by Aszia Pearson
If you’ve been following this series, you’ll remember we started by looking at the word “sex” and its root meaning, “division.” Not a division for the sake of division, but rather a distinction intent on union. Next, we considered the beauty and power of “divided” things coming together. Sunrise, sunset, waves rolling into the beach, mountains reaching into the clouds, and of course, the sexual union. All around us our God is displaying His very nature, whispering hints, and giving us a foretaste of His glory, His abundance, His might, and His love.
But this world is broken. Creation is subject to the fall (Romans 8:20). Sometimes those same places that so boldly and so sweetly testify to His goodness, instead reveal chaos and destruction. Lightning strikes and disaster does too… hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes—the fixed, good boundaries are crossed and we and our world are left devastated.
Sometimes “coming together” can break things apart.
Nowhere is this more true than in our misunderstanding, mishandling, and outright transgression of God’s commands regarding the sexual union. God designed His image-bearers—distinct male and female persons—with the intent of holy union. We are made to accomplish good works alongside one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and to proclaim the final union of Christ and His Bride through the oneness of marriage and the sexual union.
But just like a hurricane, we push past God’s good boundaries. We swallow up everything in our path, and only when our insatiable lust has crashed to an end can we look around and see the mess we’ve made.
Or maybe we’ve been the ones swallowed up.
Yes. Sometimes “coming together” is more like a head-on collision with all its consequent pain and collateral damage.
Instead of intimacy and integrity, we shatter into bits and fragments of ourselves. Crossing lines yields distance, dissonance, and dissociation. Sex and secrets become isolating synonyms.
Having, hooking, banging, screwing—I’ll stop there—these are the words we use for an experience made for covenant and connection. We’ve turned God’s creation and commands into an outlet for our confused and wayward or outright wicked cravings for conquest or approval.
And these self-seeking or self-preserving practices aren’t just “before the wedding night” afflictions. Instead of holding the marriage bed in honor as a sacred and safe space for oneness, we consume one another. Voracious for a fix—a release—we make our own pleasure the point, yet a sense of fullness always eludes us. Or we might fake our way through it just to get it over with. In place of intimacy we imitate things we’ve seen or heard from everywhere and everyone but God. We bring outside people, fantasies, and things in. We abandon coming together and instead carry out our desires alone and in hiding, or outside of our covenantal bond. We look, lust, lie, and leave, forsaking our love.
God intended this distinction of male and female image-bearers, so that when we come alongside each other or when a husband and wife come together in the sexual union, it reminds us of a bigger story. The enemy of our souls would have us twist this intent for union into a bent on disintegration. Separating the sexual union from marriage as if it were some sloppy side dish. Convincing us it isn’t a big deal or convincing us it is the biggest deal and our lives will be incomplete without it. Pitting man and woman against each other. Getting husbands and wives to bring their bodies to bed and leave their souls behind…
Here’s the thing: we feel this. No one has to tell us in the wake of a hurricane that there is wreckage. And no one really has to tell us with sex either. The world, in many ways the church, and even we will try to convince ourselves, “It’s fine. This is fine. You’re fine.” Maybe we can’t fully articulate it, but we know better. We’re not fine. We’re broken. And the only way out of the storm is acknowledgement.
“I’m not fine. I feel lonely. Anxious. Hurt. Bored. Confused. God I don’t believe You. I don’t believe Your story of sex is good. Certainly not better. I don’t see You. I don’t understand…”
“I need You. I want to know You. I want to be with You…”
“I want fulfillment in my singleness. I want to know that my life counts and has meaning. I want to be filled!” or…
“God, I do, I want to know and enjoy my spouse, to please and be pleased by my spouse. And right now it feels empty and incomplete. It’s not good.”
We confess to the One who created the wind and the waves and can calm any storm (Psalm 107:28-29), to the Father of Lights and giver of all good gifts (James 1:17), to the God who made us on purpose and did a really good job (Psalm 139). We confess all of it to our God of abounding love (Psalm 145:8) who designed the sexual union to bring life, comfort, delight, and to clue us in to the profound mystery of our future union with Christ (Ephesians 5:32). As we cry out and then listen to Him, we will learn how to communicate with each other—with our words, with our bodies, in our souls. This is the beginning of real relationship. Of knowing and being known (Genesis 4:1a). Of rebuilding an intimate space to express love, embrace awkwardness, explore the gift of each other, and enjoy laughter, vulnerability, and a sense of belonging.
God did not design sex with an attitude of repression or with the idea of detachment in mind. Look in His Word! Remember His character!
“And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always…” —Deuteronomy 6:24
“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…” —Psalm 16:6
“The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit.” —1 Corinthians 7:32b, 34b
“Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.” —Song of Solomon 5:1
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” —John 10:10
He commands what is good for us. He longs to lead us to places that are pleasant and right. He has meaning and purpose for single men and women. He does want husbands and wives to enjoy each other. Everything God says and does is about bringing life!
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” —1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Consider what our God is saying!
Do you not know? This is the place I’ve built to depict My being with you. This is where I’m telling our story! Displaying My desire to know you and make Myself known to you. I have given this good gift as a shadow, a foretaste, a testimony and a proclamation. I am coming again to be with you always (Revelation 22:20).
Yes. Let us flee anything but this! If the forecast forbodes, “hurricane,” evacuate!
And know… if the hurricane has hurled itself upon you and is swirling all around you, He is the God who says, “peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). And if storm after storm has ravaged you, He is the God who restores (Mark 1:41; 1:John 1:9).
None of us are getting this all right, but that doesn’t mean we blind ourselves to what is right (2 Corinthians 4:18). Without vision, we will continue to cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18) because, well, we simply can’t see what is good! But, in fixing our eyes on Jesus and the hope we have in Him, we will purify ourselves—not “should”—will (1 John 3:3)! The natural outcome of looking at Him is to move toward Him. And we will find in doing so, all of our relationships become more unified, more intimate.
God created day and night, earth and sky, land and seas… and male and female He created us. God created sex and the sexual union… and it is very good.
Read Part I of this series, Sex: Divided We Unify.
Read Part II of this series, Sexual Union: The Beauty & Power in Coming Together.
Check out our free Recovery in a Sexualized Culture resource.