Everyone’s got an opinion about sex—your mother, your hairdresser, your friends, and we’re sure your husband does too. But did you know that God also has an opinion...a definite, distinct perspective? does that surprise you?
Where is God’s opinion about sex expressed? You might think that the church and its leaders would be the place to discover God’s opinion about sex— after all, these are the ones who claim to speak for Him. But as we search the records of history, our hearts are distressed because often the church and her leaders have adopted attitudes that express their own opinions rather than God’s opinion.
in A.D. 200 this was how the church viewed sex:
Church authorities issued edicts forbidding sex on Thursdays, the day of Christ’s arrest; on Fridays, the day of his death; on Saturdays, in honor of the Blessed Virgin; and on Sundays in honor of the departed saints. Wednesdays sometimes made the list too, as did the 40- day fast periods before easter, Christmas, and Pentecost, and also feast days and days of the apostles, as well as the days of female impurity. The list escalated until only 44 days a year remained available for marital sex!
Does this surprise you? If so, you’ll be even more surprised to learn that some of the church’s most godly men viewed passion in sex as a sin:
Nothing is so much to be shunned as sex relations.—St. Augustine
Intercourse is never without sin; but God excuses it by his grace because the estate of marriage is his work.—Martin Luther
If these statements leave you flabbergasted, consider this statement from Peter Lombard, a respected theologian who lived in the twelfth century:
The Holy spirit leaves the room when a married couple has sex, even if they do it without passion.
We wonder, where did the Holy spirit go? Did He hide under the kitchen table or in a closet? You may think it was just the godly men who were a bit misguided, but listen to this information given to young brides in the late 1800s from a godly pastor’s wife:
To the sensitive young woman who has had the benefits of proper upbringing, the wedding day is, ironically, both the happiest and most terrifying day of her life. On the positive side, there is the wedding itself, on the negative side, there is the wedding night, during which the bride must “pay the piper,” so to speak, by facing for the first time the terrible experience of sex.
At this point, let me concede one shocking truth. some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: Give little, give selmon, and above all, give grudgingly.
Really? How do you suppose her husband felt about such advice? even more importantly, how does God feel about the advice offered through the centuries by those claiming to represent Him? We feel certain that the motivation behind the statements of these godly men and women was not to put a moratorium on sex but rather to reinforce the idea of holy days and holy practices that would honor God. But the underlying message contained a destructive lie: holiness and sex are incompatible bed partners.
Fortunately in recent years Christian leaders have espoused attitudes that contain a very different message.
If anyone says that sex in itself is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once.—C. s. Lewis
While sex is not the only aspect of physical relationship in a marriage, it is in most cases the most important one, the touchstone for everything else from smiles and daily gestures of tenderness to deeds of kindness and sacrifice...the whole challenge of marital life is simply to catch up in all other departments with the pure rapture of the physical relationship at its best.—Mike Mason
A married couple gives a severe blow to the head of that ancient serpent when they aim to give as much sexual satisfaction to each other as possible. Is it not a mark of amazing grace that on top of all the pleasure that the sexual side of marriage brings, it also proves to be a fearsome weapon against our ancient foe?...
Marriage at its exquisite peak of pleasure speaks powerfully the truth of covenant- keeping love between Christ and his church. And that love is the most powerful force in the world.—John Piper
No wonder Christian couples are confused! Who speaks for God—the religious leaders and institutions that imply that sexual passion is a sin or those who say sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is blessed and holy?
It comes down to this: if we listen to the opinions of man (and woman), we will be confused. If we truly want to know God’s opinion about sex, then we must listen to God Himself. Where do we find God’s true opinion? Only in His Word. So open your Bible. Open wide your heart. Fling open your spiritual eyes and uncover your spiritual ears and turn your thinking upside down.
God’s teaching on sex begins in the first few pages of the Bible. In Genesis we read that God created sexual intimacy for Adam and Eve. You already know that one of the reasons God gave the gift of sex was so that Adam and Eve could fulfill God’s command “to multiply,” so we won’t spend time talking about “birthing babies.” But there are less obvious reasons why He gave the gift of sex; these reasons reveal His opinions about sex. Explore three intimacy gifts hidden in the pages of scripture that the Lord longs for you to open:
- The Gift of intimate Knowing
- The Gift of Holy intimacy
- The Gift of exquisite Pleasure
Each of these gifts will encourage you to grow in deeper intimacy with your husband. Each of these gifts will reveal God’s clear and distinct opinions about sex. So get ready because you are in for fun and maybe a surprise or two!
Where Did You Get Your Opinion About Sex?
What has formed your sexual perspective? Your sexual mindset has been affected by the positive and negative messages passed down through the centuries. All you have seen and heard during your growing up years—every right choice about your sexuality and every wrong choice. any evil done to you has deeply impacted you.
As we have the privilege to travel around the world speaking to wives about sex, we see confusion—mass confusion—among God’s women. They look at the world’s distortion of sex: the exploitation of the female body and the vulgarity of how sex is portrayed. Some women respond to this by thinking, “I don’t want to have anything to do with sex. it’s just disgusting!” Yet this attitude is just as wrong as the world’s.
Where did we get our sexual mindsets? Where did you get yours? And what is a mindset anyway? “A mindset is a collection of individual thoughts that over a period of time influence the way we perceive life.”
Today is a day for you to reflect with your God. Find a half hour alone (this is hard but possible) and ask God to give you His wisdom in answering the following questions.
(As you begin your special time alone with God, will you pray?)
God, I know I have some wrong thoughts in my mind about sex. Today I’m asking You for answers. Will You please help me see where these wrong thoughts came from and show me how to unravel the mixed-up sexual thoughts in my mind? I know I need to understand this to get to Your opinion about sex.
1.What did you learn about sexual intimacy in your home?
2.What did you learn from friends, movies, and TV?
3. How did messages from the church influence you in a positive or negative way?
4. How did the things you learned influence you when you married?
Taken with permission of Moody Publishers from Passion Pursuit ©2013 by Linda Dillow and Juli Slattery
Linda Dillow is the author of the bestselling Calm My Anxious Heart, What’s It Like To Be Married To Me? And coauthor of Intimate Issues. As a missionary in Europe and Asia for seventeen years, she’s trained Christian leaders in Russia, Hungary, Poland, and Asia, teaching women and helping them launch women’s ministries. She and her husband, Jody, have been married for 49 years and have four children and ten grandchildren.
Dr. Juli Slattery is a widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional. Her commitment to biblical principles, relatable style, and quick wit have made her a highly sought-after speaker to women’s groups. Juli’s books include Finding the Hero in Your Husband, No More Headaches, and Guilt Free Motherhood. She and her husband, Mike, have been married for 19 years and have three children.