"God Doesn't Care" and 3 Other Lies You Might Believe About Sex

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I’ll never be able to kick porn for good!

I hate sex. I’ll never be able to enjoy it with my husband.

I’m damaged beyond repair.

I can’t have a great sex life if I don’t have a beautiful body. 

Have thoughts like these ever crossed your mind? If so, where do you think they come from? 

Sex is a spiritual battleground. We can see obvious ways that the devil is at work through evils like sex trafficking and sexual abuse, but many of his most effective schemes are more subtle (like the examples above). In fact, you may be in the middle of a spiritual battle and not even know it. 

Jesus said that Satan is a liar and that his native language is to lie to us. One way to discern the nature of the spiritual battle in our lives is to identify his lies. Think of it this way: When you look at the strongholds in your life, you will always find Satan’s “calling card” of lies. 

Underlying Satan’s more subtle deception are a few foundational lies that impact how we think about God and sex. Below, I want to share with you four of these lies that often represent a stronghold in our lives and marriages.

 

Lie #1: God doesn’t care about sexuality. 

Over the past several decades, we have witnessed a change in attitude about sex and sexuality. Rather than viewing sex as something that is tied to marriage and procreation, we treat it as simply a form of recreation and self expression. Rather than gender being rooted in a biological reality, it is now often considered a subjective experience. 

Even many Christians think about their sexuality as a personal category of life that God doesn’t have much to say about. Christian singles have sex with little thought of God, and married Christians assume that as long as they are not having an affair, God has little to say about what sex should look like between them. 

Having studied this topic for a decade, I can say without any hesitation that God cares deeply about your sexuality. In the Garden of Eden, when Eve interacted with the serpent, he asked her the question, “Did God really say…?” You may be falling for that same strategy. Yes, God really did say that sexuality is sacred and that He has a will for your sex life.

 

Lie #2: God’s design for sex isn’t for your good. 

You may not wrestle with the truth of God as much as you question the goodness of God. Why would a loving God:

Give me a desire and then say I can’t act on it?

Tell me that I can’t marry the person I love?

Want me to stay married to someone I don’t love?

The God of the Bible just seems cruel if He limits sexual expression to a man and a woman in a lifelong, committed relationship. Just think of all the people this excludes!

The crafty serpent in the Garden of Eden also used this ploy. He tempted Eve by causing her to doubt the goodness of God’s command. “God is holding out on you!” I once heard a pastor say, “There is nothing good outside of God’s will for you.” Do you believe that? 

Taking a step back, we need to understand that romantic love and sexual expression have been elevated in our modern culture from good things to absolute essential elements of a fulfilled life. God seems cruel only if sex and romance are crucial to happiness. You will not understand God’s goodness in His design for sex if you don’t understand the goodness of God’s design for humanity. 

God did not create you for sex, for self-actualization, or even for marriage. He created you for intimate fellowship with Himself. The greatest thrill of your life is not meant to be your wedding day (or night), but the daily journey of knowing that your life matters because you are connected to the eternal God of the universe. You were created to be a world-changer!

Only when we see the bigger story of life can we appreciate the goodness of sex, but also accept that we can live fulfilling lives without it.

 

Tweet: God did not create you for sex, for self-actualization, or even for marriage. He created you for intimate fellowship with Himself. The greatest thrill of your life is not meant to be your wedding day (or night), but the daily journey of knowing that your life matters because you are connected to the eternal God of the universe. @drjulislattery

 

Lie #3: God won’t forgive sexual sin. 

During temptation, the devil works to convince you that sexual sin is no big deal. After you’ve sinned, he will work just as rigorously to convince you that you must now live in perpetual shame. Russell Moore observed, “The devil works in two ways: by deception, ‘You will not surely die’ (Genesis 3:4), and by accusation, ‘who accuses them day and night before our God’ (Revelation 12:10) ... No one is more pro-choice than the devil on the way to the abortion clinic and no one is more pro-life than the devil on the way out of the abortion clinic.”1

Yes, sexual sin is serious. It often has significant physical, emotional, and spiritual consequencesnever take these lightly.  Likewise, don’t fall for the concept that Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” In other words, don’t step into sin with the safety net of knowing that God will forgive you. That is an affront to Christ’s sacrifice!

However, if you have confessed and turned from your sin, God’s will is that you walk in freedom. Not only freedom from your sin, but freedom from the shame and condemnation of your past. 

Do you believe that God has separated your sexual sin from you as far as the East is from the West? That He does not hold it against you? That you are “cleansed from all unrighteousness”?

 

Lie #4: I’ll only be safe if I hold onto my anger.

God hates bitterness as much as He hates sexual sin. Your spouse may have been the one to look at pornography, but you have responded by developing a critical and resentful heart over time. Paul tells us that Satan wins when our righteous anger sours into bitterness and unforgiveness. While it is sometimes very appropriate to feel angry, you also have to be careful that it doesn’t harden your heart. “'In your anger do not sin': Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:4). Anger is like milk. It has a shelf life before it spoils into something quite rotten. 

Recovering from infidelity and other forms of betrayal is a long, arduous journey. Marriage experts estimate that it takes most couples between two and five years to fully recover (many never do). Whether or not there is reconciliation in a relationship, it is essential for your own spiritual health that you release your anger. That may not (and probably should not) happen right away. But we often end up hanging onto anger because it becomes our form of protection. 

You may believe that anger and bitterness are the only barriers that will keep people away from that tender wound in your heart. You become convinced that holding the grudge will keep you safe. Neither of those things are true. You can set up necessary boundaries without nurturing your anger when you trust the Lord to be the God who sees all, who cares deeply for you, and who repays according to His justice. 

David was deeply wounded and betrayed by friends and even his own son. Yet, he continually chose to find protection and shelter in God. “In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge” (Psalm 31:1).

 

Friend, we need to recognize that lies can feel a lot more powerful (even more true!) than the truth. Your heart is a great spiritual battleground. Are you aware of the lies that keep you from experiencing the freedom that God offers you in every area of your life, including sexuality? 

Authentic Intimacy exists to help you understand God’s truth about sex so that you can identify and fight against the lies that keep you stuck. If you are ready to take the next step, here are a few helpful resources:

 


1 Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore

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One spouse forces another to have sex when and how he likes because “it’s my marital right.” A spouse goes through decades of miserable sexual experiences because “it’s my duty.” If sex is broken for too long, they assume their marriage isn’t worth saving.  Unfortunately, a lot of Christian teaching on marriage and sex has reinforced this thinking. All of the focus is on whether or not a couple fulfills a sexual obligation. Does the Bible teach that great sex is a right in marriage? Some point to Corinthians 7:1-5 to suggest that it does. Let’s take a look at what Paul wrote: Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. 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He has invited you to journey together toward intimate knowing, exploration, and learning to love each other in the most profound way.      You may also find the following resources helpful: Beyond a Happy Marriage (blog)  Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?, a 10-week Bible study through the Song of Solomon. Java with Juli #151: The Naked Truth About Sex in Your Marriage (member exclusive)   Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
1
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It can seem to cause more conflict than unity and more pain than pleasure. While everyone wishes for an uncomplicated and naturally fulfilling sex life, it could be that the obstacles themselves are part of the journey of marital intimacy. Most of us enter marriage defining a great sex life by measure of sexual activity. We think of sex being good based on flawless bodies, compatibility, and frequent mutual pleasure. When those things don’t naturally happen, we think that the “gift” of sex is broken. Instead of focusing on these measures of sexual activity, God would rather us direct our attention to building sexual intimacy. What’s the difference? Sexual intimacy is a journey, not an event. The focus is on who you are becoming as a married couple, not just on how satisfying a sexual experience might be in the moment. One day, as a young mom and, frankly, frustrated wife, I had an epiphany: What if the gift of sex is more like a gift of single LEGO? At the time, I happened to be cleaning up my sons’ playroom which was scattered with LEGO pieces. Anyone familiar with the toy knows that it comes in a box with a picture of an elaborate design. The brilliance of LEGOs are that you must build the pieces in order to create the image that the box displays. On the front of the “box” of marital sex is not simply a passionate night or perfect bodies entangled. The image on the box is Christ and His Church. (See Ephesians 5.) Sex is an expression of love, but it is also a great test of love. Husbands, will you love your wife as Christ loves the church? Sacrificing even your own body to prize her and make her holy? Wives, will you honor your husband and nurture his masculinity? Together, will you learn to love each other exclusively, sacrificially, and passionately? You see, every obstacle you encounter in the bedroom can be viewed as an invitation to love. A long-term fulfilling sex life is absolutely impossible if both of you are unwilling to learn to love as Christ Jesus loves us. Forgiveness, mercy, grace, unselfishness, speaking the truth in love… these are the character traits that God desires to develop in all of His children. As it says in Colossians 3:12-13, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive and … forgive as the Lord forgave you.” These are the markers of true love and authentic intimacy. Because sexual intimacy requires listening, sharing vulnerably, forgiveness, and patience, working on your sex life is an invitation to grow in the character qualities that represent the deepest kinds of love. This is why a couple with wrinkled bodies that has been married for fifty-plus years can gaze into each other’s eyes with a passion that overshadows that of their honeymoon. Through the journey, they have not just “made love,” but have become lovers. True intimacy takes time and intentionality. As you consider your own marriage and sex life, the following questions and prayer may help you get started on the path to greater sexual intimacy:   What are some of the obstacles you and your spouse have encountered in your sexual relationship? How are those obstacles an invitation to learn to love? Think about the current state of your sex life. Are you more focused on sexual activity or sexual intimacy? How would your conversations and sexual encounters change if the goal was truly to become sexually intimate? Read Colossians 3:12-13. Does this describe your sex life? Why or why not? Pray this prayer:  Lord, search my heart. I want every area of my life and marriage to reflect your character. Please help me to view the struggles we have in our sex life as invitations to learn to love as you would have me love.   You may also want to check out the following resources: Why Does Sex Matter in Marriage, Pt. 1; What's the Purpose of Marriage?; Does Your Husband Need Sex? Stop “Hooking Up” in Your Marriage; Your Marriage Should Be Fun; Java with Juli #151: The Naked Truth About Sex in Marriage (member exclusive episode); Java with Juli #286: How to Make Time to Make Love