Results tagged “sex” from Reformation21 Blog

Sex, Power, and Money: Be Careful Who Owns You

|
"If you want to know who rules over you, find out who you are not allowed to criticize" - Voltaire

If the three sisters of grace are faith, hope, and love, we may also say the three sisters of the flesh are sex, power, and money. 

Years ago, I was warned about these sisters of the flesh. 

We are all constituted differently in body and soul. And our natural constitutions fuel particular lusts, since the soul and body bear an organic relation to each another. Moreover, the social standing of a person also has implications for the types of sins he commits: those who are wealthy are prone to certain sins; those who are poor are prone to other sins. Those with great intellects are also prone to pride. Parents should be careful before they dub their child the next Einstein. 

Certain sins are more prevalent at different stages of life. A child possesses a heart that will be prone to certain sins only later in life. Moreover, the lusts of individuals are drawn out according to their various callings. Judas stole because he was a sinner, but also because as treasurer he was presented with an easy opportunity to steal. 

To answer the objection that certain sins are contrary to each other and so men are not given to all types of covetousness, Thomas Goodwin explains that people are inclined to different sins at different stages in their lives. So the prodigal youth may become covetous in his old age. It is also true that some people have an antipathy to certain sins, but this antipathy is not moral but physical, "either because their bodies will not bear it, or for some other incommodity they find in it" (Goodwin). A hypochondriac may not visit a prostitute for fear of disease, instead of fear of God.

The temptation for David to have Bathsheba was heightened by the fact that he could have Bathsheba. That temptation for lust was obviously different for David when he was old and dying. If we could have any woman we wanted, we would probably struggle a lot more with sexual temptation than we do. The good-looking quarterback at University usually has greater temptations with women than the assistant captain of the chess team. 

Perhaps we should thank God right now that we aren't particularly handsome or beautiful; we might thank God that we haven't enjoyed too many successes; we may find out one day that he kept us poor (or relatively average-looking) in order to save us and keep us from many sins.

We may not think money is a temptation until the door to money opens just a little bit. Soon, like a lion tasting blood for the first time, the door has swung wide open, our pockets begin to be filled by those who want to control us, and we are helpless to stop the rot that has taken place. All of this is to say, we don't know how much we love money until it actually becomes a real temptation. Be warned: those who give you money are likely also to control you in some way. And then you are quickly unable to criticize them in any way, shape, or form. You become increasingly blind, like the idols you serve (Ps. 115). I am glad that my employer is the local church and that no organization has control over me because they pay me a lot of money. 

We may not think we love power until we get a taste of power. Everything I've seen so far in Reformed circles has only convinced me that not only does money corrupt, but power corrupts even more. Indeed, the more money the more power. Those in power can quickly cultivate a culture of fear. As Voltaire said, "if you want to know who rules over you, find out who you are not allowed to criticize." I think some of us might find that a very uncomfortable examination. 

M'Cheyne once said well: "The seeds of all sins are in my heart, and perhaps all the more dangerously that I do not see them." Imagine having friends who will actually challenge you and tell you that you're being stupid! 

It's been a while since I've quoted Nacho Libre, but I think the honor in this clip goes to Esqueleto. 

Let's Talk About Sex

|
In 1991, Cherly James and Sandra Denton, also known as Salt-n-Pepa, released a song titled, "Let's Talk About Sex." In the opening stanza, they recorded, "Let's talk about sex for now to the people at home or in the crowd. It keeps coming up anyhow. Don't decoy, avoid, or make void the topic. Cuz that ain't gonna stop it. Now we talk about sex on the radio and video shows. Many will know anything goes. Let's tell it how it is, and how it could be. How it was, and of course, how it should be."

Cherly and Sandra aren't licensed therapists or Christian counselors, but they, like others, have a propensity to talk about and experience those things related to sex. And understandably so. We are sexual creatures (Gen. 1:28). The issue, therefore, is not that we want to talk about sex. Rather, when discussed in its appropriate context, the issue (or question) is, "What is being conveyed when we talk about sex?" 

Unfortunately, even well-meaning Christians do not discuss physical union appropriately. Many are merely taught, "Don't do it until you're married." Or they hear, "If you have sex outside of its proper context, you might get pregnant or inherit an S.T.D." "You'll bring shame to our family," some have heard. "It's sin outside of marriage," people are told.

Within this stream of thought, sex is defined purely by its prohibition or the devastating realities that occur when it is not conducted in its proper context (i.e., marriage). When we define sex on these conditions, not only are we under-developing  the fullness and beauty of sex, but essentially sex becomes nothing more than law.  "Don't touch, don't taste, don't look." This, according to the apostle Paul, in conjunction with our sinfulness, will only produce in us every reason to disobey and conduct ourselves in an inappropriate manner (Rom. 7:8).

We, therefore, need more than prohibition. We need the gospel. Apart from the resulting grace of the gospel and its specific application in this area, we have no equipping power to do the things that we, as Christians, are required to do, sexual purity included. For those with children, you understand. The moment you tell your young child, "Do not touch," it is the very thing she wants to do. She needs more than law. Indeed, the law is good, but she needs the power to obey it. 

I believe we must say more about sex than, "Don't touch or don't taste." Comparatively, the world preaches a much more appealing message. Watch enough television commercials, look at several billboards, or browse the internet long enough and their message is striking. Although the world elevates sex to deity, they provide a much fuller understanding of it, albeit wrong, than those who simply say, "Don't touch or don't taste." 

What, then, shall we do?

As a parent, I believe it is my obligation to talk to my children about sex. Many years ago (i.e., before my time), perhaps parent(s) could wait until their children were in their early teenage years. Today, unless children are completely shielded from the world, it seems that we cannot wait this long. I cannot walk through the mall or take a stroll downtown without my daughter (and wife) being bombarded with sexual images. I would much rather, therefore, take a proactive approach and introduce my children to the beauties of sexual union (and sexual desire) at any early age (and continue to develop their understanding as they mature) than take a reactive approach finding myself in a somewhat awkward position having to explain sex when my daughter points to a magazine in the checkout aisle at the grocery store and asks, "What's that?" The Bible has the answers. It is my duty to be as informed as possible on this topic to help my children, and even my wife and I, understand this gift from God.

As a pastor I equally feel, in its proper context (e.g., a Bible study, counseling, etc.), I should talk about sex. Many adults, I am finding out, do not know how to engage this subject with their children or in their marriage. The majority of my pastoral counseling reveals this. Most of my counseling is related to sexual issues (e.g., pre-marial sex, pornography, adultery, withholding sex in marriage, masturbation, answering the question, "What is the purpose of sex?", etc.). 

Whether young or old, parent or single, people have questions about sex. We need to, therefore, talk about it. "Let's talk about sex." If we, as Christians, do not, someone else will. 

Along with the Bible, two books that have been beneficial in this area are, Sex and Money: Pleasures that Leave You Empty and Grace that Satisfies by Paul Tripp. Tripp exposes the reality revolving around sex (and money) as idolatry. He puts sex in an appropriate context that will help us to better understand this gift. Another book that is helpful is Timothy Keller's book, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God. Although the topic is woven throughout his book, he has a chapter explicitly addressing issues related to sex and marriage. While each of these books approaches the topic from different angles, collectively they are helpful in providing insight into this delicate issue in a gospel-saturated manner.

I am still learning, biblically, what God says about sex. It was my naivety on the subject that sparked my desire to know more in accordance to the scriptures. I do not want to talk about sex like Salt-n-Pepa, but I do want to talk about it biblically. In our sexually infested world, it is necessary. And remember, if we do not talk about it, someone else will.