This paper is an earlier version that was whittled and toned down into the final product that we use as an evangelistic handout. Though this version is much longer and covers some topics in more depth than the final evangelistic version, the final paper does a better job of pinning down the heart of the problem: selfishness; and it more fully prescribes the only solution... Christ.
You may want to read the final short version first:
Marriage and Religion: Passionate or Lukewarm? Click to go to the PDF file
Marriage, Sex and Religion:
Lukewarm or Passionate?
Why are antidepressants prescribed in record numbers today? As a society, why are we so down? Could part of it be that we’re “looking for love in all the wrong places?” Does anybody really have the answers?
We know that God does, but it seems His people sure don’t because the divorce rate is the same 50% for those inside and outside of church. And studies show that many that stay married are also unhappy. No wonder we’re depressed, our “love lives” and families are wrecked!
Does the Bible have an answer that can help marriages? What has the modern church missed? We must first answer the question: "Where do our passions lie?”
The Bible says that marriage is a mystery, and the relationship is very much like Christ and the Church. Marriage is meant to be lived passionately in love with your spouse, knowing each other intimately, emotionally and sexually. Living any other way, sooner or later, is going to bring disappointment, depression, disharmony and sometimes divorce. Just like marriage, the Bible also says the only way we will know “full joy” is when we really get to know God; and Jesus said the only way to know the Father is coming through Him. In fact, just like marriage, life is meant to be lived passionately in love with our Creator; living any other way, sooner or later, is going to bring depression and much worse.
Modern “wisdom” claims that marital love “matures” and we cannot expect much passion as the years go by. The teaching’s assumption is that romantic, “first love” is more selfish, unrealistic and less committed; but my observations seem to attest to the opposite! Likewise, we are also told by the church’s actions, and sometimes words, that it is “normal” for Christians to mature and “temper” the early zeal that characterizes a new believer. Accepting this “gradual apathy” as inevitable is wrong and doing so has created a culture of lukewarmness that has permeated the pew and the marriage bed. It is clearly not working for us. God says to “Return to your first love” and do the things you did at first... or else! (Rev. 2:4, 5)
The nature of sex... “The two shall become one.” The power of God to transform the Christian occurs when the “spiritual marriage” is consummated (at least in its limited earthly form), when we become one with Christ and continue to passionately pursue Him; then our life is transformed. So many people in church have the same problems with sin as everyone else because many in church have a “form of religion but deny its power”. That power of God unto salvation and transformation is the preaching of the cross of Christ and all that entails; though it is foolishness to many; to those who believe, it is the power of God. (Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 1:23-25)
Even as passionately embracing and pursuing the cross of Christ transforms us as individuals, likewise, the power of a strong marriage is the passionate pursuit and affection given to each other in the marriage. Even as physical passion in marriage bears the fruit of children, a passionate life in Christ bears spiritual children who come to Christ through our witness and as we grow to be like Him, that life also bears the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23
“Want to, or Have to?” Ann Landers quoted a lady’s grandma one time “If a wife wants to keep her husband she has to be a ‘want to wife’, not a ‘have to wife’”. A husband can tell if his wife wants him or is just “doing her duty”, and it makes all the difference in their relationship in and out of the bedroom (of course it applies both directions). God certainly sees our hearts and knows if we want Him and love Him with all of our heart or if we are just doing our “weekly duty” for Him!
Passion for God- You may not “hate” God or be cold toward Him, but to ignore Him and take Him for granted is to be lukewarm toward Him. God is pursuing you. Stop, turn around and “Return to your first love” lest your lukewarmness cause Him to spit you out of His mouth! Whether you have ever known God or not, He is inviting you to know Him now, but God will not strive with man forever, to please him you must trust Him and rely on Him. He seeks those who will worship Him in Spirit and truth. He has provided all that is needed for us to be reconciled to Himself, Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin so that the judgment against us could be forgiven. If we still selfishly ignore and avoid Him, then He will not pursue us endlessly. We will be left to our own devices; if you reject God long enough, eventually he will stop pursuing you and you will get what it appears you want- life and eternity without God. (Revelation 2:3-5 and Rev. 3:13-19)
Passion for your spouse- You may not “hate” your spouse but if you are not “hot” for them either, then you are lukewarm. Often in a marriage, one spouse evades intimacy and the other is always pursuing. Even if circumstances or health make it difficult, you can still tell if they really want to be intimate but just can’t for some reason. Marriage is about “the two becoming one”, clinging to each other. If you make excuses, ignore and reject your spouse long enough, eventually he or she is going to get tired of chasing you and you’ll get what you want- life without your spouse. You may claim that is not what you want, but that is how you are living now- as though you do not want the intimacy in your marriage that God intended.
Likewise, most people ignore God, even though they claim to “believe” in Him, but we are not really “right with God” without the oneness that comes through the cross of Christ; then we can really know, love and obey Him. In the same way, it is not a real marriage if it lacks the love and intimacy that defines marriage. God designed an integrated package that cannot be separated from the act of intercourse. The romance, intimacy, friendship, commitment, emotions, hormones and the consummation of intercourse all work together to make sex the powerful force in our lives that it is. Marriage without the oneness that this “package deal” creates is not truly marriage.
If you are the pursuee, be glad he or she is still chasing you, stop running, turn around, fulfil your marriage vows and embrace, cling to and become one with your spouse. Render to each other the affection due. 1 Corinthians 7:3
Passion in the right place- Whether married or unmarried, “fulfilled” or not: Seek and obey the Word of God. “Set your affections on things above.” Sex outside of marriage is a serious, often lethal sin, it ruins God’s design for intimacy and commitment; this goes for actual or fantasized sex (porn). Passionate sex is designed by God, not just to make babies, but to help ensure those babies are raised in an intact home. Sex is a glue that bonds two people together “the two shall become one”, it holds a marriage and a family together. Adultery and fornication are destructive because if you give that “bonding” part of you to one who is not legally and socially committed to you for life, you end up with parts of yourself ripped off and stuck to others who have no right to that part of your heart and body.
Single? Save ALL the physical passion for later. Why? Well... they rightly say “Love is blind” and “making out” just amplifies the “blindness” due to that “glue factor” designed into it. If you want to wisely choose Mr. or Mrs. Right, keep your eyes wide open to see who that person really is; and keeping your hands off of each other is the best way to see clearly. You’re supposed to be choosing... not bonding. And if you belong to Christ, the Bible clearly says that the one you marry must be another Christian- only then can you passionately pursue God together, making life much simpler and joyous.
Beat depression, get passionate. Many people know that a life worth living is a life lived passionately. The real question is: what should we be passionate about? Because God made us and loves us so, He is worthy of our passion and praise: Luke 10:27 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.“ Proverbs 5 describes the boundaries of physical passion: that we should run from sexual immorality and yet be enraptured with love from the wife of our youth. It’s pretty simple, yet our culture, and honestly, our very hearts push for the opposite: to ignore or deny God and to do whatever you want with your sexuality. Only when we are “one” with Christ’s death can we die to sin and only when made “one” with His resurrection can we live for God.
The judgment. Why all the death talk? Because frankly, our sins deserve the death penalty. I am not judging you. God’s Word will judge us all; it is not our opinion that matters- but God’s. We have all broken the 10 commandments, we have lied, stolen, lusted, blasphemed, and the Bible even says that covetousness or lusting IS idolatry: wanting other things more than we want God. Have you loved and longed for God with ALL of your heart, more passionately than you’ve ever wanted anything, including love? Who has?
We are not just saying “get God if you’re not happy enough”; you need to understand that God will judge our sins and we need to repent, turn to God and accept the forgiveness that Christ died on the cross to bring. He voluntarily took the punishment that we deserve! Jesus paid the high cost of His innocent blood to pay the fine we owed for our sins against God. If we call on the name of Christ today, turn from our sins, we can live. We can leave the courtroom of heaven as though we had never sinned- “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”
Our sins separate us from God as enemies but He is calling us into a relationship with Him. We will all stand before God on judgment day and the objects of our passions, or lack of passion, will actually determine our eternal destiny. Through faith and repentance we can be forgiven and have a real relationship with God through Christ.
The ONLY other option is that we will stand alone before God, under His judgment as enemies through wiicked works. Colossians 1:21
It’s your decision. Please Think about it.
For decades, books and sermons have lamented the desertion of men from the spiritual battlefield for souls. This dereliction of duty has coincided with the rise of feminism and pop psychology’s ascension over scriptural teaching about sex and marriage. The sexual revolution has had an insidious effect on Christian men and how they fulfill their roles as leaders in the home and the church. Due to false teaching we are told we should no longer expect to have the affection of the “love of our lives” a few years after the honeymoon, that love has matured and sex is no longer our wives’ “love language”; or that our wives are just too busy with work, etc to “be there for us”. We are told the problem is that we need to be more understanding and “spiritual”, to love her with God’s “agape” (love expecting nothing in return). The end of such un-biblical advice for many is that they can’t pray enough and be spiritual enough to overcome temptation (i.e. eliminate their God given sexuality) so they conclude that they must be perverts and losers, that Christ was not enough for them. But what such teaching ignores is that “Coming together” with your wife so that you will not be tempted is also commanded by God.
The biblical truth is, if a wife does not render to her husband the affection that is due, “doing her first works” in passionate love, then she is sinning and the solution is simple: To love and forgive her as God in Christ has forgiven you; to recognize what is happening and to gently speak the truth in love to her. This is much easier to deal with than the pseudo spiritual/pyscho-analyzing of ourselves and the resulting condemning of ourselves to spiritual mediocrity because we think we are not worthy or capable of serving God!
So gentlemen, it should be a “no duh”, but it is not “wrong” to want your wife.
We are told to “man up” in church and then to be emasculated at home, that’s ridiculous! No wonder men are obsessed with sports and TV, they’re escaping this nonsense. But there is no excuse to zone out and/or escape through entertainment, pornography, fantasy or affairs. Now that you know the truth: be free.
Repent of YOUR sins, forgive your wife for hers, share this letter and talk about it.
God needs laborers in the harvest field, thousands slip into hell every day; it is time to receive His forgiveness and then to freely give what He has given you. We need you on the battlefield, man of God.
For more info see www.thejudgment.US