Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32 (ESV)
Everyone likes the idea of the truth setting them free, but few like to think about the corollary: lies enslave.
Last week we asked, “What do You Believe about Sex?” emphasizing how powerfully our beliefs influence our behavior. In the hopes that the truth will set us free, this week I want to present a fundamental perspective that can help you walk (and date) in freedom from your libido.
TRUTH: Sex is not just an act. It’s a conversation.
Of course “sex” is the popular term, but it’s also become as vague as the word “love.” (As in, “I love my Mom, U2, bacon, kittens, and Jesus.”)
“Sexual intercourse” is a more clinical term, and as such it doesn’t sound nearly as free and easy as “sex.” Come to think of it, that’s probably why we prefer to stick with the word “sex.” But “sexual intercourse,” is a far more honest way of defining “sex.”
Put the two together and we discover what “sex” really is: communication and actions between people relating to or involving sex.
What difference does this make?
Well, if you’re trying to live a chaste life where you’re not horsewhipped by your hormones, it might make all the difference in the world. In fact, comprehending this “conversational” characterization of sex can not only enable you to walk in purity, it can empower you to live in FREEDOM.
You see, if sex is just an act (or acts), then the key to purity would be to merely avoid those particular acts. Boom! Done. In practice, this is how many people think about sex.
However, regardless of what we think, our bodies don’t perceive sex this way. In fact, our bodies respond to sexual cues almost subconsciously (whether in person or through pornography). Our bodies instinctively know that sex is a conversation – a sexual dialogue – which begins well ahead of any particular “sex act.”
That’s why most who draw the line at kissing, eventually find themselves… ah… “speaking in tongues” (if you catch my meaning). Most who set the boundary at swapping spit are soon straight-up making out. And many who have gotten into practice of “laying on of hands,” one night are overtaken by sudden passions they feel they can’t control.
In reality, there was nothing “sudden” about those passions. They were building all along, as two bodies were simply carrying on a conversation. It’s why it “feels so right” in the moment. For our bodies it is, because sexual intercourse has only one ultimately satisfying climax. And so, seemingly against our wills, our bodies move toward that resolve.
This is why the “avoid-this-list-of-naughty-things” plan for purity doesn’t work. Instead, if sex is a conversation, then the key to living in freedom is this: Never begin the conversation until you’re ready to finish.
Now, I’m well aware that you may have been pressured (even forced) into sexual activity because of the reality I’ve just exposed. (“Come on, baby, we can’t stop now!”)
I AM NOT JUSTIFYING THAT! Instead, my heart breaks for you. [In fact, if this has happened to you, I beg you to share this experience with someone you trust. Relational healing can only be found in healthy relationships where you can share your hurt and get the help you need.]
Instead of justifying sexual abuse, I’m trying to promote TRUE sexual freedom. Instead, of saying, “Ah heck, sex is a conversation, so as long as you’ve started…” I’m saying – NO – I’m urging you: DON’T START THE CONVERSATION.
If you can grasp this truth – AND live by it – then sexual freedom can be yours, because you’ll be living in the reality in which your body has been operating all along.
Then comes the next obvious question: How do you know when the “conversation” begins?
Believe it or not, the answer is just as obvious as the question. It may not be as clear cut as a list of dos and don’ts, but it’s far simpler than we make it out to be. We’ll get to that next week, but in the meantime I encourage you to do some serious soul searching. You probably already know the answer. You know the same God who loves you, with the same great truth… truth that WILL set you free!
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!
image source: flickr.com/photos/flashcurd