The middle of February in Michigan…blah!
Even when the snow does come to make everything look pretty, it’s still mid-February, and we are getting ready to move on!
So here, in the middle of this bleak month we have a holiday that celebrates love, warmth, and relationships. Call it a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ if you will, it still gives us a great opportunity to consider how much we love our spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends and families…and that’s always a good thing!
In many ways, then, it just makes sense for society to use this bleakness and this holiday to market love…passion…even lust.
This year, the ‘marketing’ is an equal opportunity assault: The movie, ’50 Shades of Grey” comes out while the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” also hits the stands.
Both aim for the same target–natural desires we have within to appreciate beauty and to be connected intimately with another person. Add to that our propensity to be attracted to another and be ‘swept up’ in the moment, and market these things in February, and you’ve got a volatile and profitable combination!
The problem is that both of these forms of ‘marketing’ play on the self-centered desires we have. These offerings excite our passions, our fantasies and our basic sexual instincts. Whether it’s a man staring at Sports Illustrated’s near-pornographic cover, or a woman paying to sit in a theater as a voyeur to a sado-masochistic controlling and abusive relationship, neither are going to get us anywhere near where God designed us to be…in a beautiful, loving intimate relationship with our husband or wife.
It’s true: God did ‘program’ sexual desires into us. In the right context, for the right reason, these can lead us to deep intimacy with our spouse, and bring us to a deeper level of selfless love–a selfless form of intimacy in which we put our spouse’s needs above our own, and revel in the love that He’s given us.
When He put Adam in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of the human race, there was ‘no suitable helper’ for Adam. Soon, the Lord made Eve and brought her to Adam, and his reaction was ‘Finally! Yes! Beautiful! Wonderful! Now THAT’S who I’m talkin about!’
Something like that, anyway:
“At last!” (see above) the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”
This (ie, because they were made for each other!) explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:18-24)
God made the man and the woman to compliment each other, and to enjoy each other…and it was beautiful!
He still wants it to be enjoyable and beautiful!
Yet in our culture, which increasingly rejects His design and His plan, these desires simply become narcissistic pleasure-seeking, with ‘self’ in mind completely.
We reject the ‘true’ design and instead settle for the ‘lie’ of marketed pseudo-love.
There will be many men who insist on their ‘right’ to have the SI Swimsuit issue in their house, taunting their wives and daughters and reminding them how ‘imperfect’ their own bodies are. This year, there will be many women who enthusiastically attend ’50 Shades’ as an ‘in-your-face’ cry that ‘I can be selfish and voyeuristic too!’.
Is that really where we want to go?
Not if we’re followers of Jesus Christ, it’s not!
Not if we know that we are now ‘citizens of heaven’, then we know that the best way we can live is in honoring God with all our lives–including our sexuality and sexual expression.
Paul wrote to a culture also steeped in sexual sin that they should “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
Today, we who are believers in Jesus Christ need to be willing to heed that call also.
This February, enjoy the real, loving, self-less love that God has given you for your spouse (or commit yourself to being the best, most selfless spouse you can be when the time is right).
But do NOT give in to the marketed lust-instead-of-love that society puts out there. That is a lie, a trap, and a counterfeit.
So guys: Throw away that magazine and treasure your wife!
Women: stay home and love your husbands!
Then, you can really ‘celebrate’ the beauty and passion that is LOVE…true Love!