I've never been a fan of the results that come from being "against" something.
As a kid, I heard religious people were against cards, rock n' roll, premarital sex, and getting drunk. Christians were against movies, TV shows, and popular music, but their efforts usually backfired.
When I was a teen, religious leaders were against the TV show "Married with Children" and caused such a disturbance with their protests that their efforts actually catapulted the show from barely known to popular success. Everyone wanted to see the forbidden fruit someone was "against."
Now enter "Fifty Shades of Grey." Parents and people of faith are against it too - for obvious reasons. So, what will the response be from the public? I bet the response from religious protests will be something like, "We better watch that movie that has the religious prudes all upset!" Another backfire.
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What if we were "for" something, rather than against? What if we were modeling a better, passion-filled, creatively-empowered love that was so enticing it made the counterfeits look as empty as they truly are.
I'm not against pre-marital sex which will fill the screens for 20 minutes this weekend. I am "for" faithfulness.
I think sexual intimacy is so precious and powerful that it shouldn't be wasted on someone you aren't willing to commit your whole self towards. I saved myself for marriage because I believe God had a wife chosen for me. I wanted to be faithful to her before I even knew her name. I didn't want to sleep with someone else's potential wife. I wanted to keep myself pure and faithful because the God of the universe had a princess for me. I was so enamored by God's faithfulness, purity, and commitment to me, I wanted a relationship on earth that modeled the same.
I knew God was jealous for me (not the insecure jealousy of a paranoid codependent girlfriend, but instead in a pure and commanding righteous anger that a spouse feels if his lover gives their affection to another). Righteous jealousy is rooted in faithfulness. I've sat with many men and women who were rightly angry and jealous for the affections an unfaithful spouse gave to a mistress or boy-toy. Betrayal, unfaithfulness, and objectifying another person to whom you refuse to commit to, is a sad substitute for real love.
As people of faith speak against our culture's values, the unconvinced rarely hear about God's counterproposal. God is passionate toward us and wants his followers passionate toward their spouses as well. God woos us, pursues us, commits to us, gives to us, and prioritized us. A Christian marriage is one that gives passionately to one another.
Most relationships today involve a tick-on-dog partnership. The tick tries to suck the blood of the dog hoping to fill their inner emptiness. Unfortunately, many relationships involve two ticks and no dog desparately searching for some sense of self worth. In contrast to a relationship built on taking affection, identify, or security from another person, the Bible offers a different model: two lovers so entranced by a lavishly and giving God, they commit to outgive their spouse in the kitchen, the living room, and the bedroom.
[sharequote align="center"]A Christian marriage is one where two people are committed to giving to one another.[/sharequote]
Rather than taking from the other, a Christian marriage is one where two people are committed to giving to one another. They desire to fill the hearts of the one they love. They desire to give pleasure to the body, soul, and spirit of their beloved. They are committed to understanding their lover's perspective, appetites for intimacy, and prioritizing a relational union of mind, body, and spirit. Passion is seen as two committed lovers tumble across the bedsheets, but also when one delays their appetites for intimacy in respect for the other. Real other-centered passion is also seen when a spouse chooses to be generous with their body even when they'd rather head to bed early from exhaustion.
This long term perspective of passion is relentless. When an enemy tries to break the union, the team goes on attack to combat the unforgiveness or selfishness that might divide them - especially when they find it in themselves. They reinvent their marital dance dozens of times to keep the music playing through the seasons of newly married, married with children, and empty nest.
The two partners in a covenant relationship believe their bodies belong to each other and therefore give and care for one another. They ignite the passionate fire of pleasure not once, but 1,000 times over the course of a lifetime. The fire of passion burns the wood they've collected through each experience, reconciliation, and confession in life. The taller the stack of firewood they collect, the larger the bonfire.
The creativity, innovation, and dedication of spending 50 years of marriage dedicated to learning to uniquely pleasure the love of your life is not monotony, it's exhilaration. The commitment to adjust and flex one's love and expression within the differing phases of life is the stuff dreams are made of. Imagine the passion of a couple whose fire is fueled by fifty years of firewood cut from the forest of memories and moments.
The bible has a book called "The Song of Solomon" which describes in passionate detail the uninhibited words, bodies, and affection of a couple lost in hot monogamy within holy matrimony. Some have spiritualized the book into a metaphor of God and mankind, but the story refuses to be silenced. While it may have application to God's passion for us, it is a R-rated view into the bodily enjoyment of two lovers lost in their godly passion. To be alive to God is to be alive to pleasure. These two are deeply committed to take in and develop fully the passion and beauty of His gift of sexuality. Our couple plunges into the unknown by harnessing themselves to each other through life long commitment. We live in a culture that can imagine everyone having sex, except their parents. What a tragedy to discover the real treasure is not only marketted poorly, but hidden so well.
As I reflect on this Valentines Day, I don't want 50 shades of grey selfishness when I could build 50 years of white-hot passion and commitment. For more information about the Song of Solomon, check out my eight week DVD series www.fasttrackbible.com where I summarize the whole Bible in eight 30 minute videos.
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