The last time I spoke at length to a singles group on the subject of Love, Relationships, and Sex a woman, mid to late 60's, stood up and declared in a loud voice, "Do you mean to tell me that you're asking me to buy a suit without trying it on?" That busted up the crowd and slowed my momentum for sure.
Even though a talk is about relationships, love, and sex everyone and I mean everyone zeroes in on ‘sex’. And we only want to hear those things about 'sex' that don’t undermine the way we live our lives.
Even in the Christian community men and women reserve the right to be 'god' over certain segments of their life. They say 'yes' to God only if it doesn't infringe on what they 'feel' about a certain issue. Truth doesn't matter. God's best doesn't matter. We reseserve the right to do our own thing in our own way in our own timing. We want God but on our terms, not His. I know people who love God but are reckless with their finances. My tendency is to waste time and talent. In the Christian singles community matters of relationships, love, and sex are often off limits to God. Casual relationships, sex outside of marriage, confusing love with infatuation are OK because they bring us short term fulfillment. After all, live for today. Who knows about tomorrow?
And so, this series I’m embarking on is fraught with peril.
Most of the people I work with and love have been divorced. They've experienced, for sure, some physical intimacy in their life. It's a strong drive. A drive that is not easily abated.
Some have told me that easy and frequent sex is expected even in the Christian singles community. The notion is that if it feels good, do it. It doesn't matter what God says. The surge of the sex drive trumps God's guidance. The urgency of the here and now, the temptation of our 'sexy' society, and the drumbeat of secular guru's are loud, incessant voices that often get the best of even the well meaning.
I understand the pull of all of this. So do you. We are sinful people. We turn our back on God in some very habitual ways. We are created for relationship, structured for intimacy. The biblical narrative instructs us to find comfort in a relationship with God and in the community of faith.
The problem is that, at times, this ‘faith’ business is hard work. It requires sacrifice, obedience, and jump off the cliff responses. It’s about trust when we don’t want to trust anybody or anything. And so, we avoid what’s hard and oftentimes just go with what’s convenient. In the process, we ignore the long-term negative consequences that accompany thumbing our nose at God.
The truth is that it's hard to say 'no' unless there's a bigger 'yes' beating in our hearts. I believe that the issues I'm talking about will never get resolved until people 'convert' ...giving themselves completely to a living God who wants the best for their lives, all areas of their lives.
So, what do I say to single adults about love, sex, and relationships? It starts with the themes of biblical text. “Repent, flee from sin, trust God, don’t listen to the gurus of a sex crazed culture, create community, follow Jesus, believe that God is bigger than your desires and circumstances, don’t flirt with temptation …”
Some will buy it. Many won’t. Some will say that God has disappointed them in the past. I will wonder if it was God or religion that disappointed.
The problem is that every time I see someone give in to their desires I see them later regretting their decisions. Men who look at every woman as a conquest never live up to their God-given relational potential. They carry the imprint of every sexual escapade into their next relationship and it keeps them from giving themselves fully to anybody. Women who give themselves away never get what they yearn for deep inside. They crave relationship, safety and intimacy and instead settle for men who don’t want relationship, who aren’t safe and who don’t know what commitment means. Intimacy can't be created in that kind of environment.
So, it’s going to be an interesting series. Fraught with peril. Can’t wait to see what God does with all of this.