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 second 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.
He really didn’t know anything about me. Not because we hadn’t spent time together, but because I had not really shared anything with him. We had met and become friends through an Internet chat room about hockey. And while he was nice enough, he did not understand my struggles, and he did not know about my past. Mostly, even though he claimed to, he didn’t share any kind of spiritual connection with me—he was a non-practicing Catholic, and I was a Protestant youth pastor. He didn’t understand my desire for a personal relationship with Jesus, but I wanted so badly to be loved, I ignored our lack of true intimacy and believed that if I just gave in a bit sexually, the intimacy would come. He was my first boyfriend as an adult, and I just wanted to make it work.
Intimacy has been defined as “in to me I see.” When I think about that definition and about the men with whom I’ve been sexually intimate, I realize there was always something missing. Our culture has done a great job of valuing the physical act of sex, but not given much to valuing intimacy itself. We know about everyone’s sex tapes, but very little beyond that. It is almost like we are scared of being intimate with each other, afraid of being seen and known. As my pastor noted, this type of intimacy that we long to experience—being fully known and loved for who we are, faults and all—cannot be separated from sex. And here are two things my past has taught me about the intertwining of sex and intimacy:
Physical nakedness is not complete without spiritual or emotional nakedness. Have you ever noticed that when you leave a sexual relationship, you don’t necessarily leave with physical pain but instead have emotional pain? That’s because sex cannot be separated from intimacy. We cannot give or get sex in order to give or get intimacy. I have tried to do this many times: with my first boyfriend as mentioned above; with another non-Christian man when I was out of community with other believers; with a couple of hook-ups in college. In each case, I thought that I could get the intimacy I desired by giving of myself sexually. Every time, the result was brokenness, because intimacy is not just physical, and sex is more than just an act. This lie that “sex is just a physical act” pervades our culture. But let me assure you: when you connect your physical body to someone else in the act of sex, you are connecting to them emotionally and spiritually whether you realize it or not. Sexual activity with another person creates a soul tie with them, a physical, emotional, and spiritual tie that God created for a special circumstance.
Complete intimacy—spiritual, physical, and emotional—happens in only two places. The first place and best place for you to find total intimacy is with Jesus Christ. Being seen and known by the One who created you is one of the most precious gifts you can get. And not only did God create you to be in complete intimacy with Him, He also created the one place where you could find total intimacy—including sex—with another human: within a godly marriage. The intimacy between a man and a woman joined together in marriage under God was meant for this total and complete union of the body, soul, and spirit. How do I know this? God calls the church “His bride”—He uses that imagery many times in Scripture (Isaiah 54:5, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:25, etc.) because He wants to be as close to us as a bride and groom are to each other. He wants that complete spiritual, physical, and emotional intimacy that is reserved for marriage to be prevalent in His relationship with each of us.
Are you looking for total intimacy? Look no further than Jesus Christ. He not only can see you the way you want to be seen, but He can teach you how to find deep connections with others while reserving total intimacy—especially sexual intimacy—for your godly marriage.