Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
I read a quote today from a Newsweek article regarding matters of sex in the Bible (blog cometh!). The quote was from the book, Unprotected Texts: The Bibles Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire by Jennifer Wright Knust.
She states, “The Bible doesn’t have to be an invader, conquering bodies and wills with its pronouncements and demands. It can also be a partner in the complicated dance of figuring out what it means to live in bodies that are filled with longing.”
The quote carried my thoughts to the Lady Gaga song, Born this Way. Here are a few lines to give you some context:
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way, yeah!
Believe it or not, to a degree, I agree with the author and Lady Gaga. I have a body full of inner longing and desire. Indeed, I was born with longings to sleep with women, lots of women, who are not my wife. I’ll be the first to admit it. I was truly born that way.
God utterly outdid Himself when He gave us the gift of sexual desire and experience. He could have made the act of procreation (sex) as bland as a handshake. But instead He gifted us with intimate sexual encounter and experience with the passions and longings to boot. And once upon a time those sexual longings were perfect. Perfect, until the enemy whispered, “Did God really say…?” to Adam & Eve (the same thing it seems that Knust is doing with her book). And when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, sin fractured the world, right along with our longings and desires. Holy sexual longing and experience between one man and one woman fractured and spider-webbed into adultery, homosexuality, pornography, pre-marital sex, child molestation, bestiality, and whatever else the fallen human race can dream up.
So now, what are we to do with our “bodies full of longing”? To Knust’s chagrin, the Bible does have “pronouncements and demands” to “flee” and “put to death” sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18; Col 3:5). Praise God for those commands. Why? Aside from the separation it brings us from God, the untold pain it brings to us emotionally (and in many cases physically), it’s because pursuing and acting on fractured sexual longing never brings freedom and satisfaction, only slavery and emptiness. Lust never satisfies. It only enslaves. And the experience of emptiness and slavery is sought to be self-medicated through more pursuing and acting on fractured sexual longings, which brings heavier chains of slavery and deeper emptiness.
Round and round we go with sex and anything else that becomes “god” in our lives.
So what about those “pronouncements and demands” of God? They are pronouncements and demands to freedom and joy. God radically and ruthlessly loved me in Christ to the degree that He was butchered on the Cross to have me. How could I not but trust Him when He says that I should “flee” and “put to death” longings that may feel “natural” but could ruin and destroy me and everything I love. No, I believe with my whole heart that He is for my joy, freedom, and pleasure, even sexually. Do you?
Yes, I was born this way–with fractured desires. But I was born-again–with new desires. Desires to chiefly love Christ with my all of my heart, mind, body, soul, and strength because He first loved me
(1 John 4:10, 19). And born-again with the covenant resolve to have eyes only for my wife, to have sexual intimacy only with my wife, and to fight against sexual desires that would come between me and my wife.
Being “born this way” may give you license, but being “Born-again” brings you life. Being “Born this way” may give you “freedom” but it leads to slavery and emptiness and fleeting pleasure. Being “Born-again” destroys your slavery and emptiness to bring you freedom and joy and pleasure forever (Psalm 16).
So who are you? “Born this way”? Or “Born-again”?
I pray you won’t settle for just being “born this way.” Be “born-again” in the gospel of the God who first loved you so that you can declare: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And this life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20