasure.
- A married man and woman may have an understanding of sexual intimacy that has been warped by media, pornography, or even discussions about sex with other people. If your primary understanding of what happens in a sexual relationship comes from sources like these, then you probably have the wrong lock.
- A married man and woman may have sexual sin or abuse in their past that has misshaped their understanding of the intimacy and pleasure God has designed.
So the two essential questions to ask when it comes to a right view of sex are: Do I have the right key? And do I have the right lock?
The Right Key
If you are a woman married to a man, then you have the right key to unlock all God has designed and intended for sex. If you are a part of any other relationship—unmarried and having sex, homosexual, a married woman having sex with a person other than your husband, or seeking sexual pleasure through erotica or porn—then you may experience some temporary pleasure, but that relationship will never fully satisfy you or glorify God.
The Right Lock
God’s design for sex to include deep connection, pleasure, and a desire to love and serve your spouse is the only way God will be fully displayed and glorified in a married couples’ relationship. If your understanding of sexual intimacy has been impacted by sin, abuse, or distorted cultural examples, then seek redemption from the Lord and His Word. Recognize the problem. Confess it to the Lord. Then by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Truth of God’s Word, turn and walk in His way. There is no sin that the blood of Christ cannot cover. There is no darkness God’s light cannot break into. This is powerfully described in 1 John 1:5–7:
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Put in Truth
Regardless of your past or present thoughts, feelings, and actions about sex, the light of God’s Truth is able to transform them into what He wants them to be. So in a culture where sex surrounds us in all kinds of daily circumstances, experiences, thoughts, and conversations, you have to flat-out pursue God’s ways and fill your mind with His Word. You must not only identify sin and pain, you must then put Truth in its place.
So if reading certain kinds of books causes your mind to create lustful fantasies, don’t read them. And in their place choose to read books that build up your mind and heart to fuel you to walk in God’s ways.
If certain people or relationships are drawing you away from God’s plan and purposes for sex, then either flee from them or seek biblical restoration.
If the images of certain movies or shows you’re watching or websites you’re visiting cause you to think on or desire a misshaped sexual relationship, then turn them off. And in their place choose to look at things that allow your mind and heart to be drawn toward God’s ways and not away from them.
If you have experienced sexual abuse or have some sort of sexual sin in your past or in your life right now, pray and seek God’s restoration. Search the Word for Truth you can claim.
If you’ve sinned sexually, confess your sin to your spouse or a trusted friend and ask for prayer for the continued healing you need to pursue wholeness in Christ.
Do you have a God-defined understanding of sex? And are you rightly living out God’s design and definition of sex whether it is through the season of singleness or marriage? Pursue a God-shaped view of sex. There is no other view that can match His.