“When Rachel realized that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob,
she became jealous of her sister. She told Jacob, ‘Give me sons or I’ll

Jacob got angry with Rachel and said, ‘Am I God? Am I the one who refused you babies?’

Rachel said, ‘Here’s my maid Bilhah. Sleep with her. Let her substitute
for me so I can have a child through her and build a family.’ So she
gave him her maid Bilhah for a wife and Jacob slept with her. Bilhah
became pregnant and gave Jacob a son.

Rachel said, ‘God took my side and vindicated me. He listened to me and
gave me a son.’ She named him Dan (Vindication). Rachel’s maid Bilhah
became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. Rachel said, ‘I’ve
been in an all-out fight with my sister—and I’ve won.’ So she named him
Naphtali (Fight).

When Leah saw that she wasn’t having any more children, she gave her
maid Zilpah to Jacob for a wife. Zilpah had a son for Jacob. Leah said,
‘How fortunate!’ and she named him Gad (Lucky). When Leah’s maid Zilpah
had a second son for Jacob, Leah said, ‘A happy day! The women will
congratulate me in my happiness.’ So she named him Asher (Happy).

One day during the wheat harvest Reuben found some mandrakes in the
field and brought them home to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah,
‘Could I please have some of your son’s mandrakes?’

Leah said, ‘Wasn’t it enough that you got my husband away from me? And now you also want my son’s mandrakes?’

Rachel said, ‘All right. I’ll let him sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s love-apples.’

When Jacob came home that evening from the fields, Leah was there to
meet him: ‘Sleep with me tonight; I’ve bartered my son’s mandrakes for
a night with you.” So he slept with her that night’”—Genesis 30:1-16


Head’s up: This is one to forward on to the fellas.

Big Love. If you’ve never seen this HBO series, let me just say that
the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah pretty much sums it up. Yes, it
seems that you can indeed get too much of a “good” thing (of course, we
all know the definition of ‘good’ now and so…not really).

I remember once having a conversation with a friend of mine who was
trying to convince me of the benefits of polygamy. As he shared his
theory, he went on and on about that fact that it’s only because we
live in America that monogamy is such a big issue. However, since
multiple wives are mentioned multiple times in the Bible, it obviously
was OK. Uh, yeah. Everything in the Bible was OK, right? (I’m being
sarcastic here.)

Once again, I acknowledge that the Holy Book was written in a different
time and culture, but if my friend, or anyone else can provide me with
an instance where polygamy wasn’t anything short of complicated, I will
send you the first season series of Big Love on DVD wrapped up in a
big, red bow. It is my personal “Paul statement” belief that if God’s
perfect will was for man to have more than one woman, he would have
instituted this in the Garden of Eden when marriage was first
introduced to the world. Even back in the Old Testament, in their
culture, Jacob, Rachel and Leah should’ve been fortunate enough to have
the Books of Corinthians in their lives (“All things are lawful for me,
but all things are not helpful.”—-1 Corinthians 6:12).

However, this is really a moot point. The fact is, if you are living in
America in this day and age, polygamy is against the natural law. To
argue this issue kind of reminds me of when the Pharisees questioned
Jesus about keeping Caesar’s law (Luke 20:20-26). Do you remember what
Jesus said: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”.

So, sorry “my friend”, you are gonna have to stick to one wife over
here and to be honest, I don’t know why or how you think you could
handle more than that. And, I will go one step further: If you have a
godly woman, you can’t. If you’re a praying man, Ephesians 3:20 says
that “God is able to do above all that we ask or think”. Why would you
think that wouldn’t include your future mate? It is actually my
personal belief that if you desire multiple women, you are more carnal
than spiritual-minded. To be able to give a godly woman all that she
deserves, that means that your heart nor your anatomy can be divided;
trust me, we want it all.

Moving on.

Once again, the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah reminds us that the
foundation of a relationship more times than not sets the tone for what
is built upon it. If a relationship was based on sex and lust, that’s
what you’ll be building upon. If it’s based on manipulation and
trickery, that’s what you’ll be building upon. If it started out with
nagging and complaining, that’s what you’ll be building upon. If it’s
based on peer pressure, that’s what you’ll be building upon. If it
started with everyone being all up in your business because you invited
them to be all up in your business, then that is what you’ll be
building upon.

In the case of Jacob and Rachel, the relationship was built upon love.
In the case of Jacob and Leah, the relationship was built upon
bartering and deception. And, in the case of Rachel and Leah, it
appears that a huge portion of the relationship was built upon envy and

Here’s the first lesson: If you desire a lasting, loving, godly union
you cannot, by any means, compromise. During the time of friendship and
courting, whether you realize it or not, a foundation is being laid
(even if the relationship ends up not going beyond friendship, you are
still setting an example of influence to the other individual).

One of the biggest lessons that we miss about marriage and God’s desire
for it is that it’s a “godly spirit” based institution. The Enemy did
not create it. Man did not create it. Only God did. This means that
within it, lust (sinful longing; the inward sin which leads to the
falling away from God; an intense or obsessive desire, especially one
that is sexual) cannot be present. As a matter of fact, it’s when you
bring lust/flesh into the union that things go totally awry:

“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the
flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the
things that you wish.”—Galatians 5:17 (NKJV)

So, this brings us to one of the oldest questions in Christian-based relationships: Is it OK to lust after your husband or wife?

Now, I am growing up into a big girl by saying this, but after some
prayer, research and steps towards sexual wholeness, I would have to
say “no” because if the flesh and spirit are always warring against one
another and God assures us that “If we walk in the Spirit than we will
not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16), then in a loving
environment, lust cannot exist.

OK, but don’t get it twisted. I am an abstinent sistah who’s totally
looking forward to blessing her husband in every room of our house, so
don’t take what I just said out of context! Remember that it’s the
Enemy’s job to come up with a counterfeit for everything that God
created and in the case of love, its lust.

One of the things that I hate about the Church is that most of us don’t
address or receive information on sexual intimacy from a healthy
perspective. It is my heartfelt belief that most married people have so
many sexual hang-ups (due to their own personal foundational issues)
that they forget that, one, God made sex and two, that the marriage bed
is undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). And, because they are to set an example to
single people of what to look forward to, because they themselves don’t
know, this is why so many of us (singles) are “all over the place”.

When it comes to the sexual bond between man and woman, just like
everything else in marriage, it is designed to last forever, without
separation (Malachi 2:16). Remember that one of the definitions of lust
is “an unrestrained sexual craving”, but one of the Fruit of the Spirit
is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Since God is love (I John 4:8),
and God made sex (Genesis 2:24-25), and the marriage bed is undefiled
(free from stain or blemish), then between a godly husband and wife, it
is not “lusting”, but pure, unadulterated loving that is going on; for
them sex is not just about the flesh being satisfied, but their spirits
becoming one.

Why do you think that God could say in Genesis 2:24, that when a man
his united to his wife, that they would become one flesh? When you see
two married people, they are not physically morphed, walking around as
one being, right? No, when God said that “two would become one”, he was
speaking of their spirits. Only love can make two spirits one. Besides,
it’s pretty obvious that God ain’t got no problem with a little sexual
healing in the marriage; as a matter of fact, he advises that you get
as much of it as possible:

“It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband.
Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them
and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of
sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the
husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her
husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.”
Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.
Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both
agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but
only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an
ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not,
understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my
best counsel if you should choose them.”—-I Corinthians 7:5-7

Let me also say that another huge trick of the Enemy is to take a
single person’s guilt from their past sexual experiences into their
marriage bed. In other words, you were “Ms. Red Light District” when
you were single and now that you are married, you are “Ms. Missionary”
and your husband is good to get it once a month. Remember, the Enemy’s
job is to contort, distort and then condemn. The acts that you
committed when you where intoxicated by lust are not received by God or
your husband in the same way when you are sober-minded and celebrating
love. Remember, when you are in Christ, there is no condemnation
(Romans 8:1) and you, and prayerfully the things that you do, are a new
creation, too (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I know some husband will want to send me a love offering on that one
(and I’ll gladly take it), but we’ll leave that right there.

Bottom line, don’t you see? In the marriage bed, self-control (habitual
moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions) is exhibited
because it is in the blessed bond of sex that lust is kept out of the
union. Remember, because marriage is a godly covenant, when a man and
wife are physically intimate, God blesses their spirits as well and
when you follow the Spirit, lust cannot be fulfilled (Galatians 5:16).
However, when you are single and having sex, or married and committing
adultery, here comes the counterfeit of lust and anything that the
Enemy tries to duplicate, God does not tolerate:

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their
hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the
truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather
than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women
exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the
men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one
another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in
themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God
gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not
fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,
wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife,
deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of
God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to
parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,
unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who
practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but
also approve of those who practice them.”—Romans 1:24-32

Singles, when you are controlling your flesh, you are keeping it in
check. When you don’t, that is what “unrestrained” means and when you
are not a restrained, temperate, self-controlled person, you are not
operating in the Fruit of the Spirit, which at the very least, makes
you a hypocrite. So ladies, whenever a man tells you that he’s not
interested in marriage because he can’t see being faithful to one woman
for the rest of his life, what really should be going through your mind
is, “Oh poor thing. He’s still a baby on spiritual milk who doesn’t
know how to keep his flesh in check.” If you are a real woman, you
don’t need a toddler in your life. No, what you need is a
meat-and-potatoes man (Hebrews 5:12-14)!

Back to Jacob, Rachel and Leah…

So because their foundation was unstable, it was really hard for anyone to be happy in the house that chaos built.

One thing that I did find to be interesting about Leah in the midst of
her self-inflicted trauma was that God was still blessing her (with
children) even in spite of her mess and messiness. Therefore, this is
my message to women with a Leah spirit: God doesn’t love you any less
than the “Rachels” of the world. Even in the midst of your low
self-esteem, because you too are his daughters, he still loves you and
has compassion for the places where you hurt because he is no respecter
of persons (Acts 10:34—AMP).

However, what the Leahs and Rachels should remember is that when a
woman is broken, no matter what she has, it will not be enough. This is
the lesson that we can all learn from Rachel. Even with all of the love
and devotion that she was receiving from Jacob, she wanted what Leah
had: she wanted to have children (Genesis 30:1).

Next lesson. Ladies, if you sense somewhere in your spirit that you are
broken, then please, by all means, go to the Source of healing.

Your husband is not supposed to fill the void of your MIA father.

Your husband is not supposed to fill the void of the abuse that you received from your mother.

Your husband is not supposed to fill the void of your violent ex-boyfriend.

Your husband is not called by God to do any of those things. They are
instructed to love you as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25), and
as well as they love their own bodies (Ephesians 5:28). This is why you
must marry a saved man because they are the only ones who can even
begin to conceptualize what Christ’s love for the Church even is.

And, while I’m at it that is why marrying a coke/weed head, cigarette
junkie, drunk, porn/sex addict or even a man who is a glutton, has poor
hygiene or doesn’t take pride in his body and appearance are big “no
nos” as well. If you wanna see how a man will take care of you, watch
how he takes care of his own body and that will tell you everything
that you need to know. If he doesn’t care about taking out his liver or
getting cancer, why would you want to surrender your own safety to him?

That’s what’s so interesting about Rachel when she approached Jacob
about not having children. Even in the midst of the drama that Jacob
was in, his response was dead on:

“Am I God? Am I the one who refused you babies?”

Look ladies, the only one meant to be your everything is God. These
days, whenever someone tells me that they are getting married, more
times than not, before saying “Congrats”, I will respond with “Why?” It
has been my experience that their answer will be the determination of
whether I will be in attendance or not. In God’s grace and mercy, some
of us are still single because we are not all that clear about the
purpose of a husband.

Well, I will tell you one thing that a husband is not and that’s a
miracle worker. Whether you are single, engaged or married, please get
a full understanding on the difference between the things that God can
do and what he has put in a man’s power to do. Here Rachel was
resenting Jacob for not giving her children, when in all actuality, he
was doing his part. But, because she was not clear on what role was
God’s and what role was Jacob’s, she took matters into her own hands
(out of order and never good) and gave Jacob one of her maids to sleep

Ladies, when there is something you are wanting out of your
relationship, please always remember God’s instituted order of things.
So many marriages are suffering even now because when something is not
going the way a wife thinks it should, she gets desperate and takes
matters into her own hands.

She wants a new wardrobe and they are on a budget and so she makes charges on her secret credit card.

She’s having trouble with her mother-in-law and instead of discussing
it with her husband first and/or waiting to come to a mutual resolve,
she calls her up and tells her where to go.

She wants more income circulating throughout the home and so she takes
a job that requires she be out of the house 12-14 hours per day.

I don’t care what the world’s way of doing things may be. When God put
marriage in order, he placed the husband in charge over the wife (don’t
be mad at me; take that up with God—Ephesians 5:22). If there is a
problem, go to your husband and trust him (and if he’s godly, best
believe that he will) to go to God with the situation.

What Jacob should have done was told Rachel that he would go to God
about her barrenness. But instead, he slept with her maid and created
even more of a mess (not the baby, but the confusion from being out of
God’s order for marriage). As a matter of fact, it got to be such a
traumatic and dramatic situation that soon Rachel and Leah lost respect
for their husband’s role.

How do I know? Because after awhile he was being thrown around like a
rag doll. At first, he was being used for making babies, but before
long, he was being bartered for food:

“One day during the wheat harvest Reuben found some mandrakes in the
field and brought them home to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah,
‘Could I please have some of your son’s mandrakes?’
Leah said, ‘Wasn’t it enough that you got my husband away from me? And now you also want my son’s mandrakes?’

Rachel said, ‘All right. I’ll let him sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s love-apples.’

When Jacob came home that evening from the fields, Leah was there to
meet him: ‘Sleep with me tonight; I’ve bartered my son’s mandrakes for
a night with you.’ So he slept with her that night.”—Genesis 30:14-16

I don’t know what’s worse: that the sacredness of sex was being
bartered or that the sacredness of sex was being bartered for fruit!

It sounds ridiculous, but wives pull these same stunts even now:

I will give you some if you buy me a new pair of shoes.

I won’t give you some if you make me mad tonight.

I might give you some if you promise to take me on vacation next month.

And men, let me just say that when you allow a woman to manipulate you
like this, you are out of order. You are not called to submit to her;
you are called to submit to God. Besides, Rachel is a perfect example
of what happens when you bend over backwards to the point of breaking:
respect is lost. Sex is not currency. It’s a gift from God. Singles,
some of us are still single because we are not healed enough from our
past disobedience to even grasp the validity of such a sacred act.
Married folks, some of you are wondering why your intimate life is
lacking and it’s because you are treating sex acts like food stamps
rather than an invaluable token of God’s love for the marital union.

That was a lot, I know. Even I am still soaking some of it in, but here’s the lesson for today:

Whether you are single or married, ask God to reveal to you the areas
in your life where lust, instead of love, has been the motivation. Just
yesterday, I was listening to a radio show that was praising virginity
(good), but also masturbation (not so good).

I know it is so taboo to even discuss this, but the Bible says that our
testimonies will not only save us, but those who hear us (I Timothy
4:14-16). When I first embarked upon abstaining from having sex with
someone else, it didn’t stop me from having sex with myself. And yes,
you can gasp if you want to, but I ain’t alone. I know because I’ve
done my research. A recent study that I read stated that roughly 60% of
all women masturbate about two times a week on average. Yes, I once
fell deep off into this category.

So am I saying that masturbation is wrong? Hmm. Well, I have a few things to say about that:

*It’s hard—-and for women, downright impossible—to masturbate
without lusting (in your mind) and we all know that lust is not of God
(Ephesians 5:3). The Bible says that we shouldn’t allow love to turn
into lust and so, when you “hooking yourself up”, sorry, but that is
not an expression of all the love that you have for yourself but all of
the lust in your flesh.

*If you are motivated by lust, you will never be satisfied by, well, “self-satisfying” (Proverbs 27:20)

*Sex was created for one reason and that was to make two people, one
(Genesis 2:24-25). So yes, when you can split yourself in half, please,
by all means, let a sistah know (and even then, it would be two women
having sex and you can go to Romans 1 on that one!).

*But more than anything, I want you to be open to considering that when
you masturbate, it is just a symptom of a greater ailment. If you are
using it (actually abusing because it means that you are “abnormally
using” your body), ask yourself why. Is it because you can’t control
your sexual appetite? Hmm, aren’t we called to walk in temperance
(Galatians 5:22-23)? Is it because you are nervously uncertain of when
you will be able to have sex (or sex again)? Doesn’t the Bible say that
we are to be anxious for nothing but to make our wants known to God
(Philippians 4:6)? And if you are married, is it because you are not
satisfied in your marriage bed? My Father (who is your Father) says in
Ecclesiastes 3:14 that whatever God does, it shall be forever and
nothing can be added to or taken from it. He made sex and he makes no
mistakes. Your delight in his gift is just as important as the pleasure
that his son, your husband, gets out of it. Don’t believe me? Check out
Songs of Solomon some time.

I remember one of my high school teachers telling us that when we “find
ways around” having sex, we create complications for which we were not
prepared. When we do “everything but”, because we are creatures of
habit, we often condition ourselves to only sexually perform up to a
point. And, when we masturbate, we condition ourselves to believe that
if we can’t have sex with someone else, no worries, we’ll just handle
it on our own. You’d be amazed how this mindset can carry on into the
marriage bed later on. I mean, why take the time to communicate to your
partner what you need when you already know? What we miss in this
selfish, “microwave world” mentality is that the communication of sex
is just as special and sacred as the performance. When my time comes, I
want to present my body in the spirit of love and love is patient (I
Corinthians 13:4). I don’t want to move in haste for sexual

“Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins;
keep yourself pure. (Actually this applies to the laying on of hands in
church, but I just thought the timing of it was so fitting).”—-I
Timothy 5:22

Have you ever been to a restaurant and been given water in a glass with
finger prints all over it? The water may be top of the line, but the
glass still you makes you question that fact. A clean container and
character, yes, that is what I’m aiming for (keep a sistah lifted).

Hold up all of my sanctimonious sistahs! Even if you have been
abstinent (from others and yourself), you can still have a lust (an
overwhelming desire or craving) for companionship. If you’re obsessed
with getting a man, you still need to spend some time in the Word
investigating what God says about lust. Remember, if you learn about
love as a single person, it will make the expression of love as a
married person just that much easier.

Also ask God to reveal if you have any voids that need to be filled by
him. You don’t need to have a husband or a baby to feel loved or to
make up from past issues. You should have that taken care of long
before they come on to the scene because remember, in mature love, it
is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). To make a family
work, you will need to be more concerned with what you are dishing out
than what you are taking in.

And finally, aim to treat your single brothas, even now, with the
respect that they deserve by honoring the position of man on the earth.
We are always talking about men using women for sex, but we often use
them for everything else. We are gifts from God, but so are they and
they’re worth a lot more than a mandrake. Don’t barter their body,
feelings, services or spirit for anything in this world. I could cost
you. Dearly.

©Shellie R. Warren/2006