Two thousand years ago, a pastor named Paul offered guidance to a sexually broken and confused church under his care in the Mediterranean city of Corinth.
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact” (1 Cor. 6:16 MSG).
Paul was explaining to these men and women who were involved in adultery, prostitution, and virtually every other kind of sexual sin, “What you’re doing is not actually about sex.”
Beyond the obvious—bodies seeking and experiencing pleasure—all of us reach toward something we cannot see, touch, or comprehend on the physical level. This truth is utterly profound. Understanding it helps us gain insight into why our sexuality can be so compulsive.
If we seek on the physical level what can only be obtained on a spiritual level, then we set ourselves up for a never-ending cycle that only leads to desperation, despair, and bondage.
Maybe you’ve heard the saying that in a marriage the sexual relationship is a barometer for the relationship in general. When a husband and wife enjoy a healthy emotional, relational, and spiritual connection, most of the time good sex follows.
In the same way, a man’s sexual appetite is a barometer for what’s going on inside his heart. Your sex drive consists of more than testosterone and the buildup of seminal fluid pressing for biological release. It’s more than being visually stimulated and feeling aroused.
Sexual arousal is an accumulation of your experiences, deep needs, and unconscious beliefs. Your heart shares a deep connection to your body parts. The way you are sexually aroused reflects what’s happening deep in your soul, beyond your sexual organs.
So if sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical pleasure, then what does that tell us?
Almost a century ago, G. K. Chesterton wrote that the man who knocks on the brothel door is knocking for God. If he were writing today, he might say that the man who surfs the web for porn is surfing for God.
If nothing else, this truth means that sex is a signpost to God. Sex points us to God in the same way that signs on the Florida Turnpike point us to Disney World. The signs tell drivers that “The Magic Kingdom” is somewhere up ahead, but the signs are not to be mistaken with the final destination.
Heaven is our final destination. And sex is an exquisite foretaste of heaven. Sex is an hors d’oeuvre that whets our appetite for the banquet we will one day enjoy with our Loving King. We will be lost in him, fully surrendered to him, naked and unashamed. But we confuse the hors d’oevres with the banquet.
Philip Yancey explained the mysterious and sacramental nature of how our sexuality is a signpost to God:
“In one sense, we are never more Godlike than in the act of sex. We make ourselves vulnerable. We risk. We give and receive in a simultaneous act. We feel a primordial delight, entering into the other in communion. Quite literally we make one flesh out of two different persons, experiencing for a brief time a unity like no other. Two independent beings open their inmost selves and experience not a loss but a gain. In some way—“a profound mystery”—not even Paul dared explore—this most human act reveals something of the nature of reality, God’s reality, in his relations with creation and perhaps within the Trinity itself.” (Philip Yancey, A Skeptic’s Guide to Faith (Zondervan, 2003)
Indeed, sex is as much spiritual mystery as it is physical fact. The reality is that your heart and soul are longing for the fulfillment of some legitimate God given desire.
Porn promises to meet that need. But each and every time, the promise is broken.
Stay tuned for It’s Not About Sex, Part 3.
Question: Have you ever considered that sex is a signpost to God or that beneath your sexual desire is a passion for God?
Excerpted from Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle by Michael Cusick. Copyright ©2012. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc. www.thomasnelsoncorporate.com.