I had to drive to Texas early this week.
Even though you don't really need a good reason to drive to Texas (you go there because it's Texas!), I had to go pick up our van which was being repaired after an accident we had over July 4th weekend.
So, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I did a 13 hour drive there, 12 hours of R & R at a friend's house (including some great Tex Mex), and then a 14 hour drive back home. All along Interstate 20, I found myself looking at mile after mile of asphalt and pine trees between Atlanta and Ft. Worth. I told Jenifer that if you're going to spend 25 hours driving across America, you should get to see some mountains or the Grand Canyon or at least a small herd of buffalo. I got pine trees.
To pass the time, I listened to some great podcasts, made a bunch of phone calls, and messed around on my iPhone...but only when the road was very straight and the traffic was very light.
I know what you're thinking about now: "What does this long-winded introduction have to do with sex and lust? Get to the point!" Relax. I'm getting there.
There are several guys I follow on Twitter, most of whom are smart, funny, and seemingly chock full of an endless supply of witty comments about the things they observe all day. One such person is Jonathan Acuff, AKA prodigaljohn, of StuffChristiansLike.net fame.
He tweeted a quick, seemingly benign observation yesterday that I think is significant beyond words. Here's what he said:
I love that. Because I get it. I honestly think that his 10 to 1 ratio is accurate. There are tons of books and resources and sermons on how to tackle the sin of lust. It is, to be sure, a powerful temptation and a significant source of struggle for many men and women. The church must address it and our families must be willing to talk about it.
But instead of spending so much time talking about how bad lust is, why don't we talk more about how awesome sex (as God designed it) can be? Instead of telling our kids that sex is baaaaad, why don't we be honest and tell them that it is incredible?
Of course, we need to outline the parameters God has given us (read: marriage). But instead of telling them horror stories of disease and pregnancy - which don't serve as a very effective deterrent anyway -why don't we stress that their married sex lives will be so much better if they're not lugging around a bunch of baggage from every single person they have been intimate with. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
And in our marriages, sex is perhaps the best solution for lust. In his "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" seminar, Mark Gungor responds to the married man who asks, "How do I deal with my lust problem?" His answer: "Have sex." Certainly, the issue can be a lot more complex than this, but a rich, fulfilling sex life in your marriage can go a long way to staving off the enemy's regular attacks on our thought lives.
To Acuff's point, I wish there were more simple, practical books that celebrated the joys of married people sex. Books we could walk around with at church, tucked next to our Bibles. And it would be comfortable and normal for someone to ask, "What are you reading?" And we would boldly and confidently proclaim, "I am reading a book about how to make my already outstanding sex life more spectacular!"
Yeah, that's a little bit over the top, but we have to stop being shy about this. God came up with it. Sex was his idea. Who else could have dreamed it up?
Every married couple does it...or at least should be doing it. If you're not, then maybe you have identified one key reason that lust and porn and all the pain that goes along with it are a stronghold in your marriage. Again, this is a painful and complex issue; one we shouldn't face alone. If you're not celebrating the gift of sex in your marriage as God designed, get some help. Call a trusted friend or your pastor. Or even better, start by crying out to God and submitting yourself to His power and His solutions.
Let's all agree to shift the tone and frequency of our message away from "sex outside of marriage is bad" to "sex within marriage is awesome." They are both true, but the former has gotten a lot more press than the latter. We need to change that.
Tonight's homework: Go home and make out with your spouse on the couch. Don't stop until at least one of your teenage kids gets physically ill.