We are adrift in a hazy darkness when it comes to human sexuality. Strange wisps of alluring smoke fills our nostrils and colors our eyes. Humanity is drunk with the wine of Babylon and the Spirit of God in the saints groans with longing.
- “You can’t really expect a single person to abstain from sex. It isn’t natural.”
- “I’m ashamed about what I’ve been doing, but I can’t imagine never doing it again.”
- “I’ve tried to quit porn, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.”
- “My mother taught me that sex is something men want and women have to put up with.”
- “The male body I was born with isn’t the true me. Inside, I’m a woman. That’s my true self.”
- “My wife and I haven’t had sex for three years, so of course I have to masturbate.”
- “Love is love, and I sleep with whomever I love at the time.”
The world is awash with different feelings, ideas, and ideologies about sex and sexuality. Inside and outside the Christian church, people try to boil down this truly significant part of human existence to soundbites that justify all manner of personal thought and deed. In the end, they leave the human soul wanting.
And with each one’s ideology there is a story. Sometimes a personal story of struggle, community rigidity, isolation, inner-conflict, and shame. Sometimes a story of a loved one. Sometimes a story of wanting to love well and finding no way to do so except to let each person define for themselves who they are and how they love.
What’s your vision of sexuality in your life?
A vision is what you aspire to—it’s what you dream of becoming and where you hope to go.
If you’re involved in leadership, you may be a part of a team that sets and casts vision for those who follow you. Individually, you may have a vision for your financial life, physical health, career, house, or relationships.
But what about a vision for yourself sexually?
Maybe this sounds like a sex self-help question that conjures up thoughts of magazine covers at the grocery store with article titles like “7 Days to Better Sex,” “How to Drive Him/Her Wild in Bed,” and the like. But that’s not what I’m talking about at all.
So let’s start with a different question:
What do you think God’s vision is for your life sexually?
If God has created you (He has), and He’s made you a sexual creature (He has), and He desires your good (He does), and He created you for eternal joy (He did), then what did He have in mind?
My guess is that many Christians’ response to this question would be something like, “God designed sex to be between a husband and wife in marriage for life.” While this is absolutely true, Christianity teaches that God’s vision for human sexuality is much bigger than just this.
If this were the full vision God has for us, then it leaves nothing for those who remain single, it runs out of steam for those already married, and it is no longer achievable for the person who has already had sex outside of marriage. A God-sized vision can’t be something that’s in the rear-view mirror.
We need a vision that is up ahead on the horizon—one that inspires us when we’re struggling, lifts our eyes from the smoggy haze of this sexually-intoxicated world, fuels our tanks when we’re weary, and even reaches a loving and merciful hand to us when we falter.
We need a vision that points us to Jesus.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what God’s design for human sexuality is meant to do.
God’s vision for us is woven into our bodies, even stamped into biological sex as male and female. As Christopher West writes, our bodies are not just biological, they are theological. Meaning specifically, our biological bodies are meant to teach us, reveal to us, image for us something of what God Himself is like (Genesis 1:26-28).
Women, this means that your female body bears the image of God in a way that nothing and no one else in the universe does or can. And men, this means your male body bears the image of God in a way that nothing and no one else in the universe does or can.
Men, you image God, but not the way women do. And women, you image God, but not in the way men do.
None of this means that God has a body or that God is sexual. Rather, it means that our biologically-sexed (male and female) bodies make visible in the physical world aspects of God’s invisible spiritual essence. Wow!
This is a mystery (Paul expresses this in Ephesians 5:22-32), which means we can explore what this means for a long, long time without fully plumbing the depths of it. So if this idea is new to you, as you think about holding onto a sexual vision for your life, I would encourage you to start here:
Ponder those parts of your body that are unique to your biological sex as a female or male, and ask yourself (and God!) the question, How does this part of me image God? What might God have intended these parts of my female/male body to convey about His invisible attributes?
Next, consider the sexual union between husband and wife, particularly in the loving, self-giving, faithful and fruitful way God intended. What might God have intended the union of husband and wife to convey about His invisible attributes?
Remember, we’re not looking for how God is sexual (He’s not), but for how human beings’ sexual design reveals God’s spiritual-self.
As you reflect on these things, my prayer is that the light of Christ will begin to rise on your sexual self, and you will find a better and bigger vision for your own sexuality.
Jesus, for too long our idea of our own sexuality has lain in the shadows of this darkened, hazy world. Son of God, let Your light so arise on our bodies that our eyes would be illumined and our hearts set ablaze with Your vision for who we are as male and female. We ask it according to Your holy and eternal power and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirt. Amen.
I’d love to hear from you: What in this article is new for you? What challenges you? What don’t you understand? What stirs you?
Want to hear more this week? Check out the latest Becoming Whole podcast; Theology of the Body