Part Four of the eight-part series.
You've answered every question correctly thus far, but you have no lifelines left. Now the one-million-dollar question: Why did God create sex?
Is the answer:
A. For the procreation of the human species.
B. As a cosmic joke to tantalize us with the all the women that will never be ours.
C. So commercials could have a powerful force to help sell products.
D. To teach us about Himself.
I hope "D" was your final answer.
Luckily we have a lifeline we can always use: the Bible. Genesis tells us that God wanted to demonstrate His core image. "So God created man[kind] in his own image...male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27, NIV).
The Almighty knew we finite humans would need metaphors and pictures to understand his loving essence and desire for loving relationships. Sexuality and gender with families, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons are God's gift to teach us about intimacy.
Two Types of Intimacy
He created two types of sexual intimacy. The first, gender sexuality, with male and female and families interacting, is foundational for the second. The male physical strength and maternal nurturing, protection and affirmation, caring and complementing are all insights into the Eternal. God, our ultimate parent, teaches us to love.
The second type of sexuality is the one-flesh covenant of marriage. This is typified by erotic sex and becoming lovers. Though it is a mystery, God chose this physical relationship as a metaphor of His spiritual redemptive relationship with us as Christ's bride. This second level also includes courtship sexuality and the basic training God gives for those entering marriage.
You know where we guys really cheat ourselves? We make most of sex erotic and focus on female bodies and indulging sexual surges. We lose a whole world of gender enjoyment that God has for us--righteous flirting, fun interaction, being daddies and brothers.
Joel related how tough it was keeping his mind focused during worship. Kirsten, one of the worship leaders, was so sensuous and femininely alive. I asked him if he had trouble enjoying and relating to his sisters or daughter as a female without sexualizing them.
He quickly replied, "No." It came very naturally to be a brother or dad, and the lines weren't difficult to find and maintain. A special protective fondness had developed naturally as he saw his daughter develop into a woman. The boys had better be respectful.
In covenant monogamy, all women, except our wife, must be seen as our sisters, moms and daughters. We constantly interact with these women in precious and fulfilling relationships. We laugh and play and flirt and nurture, but it is all clean and pure with no ulterior motives or agendas. "Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity" (1 Timothy 5:2).
I asked Joel what he could do to quit short-circuiting his relationship with his spiritual sister Kirsten and treat her as he did his real sister and daughter. Did he realize that extramarital affairs and lust were actually incestuous?
He stated just thinking about God's sexual economy in this way would help. He also would start giving her a life as a real three-dimensional (body, soul and spirit) sister and stop making her an erotic object of his fantasies.
Understand our Masculinity
Maybe part of the problem is that we don't understand and feel comfortable with our own masculinity. Psalm 18:2 gives marvelous insights into my role as father, brother, son and husband: "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is the shield and the horns of my salvation, my stronghold." A man can be a steady fortress, a protecting shield, horns to fight off the wolves at the door.
One of the sexiest women I know is my 80-year-old mother-in-law. I mean "sexy" in the best Christian way of comfortable with her femininity and really enjoying its interaction with masculinity. She just makes me feel special with her affirmation of my achievements and joy in experiencing my male attention. I am a stronghold to her.
I have reconciled that I will never be macho and I am "born to be mild." But I've become secure being a rock or shield to my wife and other women in my life in my own gentle way. As I grow older, it is a privilege to father and brother so many people in my own tender masculine fashion.
My wife Cathy and I have many single friends who are female. When we have them over to the house for an evening dinner, I am their man for that night--but not in any erotic, sexual way. I am just a protector and encourager that evening. I push in chairs and listen and interact with their femininity. We all feel affirmed.
It doesn't come easy or natural to make all women our sisters, daughters and mothers, but for men struggling with lust, putting this concept into action can turn troubling temptations into beautiful and affirming relationships.
What do you commonly do to sabotage interacting with women on a gender level, as sisters and daughters? Describe to a friend an example in your life where you have had the privilege to create this type of meaningful and nurturing relationship.
What single women in your life could enjoy your masculinity as a brother, dad or son? How would you go about developing those relationships?
Skill Five: Cultivate covenant monogamy and passionate intimacy
Missed earlier parts of this eight-article series? Just click on the skill you want to read--and learn everything you want to know about sexual integrity.
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