Posted by: pastortomvabeach | April 29, 2014

Thought for the Week May 4, 2014

If you caught my “thought” last week, you read part of an article written by Kenny Luck, the founder of Every Man Ministries, men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, and Christian Mingle advisory board member. The article makes an interesting and convincing assertion about the way that Christian men and women today view sexuality. It is entitled, Sexual Atheism: Christian Dating Data Reveals a Deeper Spiritual Malaise. Let me share the second half of his article and then we’ll see if we can draw some lessons from it. I want to begin with the last paragraph from last week’s installment because it gives context to the remainder.

“And nothing, from any frame of reference, is more personal and more moral than our choices regarding sexual expression. It’s where the spiritual rubber really hits the road. But interestingly, Paul’s counsel to Timothy for that time when he saw these trends manifesting on a grand scale was this: ‘Be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.’ (2 Tim. 4:5, HCSB). Solid, timely and reliable advice like this was needed then and is really needed now.

“As God’s men and women, as fathers and mothers, as pastors and lay ministers and as loving brothers and sisters, we too must keep our heads clear. We must do our work in the midst of this attack on the body of Christ and fulfill our ministries in the midst of this spiritual battle. We must faithfully and directly speak into the relevant spiritual and practical themes that are at the root of the issue instead of wasting our time bemoaning the symptoms these statistics represent. We must graciously but prophetically call out the shortsightedness of Christians who are borrowing trouble sexually and sinning against God and others in the process through our messaging and ministries. We must confront ourselves and our brothers and sisters with the veracity, authority and loving transparency of Scripture, which reflects God’s love and wisdom in life-saving and marriage-saving ways. That is, we must point out the truth that if I am undisciplined sexually before marriage and willing to compromise my convictions before marriage, a wedding ring will not make me disciplined after marriage. But most importantly and practically, we must avail ourselves of the ministries, tools and resources that are speaking into this clearly massive hole of spiritual life and practice among our single brothers and sisters.

“The love, sex and dating forecast among adult single believers for the foreseeable future is this: cloudy with a chance of fear and pride. Instead of believing that God knows better, Christian adults will believe they know how to meet their needs better or, on the more arrogant end, that they know better when it comes to sex and dating, period.

“To say that professing or self-described Christians are becoming more liberal means that their reference point for assessing and practicing sexuality is more cultural and personal rather than biblical or spiritual. It means that they possess a low view of God and Scripture and a high view of self and culture as the key drivers of their moral and sexual behavior.

“Practical sexual atheism among Christians says God can speak into some things but not sex. This ultimate expression of self-deception and loss of mind goes all the way back to the garden, when a certain character asked Adam and Eve: “Did God really say that?” They took the bait and, apparently, so are the majority of single Christians in the garden of love, sex and dating. They are listening to the voice that says, “Eat and have your eyes opened.” Like the first couple, God’s single men and women are letting fear win over faith and curiosity win over Christ with inevitable and untold prices to pay.

“But it is not a time to act high and mighty. It is time to act graciously but truthfully with our single brothers and sisters. For they, along with us, will have that moment in front of the living Christ, and we want that moment to be the best it can possibly be. To realize such an epic and eternal moment, we not only have to pray for them, but we also have to equip them practically with the best possible teachings and tools that serve to restore a vision of God that transforms them in their context. We have to engage the culture, not run.”

There is so much more that could be added to Luck’s article. The thing that hit me was that he addresses an issue that is faced by single men and women when, in fact, sexual atheism is being practiced in many ways by married Christians. The plague of pornography immediately comes to mind along with emotional connections that married people make via social media and ultimately some who betray their vows in full-on adultery. All of these are fueled by the popular cultural idea that I need to feel good about myself even if that means going against what God says. I have heard people say that God lead them out of their marriage to an affair and divorce because they were not happy where they were.

Jesus said, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24). Where in that statement does it even imply that the purpose of following Jesus is to make me happy? The cross is an implement of death. Cross bearing means to put our old-man desires to death every moment and live in the freedom of Jesus’ righteousness. The only way we can turn that around so that sex, any sex, apart from the bonds of one man and one woman married for life, is OK, is to decide I don’t believe what Jesus said there. I’ll take everything else but that part is not for me. May I just say that this scenario means that I am Lord and not Jesus.

Now this thinking doesn’t only apply to behavior that is sexual in nature but it cuts across the whole realm of obedience and disobedience. Our topic, however, is our sexual expression and who will determine when and how it is expressed? Would you be able to say truthfully that you are not a sexual atheist? If not, what could you do to change that and believe all of what God says and and submit to all of who He is? Thoughts to ponder!

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