The Bible on Sex
In our secular humanistic society, we see the beauty of sexuality and married love sadly unappreciated. Many "temples of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 6:19) are degrading themselves and others by sexual sin. This book is a call to repentance, abundant life, and true sexual freedom. By totally committing our lives to Jesus, the Truth, we will be set free (Jn 8:32).
I dedicate this book to my mother, Mary, and her Immaculate Heart.
THE SANCTITY OF SEX
"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body." Genesis 2:24
The first words in the Bible from God to the human race are: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it" (Gn 1:28). Sex was created by God and re-created as holy by Jesus' redemption. By Jesus' Incarnation, God became a sexual being (see Jn 1:14).
Therefore, sexual relations within marriage are not only good but "very good" (see Gn 1:31). Because God lives in our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, sexual relations are not merely biological functions but two temples united in one Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). For the Christian, sex is a Trinitarian relationship of God, self, and spouse. It is a mystery that is supernatural and shot through with the divine. Also, sex is a precious opportunity to share in the life-giving power of God, our Creator. Therefore, sex is not to be trivialized into merely the physical, as if the human person were only a sophisticated animal. Sex is not merely a drive, but a gift and a calling to share in God's life.
Prayer: Father, may I realize my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Promise: "A wife does not belong to herself but to her husband; equally, a husband does not belong to himself but to his wife." 1 Cor 7:4
Praise: Psychological data indicate that Christian married couples have a much more fulfilling experience of sexual relations than those who do not have a personal relationship with the Lord.
"Three things are too wonderful for me, yes, four I cannot understand: the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden." Proverbs 30:18-19
Everything God created is ecological. It all fits together; nothing is isolated. Even the individual parts of creation have their own miniature ecology. In one square mile, the water, air, wildlife, ground, and vegetation are intricately balanced. It is the same with the human person. The body, mind, emotions, psychology, personality, and relationships are united in intimate, multi-faceted inter-relationships. Unless we are extremely careful, it is easy to destroy the ecology of the human person. Only the Creator knows the intricacies of the ecological system.
Sex is part of the ecology of the human person. If we choose to ignore God's revelation of the realities of sex, we will destroy the right order of our bodily faculties. "Every other sin a man commits is outside his body, but the fornicator sins against his own body" (1 Cor 6:18). And that is just the beginning of the chaos resulting from the ecological pollution and destruction from illicit sex and other types of sexual sin. For example, Solomon, the wisest person in the world, deteriorated through yielding to sexual desires so that the Israelite nation moved toward civil war, division, and ultimate destruction (1 Kgs 11:2-3). When the ecology, integrity, and dignity of an individual is damaged by sexual sin, this in turn contributes to the pollution of other eco-systems.
Prayer: Father, forgive us for turning pastures into deserts, lakes
into swamps, and people into slaves.
Promise: "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his garments not be burned?" Prv 6:27
Praise: Susan thought there was nothing wrong with birth control. She changed and learned to trust in God.
"You must know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is within the Spirit you have received from God." 1 Corinthians 6:19
Jesus, Who has purchased our bodies at the price of His precious blood, calls us to be sexually pure. He owns our bodies. We are not our own (1 Cor 6:19). He has the right to expect purity because our bodies belong to Him. So let us glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor 6:20).
Even though Jesus has the right of ownership to our bodies, He asks us to offer our bodies freely as a living sacrifice to Him (Rm 12:1). If we make that choice and respect Jesus' right to our bodies, then the question is no longer, "What do I want to do with my body?" but "What does Jesus want to do with my body?" What right have we to use a body that belongs to Jesus for things Jesus doesn't want? We have no right to use our bodies for sexual fantasies, masturbation, fornication, and adultery. These things are against the wishes of Jesus, the Owner. We must ask the Owner what food and drink He wants in our bodies. Jesus means it when He says He owns our bodies. We must acknowledge this and refuse to accept the lie that our bodies belong to us.
Prayer: Jesus, I repent of ignoring Your rights to my body.
Promise: "They were bowing down to the sun. 'Do you see, son of man?' he asked me. 'Is it such a trivial matter?' " Ez 8:16-17
Praise: Tammy stopped being preoccupied with her suntan and focused on the Son of God.
SEX EDUCATION IS BAD PSYCHOLOGY
"I know that no good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; the desire to do right is there but not the power." Romans 7:18
Sex education assumes that, if we know better, we will do better. There is little evidence in thousands of years of human history to substantiate that assumption. In fact, people usually do the opposite of what we want them to do. That is why reverse psychology works. It is naive and foolish simply to inform or empower anyone until he has a new nature and has been born again in the waters of baptism. In our fallen human nature, we tend to misappropriate any information, including information about sex, and use it for destruction. "This means that even though I want to do what is right, a law that leads to wrongdoing is always ready at hand" (Rm 7:21). If we fail to comprehend reality, how can we understand sexuality? If we don't see the truth about our human nature, how can we realistically understand the sexual aspect of our nature?
Those who have a new nature in Christ see sex education as far too limited. Their primary interest is in God-education, including education in relationships, love, and chastity. The Lord speaks of those who "pervert the gracious gift of our God to sexual excess and deny Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord" (Jude 4). These "godless types" continue to worm "their way into your midst" (Jude 4). "Stay clear of them" (2 Tm 3:5).
Prayer: Jesus, stop sex education that is backfiring.
Promise: "When He comes, however, being the Spirit of truth He will guide you to all truth." Jn 16:13
Praise: John and Mary couldn't help but notice the school's failure in sex education. Now they teach and make disciples of their children at home.
SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND HITTING BELOW THE BELT
". . . each of you guarding his member in sanctity and honor, not in passionate desire as do the Gentiles who know not God." 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5
Over a generation ago there was a great emphasis on sexual sin. Remember chaperones, the Legion of Decency, and the separation of boys and girls. Often this is dismissed and mocked as prudish puritanism. However, some of this concern about sexual purity stemmed from an instinctive awareness that sexual temptations are strategic in spiritual warfare. Sexual sins are not necessarily worse than other sins but they are battles that, if lost, often lead to losing the war. They are strategic. That is why Paul in his teaching on spiritual warfare and the armor of God mentions first the belt around our loins. This refers to our sexual organs (Eph 6:14). In a physical fight, if we get hit below the belt, we are finished. So, in spiritual warfare, if we sin sexually and let the devil hit us below the belt, we will very likely get beat up badly. Don't let the devil sexually harass you. Die rather than give in to sexual temptation.
Prayer: Jesus, by Your power, may I win all the battles and the war.
Promise: "The tug and lure of his own passion tempt every man. Once passion has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches maturity it begets death." Jas 1:14-15
Praise: Harry thought drinking caused him to fall into sexual sin. He found out sexual sin also caused his drinking.
ONLY PURITY IS PRO-LIFE
"I came that they might have life and have it to the full." John 10:10
We follow Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11:25); the Bread of life (Jn 6:35); and the Way, Truth, and Life (Jn 14:6). Christianity is a way of life (Acts 5:20). We Christians are "pro-life" in the most extreme sense of the word. We are life-givers in a cemetery-world which makes tombs of wombs and degrades the human person from the time of conception till death. The "culture of death" courts death, invites it, considers it a friend, pines for it, covenants with it, and ultimately is seduced and possessed by death (Wis 1:12,16). The world deals death, even abusing such life-giving events as sexual relations, conception, pregnancy, birth, and breast-feeding. Even life outside the womb becomes a living death (see 1 Jn 3:14). The devil, the prince of death, keeps those of the world enslaved their whole lives long through the fear of death (Heb 2:14-15). "By the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it" (Wis 2:24).
We Christians, because we are the people of life, greatly value sexual relations in marriage because of its life-giving power. We abhor sexual sin, birth control, and abortion because they deal death and reject new life.
Prayer: Father, by your grace I will be pro-life in every aspect of
Promise: "For three crimes of the Ammonites, and for four, I will not revoke My word; because they ripped open expectant mothers in Gilead, while extending their territory, I will kindle a fire upon the wall of Rabbah, and it will devour her castles." Am 1:13-14
Praise: Lisa canceled her abortion the day before the execution. She had a beautiful baby boy.
THE PARENT IN PLANNED PARENTHOOD
"Woe to him who contends with his Maker; a potsherd among potsherds of the earth! Dare the clay say to its modeler, 'What are you doing?'" Isaiah 45:9
Our heavenly Father wants to plan His own family without any interference from us, His children. He decides whether sexual relations result in conception. After all, He is the Creator, and we are His family. Some feel compelled to volunteer their help to our Father, but He doesn't feel compelled to accept it. He can plan His family without our pills and devices. God's ways and thoughts are high above our ways (Is 55:8). All He asks of us is obedience. He doesn't need our intelligence and technology in family planning; He needs our hearts.
God always plans His family perfectly. We're the only ones who can mess it up by our disobedience. If we have already messed it up, the only way to rectify it is not by more disobedience but by repentance and obedience. We need to admit the obvious that the creatures shouldn't tell the Creator how to plan. Then we will thank God for His wondrous job of planning His family. Because God is present in the bedroom, because He loves us so much, and because He is all powerful, He's the Parent to plan parenthood.
Prayer: Jesus, because family planning is actually about Your lordship,
I acknowledge You as my Lord and Savior.
Promise: "Your perversity is as though the potter were taken to be the clay: as though what is made should say of its maker, 'He made me not!' Or the vessel should say of the potter, 'He does not understand.'" Is 29:16
Praise: Joe and Sally flushed their contraceptives down the toilet when they found out they were abortifacients. The Lord has led them to natural family planning.
(For more teaching on this subject, order our leaflet: Birth Control.)
NUDITY AND MODESTY
"For the man and his wife the Lord God made leather garments, with which He clothed them." Genesis 3:21
God made us, and after our sin He made our first clothes, leather garments. He made these clothes for us because we had to have them. Even husband and wife could not be naked together, as they were before.
Although Jesus has redeemed us, obviously sin and its effects have not been completely repented of and healed. Therefore, we still need clothes not only for warmth and protection but also for peace and purity. That's why it's so important to dress modestly. For example, a girl dressed immodestly can be the occasion of over one hundred "adulteries" a day, as men look lustfully at her (Mt 5:28). And that may be a conservative estimate.
The Lord teaches us through His Church: "Modesty protects the intimate center of the person" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2521). "Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2522). "Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2523). Has your dress changed much over the years? If so, you may be dressing immodestly. If you would not have worn it years ago, you probably should not wear it now. We are fools to think immodest dress is a trifling matter.
Prayer: Father, You taught me to dress myself when I was growing up.
Teach me again how to dress in a way pleasing to You and helpful to others.
Promise: "Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness, and he told his two brothers . . . When Noah woke up from his drunkenness and learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said, 'Cursed be Canaan!'" Gn 9:22, 24
Praise: John threw a stag party, got out his pornographic magazines and videos, and burned them in front of his surprised buddies.
SEXUAL FANTASIES AND RAPE
"The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyesight is sound, your whole body is lighted up, but when your eyesight is bad, your body is in darkness. Luke 11:34
Do you remember the old song "Music To Watch Girls By?" The song could be renamed, "Music To Degrade Women By." The Lord has said: "Gaze not about the lanes of the city and wander not through its squares; avert your eyes from a comely woman; gaze not upon the beauty of another's wifethrough woman's beauty many perish, for lust for it burns like fire" (Sir 9:7-8). "Tell the young men to keep themselves completely under control" (Ti 2:6). Women are not toys, playthings, or "bunnies" from which to derive sexual stimulation. When women are used in sexual fantasies, they are sexually abused, even if they are untouched. Many men rape many women each day without laying a hand on them. Women also rape men in this way. These rapes are not marked by physical violence but by psychological warfare. Because a person is often unaware of being used and abused, this makes these mental and visual rapes less devastating. Nevertheless, sin with all its degradation and death is being committed.
Jesus feels the best thing to do about sexual fantasies is to gouge out our eyes (Mt 5:29). This is a very serious and extreme remedy. He does not literally mean for us to mutilate ourselves. However, it is clear that sexual fantasies are serious enough to be part of the highway to hell. If we let ourselves be hit in the eye by the devil, we are sure to lose. Let us guard our eyes, the lamps of our bodies, the way to our hearts.
Prayer: Jesus, forgive me should I rape people in thought.
Promise: "It is shameful even to mention the things these people do in secret." Eph 5:12
Praise: Peter took a beating from the devil every summer. Now he looks at girls' faces rather than their figures.
TV: THE PORN MACHINE
"If your right eye is your trouble, gouge it out and throw it away!" Matthew 5:29
We should guard our eyes, for the eye is the lamp of our body. If our eyes are bad, our whole bodies are in darkness (Lk 11:34). If we let ourselves get hit in the eyes, we'll probably get hit below the belt and be defeated. If we do not avoid the occasions of sin, we do not want to be pure; we want to sin.
Many people are tempted sexually several hundred times a day. In fact, some Christians seem to spend most of their time trying to overcome sexual temptation. Many Christians give the devil ammunition to tempt them and encourage their preoccupation with sexual temptations. When they make a firm decision to resist sexual temptations and persevere in that decision for a few days, the devil will know he is hitting a brick wall. Suddenly a person's sexual temptations will decrease by ninety percent in one day. Occasionally, sexual temptations will flare up, as the devil gives it another try. But if we slam the door in the devil's face, he will get the idea and tempt us in different ways. Remember, "in your fight against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood" (Heb 12:4).
If we are going to slam the door on the devil, we will have to stop any immodesty, sexual stimulation, and the looking at such things as TV or the internet. Until we shut off or throw out the TV, we will probably never be free from extreme sexual temptations. What used to be called pornography is now prime time TV. We cannot expose ourselves to garbage without constantly smelling the stench. We cannot watch much TV without the constant experience of sexual temptations.
Prayer: Jesus, when the devil lets me win over sexual temptations, may
I not fall into the trap of relying on myself.
Promise: "Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin I will never eat meat again, so that I may not be an occasion of sin. 1 Cor 8:13
Praise: Sam was a fine Christian man who overcame temptations by his will power. The devil suddenly tempted Sam seriously, and Sam committed adultery after eighteen years of marriage. The good news is: Jesus saved Sam through repentance and forgiveness.
"It is God's will that you grow in holiness: that you abstain from immorality, each of you guarding his member in sanctity and honor." 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
"Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2352
Masturbation is wrong. It is not God's will; it is a sin. And that is all a follower of Jesus needs to know. Because we love Jesus, we want all sin rooted out of our lives, including masturbation. Instead of wasting time rationalizing the sin of masturbation, we should turn to God, repent, and lean on Him.
Masturbation is wrong because it is not according to the nature of human sexual expression. God created the sexual faculties of the human person to communicate love to another and not for personal entertainment. Masturbation warps a person's attitude toward sex, leaves a person empty and drained, and it often becomes compulsive. Masturbation can develop into a pattern in which we seek temporary release from tensions rather than the resolution of them.
Because masturbation can dominate a person's life, many are discouraged about overcoming this temptation. However, Jesus will give us victory over any temptation as we ask Him in prayer. However, sometimes we are often ambivalent about resisting a temptation such as masturbation. We do and we don't want to resist. In this case, we should pray to strongly want to overcome the temptation to masturbate and then pray for the strength to resist the temptations. Also, we should ask a committed Christian to pray for us. Through our heartfelt prayers and others' prayers we will accept the Lord's grace and have victory over any temptation, specifically masturbation.
Prayer: Jesus, lead to repentance both those ashamed of masturbation
and others who have tranquilized their consciences.
Promise: "Jesus said to all: 'Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps.'" Lk 9:23
Praise: Jonathan masturbated for 28 years. Jesus set him free, when he asked a friend to pray for him.
"The men gave up natural intercourse with women and burned with lust for one another. Men did shameful things with men, and thus received in their own persons the penalty for their perversity." Romans 1:27
Not only has the devil, the father of lies, tried to confuse us about the sinfulness of masturbation, he has lied to us about the sinfulness of homosexual expressions. The Church expresses the mind of the Lord thus: "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered' " (Catechism, 2357). The Lord, in both the Old and New Testaments clearly condemns homosexual actions.
We must realize that homosexual tendencies are not sinful of themselves. However, the expression of homosexuality is sinful. Some homosexual persons argue that it is wrong to expect them to be celibate. Nevertheless, many heterosexual persons are prevented from expressing themselves in sexual relations because they are in a broken marriage, widowed, or called to the single life.
Homosexual persons are to be loved and respected. Because we accept them as persons and love them, we pray that they either take up the cross of their condition or be healed. This, of course, is only possible by the Lord's power. But, He is faithful, and He will do it (1 Th 5:24), for He wants wholeness and freedom for the homosexual person.
Only in Christ can any of us be free.
Prayer: Jesus, send the Spirit of truth to proclaim Your word on homosexual
Promise: "Do not deceive yourselves: no fornicators, idolaters or adulterers, no sexual perverts ... will inherit God's kingdom. And such were some of you; but you have been washed." 1 Cor 6:9-11
Praise: Harry spent five years trying to legitimate his homosexual activity. Jesus set him free in five months.
"As for lewd conduct or promiscuousness or lust of any sort, let them not even be mentioned among you; your holiness forbids this." Ephesians 5:3
God has a great sense of humor. Look at His multi-faceted creation; look at the "situation comedies" we call life. God laughs even in what seems the bleakest moments of life (Ps 2:4). Of course, God is not just a joker. He is serious about our salvation. Therefore, He does not see sex as a laughing matter. It has too great a significance in His plan of salvation to be taken lightly.
"Dirty jokes" often degrade human persons by referring to them as mere sex objects. Our heavenly Father sees us as His children and our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Our holiness forbids "dirty jokes." Because of who we are in Christ, obscene or suggestive talk is out of place (Eph 5:4).
Our heavenly Father does not laugh at "dirty jokes"; He cries. He takes the jokes personally since they are referring to His children. I hope you would not laugh at a dirty joke told at the expense of your wife or your daughter. You would not want your daughter dragged through the mud of someone's filthy mind. Who wants to see a daughter of God degraded into a pornographic plaything? Certainly not God, her Father. Playboys are often just disguised perverts, and "the Lord is an avenger of all such things" (1 Th 4:6).
Prayer: Father, may people be unwilling to tell a dirty joke in my presence.
Promise: "Let no one deceive you with worthless arguments. These are sins that bring God's wrath down on the disobedient; therefore have nothing to do with them." Eph 5:6-7
Praise: Paul took his Playboy bunny emblem and deposited it in the trash.
SEXUAL BONDING AND BONDAGE
"Can you not see that the man who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? Scripture says, 'The two shall become one flesh.'" 1 Corinthians 6:16
Whenever there is sexual intercourse, there is created a bond which is very difficult to break. The sexual partners become one body. If you are not married to this person but are one body with him or her, that is a type of slavery, bondage and heal you.
This sexual bondage accounts for the unpredictable tension in many people's lives. Only Jesus can deal with this situation. If you repent and remove the cause of the problem, Jesus will break those bondages and heal you. Specifically, ask Jesus to do this and name every sexual partner in your life, if possible. Many have already done this without clearly knowing what they were doing. But if you are doing this for the first time, you may immediately experience a new freedom and release of tensions.
Because of the promiscuity in our modern society, there are literally millions of people trapped by sexual bondages and their many side-effects Many are going to psychiatrists, are being medicated for tension and nervousness, or are considered mentally ill. However, the root of their problem often is sexual bondages.
You are responsible to set others free. Share the good news.
Prayer: Father, through Your word, You have shown me something that
can set free millions of people. May I be a good steward and share this message.
Promise: "That is why, if the Son frees you, you will really be free." Jn 8:36
Praise: John had sex with thirty-two women in his life. He repented and asked Jesus to break the bonds. He has been praising God for two years.
THE LONG-TERM DAMAGE FROM PREMARITAL SEX
"Every other sin a man commits is outside his body, but the fornicator sins against his own body." 1 Corinthians 6:18
Premarital sex with your fiancé may not seem a serious problem since you're bonded to the right person and there seems to be a permanent commitment. Because of this, many couples carelessly put themselves in the occasion of sin through necking and petting. But premarital sex with a future spouse is a serious sin because, although the right people are joined together, God is not the one bonding them. In fact, the bonding is being done in open rebellion against His will. The couple's experience of sex together is minus the presence and power of Jesus' lordship. Sex in obedience to God and sex in disobedience to God are very different activities. God's blessing makes all the difference. The sexual bonding effected by the couple without God is a bond of slavery. The bonding done by God with the couple is a bond of unity. The immediate wages of the sin (Rm 6:23) of premarital sex can be irritability, lust, manipulative control of the sexual partner, compulsive behavior, or an unhealthy dependence on the other person. Later wages of the sin of premarital sex can be problems with marital sex, a negative or selfish attitude toward sex, and doubts about the future of the marriage.
Jesus is the only answer. What God has joined, no person can divide (Mt 19:6). What man alone has joined, is already divided. Turn to Jesus.
Prayer: Jesus, I turn over my life to You. I accept You as Liberator,
Redeemer, and Savior. Break the bonds from premarital sex.
Promise: "You should treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." 1 Tm 5:1-2
Praise: John and Cindy would often become strongly aroused sexually when out on a date. Jesus set them free by giving them the wisdom and respect to not be alone together.
"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.' " Luke 23:34
Parents who have aborted their children must face reality to be forgiven, healed, and freed. They can face the seemingly overwhelming realities of the children's existence and their murder of their children because of the ultimate reality salvation and loving forgiveness from Jesus. These parents should repent, ask God what names to give their children, and ask Him to convey their repentance to them. This will bring healing and reconciliation. Then they should entrust the children to Jesus and expect to be happily reunited with them after this life (see Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter, The Gospel of Life, 99).
All of this is severely complicated by the use of birth control pills and other misnamed "contraceptives" which sometimes abort. The "pill" and Norplant do not always prevent conception but sometimes implantation. IUDs and some pills always prevent implantation. This is an abortion, the murder of the child by the parents. A major problem with "contraceptive" abortifacients is the uncertainty about whether there is an abortion. A mother may be the parent of four children, but thinks she only has two. She may be experiencing post-abortion syndrome and not know she has had two abortions.
If you have taken the "pill" or used other abortifacients, repent and ask Jesus how many children you have. If you have unknowingly aborted a child, the Lord may communicate with you in some way within a day or two. At the end of this time, either thank the Lord for preventing you from aborting or name your aborted child and be reconciled. You will notice major changes in your life peace, freedom and a new life in Jesus.
Prayer: Father, unmask the lies, misinformation, and injustices of
Promise: "He touched me with his right hand and said: 'There is nothing to fear. I am the First and the Last and the One Who lives. Once I was dead but not I liveforever and ever. I hold the keys of death and the nether world'." Rv 1:1-18
Praise: Cindy was furious when she heard this teaching. She was fuming while washing her dishes. Then she audibly heard the name "Michel" although no one was at home. She accepted the fact that she had aborted her daughter through the "pill". She repented, named her daughter "Michel," and became free.
THE PRIVILEGE OF CELIBACY
"Some there are who have freely renounced sex for the sake of God's reign. Let him accept this teaching who can." Matthew 19:12
A series of teachings on sexuality would be incomplete without proclaiming Jesus' invitation for some to renounce sex for the sake of God's kingdom. St. Paul accepted Jesus' invitation. He asked: "Do we not have the right to marry a believing woman like the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?" (1 Cor 9:5) "As for me, I have not used any of these rights" (1 Cor 9:15). Celibacy proclaims the pre-eminence of our bond with Christ (Catechism, 1619). Celibacy makes us more available to be in the forefront of world evangelization (Acts 8:26ff) and to engage in spiritual warfare (1 Sm 21:6). Paul counseled: "Are you free of a wife? If so, do not go in search of one" (1 Cor 7:27). "The unmarried man is busy with the Lord's affairs, concerned with pleasing the Lord" (1 Cor 7:32). Paul concluded: "I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord" (1 Cor 7:35). "Jesus said to them: 'The children of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of resurrection from the dead do not' " (Lk 20:34-35). Celibacy points to the ultimate wedding feast in heaven (Rv 19:7).
Prayer: Father, may Your call to celibacy be accepted by all those to
whom You have given this gift.
Promise: "I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice ... Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." Rm 12:1-2
Praise: Jerry's gift of celibacy has been a prophetic message of love and freedom to tens of thousands of people.
THE DATING GAME
"Are you free of a wife? If so, do not go in search of one." 1 Corinthians 7:27
Dating is not mentioned in the teachings of the Church, including the Scriptures. This may indicate that dating, as distinct from traditional courtship, is a modern invention. Dating was invented in the 1950's in the USA when the automobile became more common. Dating often programs people for marital breakdown by:
- confusing a couple's communication and discernment due to sexual temptations or stimulation.
- maximizing the chances for the couple's emotions to be strained and their hearts to be broken.
- limiting the involvement of the couple's parents in the discernment of the right spouse for their child.
- focusing a couple on each other's sexual attractiveness more than on God.
- maximizing the occasion of sins.
Even if you do not believe in God, it is hard to deny the obvious fact that dating, as it has developed in the last generation, has been a colossal failure. It has led to hundreds of millions of abortions, an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease, a world of broken, warped, embittered hearts, masses of people alienated from God, and the breakdown of marriage.
"Seek first God's kingdom and His way of righteousness" (Mt 6:33, our transl), and everything else, including marriage, will be added to you.
Prayer: Father, prevent me from being blinded by the god of the present
age (2 Cor 4:4).
Promise: "You will go to my own land and to my kindred to get a wife for my son Isaac." Gn 24:4
Praise: Roberta broke off with her boyfriend, refused to date anyone, and worked for a year with a missionary outreach. At the end of the year, she met her future husband and married soon after.
ORAL SEX IN MARRIAGE
"Now, Lord, You know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose." Tobit 8:7
Many Christian marriages are breaking up, as if their unity in Christ was no more binding than the attachments of a secular marriage. Moreover, many Christian marriages are struggling to survive. One practice that contributes to the weakening of marriage is oral sex as part of foreplay in sexual relations. By oral sex, I am referring to oral-genital contact between spouses. Although there is no official teaching of the Catholic Church permitting or forbidding oral sex as part of foreplay preceding normal marital sexual relations, Pope Pius XII taught: "The Creator Himself...established that in the (generative) functions, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2362). If oral sex as foreplay is not "within the limits of just moderation," it is damaging to true marital love.
First, oral sex is contrary to natural law. If oral sex is OK, then is anal sex also OK? There must be some natural parameters to sexual expression. Otherwise, we have little reason not to permit homosexual activity or even sex between humans and animals.
Second, I have talked with over a hundred married people about oral sex as foreplay. After some time of discernment, not one has maintained that oral sex was a true expression of love. The motivation behind oral sex is often lust. The spouse is not the focus of sexual foreplay; rather, sexual stimulation is the focus. It could almost be said that one spouse is having sex with sex rather than with the other spouse. This focus on sex rather than on the spouse is poison to love and marriage. Purify your marriage rather than poison it.
Prayer: Father, may marital sex be a natural and supernatural expression
of true love.
Promise: "A man will reap only what he sows. If he sows in the field of the flesh, he will reap a harvest of corruption; but if his seed-ground is the spirit, he will reap everlasting life." Gal 6:7-8
Praise: When Cynthia told her husband that engaging in oral sex was against her conscience, he threatened to divorce her. Later, he repented and their marriage is much better than ever before.
PRAYER AND SEX IN MARRIAGE
"When the girl's parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, 'My love, get up. Let us pray.'" Tobit 8:4
Jesus tells us of the necessity of praying always (Lk 18:1). We are never to cease praying (1 Th 5:17). Thus, Christian married couples will always have sex in the context of prayer. Tobiah's prayer before sexual intercourse with his wife is an example of this (Tb 8:4-8). In prayer, we receive the outpouring of God's blessing in every aspect of our lives, including sex. In prayer, we also express our weakness and God's power (2 Cor 12:9) to rectify problems in sexual relations. Many couples have problems in receiving sexual fulfillment because of physical and psychological problems. If Christian couples do not pray, they will be tempted to rely on their own powers through mutual masturbation, oral or even anal sex, or pornographic stimulation or worse perversities. All these aberrations are doomed to failure. In contrast, as married couples pray in sexual relations, they will realize that Jesus is in them, in the bedroom when they are having sex, and is interested in married couples being fulfilled in their sexual relations. Because prayer puts us in touch with Jesus and Jesus is God, prayer anytime, including in sex, makes all the difference in the world.
Prayer: Jesus, may married couples not ignore Your presence in the bedroom.
Promise: "They said together, 'Amen, Amen,' and went to bed for the night." Tb 8:8
Praise: Mary and Ken experimented sexually. They were left feeling empty. They turned their lives over to Jesus. Daily He filled their emptiness.
"Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt." Hosea 14:2
Literally millions of people are burdened or obsessed by sexual guilt. The way to be freed from guilt is to remove the basis of it, that is, sin. When our sins are washed away in Jesus' blood through repentance and confession, sin is forgiven, and guilt has the rug pulled out from under it (Rv 12:11).
But what if we have confessed our sins but still feel guilty? We have been forgiven by God, but we do not believe we are forgiven or we have not forgiven ourselves. Guilt that remains after sins are forgiven can be removed by receiving God's healing. "Declare your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may find healing" (Jas 5:16).
If healing does not work and we are still guilt-ridden, this may indicate that there is a serious problem in our relationship with our heavenly Father. For example, when a parent tells a child he is forgiven, that usually settles the matter. Few children are burdened by guilt. If a child is guilt-ridden, there is probably something seriously wrong with his relationship with his parents. If we still feel guilty after receiving forgiveness and seeking healing, we probably do not know our Abba personally. We must turn to Jesus, the Way to the Father, and ask the Spirit to cry out in our hearts "Abba" (Gal 4:6).
Prayer: Father, wash me clean. May I not feel "dirty" but like an innocent
baby (see 2 Kgs 5:13-14).
Promise: "Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me." Ps 51:4
Praise: Tom drank to cope with guilt. He turned to Jesus and has nothing to cope with because he's forgiven. There's no reason to drink anymore.
HOPE AND VICTORY FOR THE SEXUAL SINNER
"In weakness power reaches perfection." 2 Corinthians 12:9
To a secular, pleasure-seeking society, these teachings seem extremely strict and impossible to obey. The good news is we don't have to compromise the truth, for we can live and obey it not by our power but by the Holy Spirit (Zec 4:6). All we have to do is believe. This includes the battle against sexual temptations. God always gives us the strength to overcome every temptation. When He does not seem to help, we really do not want His help. But God will help us want help. No matter how weak we are, how long we have been fallen, how enslaved and compulsive we are, and how frustrated and defeated we have become, Jesus can work it out and give us victory.
If you're burdened and overwhelmed by all these teachings, Jesus simply says: "Come to Me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you" (Mt 11:28). He won't change even the smallest part of a letter of the law (Mt 5:18), but "your souls will find rest," for His yoke is easy and His burden light (Mt 11:29). There is no need for superhuman willpower, psychoanalytic theories, or rationalizations. Faith in Jesus is the answer. By faith, let it be done unto you (Lk 1:38). He will do it (see Th 5:24). Be pure by faith.
Prayer: Jesus, may my faith grow moment by moment and sentence by sentence.
Promise: "Therefore He (Jesus) is always able to save those who approach God through Him, since He forever lives to make intercession for them." Heb 7:25
Praise: Sally overcame two out of three sexual temptations by her willpower. Sometimes she would not sin sexually for a few days. Now by God's power she overcomes all temptations.
In a world of sin, confusion, and bondage, we thank You, Father, that we can live Your word, not by our power but by completely turning our lives over to Jesus (Mt 22:37) and by living in the Spirit (Zec 4:6).
P.S. Share anything God has done for you through this book. Put it on the lampstand, not under the bushel basket (Lk 8:16). Give this book to people you want to be pure and free.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert A. Stricker, September 14, 2001
Imprimatur: Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 17, 2001