“As Christians we ‘live in the world’ and, as a consequence, can easily be influenced or even defined by it. Therefore, knowing what the Bible says about sex and living true to what we know is a priority… but it can also be difficult!”
Living in a sex-mad society throws up numerous challenges for Christian men. Rev David Shosanya provides some guidelines on how men can overcome those challenges and honour God through their sexual behaviour
I have been challenged by an insight shared with me by a blood brother, who recently recommitted his life to Christ. Since coming back to Christ, he has joined a men’s discipleship group. As part of their mutual accountability, they commit to watching and discussing DVDs/CDs that help them to be better men.
They recently watched a DVD of an elderly gentleman with many years of experience in Christian ministry. He began his talk by stating that “Christian men do not fail because
they are bad Christians, but because they are men.” He then went on to explain that it is often our failure as men to come to terms with our maleness that creates difficulties, and not our failure to grasp a revelation that promises to guarantee victorious living. While this insight is true of every dimension of our lives as men, it is particularly true when we think about men and sex.
As Christians we ‘live in the world’ and, as a consequence, can easily be influenced or even defined by it. Therefore knowing what the Bible says about sex and living true to what we know is a priority… but it can also be difficult!
Societal attitudes towards sex are constantly changing, and are increasingly accepting of sexual practices that were once frowned upon. Access to the Internet has meant that an individual can easily enter the world of cyberspace and quickly discover online pornography or find a partner for an extra-marital affair through a designated site. The rampant sexualisation of human beings can easily distort the way in which men view women, and can undermine marital and other relationships.
This is potentially a challenge for men of all ages – Christian and otherwise. One could further argue that it would not be unreasonable to suggest that the increasing sexualisation of women in contemporary society has had a negative knock-on effect in the way young men relate to young women. At one end of the spectrum, one can point to the incremental rise in marital infidelity and the casual nature of sexual encounters; at the other extreme, the increasing numbers of young women who are raped by gangs betrays the fact that men can and do abuse sex by using it as escapism from reality, as a weapon to intimidate, or as a tool to dominate.
Bible offers a radically different view.
Scripture presents sex as a gift from God, to be enjoyed between two individuals in a committed marital relationship (Genesis 1:22). It should be noted that prescriptions about human sexuality and sexual relations are set within the wider context of ethics, which outline the governing principles for how God intends for humanity to live (Genesis Chapters 1 and 2).
Genesis Chapter 3 records the story of what has commonly become known as ‘The Fall’: Adam and Eve acting in disobedience to God. The consequences are catastrophic, and include the first marital argument/accusation (Genesis 3:12); the onset of pain in childbirth (Genesis 3:15-16); ecological disaster (Genesis 3:18); back-breaking work (Gen 3:19), and banishment from Eden (Genesis 3:24). In Genesis (Chapter 5), the issue of inappropriate sexual relationships comes to the fore, and seems to continue to do so throughout the Old Testament at various times.
What this demonstrates is that the issue of sex and sexuality has been an age-old ‘dragon’ that men (and, dare I add, women) have sought to slay since the beginnings of human histories. Perhaps, in some ways, the challenge has until this point in human history been more acute for men, because of our almost absolute dominance of every aspect of human culture. The sexual liberation of women will no doubt create a new set of circumstances that will arguably
intensify the ‘battle of the sexes’, as each gender attempts to assert their right to sexual freedom, and inadvertently increase the unhealthy exploitation associated with sex.
However, the Bible encourages Christians to walk circumspectly, ‘to come out from among them’ (2 Corinthians 7) and to pursue the narrow path of sexual purity and personal holiness as a way of honouring God with one’s body (1 Corinthians 6 & Romans 6).
So, how can Christian men remain sexually pure?
Firstly, we must celebrate the fact that our sexual impulses are God-given, and are therefore an intrinsic part of who we are. (Read extracts from Songs of Solomon.) Secondly, we should be honest, and not overestimate our capacity to manage our sexual urges on our own or without the mutual support of others. This means that we should accept the very real possibility of our sexual impulses leading us into acts of personal defilement and sexual deviance, which contradict God’s intention through the gift of sex. We can help ourselves by taking personal responsibility to be proactive in daily reading, meditating and memorising the Word of God (Psalm 119:11). Thirdly, we will need to be accountable to friends, leaders or other individuals who we trust and are able to rely on for mutual support and encouragement (Galatians 6:2).
Rev David Shosanya is a regional Minister & Director with the London Baptist Association