There is so much from the world that comes against purity and holiness and marriage. I spent some time reading through the stats of how many people have read 50 Shades of Grey and how many people are expected to see the movie and my heart and head just hurt. To live in a time where women and children are sexually exploited, where children are abused, where story after story of rape on college campuses with very little done to prosecute and punish abound, yet books and movies like this become best sellers absolutely astounds me. I cannot for the life of me understand why any women at all would want to subject herself to such insidiousness.
I can already hear some of you asking why I would have such a strong opinion without having read the book. Well, first, I'm not stupid or naive. I've read the reviews and anything that promotes the domination of women in sex is not uplifting or treasuring to us which I know is not God's design. Second, I do not have to drink arsenic to know it will kill me. Third, I've been married to one man who deeply treasures me for 20 years. The intimacy between us is far greater than anything the distorted world has to offer. There you have it: I'm not stupid, I don't drink poison, and my marriage is healthy, which I believe, gives me a voice you should heed.
Friends, please, please do not be weak-willed in your faith and understanding of who God desires for you to be. Do not give into filling your heart, mind, and soul with this movie.
Marriage takes real work. It requires honesty, integrity, communication, commitment, selflessness, understanding, compassion, diligence, and much, much more. What's interesting is so much of what happens in a marriage can be viewed by friends, neighbors, family. How you keep your house, how you parent your children, how you spend your money, even how you bicker and argue can be observed by others. But, there is one thing that is for you and your spouse only, one private aspect of your marriage that should include absolutely no one else.
Sexual intimacy was created for two people who have covenanted together to spend the rest of their days living life in such a way that displays and gives witness to how Jesus Christ loves the church.
Because marriage was created to show the world how much Jesus loves us, Satan (the DLB), a very real and present enemy absolutely hates marriage. He continually shows how he seeks to destroy us. If genuine intimacy was created to be experienced between one man and one woman, he is doing his best to steal, kill, and destroy it. Again, abuse, exploitation, perversion in the form of pornography all set themselves up to be the exact contradiction to what intimacy is meant to be.
And, the DLB is cunning. He knows that many of us believe we are strong enough to withstand abusing someone or becoming addicted to porn, so he creates subtle distortions through stories that appeal to humanity, to our thirst for relationships, attention, fantasy. A racy make-out scene here, a Car'ls Jr/Hardy's commercial there. A TV show where 25 single women make out with the same guy here, or a mall store with boobs and underwear in our faces there. It is everywhere and we buy it hook, line, and sinker... but slowly, not knowing that we are being boiled in our own pot of hypocrisy, numbness, and smut.
One verse that has been so wrongly used in the Christian sub-culture world of dating is Proverbs 4:23. Come on, finish it for me: Above all else guard... Yep. I know you've heard it. Maybe you've even quoted it when you were dating someone, or about to break up with someone. Or maybe you've thrown it in the face of your friend when you felt like they were loving too much too soon. But let's reclaim it today for the sake of what it truly means.
Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Whatever you put into your heart, mind, and soul, will eventually come out. (Luke 6:45)
If you put humility in your heart, serving others will spill out of you.
If you guard your heart with thankfulness, your well will not run dry with entitlement.
If you fill yourself up with patience, you will flow with kindness.
If you allow gossip to enter your heart, you will soon think of yourself higher than you ought.
If you engage in political hatred, you alienate people Jesus asks you to love.
If you shut yourself off from community, the well of your soul will feel isolated and alone.
If you take in content through the internet, books, or movies that does not lift your soul, you will crave more, lust for more, soon be ensnared.
If you do not guard the sexual intimacy of your marriage, you will grow dissatisfied with your spouse and distance between you is inevitable, and you will seek it in other ways.
If you are not married and you seek to satisfy desires for relational intimacy apart of Jesus and purposeful community, you will become a target for the DLB to fill your heart with lies of entitlement, shame, rejection, and regret.
People, let us guard our hearts! Why exchange the truth for a lie? Why believe unholy thoughts that set themselves up against the knowledge of God? Why continue to learn about the stuff of this world but never arrive at the knowledge of the Truth?
Guard intimacy in your marriage. It is the only thing that is just for you and your spouse. It is a gift to be treasured and guarded, the point at which you can come together, recalibrate, refocus, refresh. Do not let anything in this world come into what was meant for just you and your life mate. If you need resources to help you grow in your understanding of intimacy with your spouse, email me.
If you are not married, guard your heart. The drive for sex can only be fully quenched in marriage. Love satisfies. Lust craves. Love gives. Lust takes. Love enables true intimacy. Lust kills true intimacy. Love protects. Lust destroys. Love builds your heart. Lust destroys your heart. Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
If you are a follower of Jesus, do not watch or read 50 Shades of Grey.
If you are not a follower of Jesus, guard your heart, too! Fill your mind and heart with life-giving, humanity-lifting wisdom. Do not watch 50 Shades of Grey.
Many, many blessings to your heart! May Jesus satisfy your deepest needs to be known, loved, and treasured.