I was recently sharing with a friend about some of the work we do at Authentic Intimacy. She surprised me with the candor of her response, “I just can’t get that excited about a ministry that helps middle-class Christian women have great sex.”
While great sex in marriage is a wonderful byproduct, it’s not the purpose of Authentic Intimacy.
You see . . . sex isn’t just about sex.
Human sexuality is an essential aspect of who we are as children of God. Whether you are single or married, having great sex or no sex, your sexuality is inseparable from your spirituality.
In the third chapter of Passion Pursuit, Linda Dillow and I dive into this truth. Everyone has an opinion about sex. Hollywood, your hairdresser, and even your mother—even if she has never said the word out loud! Have you ever considered what God says about sex? That perhaps he has an opinion on the topic?
Unfortunately, many Christians have confused the voice of Christian leaders for the opinion of God. When it comes to sex, Christian leaders throughout the ages have had differing opinions on the topic. Here’s a brief sample:
“Nothing is so much to be shunned as sexual relations.” -St. Augustine.
“The Holy Spirit leaves the room when a married couple has sex, even if they do it without passion.” -Peter Lombard, 12th century theologian.
“Intercourse is never without sin.” -Martin Luther
“If anyone says that sex itself is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once.” -C.S. Lewis
“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.” -John Piper
No wonder Christians are confused. Who speaks for God? Ultimately, God speaks for himself through his inspired Word. If you want to know God’s opinion, look no further than the Bible. It may surprise you that the Bible has quite a bit to say on the topic. Some of it you’ll love, and some of it is difficult to accept.
When a person like you or me has an opinion, it’s just that—an opinion. When God has an opinion, we call it something else—the truth. Truth is the one opinion against which every other opinion is measured.
Unfortunately, we all have thoughts and beliefs about sex that are not based on truth. Perhaps your misinformation about sex even came from Christian sources. However, if you truly want to see the gift of sexuality as it was created to be experienced, you must be willing to expose the lies you’ve believed as measured by the truth of God’s Word: “The ultimate reason (not the only reason) why we are sexual is to make God more deeply knowable,” says John Piper in his book Sex and the Supremacy of Christ.
What’s your reaction to that? It’s kind of a paradigm shift. God created sex for many reasons—for procreation, for pleasure, for intimate knowing between a husband and wife. However, one of the most important reasons he created sex is to communicate about himself.
God understands that we are limited creatures, and that we have difficulty grasping spiritual truths. All throughout Scripture, God paints physical pictures to explain spiritual truths to us. For example, in John 15, he used the physical picture of a grapevine to explain what it looks like to abide in Christ.
God created sex and the covenant of marriage to be a brilliant metaphor for how deeply he knows us and longs for us to know him. It’s not just John Piper who says this. Consider this fact: The Hebrew word for sexual intimacy between a husband and wife in the Old Testament is yada. Yada literally means, “to know deeply or intimately,” and it appears in the Old Testament more than 940 times. No, there isn’t that much sex in the Old Testament. The word yada is most often used to describe intimacy with God—his intimacy with us, and ours with him. Here are a few examples:
“You have searched me and you yada my heart” (Psalm 139:1).
“In all your ways yada him and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).
“Moses said to the Lord . . . ‘If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may yada you and continue to find favor with you’” (Exodus 33:12–13).
Sexual intimacy is a powerful picture of the gospel and the degree of intimacy and ecstasy we are capable of having with God. The Christian marriage is designed to be the showcase of this masterpiece.
When we teach about sexuality, we are ultimately helping women reclaim the truth of God’s covenant, extravagant love.
Click here to read the next article in Juli's series, "Journey Through Passion Pursuit."