This blog series is following my church’s series, “What’s Missing From Sex” as my pastor preaches about a topic the church has mostly avoided. This particular post goes with the first sermon in the series and can be found on my church’s website here. I urge you to listen! The sermon begins about 16:00 minutes into the video.
I was years removed from my addiction to pornography, but there was still something missing. When I began to search for community outside of the church, I found it in a man who in the midst of separating from his wife but looking for some “companionship” in the meantime. What he really meant was that he wanted sexual satisfaction without any kind of true relationship. Because of the deep longing inside my heart to be in community and to be known, I answered that desire for him. I allowed him to use me, even though I knew that was exactly what he was doing—and I was doing it to him as well. We both said we had a “healthy agreement,” because we thought our needs were getting met, but deep in my heart, I knew that everything about our “agreement” was unhealthy and ungodly. We were not honoring each other.
Honor and sex don’t seem to exist together in a world where pornography, rape, and sex trafficking are so prominent. After all, when women and men are treated like commodities and objects instead of God’s children, it is difficult to see any pieces of integrity among the mess. However, even honor in sex can be redeemed by God if we follow these two steps:
We must first value ourselves. “Treat others the way you want to be treated” (Matthew 7:12). It’s something have all heard, probably passed on to us in our childhood. However, many of us forgot that once we graduated from childhood. If this saying applied to my actions and attitude in the “agreement,” then what I wanted was to be treated like an object, used and thrown away when I was no longer worthy. However, I knew better. When I returned to my Christian community, I remembered the following things:
- I was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6).
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139).
- I am one of God’s chosen, holy and beloved (Colossians 3).
- I am saved, not because of what I’ve done, but because of His mercy (Titus 3).
- The hairs of my head are all numbered, and I am more valuable than the sparrows (Luke 12).
- God will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 12).
- I’ve been raised with Christ and am seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 1).
Once I was back in Christian community, I realized how much God values me—AND you. And if God has said He values us in these ways (and more!), then we can and should believe what He says. Because when we begin to believe what God says, we can value ourselves and honor God with our bodies.
Once we value ourselves, we can begin to honor others. Honoring others in sex is important because, as my pastor noted, sex—as God created it—is “others-focused.” We live in a “me first” culture, though, and sex has not escaped this attitude. My friend was focused on HIS needs when he approached me; I, too, was thinking about my own selfish desires. However, honoring others in sex is not simply putting your spouse’s sexual needs before your own—it is honoring your spouse even outside the act of sex. It is not treating others like an object to be used for our satisfaction. It is declaring what God has said about us (above) is also true of our spouse or significant other. It is setting appropriate, God-honoring boundaries in dating relationships. It is developing a deep sense of trust in relationships. It is not objectifying those who have made sexual mistakes by calling them “dirty, used, or unclean.” It is offering forgiveness, grace, and love to our spouses and significant others when they make mistakes. It is not withholding love or sex when we are hurt. Honoring others means valuing others as much as or more than we value ourselves. And when we do this, we honor God through our sex lives.
Knowing your identity in Christ—your value and worth as shown in Scripture—is the key to honoring others in your sex life. You are more than an object; you are God’s beloved and chosen, and He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11). Know your own worth so that you can begin to value and honor others as God’s children.
What is one thing you can choose to believe that God says about you today?