“Sometimes good sex can be an incredibly spiritual thing.” I remember saying this to an all-guys small group.
I then remember an older gentleman in the group saying, “Not sure I remember what that is.”
There is a strong movement these days to recapture the “whole-life” kind of spirituality that not only grabs the disciplines of prayer, Scripture, etc. but also the life-balancing every day events such as family, marriage and work as essential growth and worship moments.
Sex is an act of worship. Sex is a spiritual thing, and God is present in it.
Think about it. Adam and Eve were given 3 commands. Take care of the Garden. Be fruitful and multiply. Don’t eat from that tree. Pretty simple really.
So God breathes the life (ru’ach, Hebrew word that’s also used for “spirit”, hmm….) into mankind and these spirit-filled people are basically commanded to be fruitful and multiply. I don’t have to fill that in for you. If you read the passage in context, it’s about having kids but it isn’t as if sex was totally distasteful in the garden and then got exciting once we weren’t “allowed” to engage in it. Sex was even better in the Garden than it is now.
Think about that. But only briefly.
We don’t know that they fulfilled this so much before self-selecting out of the Garden, but what we do know is that sex was intended to exist within the perfection of the Garden. The idea that sex is some obscene and ungodly thing that we all pretend doesn’t happen (so childbirth is done through spores and molting…really?) but in fact is part of the image of God that was wired into humans from the beginning is an incredibly spiritual idea.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, the world is broken. Sex is broken. Porn, adultery, sexual dysfunction have made it something outside the image of God and something that we have to be very careful with.
So why is sex, in our culture today, spiritual?
It reminds us of the creativity of God.
From the anatomy and physiology of it to the way it affects us emotionally, sex is expressive of the fact that God breaks barriers in creativity that we can’t even imagine. Then, if we remember that the God who was creative enough to design sex created us in His image (Gen. 2) we are then reminded of the good and beauty we’re capable of. We grow to appreciate God’s creation when we celebrate the act of sex as part of it, not as a disgusting and shameful secret moving against creation.
It teaches us about contentment.
This is probably harder for guys to hear, but sex is not something anyone is owed. “But, doesn’t the Bible say that the wife’s body belongs to me?” Yep. But yours belongs to her too – 1 Cor. 7:2-3 says that you give up demands and control of your body to your spouse, which means that sex needs to be something that both of you are ready and prepared to engage in. I know this isn’t always possible, but I think sometimes when we force the issue of sex in our marriages we lose the contentment idea that God had in mind. Celebrate sex in such a way that it is amazing and special (sacred even) when you do engage in it. This is even more important in the world we live in, where we are bombarded with skin from every angle and our sensitivity to the sacredness of sex is worn down substantially. Discipleship, abiding in Jesus, and truly loving one another is founded on our ability to choose good, beauty and freedom even against the tide of evil, darkness, and slavery. Sin becomes slavery when it becomes routine and expected rather than celebrated and sanctified (i.e. set apart for good and holy use).
It teaches us about covenant.
I believe that sex outside of marriage(aside from being sin because of its emotionally dangerous and destructive consequences) has the potential to rob us of one particularly beautiful characteristic of God – His covenant and promises to us. This is tricky, in some ways, but when we make a covenant with another person in marriage we are following the example of the covenant we make with God. So, we have a depth and an intimacy (God’s spirit dwelling within us, our physical bodies joining in marriage) that is such a holy thing that when we engage in sex with our husband or wife we’re revisiting the metaphor of God’s relationship with us. I know this is strange sounding, but the more we focus on #1 and #2 the more of a spiritually healthy and constructive act sex can be. God’s covenant is to renew creation – and what shows creation renewed better than the celebration of sex within a marriage relationship?
So, here’s the question that will bring out the “cricket sounds” in my comment area: Where is God in your sex life?