In which a single woman talks about sex (eek)

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Guys, my pulse is racing as I type this.  I am literally afraid to write the word sex.

No one talks to single women about sex.  Maybe they’re scared that just saying the word ‘sex’ will cause singles everywhere to descend into a world of corruption? Or maybe it’s not just single women.  Maybe none of us are talking about sex.

It just feels like we’re not supposed to say that word.  Especially if we’re christian.  And single.  And women.  (so I’m like a triple threat).

I don’t know.  Here’s what I do know:

sex is a gift from God to help us understand one of the greatest mysteries of our faith: our union with Him.Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 12.42.20 PM

So, I’m sitting here now – a single, christian, woman – doing the unthinkable: talking about sex.  And I think (and hope) that this honors God.

As I said yesterday God’s Word is filled with the truth that we are united with Christ – in His life and death.  We are partakers of Him, of His glory. We get to share in His inheritance, and His blessing because we are in Him.

Don’t let that rush past you.  It’s confusing.  It’s crazy.

And it’s glorious.

Being ‘in’ Jesus doesn’t mean that we become like magical molecules dissolving into Him.  We don’t lose our personhood in this union, but we do find ourselves entirely in Him. We become one, but we are still somehow separate from Him and fully ourselves.

God explains all that through His Word, and He adds an illustration: becoming one flesh.

When you contemplate the crazy way that sex makes two people literally become one while still maintaining their separate personhood, it all seems to add up.

Sex is the glorious punctuation of a covenant commitment where two people are joined in each other.  More than holding hands or being close, they are interconnected and yet – still themselves.

Sex is such a weird way to reproduce that I honestly don’t know how to make sense of it unless I believe that God created it to illustrate what happens with us and Jesus.  The glorious punctuation of His covenant is that we become one with Him without becoming obsolete.  And this oneness begets life.  It multiplies.

Can you imagine how believing all that could transform sex into worship?

I know it seems strange to think about God and sex in the same sentence, but I gotta say – I think the enemy won a huge victory the day he convinced us that those two things are to be kept separate.

By appealing to our fear of awkwardness or embarrassment, he has stolen from us the opportunity to use sex to help us grasp and reflect our union with christ.

And the consequences are tragic.

#1 Marriages are falling apart all over the place because we belittle sex.

If marriage exists to reflect God’s covenant with His people, then consider for a second – what does your sex life testify about that Covenant? Is our oneness with Jesus an extraneous bonus or is it integral glue?

Can you imagine how impossible our covenant with God would be if He didn’t come inside of us with His Spirit?  (If not, read the Old Testament.)

#2 Lust is rampant.

We think sex is about pleasure, and partially it is, but it’s about the pleasure of reflecting the union we have in Christ. And that union is not casual or fickle.

Can you imagine Christ joining Himself to people just for a moment, without any sort of covenant commitment or promise of faithfulness? There are few things more horrifically out of sync with His character.

And far more troubling than any of that is this heartbreaking thought:

#3 Our distorted view of sex is a symptom of a distorted view of God.

If it makes us uncomfortable to think about God and sex together, maybe it’s because we’re actually uncomfortable with parts of our God.

Maybe we’re uncomfortable with is the consuming appetite He has for us that demands a nearness that connects us and unifies us in a way deeper than just touching.  Maybe we’re uncomfortable with the vulnerability He commands in us and the tender fierceness with which He takes us inside Him.  Maybe we’re scared of the consequences if we start to consider God as a God of pleasure; if we really believe the promise that in His presence there is pleasure forevermore.

Singles: every time your heart craves sex, refuse to settle for temporal physical satisfaction.  Want more.  Want God.  Contemplate the depth of intimacy that your sweet Savior died to purchase for you.  Display through your celibacy in singleness that God’s love does not offer union without covenant.

Marrieds: Let your sex life operate almost like communion: a physical representation of a spiritual reality reminding you of the mystery of our union in Christ.  Display through your sex life that God’s love does not ask us to attempt covenant without union.

And may we all beg God to enlighten the eyes of our hearts to grasp the hope to which we’ve been called: the day when our spiritual union with Christ will become physical.

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Comments

  1. Fabs,
    I rarely have trouble sleeping, and if I do, I rarely turn on my computer as it seems counter-productive to falling asleep. But tonight, I could not sleep AND chose to check my email.

    Without my conscious choice, the Spirit led me to your blog…and it was because I needed to read IN THIS MOMENT what you wrote about sex and singleness and union with Christ. Rather than my mind dwelling on unholy or unproductive things as I try to fall asleep, God wants instead to shake me, remind me, wake me, and recapture my attention with the truth that His love is better than life….and certainly better than any intimacy I feel I am missing as a single who has chosen (and keeps daily choosing) purity.

    Thank you for encouraging me to want more. Seek more. And desire more. Whether single forever or married at some point…Christ needs to be my all-consuming first desire. In a rather old John Piper sermon, he says something to the effect that singles can take the creative passion in their celibacy and turn it into other kinds of creative passion (not sex, like married people, but something just as glorious for the Kingdom).

    I’ve recently listened to a great sermon series entitled “Sex, Love, and God”…there are four parts…here is part one….http://www.imagodeicommunity.com/sunday/sermon-archive/love-sex-god-week-1/…The series is worth the while (and engaging for married or single or anywhere in between).

    With sincere Christian love. :)

    • fabsharford says:

      Thanks for writing this. More encouraging than I can say. Can’t wait to listen!

      • You’re welcome. Us Christians are in this fight together, to God’s glory.
        Let me know if you need the direct links to parts 2-4 of that series….
        And for the record, doing what you commended me to do, with Jesus’ help, I fell asleep instantly and without temptation or reason for guilt. Jesus is incredible at breaking down strongholds; let’s continue to fight for purity and for passionate fellowship with the Lord.

  2. I can’t believe there aren’t more comments on this one! Thanks so much for writing this… I think we are scared of this idea in the church: the idea that sex really is a picture of the intimacy into which we are meant to enter with God. To “know even as we are known” in the deepest, most sacred parts of our being is to be completely, utterly and beautifully vulnerable. I remember the first time that God revealed Himself to me – a Christian woman from a conservative home where I’d somehow gotten the impression that sex was dirty, sinful, and never to be spoken of – as the Lover of my soul. It completely transformed my relationship with Him to walk through Song of Solomon and realize how much of it was meant for my soul as a single woman. Isaiah 62:3-5 became alive for me as I realized that covenant love and intimacy is an eternal thing between Christ and the Bride. As a single woman, I have never felt the freedom to share that with anyone. I feel like people would find the comparison sacrilegious, yet it is perhaps one of the full and deep expressions of God’s design for intimacy on the planet. Anyway, thank you! It’s good to hear that affirmed from the mouth of another believing woman.

  3. Bless you, Fabs, for speaking up about such an important issue. Loved your opening in this post… resonated a lot with me (another Christian, single young woman). It also saddened me to realize again the truth of your words about sex being a “taboo” subject and a victory for satan. O that parents, and older siblings, would embrace (and TALK about) without fear God’s design for human sexuality.

    Keep up the fight, sister!

  4. Hey Fabs!

    I listened to you speak at All Women’s Breakaway this year, and a friend of mine mentioned that you have a blog, and suggested that I check it out. So here I am, thinking about being singe (which let’s be real consumes WAY too much of my time) and I stumble across several blog posts you’ve written about singleness. And let me just say, the truth you’ve been writing about makes me uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because I know you’re right. God’s truth has a nifty way of getting under your skin, and convicting you with love. So, I guess I wanted to thank you for being willing to write these uncomfortable truths. It nice to hear for a change that the pain I feel in singleness is really a gift, and signal that my perception of God may be off. Don’t know why, but the truth of all this makes me want to cry, in the good way of course. But anyway, I appreciate what you’re doing here and I wanted you to know that it makes a difference.

    Seriously you touched my heart,

    Kaitlin

  5. Yes. This is it precisely. This is what I try to explain to teen girls whenever I’m asked to give talks on dating, relationships, and purity. While I sometimes feel awkward that a single woman is teaching them about sex, it’s SO IMPORTANT to recognise that sex is not just, well, sex. As with everything on earth, it is intended to reflect a spiritual reality. It’s not all that surprising that societies throughout time have idolised sex – as we were all created to crave the relationship it represents.

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