"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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Christian Grey and the Veneration of the Wanton Woman

Unless you have been living under a rock, you undoubtedly have heard of 50 Shades of Grey. The erotica trilogy, written by a woman for women, has sold more than 10 million copies and is still going strong. The story revolves around a sadomasochistic relationship between Anastasia, a naive college student, and a libidinous young billionaire named Christian. He is the dominant, she the submissive in an enticing narrative about mind control and kinky sex.

The overnight success of 50 Shades of Grey and the current media frenzy surrounding the film Magic Mike — the story of a young male stripper striving for stardom — are part of a growing cultural shift that encourages women to gratify their sexual desires and feed their lust. They also are the latest evidence of the devil’s schemes to destroy the family unit and tear down the covenant of marriage. Far from harmless entertainment, they are like arsenic in the water, bringing decay and death to couples.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10

Women, like men, have a natural sex drive — God created us that way. But, that does not mean we are meant to fulfill our every sexual whim. Thousands of men suffer from an addiction to pornography. Their lust for hyper-sexualized images of women increases exponentially every time they see a pornographic photo or film. Using pornography for personal pleasure becomes an insatiable craving. A man no longer looks to his wife’s inner and outer beauty for fulfillment, but instead replaces her in his mind’s eye with nameless strangers who make no emotional demands and perform solely for his pleasure.

Traditionally, women have frowned upon their husbands and boyfriends looking at pornography. They have felt demeaned and abandoned, never able to measure up to the fantasy created by the porn industry. But now, women are being lured into sexual fantasies of their own, and encouraged to act on every impulse. If women fall prey to porn — whether under the guise of “erotica” or a ribald “chick flick” — they can no longer demand that their husbands eschew adult entertainment. The last bastion of defense will crumble.

Lust for one’s spouse can add spice to a loving marriage relationship, but if directed elsewhere, it can be cruelly divisive. As soon as a man’s attention is diverted from building an intimate relationship with his wife, it becomes much easier — too easy — to look at other women in the real world, as well. An office flirtation becomes a full-blown affair. A night out with the boys becomes a trip to the strip club or a one-night-stand with the woman at the bar. Entice a woman with the promise of sexual gratification, no strings attached, and the outcomes are the same.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:43-45

Satan has been working methodically over the past several decades to “emancipate” women from marriage and destroy the family unit that is at the foundation of our society. From the Women’s Lib movement of the ’70s to shows like One Day at a Time in the ’80s to Sex and the City in the ’90s and today’s TV trash, like Desperate Housewives and Jersey Shore, women young and old have been indoctrinated with the message that they don’t need a man. Premarital and extramarital sex are glamorized. Women are encouraged to pursue their every fleshly whim, to have children out of wedlock, and to divorce their husbands, Kim Kardashian style, if they just aren’t feelin’ the love.

God understands that we have sexual desires, which is why he created marriage in the first place. God wants us to enjoy sex to the full, so long as it is within the context of marriage.

…each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband…. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:2, 5

Do not be deceived. Remember that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” but Christ came to give us life to the full.

God created marriage for a reason. Research shows that children raised by a father and mother in a two-parent household are more emotionally stable and more successful than those raised by a single parent. From the very beginning of time in Genesis 2, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him…That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

Ephesians 5:22-33 gives specific instruction for how husbands and wives are to love each other, saying that every man “must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Entertaining lustful fantasies about other people, whether in books, movies, or real life, is not a demonstration of love and respect.

Experiencing the fullness of life in Christ requires us to keep our eyes on Him, and turn away from temptation. If something or someone that is not your spouse thrills you sexually, you are embarking on a slippery slope when you take a single step in that direction. Focus on the person you pledged to love for every day of your life. Invest time and energy in your marriage. And if you are not married, trust that God has a great plan for your life and will deliver your perfect partner when the time is right.

 

July 7, 2012   No Comments

Pride and Prejudice

Recently, I have tried to start professing my faith on Facebook. Not in an über-evangelistic, up-on-my-soapbox kind of way. Just occasional posts to say I’m grateful for my salvation, lift a friend up in prayer, or share a YouTube video of a praise and worship song.

And even that is hard.

It’s hard to be bold in my faith on Facebook, because I’m afraid of what people will think. I’m afraid some folks will be turned off. I’m afraid of being “un-friended.”

My goal, of course, is for people to see someone whom they know and (hopefully) respect actually walking out their faith. I also hope that people who knew me from grade school or college or a former employer—people who knew me before I was saved—might be curious about why the once secular girl raised by an atheist is now professing her belief in Jesus Christ.

That’s my hope. My fear is that they’ll think I’m a nut job—that they will dismiss my zeal as religious nonsense, or worse, think I am sanctimonious and judgmental.

Really, my pride is getting in the way. It would hurt my pride for someone to call me a name, dismiss my beliefs, or cut ties all together. It would also hurt my pride if I failed.

I want to lead people to Christ, to show them that they are missing a whole dimension of life—the very purpose and meaning of life. I want them to understand who Jesus is, and that He loves them SO MUCH that He suffered torment and physical abuse, and ultimately died on the cross…just for them. I want them to accept Christ into their heart before it’s too late. If instead I turn them off, pushing them even further from the Lord, I will be ashamed, embarrassed, and flat out mortified.

Aye, there’s the rub. Because that fear of failure is really narcissism in disguise. It’s making myself greater than God, as if He weren’t able to speak directly to someone’s heart, even if I “blow it.” As if he weren’t able to speak through me, when I don’t know the right thing to say.

Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10

When I look at how God worked in my life, I can see plainly that no amount of preaching was going to reach me until I was ready. I attended Catholic church for eight years and never had a relationship with Jesus. It wasn’t until Craig witnessed to me one night in July 2003 that everything clicked. I couldn’t tell you a thing that he said, but I was wrecked. God spoke to my spirit. I asked Jesus into my heart, and my life has never been the same.

God meets us where we are at. He met me when I was steeped in sin, living a Sex in the City lifestyle in Manhattan, sans the Manolo Blahniks. He spoke to me through Craig. Then he spoke to me through a stranger named Valeria Smith who invited me to sit with her at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Over the next year, he spoke to me through Pastor Lawrence Kennedy and my friends from the North Church, Kara Sparks and Lori Yeary, teaching me what it means to be a disciple of Christ and to walk in His will.

Today, God continues to speak to me through friends, blogs, preachers, teachers, scripture, songs, and sometimes just straight into my head. Several years ago, He planted us at a different church, where I continue to be fed and challenged to study the Word and go deeper in my faith. My prayer is that God will continue to bless me with wisdom and discernment, and to use me as his mouthpiece to speak encouragement and truth into the lives of others.

Because it’s not about me, it’s about Him. I’m just the messenger.

The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12

November 28, 2011   2 Comments