Learning from the Bridegroom
"Yeah, my husband watches a lot of TV. But it's okay, I'm about to head home and curl up with one of those good books, you know what I mean?" She giggled and guzzled down the last of her margarita.
Yes. I knew what she meant.
Those "good books," or now, as is the case with 50 Shades of Grey, movies, are what we use to medicate or try to make up for our discomfort with or lack of true intimacy. And it's not good.
The enemy of our souls is unrelenting, a bully who binds us in sin, paralyzes us with shame, and then mocks us. We indulge this bully, accepting his lies, and then act out those lies out in our bedrooms and in our fantasy life. We're serving the wrong master here.
Beloved of God, there is something better. We have one Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. He has set us free. No chains. No bondage. This is a God who has said, "In that day, … you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master'" (Hosea 2:16).
Our Maker, who knows us perfectly, intimately, inside and out, comes to us as a Husband. Not domineering, controlling, demanding, but humble, gentle, inviting. A lover.
Funny, how we often get in such a fuss over the word "submission" in the church. It's not a popular word—not when we are the ones being asked to submit anyway. Yet some of us in the church yield readily to the twisted version of submission that is portrayed in Fifty Shades of Grey and its myriad of spin-offs, as well as in much of pornography, where one party is subject to the dominance and "discipline" of the other.
But Jesus, God-the Son, is no dominator. He is the Bridegroom who came to lay down his life, to rejoice over and wash the feet of his bride, the church. Speaking tenderly to her, he cleanses her with words and deeds that are pure, edifying, delightful. And he calls us to love our spouses in the same way that he loves the church—that is, by laying down our lives for our partners, in mutual self-donation.
"Submit to one another," says Paul to the Ephesians (5:21), "out of reverence for Christ." Sex in marriage is about a shared giving and receiving of love and pleasure, not objectification or forceful taking. Sexual activity, just like every other aspect of the covenantal, spousal relationship, is a reflection of our relationship with Christ.
We are all sexual beings, male and female, created by God and made in the image of God. How are we bearing God's image?
If you've never thought about sex as an overflow of God's story of redemption and mercy, take this month to search God's Word and heart for profound truths about sexuality.
We promise you, God has the best story. "Christian," Fifty Shades' leading man, doesn't know the freedom of being a Christian. "Grey" can never compete with Grace.
Aszia Walker is the digital media + justice coordinator for pureHOPE. She directs their college internship program over the summer and facilitates pureHOPE's online community (purehope.net/blog | @findpurehope).