“God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.”
1 Corinthians 6:14-15 The Message
This week your hopers are going to answer the question of how does hopelessness/hopefulness show itself physically in our lives? We have and oft will look at what a lack of and an abundance of hope does to us spiritually, emotionally, and relationally – but are there implications for us physically?
Since I have to go first, I guess the only real way to kick off anything is with a bang, eh? (Pun intended.)
Let’s talk about sex.
I wrote about sex four years ago and to this day it’s the most read, most responded to, and most controversial thousand words I’ve ever put out into the world. But since then, so much has changed.
At that point I was 29, and had only ever kissed and been kissed.
As a college student there was a moment that a boy put his hand up my skirt without asking and I was horrified. I think I hoped to stay horrified at the very thought of sexual sin until I was married and then suddenly, when everything was A-ok in God’s eyes, I’d go crazy. But instead, mere weeks after shouting my big words of conviction, I fell in love. He was unexpected, and after nine long years of singleness after the first man I’d loved (a pastor that proposed on a white sand beach) knocked up another girl without telling me, his pursuit was oh-so delighted in.
I looked the other way at dozens of red flags because we loved each other hard and fast. When I was asleep one night and he took advantage by moving my hands into his shorts, the horror at sin barked again. But, this time, my fear of losing him and my desire to make him happy lessened the horror – and much to Paul and Christ’s chagrin, that story has only grown. After we broke up, I attributed our sin to the relationship’s demise but must not have learned my lesson… because even though it would bring us both to tears, with the man I fell in love with next and even more unexpectedly, we let lust reign and discipline ruled only occasionally and almost always as an afterthought when we were in panic mode, anxious over God’s anger.
While what I’ve done sexually would still pale in comparison to many Jr. Highers, it’s broken God’s heart time and again. And why did I choose it? And why do I still?
Because Hopelessness has dug up the dirt in the front yard of my heart and cemented in a mailbox. He’s moved in and ain’t budging. What do I cling to as Hopelessness kicks his feet up on the couch?
As my friend Eve so honestly wrote this week – frankly, I’m not guaranteed anything to truly hope in but Jesus!
I can’t hope in the someday of a husband or a marriage bed, I can’t bank on the words of friends who shower me with promises of “WHEN” I’ll get to be a Mrs. or get to know physical intimacy fully. And it feels hopeless!!! I have hormones, passions, feelings, emotions, biological urges, and I’m not allowed to do a damn thing with the abundance of those desires now and maybe ever.
So when my mind wanders and lust settles in like a sickly thick cloud, I’ll entertain it’s presence – because in a way, I feel I deserve it. Shouldn’t I be allowed to do/think about/engage in whatever I want and be excused from the consequences? I’ve waited to round the last few bases for 33 years and I might never get a home run! How unfair! Paul says in another passage that if we’re burning with lust we should go ahead and just get married – and even though I’ve begged, pleaded, and even been promised forever by men I’ve loved – it ain’t happened, and might never. So, why continue fighting if there might never be a God-blessed season of life where I can exercise my sexuality? Being hopeless + horny is a recipe from the enemy himself.
What is there to hope in if the honeymoon never comes?
“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 Corinthians 6:16-20 The Message
It’s not about me.
My hope should never start with me. Not past me, present me, or the possibilities for future me. My hope has, is, and will always (should always) be in the God who PAID THE HIGHEST PRICE FOR ME. It’s not about what I’ve ‘earned’ or what my pulsing passions shout for, God’s design shouts louder! When I haven’t been able to live as I please, I chalked it up to God being a mean ol’ jerk who owes me big time. But in reality, once we have invited Christ into our hearts and given our lives to Him fully, we abandon our ‘right’ to live for self. My hope lies in who I gave my life to! That He works for good! That He provides the way out of temptation! That He promises to never allow the enemy to attack with more than we can bear! And instead of setting my sights on what I’m hungry for and without, I should constantly be fighting to lift my eyes to the abundance of what His provision DOES offer.
It will not be easy and easy was never promised.
Where hopelessness fosters sin, HOPE in God Himself offers just enough strength to fight the moment battle calls, and HOPE will shift our vision from what we’re ‘owed’ to overwhelming gratefulness at the abundance we don’t deserve!
Take some time to confess your sin before the Lord (I’ve had to a hundred times over and will again) …not just the sins of sex outside of His boundaries, but the pride that’s led us to believe our bodies are our own and the doubt that’s led us to believe He isn’t fair or good. Let’s confess together, fight together, and hope together!
“Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.”
Psalm 51:10-15 The Message