Why Fifty Shades of Grey is not the Problem.

*There is a trend of “shock-factor” blogs going around the internet these days. While many are well-written, they tend to heavy on the judgment light on the love (or vice versa). My hope and prayer is that this is not one of those blogs; although I know I will fail in this on many levels.

**If you are someone in my life who is uncomfortable with hearing my thoughts on sex (hi, dad!) now might be the time to stop reading.

I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey, nor do I plan to do so. I will not be seeing the movie. That, while not the focus of this blog, certainly plays a role in what the Lord put on my heart to write. The Christian community has rallied our troops and spoken outright disgust of this film, and while I agree with not condoning these types of pornographic displays; I want to make something clear: the writers of this film are not the problem. The actors in this movie are not the problem. Fifty Shades of Grey is not the problem.

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”- Romans 1:22-28

These verses speak of a time years before television, years before media, years before pornographic movies. We are so quick to think that the times are getting worse and worse, but the truth is, the heart has been the same all along. The reality and crudeness of our sin may be more magnified; yet the deceit and consequence has been the same.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were both naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made for themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”- Genesis 3:1-10

One night on our honeymoon, as Hugh and I were loving on one another and listening to music, a praise and worship song came on the IPOD. Immediately, without thinking, in a “naked so I hid” kind of way, I asked Hugh to change the song. When he asked why, I casually replied, “It just doesn’t seem to go together.” Oh, how much more wrong could I have been. You see, years of hearing, “sex is bad” or “wrong” or “dirty” combined with some baggage of my own physical messes and regrets had left me with a complete backwards view of what sex truly was intended to be. Instead of viewing it as a way to serve my husband and my God all at the same time (win, win!) I was viewing it as a physical act of pleasuring another human- no spiritual context involved. Sex had been seen as something I should avoid; and if it was something I should avoid, then surely it wasn’t something that God wanted to be a part of.

Friends: the world is more than open about talking about sex, and if we don’t make the conversation open and begin to model true sexuality as God (the Creator of sex Himself!) intended it to be, how are they going to know otherwise? I believe the fact that society and the culture around us is seeped in oversexualized actions and media is further proof that at the end of the day, we are all just looking to be satisfied. The problem with looking to simply sex to satisfy us is that even the most fantastic, incredible, tantalizing sexual experience is not going to bring us everlasting joy. When we are looking to a well filled with temporary things, we are going to have to go back again and again and again and again in order to get the same feeling or effect that it gave us before. When we are looking to the Eternal God, we have a limitless resource for complete wholeness. It is only then that we can fully enjoy the temporary things such as sex. We can celebrate the good gifts God has given us without making the gift itself the focus. And, as a married woman, I believe the consequence of that is better human relationships all together. Don’t you think the God who created sex knows the most about it? If you had the choice to speak to the Artist of a painting about the painting, or just a random customer walking around, wouldn’t you choose the Artist if you wanted to learn the most? When we acknowledge God as the rightful Creator and Expert about sex, and when we trust the confines He has set up for those relationships, we are not going to need to look to the latest movie to “spice up our marriage”… we have access to The Professional Himself!

I want you to know I get it. I get that circumstances and years (and babies!) sometimes make that easier said than done. The sweatpants become more familiar than the lingerie, and it’s hard to feel anything sexy when you are covered in vomit, or poop, or even work and the day to day stressors. There’s the part I find so twisted: when you are not married, the Enemy tries to convince you to have sex outside of the confines God set up. When you are married, however, he does the opposite and tries to convince you to NOT have sex the way God intended. For the person who isn’t married, who is in love even, and who doesn’t get why the whole “premarital sex” thing is a big deal: I get it. I get it that it’s easy to rationalize and draw lines and boundaries in subtle not okay ways. I get it that right now, you aren’t sure how this is going to make a difference in your future marriage. Just trust me on this: it does. It will. The friends I have that compromised themselves the least seem to have the most vibrant sex lives today. There goes the mystery of God. I guess, just like in our relationship with Him, it is much easier to have a one woman/one man (one God!) kind of mindset when you have only truly known one man to begin with. Now, hear me on this: is sexual purity the main focus? The biggest deal of all? NO! God Himself is the focus. His righteousness in your life is the grace. His plans for you can never be thwarted, and no matter what your sex life has looked like before marriage, in Christ, you are white as snow. You can start over right now, today, in this moment. He is the Great Redeemer and He heals all things. Your future marriage isn’t messed up just because you have. Anytime we make the sin itself the focus, or any area of our life the focus, we are in danger of forgetting that God is greater than it all. Yet, there are consequences for sin, and if I can help another brother or sister out and make sure you are aware of that, coming from someone who is on the other side, than I want to do just that.

And finally, to the ones of us who are married as we read this. I believe that God intends that we have incredible, fulfilling intimate sex lives. I believe that just like our lives are made to reflect His glory and His image, the covenant we have made should do just that as well. The bride and her groom. The church and Christ. A beautiful reflection of the Oneness and wholeness He has brought us through His Son. Yet, just like everything, the Enemy, the world, our flesh… they are going to do what they can to mess this whole design up. If he can’t get us for all eternity, he will at least try to make our lives miserable while we are here. We must fight. We must fight to model to a watching world, a world so focused on sex and so saturated in fleeting pleasures, what true sexuality should look like. We must pray about our intimacy with our spouses just as much as we pray about our children or our friend’s prayer requests. It matters. We must never over exaggerate the importance of sex in marriage nor marginalize it. A gift to be treasured; not a god to be worshipped. We must keep the conversation open, keep looking to God to learn how to love our spouses best, and study His Word in order to figure out how best to navigate the tainted views around and within us. And, when this movie hits the big screen this week, instead of focusing on the grossness and twistedness at hand; let’s spend all the more time focusing on the God above who is over all these things. Let’s work on our own sexual purity, whatever that looks like, and show the world how truly exciting and attractive God’s original intent for sex is. All good gifts are from Him, my friends.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”- Psalm 16:11

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