We had a crazy time talking about sex and Samson at hub last night. Good solid night. I really appreciate the rawness and realness of the hub gathering… we can be deep and have laughter and be challenged and trust God all in the same evening. Especially last night. I will never forget Karl's light saber metaphor. Neither will I forget the red faces as we took turns trying to figure out how we'd explain sex to a 5th grader (which I had to do recently!). And I'll never forget the life change that began for many of us last night as God's Spirit worked to give us a beautiful image of what sex was created for. It was amazing to see people spontaneously break off afterwards all through the building to pray with one another, to restore each other, to forgive and to hope.
We talked about how Samson lived a life addicted to sex. It controlled him. This incredibly strong man was enslaved to lust. It's a sad story. His relationships were characterized by mind games, distrust, sexual craving, lies, selfish motives, revenge, sick-twisted-scenarios, instability, nagging, and an incredibly amount of dissatisfaction in life…
… Samson was lonely, unhappy, and he was gripped in a stranglehold of sex. He got married, played a trick, he left his wife, came back to her only to sleep with her, he took revenge when he couldn't, and his wife was killed as a result. Later on, he slept with a prostitute. And after that, he lusted with another woman, played mind games with her, lusted and lusted some more, gave up the last remaining shred of his vow to God, got his eyes gouged out, and then took revenge again. Sex was not good for Samson.
So at hub, after relating our world's treatment of sex to Samson's addictions, we talked about a better way… one where sex is beautiful and is cherished. Here's the summary…
1. How you treat a creation shows how you feel about the creator. I stole this from Rob Bell's book, Sex God. The idea is that if we really do respect and love God, then we will absolutely cherish the works of his hands. My daughter gave me a scribbled piece of artwork with glued-on feathers yesterday. I cherish this piece of art… and will treat it with incredible respect and love… because I absolutely am head-over-heals in love with my daughter. Likewise, that man or woman that we are dating is to be treated with such dignity and respect… they are to be treasured… because God made them. Psalm 139 applies to them. God's thoughts about them are precious and innumerable. So should yours be.
2. You should be able to praise Jesus during and after. Not in a TV way… but sexuality can be an amazing union where the result is sincere unrestrained praise of God. Do you think God runs and hides when you start making out or when you start looking at pornography? Do you think God isn't there? He is absolutely there… and he is absolutely aware of everything you are doing. If you can't honestly praise God while you are doing something… and if you can't genuinely praise God afterwards… then there is something seriously wrong. The whole of our lives should be measured by this principle. No matter what we are doing, but especially with sex and dating, we should be praising God in it and after it. Look, God created sex… and it was good. Adam and Eve were in the garden and they were naked together and it was good. There was no shame, there was no cover up, there was God and there was Adam and Eve. It wasn't until sin screwed up (pun intended) everything that Adam and Eve became ashamed. Today, when a husband and wife are living for the other and for God… and when a husband and wife are praising God in the rest of their actions and behaviors too… sex can be astonishingly good. There is redemption in the union of a husband and wife… when it is done in such a way that God is praised. Heaven intersects that relationship… and intimacy with God in a marriage is profound.
3. WWOJ? What Witness Of Jesus are you having? If you say you are a follower of Jesus, but you have little restraint and respect for sex, what witness are you having? If you get caught in pornography, if you screw around with your girlfriend/boyfriend, if you hurt the future of your marriage or their marriage, what representation of Jesus are you giving the world. This is a convicting point. Samson really messed up here. He never gave anyone a chance to see the beauty and redemptive heart of God. He never showed others that God treasures them. He did not live by 1 and 2 above. The cool thing here is that if we have messed up in the sexual area of our lives, God can still give hope. And that message is one that our friends and communities need to know. No matter how screwed up our lives have gotten with sex, God gives the opportunity to have a beautiful redemption in the way we treat sex in the future. Over time and through walking with Jesus, sex can become a powerfully beautiful gift where we treasure our spouse and praise the Creator.