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30. Loving or Lusting – Part 4

I Corinthians 7:1-5

Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations.[a] But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

After seeing the problem when it comes to purity in marriage scripture now reveals the:

  1. Protection

Purity in marriage is God’s answer to immorality. A healthy marriage protects us. Paul gets practical here and encourages a husband and wife to be physically intimate. The antidote to unhealthy lust is healthy love. What I want you to notice here is how even-minded Paul is about the sexual needs of both the husband and the wife. Notice that he calls the husband to fulfill his duty. Duty here is not obligation but the same thing a soldier feels when he serves his country by fulfilling his duty. This is not obligation but something we desire to do based on love not lust. If we are not careful, we will see sex as just a physical act instead of the culmination of true intimacy. Today in our throwaway society we are want to engage sexually without any commitment. But sex without commitment leads to sex without connection. God didn’t intend sex to be casual act but a connecting of two hearts within the covenant of a committed marriage. Men when it comes to love and intimacy we are called to lead and meet the needs of our wife, otherwise we will be in danger of being selfish. A wife has needs in this area but often because her husband leads with selfishness instead of serving, we make it about our wants and not our wife. So, she ends up feeling used instead treasured and so it’s no wonder sex feels more like a sin than a special gift from God. Are you leading or lusting? In order to meet her needs you have to know what they are. That means you have to talk to her and treasure her not treat her. Physical intimacy never starts in the bedroom at the end of the day but rather how you treat her throughout the day. Not only are we called to lead and serve spiritually but also sexually. And how you lead spiritually will determine how you lead sexually. If you are not walking daily in a close relationship with the Lord how do you expect to be intimate with your wife? Notice here that the wife is called to meet the needs of her husband but guys how you lead will determine how she loves. Are you cultivating intimacy or killing it? Interestingly neither one has authority over their body, but that responsibility is given to their spouse why? Because we are called to respect and treasure each other. Guys are you treasuring her body or treating it like trash? Both partners are seen with equal need and equal responsibility. Paul then deals with trying to use God’s gift of sex to try to get our way by depriving one another. That means intimacy is not a want but a need. Sadly, many couples make it optional. Sex is like a fire and we need to keep the flame alive. Every winter I warm my home with a wood burning stove, there is nothing like the heat of a wood fire. It creates a comforting environment that draws you in and causes you to want to live there, verses a cold home. But what if instead of going to the hassle of putting in a wood stove and chimney I just put wood on the floor and made a fire? I would burn down my house and possibly injure or kill my family. The fire box allows me to enjoy the heat of the fire without the hurt. The same thing is true with marriage, like the fire box it allows us to enjoy the power of the fire without the pain of the flames. Sex outside of marriage exposes us to being burned not blessed. Why does Satan try so hard to get couples to have sex before marriage and stop once they are married? Because he wants us to experience the pain not the pleasure. How many marriages have grown cold because couples have not cultivated and tended the fire? Paul explains that there are times to abstain from a normal sexual life in marriage. When BOTH parties agree for a specific purpose for a specific time period, and then they should come back together so as not to cause either one to be tempted. That means that you have to talk to each other and pray with each other. Sometimes it’s because of physical changes or emotional needs. The goal of this sexual fast is to connect spiritually as you seek the Fathers heart through prayer. Paul says its ok to take a break sexually but not spiritually, are you praying with and for each other. Ask your spouse what they need prayer for and then hold hands and pray together. Because when you are bound together spiritually it’s hard for others to break in sexually. Prayer protects us from sexual predators. The Bible teaches us that healthy marriages are built on sexual fidelity and that the healthiest sexuality comes in a committed relationship of one man and one woman in marriage for life.The 7th commandment was given to allow marriages to experience the deepest sharing, with the greatest joys, and children who would grow up in the most stable of environments.Sadly, today we live in a sex situated society and while it encourages sexual diversity the Bible teaches sexual discipline. Because sex is not just a physical act it also involves a spiritual dynamic. That is why sex outside of marriage causes not just physical damage but spiritual damage. What about you, are you looking to the Lord and leading with love or with lust?