We live during a very sexually tempting time. The media and culture are pressuring us on all fronts with temptations to gratify our own desires. This is a huge problem today in culture at large and among those that are professing followers of Jesus Christ. I believe the Bible offers one very practical solution. It is to be exclusive with my spouse.
This past Sunday we looked at some practical insights on honoring God in a sex obsessed culture. You can listen here to the sermon “Be Wise About My Commitments.” Let’s take some time to look at two insights from God’s Word.
First, marriage offers protection against the temptation to sexual sin. Paul put it this, “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2) We live in a time like that in Corinth that promotes free sex. Today, just about anything goes. It hit me a couple of weeks ago that our culture today is probably worse than that of Corinth. Paul reminds them that even culture would be against a man in a relationship with his step mother. I am not sure that this would be even questioned today. God’s solution for those struggling with sexual temptation is a Biblical marriage. Now the Bible is not a “silver bullet” that kills temptation but it is a wonderful outlet for meeting those sexual needs. It is also stated in a more direct way later in the passage, “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:9)
Second, a sexually active marriage protects the spouses against the temptation to sexual sin. Sexual sin is not just a problem for those that are not married, but also for those that are married. The culture of Corinth was very similar to our own. The Bible in several places reminds spouses to be active sexually with their spouse. That emphasis in 1 Corinthians 7:2 above calls for each spouse to have their “own” spouse. The next verse is more specific. “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:3) The obvious implication is that both spouses are called to be other-centered in ministering to the sexual needs of their spouse. The second insight that is just as important is the need to be exclusive with one’s spouse. It is vital, especially in a culture like Corinth and our own, that couples are careful to find fulfillment with their spouse alone. The temptation of pornography, flirting with another person, juicy romance novels or even fantasizing opens the door to sexual temptation and sin. Let me be blunt. You need to find sexual fulfillment in your marriage.
The people that I have counselled that have fallen into sexual sin never intended to go that far. Yet, the lure of temptation and the step by step choices to get a little closer thinking that they could handle it resulted in them getting burned. Yes, the Lord forgives and relationships can be rebuilt through grace. Yet the best safeguard against moral failure is prevention. The Bible offers some excellent insight. It reminds us to focus on ministering to our spouse as well as meeting our needs exclusively within marriage.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson