The problem isn’t attraction or desire. Those are God given attributes and emotions. The problem is the heart that is bent toward sin that acts on the desire outside of God’s design. Jesus ties the sinful heart and thoughts into sin. (Matt 5) This past Friday we looked at this as well as misconceptions about premarital sex. This was not an exhaustive list but we hit on some high spots. In the break out groups; each group looked at Romans 6 where Paul breaks down the problem with thinking you are a forgiven Christian and yet can live however you want.
I will admit my stupidity. I didn’t hit record twice on the MP3 recorder. For some reason I thought I tapped it twice but clearly I cannot count so the transcript or script I used with discussion questions are below. I try to follow this very closely so parents know in advance what I am saying to their youth. The italics are for the group leaders to have general direction on some of the questions and if you are following along online, at any age, it might help you get my general thought direction.
Session 2 – Misconceptions about sex and purity
Last week we began a 3 week look into sex. Specifically what God’s word says about sex. Last week I started out by telling you that the key to understanding this study lies in something we call Lordship. Lordship is simplistically: who calls the shots in your life? In 1 Corinthians 6 we read where Paul was addressing Christians in Corinth. Corinth was no different than our culture today. Sex was celebrated, encouraged and expected just like today. Paul’s point was that if they called themselves Christians they should have a different view and different standard of behaviors than the culture. In other words if Jesus was Lord in their life then they should not be concerned about what the culture is doing and they should be concerned with what Jesus says and what He expects.
This week we are going to be going a little further into our study. The point of all of this is to confront a big issue in your lives. You might not be in a relationship right now, a relationship might not be on your radar right now, but I promise you will be challenged by the pressures of sex in your life. That pressure may come in form of a relationship, the pressure to view something that you know you shouldn’t, jokes about sex, something you read or watch something sex related. We are constantly pressured to objectify men and women as a trophy or prize to be obtained. As a culture we have become desensitized to sex. Christians easily fall into this temptation and desensitization many times without realizing it. Mainly because we don’t set up safeguards for ourselves, we have misconceptions about sex and flirt with “the line.”
That’s why we find ourselves asking questions like: “how far is too far?” We do this in all areas of our lives. How much do we absolutely need to do to obey? What does “no snacks” include? Or when you annoy a sibling – “She’s touching me – not touching”. Sin nature wants to push the limits of obedience and justify it with technicalities and excuses.
I want to spend some time dealing with misconceptions about sex. Some of these can affect how we will make decisions in the future. Some of these misconceptions may lead you to perhaps push that line. I don’t want that so let’s break a few down.
Ok, One misconception: It’s just physical. What’s the big deal right? Anymore it’s what couples do these days because it’s just physical pleasure. It’s what we do if we care for each other, just the next step. Attraction, holding hands, eventually… sex. Our culture encourages us to indulge as we want. It wants us to be confused about sex, gender identity and gender roles. So what; if you are happy?
Well there are a few problems with that viewpoint. One is that Sex is not just physical, it’s emotional and mental as well. To get science-y for a minute; Girls release a chemical called Oxytocin during romantic physical contact. It’s a bonding chemical. It develops trust, security, and intimacy. It is released regardless of the depth of relationship; Casual boyfriend, husband material, careless party meeting. The Chemical creates a natural desire to bond with that guy. Problem with it is once the relationship is over for however long, a void is left that the body only can satisfy with more physical contact and each time the bond weakens and dulls. When and if you marry it is incredibly difficult to develop trust, love and connection with your husband.
Guys, same principle, different chemical – vasopressin. Guys are drawn to visual stimulus more than women and this chemical is released not just in romantic contact but through infatuation or fantasizing and soft and hard pornography. The void left behind drives guys to more physical contact, more visual stimuli and more infatuation. Same scientific result. The inability to bond, trust and find contentment in a wife. For both depression, sadness and feelings of being unloved haunt them. Only satisfied in more meaningless encounters which only lead to increased depression and increased dissatisfaction.
We need to push through the butterflies and surface level attraction and look at all relationships as serious because they can and will have long lasting repercussions. That’s why your parents may be cautioning you in relationships right now. They have walked in your shoes and know the hurt that even a middle or high school relationship can cause.
Let me be “uncle JB” for a second, girls. If his interest in you is physical attraction only, drop him or step back until he is interested in more than your body. Sex isn’t locking anything “in” for you. It’s a ploy to get what he wants from you. Also, if you find yourself dressing to attract and seduce a boy, you will only attract heartache and emptiness. We can say “well, he shouldn’t be looking”. Your right, But you shouldn’t put it out there for sale either. Guard what you wear, how you behave and who you surround yourself with because you might find yourself sending the wrong message to the wrong guys.
Guys, Uncle JB didn’t forget you. If you are manipulating a girl to get what you want, you will destroy her and yourself. If you only see her as pretty girl and you are drawn to her physical attractiveness only, you have just made her an object. A thing to be obtained. If you are looking at something online or any format, I assure you; that isn’t real. Real girls don’t do those things and it’s a fictional life you will dwell on. Scientifically, sex images are permanently burned into your memory. Every relationship you ever have will carry with it a fictional expectation that she will never do and you will not be satisfied with her. Jesus connects the mental desire with physical sin. Matt 5:27-28
Look, attraction is not sin. That is another misconception that the church of long ago sold my generation and generation previous. The idea that being physically drawn to a guy or girl was heart issue. That’s not true. God created attraction. He created beauty and allows us the freedom to notice that beauty. Noticing a guy or girl as attractive isn’t sin. Acting on it in a physical way or mental desire is sin. Mental desire is how we dream about, fantasize over and plot encounters with someone in a physical sense. Attraction, Love, connection and sexual desire is hardwired into all of us but it’s designed as a reflection of our need for lasting love found in friendships, marriage and in a relationship with Jesus. Here’s a few verses from Genesis that describe Adam meeting Eve:
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Adam had a relationship with God, a close relationship but God knew Eve would complete and complement Adam. He also made that the plan for growing mankind beyond one man. This relationship we see as marriage, right, first time we see the word “wife”. Adam saw her and notice Adam’s response. He uses tangible physical terms to describe her and the gift God had given him. He noticed her! More than an animal or saying: “What’s that!?” He noticed her and noticed she was like him.
Notice verse 24, supporting the science I dropped on you. Sex joins you as one, leaving the parents means commitment, bonding and trust. Finally, sex apart from marriage leaves behind shame but v 25… no shame. Because it’s God’s design. These verse contain so much more application and I breezed over them in a hurry.
“The Bible does not council abstinence before marriage because it has such a low view of sex but because it has such a lofty one.” (Timothy Keller- The meaning of marriage)
Last misconception I’ll cover, there are a lot though, I just simply only have so much time. Sex is gross. Right? I mean maybe you are in that category. It’s not on your radar and the thought of it is not appealing. Maybe it’s how you were raised; it’s a gross thing that only has the purpose of making babies. You hate when people talk about it. You get embarrassed around content of any type that may reference the sex word. Well, part of me wants you to have that idea forever for your protection. But I will say that God designed sex and yes for procreation but also as a gift for physical pleasure and communication. BUT always the Bible refers to sex as something in marriage. Without exception sex outside of marriage; the Bible calls immorality and fornication. Romans 1 describes the judgment on a culture when sex is practiced and participated in against His design. So the point though is not that sex is gross but rather a gift from God when applied Biblically. A gift implies both a giver and that there is an occasion to open the gift. God is the giver and the occasion is marriage.
Make sense? Ok, before we break into our groups. I want us to talk about purity and be thinking along those lines. Questions that are based on “what the boundaries are” miss the point. Purity and the desire to be pure (or Holy as the Bible calls it), establishes standards in your heart to glorify God. Purity isn’t about what you can get away with. Purity focuses on how that relationship respects each other, gets to know each other, how you are serving God and glorifying Him. Purity or holiness is a lifelong goal for the Christian. You set your sight on following Jesus and His word and becoming more like Him. The Bible has another word for it: Sanctification. It’s the process of changing your heart, your desires and dreams to be more like Christ. The goal isn’t just to be a virgin until marriage it’s also to be faithful and obedient to His Word.
Quickly turn to: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
That draws us back to where we started last week. Who is Jesus to you? Is He even in the picture? Is He allowed in your life apart from Sunday? Are you ok with Him calling the shots in your relationships?
Here’s my last uncle JB statements for this week: Some of you may never marry, and that’s ok. In fact God may be calling you to a life of service to Him that a married couple could never do. I want you to know God has a special plan for people who do not get married. Always remember that. Singleness is a gift from God as well.
Secondly, Waiting until marriage doesn’t mean bliss 24/7. You will be disappointed at times. Your relationships will leave you disappointed. Remember they are sinners like you. They sinned so bad Jesus had to die for them too. Don’t take away from any sex talk that waiting for the Lord to direct you to the perfect person and saving yourself until marriage will bring you relational bliss. God is in the process of working on all of our hearts. What is important to take away is that sex is one part of a relationship. Sex in marriage is one part of the relationship. If you date or if you court, there is more to a relationship than the physical stuff. Relationships involve two people with a sin nature. Do not underestimate how weak you are. We’ll talk about some of this in our small groups.
Break out groups:
Guys and Girls:
Romans 6 – (yes the whole chapter.1-23)
Based on the verses: What is wrong in thinking that because we are forgiven in Christ we can live however we want? (We are forgiven and God forgives if we ask Him so why not indulge a little?)
Christ died to free us from the bondage of sin. If we really understand the price the savior paid why would we pursue the things He died for?
In regards to sex, Why would this passage be important?
Verse 12-13, JB said sex desires more sex Verse 16 and 19,
As a side note, the law says death for sin but grace says Christ already paid it.
If we fall into sin two things happen that often get confusing for us: Conviction and Condemnation.
What is Conviction in your terms?
Conviction is when the Holy Spirit makes us aware of our sin. The Spirit urges us to confess and turn from that sin. It’s not conscience it’s the Holy Spirit. Conscience as we define it, guides us in our own right and wrong. The Holy Spirit guides us in God’s right and wrong.
What is Condemnation?
Condemnation is us turning from God in shame and guilt. Condemnation tells us that there is no way God could love us let alone forgive us because we sinned or we continue to fall into a sin. Condemnation pushes us away from the things of God because it wrongly assumes that God looks down on us in disgust.
Romans 8:1 – Discuss Condemnation for the Christian.
Essentially though we do not have license to sin (as described in Romans 6) we need not fear God when we sin. He’s not saying “oh great there they go again, this time I’m done with them.”
Also, why is there no condemnation, or because of what work? God sees the believer through the filter of Christs shed blood.
GUYS – Practical application from the lesson:
Telling a girl you prayed about you dating her and God told you to ask her out…. Be careful. If it’s not of the Lord and the relationship ends what does that say about God? What does that say about you? (manipulation and dishonesty)
Understanding how Christ’s love demonstrated through action should carry over into your life. That means it affects how you view and treat girls. Do you see them as sisters in Christ that you are to protect and defend? 1 John 3:16
JB spoke about “pushing the boundaries” in a negative sense.
What is the purpose of boundaries? Why are they important as believers? Why shouldn’t we push them?
Same preface passage
GIRLS – Practical application from the lesson:
The draw to be loved, desired and to please is hardwired into you. The fight to compromise on personal purity is often a fight we try to win in our own strength and alone.
Discuss or think about the importance of accountability. Who might that be in your life that is a good candidate?
In 2004 Dove launched: “A Campaign for Real Beauty”. It was mini films and commercials aimed at finding your inner beauty and embracing it. It also exposed how models actually look before they are retouched for photo shoots and movies. Same year only 4% of women believe they are beautiful and 72% “feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful”.
In 14 years, have things changed? Think about how the culture sells clothing for your age. Is it for beauty or attraction? What is the difference?
Same year Dove ran a campaign for AXE men’s body wash. The images, script and implication was that if “you” used this wash, girls cannot control themselves around “you”. The instruction label actually read: “wash, rinse, attract.”
This mixed message tells you that you are beautiful how you are yet you are better served as trophy or accessory for guys. We are appalled in one sense but we should give careful consideration to the message we are “selling” on social media, appearance and flirtatious friendships.
You are neither a trophy nor an object. You are a child/ daughter of God. A guy who sees you as such will only lead you to heartbreak. Seek a man who honors you as a sister in Christ and who serves the Lord. The relationship shouldn’t center around physical touch or sex. Rather establish a relationship based in God’s love. Find experiences based on how God is at work in each other.
Recap – 9:55
To be pure mean to be morally clean – to be free from sin. It’s deeper than just avoiding sex before marriage and avoiding obvious sin. In order to be pure or holy our attitudes and actions must be fully submitted to God. “Purity is a posture, a way of life that flows out of a relationship with God” DA Horton