“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’
Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”—Acts 19:11-20 (NKJV)
“The expense of spirit in a waste of shame is lust in action.”—William Shakespeare
“Hell has three gates: lust, anger and greed.”—Bhagavad Gita
Psalm 119:34 (NKJV) says, “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” Boy, am I getting, more and more, what David meant by that!
Do you ever have moments where you’re almost in shock that you’re still alive? When you really see some of your past sins for what they really are…and then wonder how you made it out…sane? That’s how I’m feeling…right now…at this very moment. Even with writing “Inside of Me: Lessons of Lust, Love and Redemption” and “Pure Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Integrity”. Even with speaking with/writing for X3Church.com, a ministry for porn addiction. Even with mentoring young women regularly on the dangers of sexual sin…today still marked something new for me. Today, I got yet another revelation as to why the Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16-20 says:
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.’ Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’ There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for ‘becoming one’ with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”
I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. In the Bible, if you claim to be a Bible believer (and what you believe, you should strive to live), when it comes to sexual activity, you are either considered a “wife” (or husband) or a “prostitute” (or pimp). There is no in-between. There is no mercy extended to girlfriends/boyfriends or fiancés/fiancées. Hebrews 13:4 tells us that the marriage bed is pure, yet fornicators and adulterers, God will judge. Period. There’s no bartering our way out of that. As if that is not enough reason to not partake of the forbidden fruit, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, the following verse is one that we really should take very seriously:
“Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute!”—I Corinthians 6:15 (NKJV)
Your Savior. The man who died for your sins. Join him to a hooker? That’s pretty bold. I know. I used to do it…fairly often. That’s what I mean by I’m in shock. Indeed, it is his mercy that saves us (Titus 3:5). Yet the angle of this message is a bit different than in times past. It’s not like y’all haven’t heard me talk about sex…before…a lot of times. But, it was after receiving a particular email on yesterday that the mind wheels began to turn in a slightly different direction.
A friend of mine sent out a PSA spiritual smoke signal for a mutual loved one who is currently in an adulterous relationship. Boldly so. But that’s how sin is. Proverbs 6:26 (NKJV) warns men that, “A prostitute will treat you like a loaf of bread, and a woman who takes part in adultery may cost you your life” and yet, like a crack head on his last dollar looking for his next fix, billions of men are risking, at the very least, their spiritual lives, for billions of women who are so low in their self-worth that they don’t realize that even if they are not streetwalkers, by doing ANYTHING SEXUAL OUTSIDE OF COVENANT, they are “a person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way”…they are defining prostitution, live and in living color, to whomever they are involved with.
Sex, in all of its forms—the ones that are based in purity, that is—is for marriage only. FOR MARRIAGE ONLY:
“Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”—I Corinthians 7:1-9 (NKJV)
That said, due to the title of this message, there is only one time, in the biblical record, where two people were naked and not ashamed. That was when the Lord handed out the instruction of what a husband and wife were to do…and be:
“So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body. The man and his wife were naked, but they were not ashamed.”—Genesis 2:24-25 (NCV)
In this case, there was/is no shame to be had. There is no reason for guilt, fear, embarrassment, sneaking around, deceiving, lying, denying, defensiveness…when you are obedient…when you follow the directions (Proverbs 3:6)…when you submit to God’s will for your life. Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV) says, “When pride comes, then comes shame.” Every past sexual encounter I’ve had, every last one of them, there has been some level of shame (the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another) that followed. GOD NEVER INTENDED FOR THAT TO BE SO. My body is beautiful. Every person’s is (Psalm 139:14) and the covenant partner God custom-designed for you, you can best believe will embrace it as such (stop trying to get every man or woman to find you attractive…you ain’t created for all of them…just one).
This is what El Berith, the God of Covenant, says about sex (the very thing he created that we seem to think we came up with). But pride doesn’t care about what God thinks. Pride is only interested in what it wants. So much so that it will even be so bold as to “dare God” on his own Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) re: the consequences. Proverbs 13:10 (NCV) tells us that pride leads to arguments. Proverbs 16:18 (NCV) says that pride leads to destruction. Proverbs 29:23 (NCV) warns us that pride leads to ruin. TO RUIN. Pride will actually leave “a person as the wreck of his or her former self; [a] ravaged individual” and yet people will still arrogantly ignore God’s Word for their own will. Whew! We as humans…we’re really something else.
As I sat and “paused and pondered” on nakedness, I thought back to the email I got from my friend re: the situation she wanted us to pray about. Within her personal copy, she sent warning signs of a person who is involved in demonic oppression/possession. If you would like to check it out, I posted it on the “On Fire” blog that I write (http://onfirefastmovement.blogspot.com/2010/06/ounce-of-prevention-signs-symptoms-and.html). You might be surprised that sexual activity was on the list…quite a bit. Sexual immorality and porn were listed as causes of demonic oppression, along with dating people or having close friendships with those who are demon possessed. Bucking authority, having a sense of low self-worth, stubbornness and ignoring God’s truth were listed as well.
After I read through the list, I did a bit more research. I came up on a good article (it’s featured on the link I enclosed above) on how to cast out demons. I was grateful that the pastor, Tom Brown, spoke on the fact that speaking the Word of God, with power and authority, was all that one really needed to exorcise a demon…something that Christ told us we, as his disciples, were to do (Matthew 10:8). However, it was a story that he told on the YouTube video on the link that really serves as the backdrop for this message. He spoke of a man who claimed he was trying to exorcise a demon out of a three-year-old child. He was so intent on it that he set up a barricade in his home. When the police arrived, they found him choking the child half to death with the child’s mother, the man’s own daughter, standing next to him…naked and covered in blood.
OK…and who had the demon in him? Which is just what Mr. Brown brought to the forefront. What really is godly about trying to kill a child? What’s really “decent and in order” about a grown woman being “comfortable” standing next to her father…butt naked? Yet, it was this sentence that really tripped me out:
“The only time I find someone [inappropriately] naked in the Bible are the ones who actually have the demons.”
That has stayed with me since I heard him say it. I got his point. He was talking about a lot of those who were actually mentioned as being demon-possessed in the Scriptures. But as I thought about the list of demonic oppression signs that I read…as I thought about what the Word says about fornication and adultery (Matthew 15:19, 2 Corinthians 12:20-21, Ephesians 5:3-4, Colossians 3:5)…as I thought about my own sexual past and the kind of person I was then as opposed to the kind of woman I am now…yeah…it would seem like the only time I’ve encountered inappropriately naked people even today are those who have demons, too. I mean, check the definitions of the word:
Demon: an evil spirit; devil or fiend; an evil passion or influence; a person considered extremely wicked, evil, or cruel; a persistently tormenting person, force, or passion; [when it comes to a wicked agenda] one who is extremely zealous, skillful, or diligent
Proverbs 5:4-5 (NKJV) reminds us, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.” Sexual sin…of any kind…is wicked, is evil and is considered a work of iniquity. In short, it’s demonic because it disobeys the total purpose of sexual relations: to bring a husband and his wife closer together. It’s a physical act symbolizing a spiritual bond. If you roll up in someone’s temple that does not belong to you (and only marriage makes that so), you are desecrating them, period. If you are having sex with yourself, you also are abusing your temple. Sex is not for you and yourself anymore than it is for you and someone you are not married to. It’s for you and your covenant partner. Period. Anything less than that is from the Liar (John 8:44) and he’s using your lust to devour you (I Peter 5:8). Yeah. Well…it’s not a popular message, but it’s one that is full of truth and as the Message Version of Luke 6:26 tells us, “Our task is to be true, not popular.”
Yet I still couldn’t help but think how “popular” nakedness is. In the mail, I received this month’s issue of a well-known magazine and on the cover, a wife and mother is naked. Most music videos I see now, the women are, at least half-naked. When I hear a lot of people chastise young children for how they dress, the logic is, “You’re not grown enough”…to be naked?!? Again, only in the confines of the marital bed, are two people to be naked without shame. Any other time (other than the prophet Isaiah?)? Hmph. I’ll let the Scriptures speak for themselves:
With the humiliation of Babylon: “Your nakedness shall be uncovered, yes, your shame will be seen…”—Isaiah 47:3 (NKJV)
With Jerusalem and its affliction: “Jerusalem has sinned gravely, therefore she has become vile. All who honored her despise her because they have seen her nakedness; Yes, she sighs and turns away.”—Lamentations 1:8 (NKJV)
With the degradation of Zion: “Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you who dwell in the land of Uz! The cup shall also pass over to you and you shall become drunk and make yourself naked. The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; He will no longer send you into captivity. He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will uncover your sins!”—Lamentations 4:21-22 (NKJV)
With the abuse from Jerusalem’s lovers: “‘Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: ‘Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children which you gave to them, surely, therefore, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. And I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy. I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your shrines and break down your high places. They shall also strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare.’”—Ezekiel 16:35-39 (NKJV)
With the tale of the two harlot sisters: “She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness. Then I alienated Myself from her…”—Ezekiel 23:18 (NKJV)
With mourning for Israel and Judah: “Pass by in naked shame…”—Micah 1:11 (NKJV)
With the woe of Nineveh: “I will lift your skirts over your face, I will show the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame. I will cast abominable filth upon you, make you vile, and make you a spectacle. It shall come to pass that all who look upon you will flee from you, and say, ‘Nineveh is laid waste! Who will bemoan her?’ Where shall I seek comforters for you?’”—Nahum 3:5-7 (NKJV)
In each of these instances, in every single one, nakedness was attached to shame. It was either a punishment or a consequence…but it was certainly not something that was to be celebrated. Even in these verses, comparisons to harlotry were made in many of them. A harlot uncovers herself. Yet, what is a harlot? A woman who has sex for money, right? A woman who debases herself for ill gain. What is the purpose of sex? To make a wife one with her husband. Proverbs 5:5-6 says that an immoral woman is bitter as wormwood, her feet lead to death and her ways are unstable. Proverbs 12:4 tells us that an excellent wife is the crown of her husband and Proverbs 31:10 says that a virtuous wife is more valuable than rubies. Amazing how the very same act can bring about very different results. One is based in love. One in lust. One is real. One is counterfeit. One will last. One will not. One is of God. One is of Satan. One brings forth life. The other? Death.
I sat and thought about why nakedness is such a big deal in the Bible. Certainly, we are all aware that we are reading words from a different time…and culture. However, we also know that Malachi 3:6 (NKJV) tells us, “For I am the Lord, I do not change…” That said, I decided to look up some definitions of “naked” to gain a greater understanding of why it’s such a sacred thing…and why the Liar is trying his hardest to convince us of otherwise:
Naked: being without clothing or covering; nude; without adequate clothing; without the customary covering, container, or protection; defenseless; unprotected; exposed; being without addition, concealment, disguise, or embellishment; not accompanied or supplemented by anything else; exposed to view or plainly revealed; plain-spoken; blunt
Synonyms: bare, barren, candid, defenseless, disclosed, discovered, exposed, helpless, in the raw, manifest, natural, open, out on a limb, unarmed, unconcealed, uncovered, vulnerable, weak
Yeah…I get it. I finally really get it.
In the Word (John 1:1), when it speaks of loving someone, it also speaks of COVERING THEM. Proverbs 10:12 tells us that love covers all sin and Proverbs 17:9 states that he who covers a transgression, seeks love. One example provided in ministering to others is clothing them when they’re naked (Matthew 25:36). When the Lord is speaking to the Laodicean Church, he also speaks of clothing them so that their nakedness will not be revealed (Revelation 3:18). IF YOU ARE NOT IN MARITAL COVENANT WITH SOMEONE, COVERING THEM IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING. This means not having sex with them, not looking at them unclothed, not exposing their vulnerabilities, not using (or defending) their nakedness (whether you know them or not) for your own amusement. When you do those things, you are operating in the counterfeit of love, which is lust. Proverbs 11:6 tells us that the unfaithful will be caught by their lust. Romans 13:14 instructs us not to make provisions for the flesh by fulfilling its lust. Ephesians 4:22 calls lust “deceitful” and I Thessalonians 4:5 associates people who fall for their passion and lusts with those who don’t know God. 2 Timothy 3:6 says that it’s gullible (easily deceived or cheated) women who are loaded down with their own sins who end up led away by various lusts and Titus 3:3 (NKJV) tells us that it’s the foolish, disobedient and deceived who not only serve various lusts and pleasures but (many) end up, “living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Lust can lead to hate. Love leads us to God (I John 4:16).
No wonder the Enemy wants folks parading around naked. It’s a physical representation of where our hearts are. If we have no shame in being unclothed or unclothing someone else…if we choose to remain unconscious of the fact that we are called to COVER one another…if we don’t realize and revere that it’s only in a marital covenant that two people can even begin to trust being “helpless”, “natural” or “weak” in the presence of another flawed human being, then he has us where he wants us: so prideful that humility is not a priority; so caught up in our lusts (I John 2:16) that humiliation may be the only thing to bring us to a place of biblical and spiritual submission. Those biblical examples of nakedness? Those were examples of humiliation. That is not our Father’s perfect will for us.
This week, as you do your own processing of this message, it is my prayer that if you have been caught up in nakedness outside of covenant that you will really see the seriousness of what you are doing. The lead verse said that the particular demon in that story left people naked and wounded. Fornication, adultery, masturbation, porn, oral sex…anything that is sex outside of God’s original intent and design does the exact same thing. If you are naked with anyone other than your covenant partner, the Bible speaks to it being shameful.
I’ve shared the story before and I’ll share it again. A friend of mine, a male friend, who was once addicted to porn said that he had a dream one time that while he was watching a flick and masturbating, the heads of the women on the tape came out of the television and killed him. If ever there was a warning about consequences coming due to sexual sin…family, this would be it:
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”—James 1:12-16 (NKJV)
Sex, outside of covenant, is a sin. God’s Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). He said that ungodly desires lead to death…of some sort. Adam and Eve didn’t physically die immediately following eating the fruit…that tasted good. Oh, but they did die. And remember, they weren’t supposed to die at all. I have a few friends, who, as we speak, are contemplating divorce. Do you know what all of them have told me? Sex before marriage was a huge regret because it served as a smoke screen. “Good sex” does not a healthy relationship make. As I often say, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), although it is my personal take that when you have sex in covenant, you are not “making love”, but celebrating it, you can best believe that when you are ignoring God’s Word, you are not making or celebrating love. What you are making is death.
The Liar doesn’t love you. He doesn’t like you. He’s not encouraging you to do anything for your best interest. Anything that the Lord set into motion, he plots to make a mockery of. If marital sex is what causes people to be naked and not ashamed…he will find a way, obviously, to get people to be naked and full of shame…whether they realize it yet…or not. If there ever was a time that I was begging for you to take a message seriously, the time would be now. The Lord will not be mocked (Galatians 6:9). Extreme reaping is coming. He is in the process of taking the sanctity of sex back:
“So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills. For the time that is past already suffices for doing what the Gentiles like to do–living [as you have done] in shameless, insolent wantonness, in lustful desires, drunkenness, reveling, drinking bouts and abominable, lawless idolatries. They are astonished and think it very queer that you do not now run hand in hand with them in the same excesses of dissipation, and they abuse [you]. But they will have to give an account to Him Who is ready to judge and pass sentence on the living and the dead.”—I Peter 4:1-5 (AMP)
Don’t “confuse” mercy with a lack of judgment. The Word says that the Lord will render each one according to his deeds. God says what he means. He means what he says (Romans 2:1-10). Sex, within covenant, ministers to two people. Sex, outside of covenant, separates two people from their Creator’s will for their lives. Amazing. In marriage, it brings two closer together (the Enemy does his best to keep a husband and wife from having sex). Outside of marriage, it tears people apart (the Enemy tries his hardest to keep single people sexually active…until it kills them-I Corinthians 10:8).
In sex, you have two choices and two choices only: You can be naked and not ashamed. (GET MARRIED). Or…you can be naked…clothed only with the presence of a demon.
Here’s to getting to or remaining in a state of the former…of being the head and not the tail…literally. Take it from me, I’ve been the butt of the Enemy’s jokes. Ain’t nothin’ funny about it. Stay away from naked demons. Of all of the things they do bring you, in the end, none of it is good…or safe…or profitable…or godly.
Just the opposite. As all counterfeits are…and do.
Here’s to giving and receiving a love that truly covers.
Selah. And amen.
©Shellie R. Warren/2010