I wrote in my last blog that it’s not just biological instinct that draws us to the naked body, but that nakedness draws us because it speaks profoundly to our deep longing for relational intimacy—to know and be known.
For those who struggle with lust, this illumines a pathway not just away from the false intimacy of sexual sin but toward something better for which you’re really longing: authentic intimacy.
There’s another longing deep within that nakedness speaks to, another something better we can move toward as we seek to shed the shallow veneer of lust.
Just as lust offers us a false intimacy, lust also offers us a false identity.
To understand how and why, consider God’s good design for nakedness as an expression of love in the marriage bed. When a husband and wife give themselves physically to one another after their wedding vows, they are making physical the words they promised, in essence making their word flesh.
What is the word they spoke to each other? In the traditional marriage vows, the husband and wife pledge their lives to each other “in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, as long as we both shall live.” To paraphrase, “If I wake up tomorrow and find my life is worse now that I’m married to you, I’m still in. I’m not going anywhere. I am convinced there is something in you worth so much that I give my life to you forever. What’s more, I know you are unlike anyone else I have ever met or ever will meet, and in order to know you even better, I forsake all others and choose you till death do us part.”
Those are powerful words, and nakedness in the marriage bed speaks to the heart something similar. Nakedness expresses the giving of oneself, one spouse’s priceless self given to the other. Consider when God brought Eve to Adam. Eve was a priceless gift far more brilliant and beautiful than any other creature Adam had ever seen. Adam could never deserve her, nor Eve him. They were a gift from God to each other, and their nakedness affirmed the incredible value of each one.
To give such a valuable gift as one’s naked body speaks volumes about the value of the person to whom the gift is being given. It is an echo of Jesus self-sacrificing love for us: “This is my body, given for you.”
At least, this is how God intended it.
While the gift of one’s naked body is meant to be a sign of the other’s unique, irreplaceable worth, lust hijacks the gift and hijacks the feelings that come with the gift. The message of nakedness is still in the body, but the soul knows it isn’t real.
In lustful looks and lustful sex, a semblance of the message stirs, but there is no “I thee wed”—no “I” truly giving, no “thee” truly receiving the gift, and so no holy “wedding” taking place. In lust, the soul knows it is not the only one. Instead of being known and seen as a unique, significant, and invaluable gift, lust treats the other as one of any number of bodies that will do.
And so instead of affirming the unique and everlasting value of the other as God designed nakedness to do, lust erodes each one’s identity, including our own.
The cure? Jesus’ naked body given for you on the Cross. Even while you yet struggle with lust, seek who He sees you to be.
Jesus, Word made flesh, You who saw in us a Bride worth giving Yourself completely for, heal us of our lust! We look now to You giving Your body to us on the Cross and we receive You. Thank you for Your self-giving love. Let it burn in us like a cleansing fire, purifying our hearts to turn away from lust and turn instead toward self-giving love.
My brothers and my sisters, you are created of inestimable, unrepeatable worth. Jesus’ eyes see you. Let His loving gaze pierce your souls…and define for you who you are.
Question: How might you practice these truths day to day? How can you make these things practices in your life? Leave a comment below.