A Loving Knowledge (Song of Sol. 8:6, 7; John 17:3; Rom. 8:1–14; 1 Cor. 8:3)
Some statistics state that over 70 percent of marriages end in divorce. This begs the question, Why? Many factors are at play, which would be a separate topic, but even if divorce does not happen, many forces are trying to break up this precious union. I have learned that if Satan cannot destroy, he will distract. Marriage has been at the core and foundation of societies since the union was created, and a triangular union, with God at the top and husband and wife filling in the triangle, has proved to be the strongest. If this is the case and marriage is so important, why is this topic something that oftentimes goes without notice? Many times, we do not talk enough about the topic of marriage and sexuality within our church settings. But because young people are being bombarded with false messages and what seems to be appealing, it is crucial that we talk about these topics from a biblical viewpoint.
The highest form of human intimacy is shared between a husband and wife.
Love at the Right Time (Ps. 63:1; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 2 Cor. 10:5)
Most often, young people struggle with the idea of sexual intimacy and whether marriage is even necessary because society pounds into us through popular culture and social media that we do not need to make a commitment. We are also led to believe that we can have whatever we want when we want it because we should do whatever makes us happy. Unfortunately, too many of us have bought into this false message because we have not found our identity in Jesus yet; if we do not know who we are or who we are meant to be, then anyone will do.
It is crucial to develop in your relationship with your loving Creator and be made whole in Him before you look to join with another. If two broken people come together expecting to complete each other or fill in the gaps, they will be forever disappointed because the only One who can truly fill us and satisfy every desire of our hearts is the One who made us and who knows us so intimately. Only when we have fully surrendered our hearts to Him and chosen to grow into His image can we even consider connecting our lives in marriage with another. Marriage is a beautiful institution, established by God, that, when we allow the Creator of it to step in to fill the gaps, can truly be a blessing and a light to those around us.
The Expression of Love (Song of Sol. 1:2, 13; 2:6; 4:7–5:1; 5:10–16; 1 Cor. 7:3–5)
Song of Solomon is very descriptive of the intimacy shared between the Beloved and the Shulamite. The Bible includes this book to demonstrate to us what sexual intimacy within the context of marriage is—there is freedom to express one’s love for the other and complete surrender without any shame. The highest form of human intimacy is shared between a husband and wife, falling short only of the intimacy we may experience with the Creator of it all. Oftentimes, we become uncomfortable in reading these details, especially since the cultural context would not fit the descriptions that we would use, but at any rate, they give a beautiful picture of marriage. It was always God’s desire for marriage and intimacy to occur and for us to experience pleasure within that relationship; “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). When two individuals experience sexual intimacy outside the confines of marriage and separate their union, it is as if a piece of them is taken with the other because of the oneness that should occur in only marriage. Because we live in a world of sin, many of us have fallen in this area of sexual intimacy and perhaps gone against what we knew to be right, or perhaps we are just finding out the truth about a godly picture of marriage and wondering, Is there hope for restoration?
Safeguarding the Creator’s Gift (Ps. 103:12; Isa. 55:7; John 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 1 Thess. 5:23, 24; 1 John 1:9)
One thing I do know is that once we have made the decision to change, God is faithful and He can restore. Whether we have had a failed marriage or have had sexual intimacy outside of marriage or are looking to remove feelings of shame within a marriage when it comes to sexual intimacy due to our dark past, God can renew and there is hope! This beautiful gift, although misused by the enemy, is a gift that can be redeemed. If we come to Him with the remnants of what could have been, He can re-create and heal our wounded hearts. If we face shame and guilt, He can take those feelings and separate them “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12).
If we are struggling in our sin and know that we need to change and are feeling condemnation, He empowers us to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11) because He doesn’t condemn us and wants us to live a life of holiness and wholeness. Whatever our situation, there is hope because we serve a God who cares for us and created so many beautiful things for us to enjoy, including the gift of sexual intimacy in our marriage. As we study this week’s lesson and continue to grow in this area, may we remember that “He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it” (1 Thess. 5:24, NKJV).
1. In what ways has my viewpoint of sexual intimacy been marred by society?
2. Which areas of my life have I not fully opened up to God and allowed our intimacy to grow?