College is a time when we form personal ideas and habits that stick with us. This is especially true regarding sex, love, and relationships. Fortunately, the Word of God has much to say about how the Christian should think about these things. If this is something you find helpful then consider checking out the entire series we did about Love, Sex, and Relationships, a sermon series that goes through 1 Corinthians 7.
Pineapples and Sex
Recently, I read an article in TheWeek.com called, “How pineapples became a status symbol.” In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. When he returned from his second voyage to the Americas, he brought back a pineapple. Eventually, it made its way to King Ferdinand of Spain, who tasted the pineapple and went nuts! From then, over a couple hundred years, the pineapple developed into a cultural symbol of strength, pleasure, and wealth.
The pineapple craze spread throughout Europe. People would pass a pineapple to one another to display it on their mantles as a sign of wealth. A pineapple would be passed around until it rotted into a pile of mush. There was such a craze in Europe that by the 17th century, you could find yourself paying upwards of $8,000 (in today’s money) for just one pineapple! But today, you can go to a store and purchase a pineapple for about $4. They are not that hard to get.
In our culture, the same thing that happened to pineapples has happened with sex. For a time, pineapples were hard to find but greatly desired, so they were highly valued, but their value decreased as they became more widely available. For us, sex is everywhere. It’s on the street corner, on your phone, on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and about everywhere else. While having more cheap pineapples in the world is a great thing, having more cheap sex is not. God designed sex to be a valuable and precious gift, and we are told to honor it, not cheapen it.
What is God’s design for sex? Genesis 2:24 states, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” This is a general explanation of marriage, that a man and a woman will come together to create a new family. This “one flesh,” two people becoming one, is symbolized in the sexual union. Sex consummates the union of two individuals, and it continues to unite the husband and wife for the rest of their lives. God has designed this bond to work even at a biological, chemical level. A variety of chemicals released in your brain during sex create a powerful bond. Praise God for that!
Is Sex Master?
There are two ditches of bad thinking that we tend to fall into regarding sex. The first, “sex is master.” In this ditch, sex is so normalized and devalued that it’s everywhere. Sex rules your decisions. Sex is ultimate and will satisfy and should never be limited in any context. In fact, one of the greatest “sins” in our culture is to limit another’s sexual pursuits.
Ours isn’t the first “sex is master” culture. In 1 Corinthians 6:13, Paul quotes a saying used among the Corinthian people: “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food.” What they meant was, “When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m horny,’ I have sex.”
Our culture is in the “sex is master” ditch. But like the pineapples, proliferation of sex has diminished its value. And this ditch misses the mark on God’s designed purpose and place for sex–unity in marriage. Paul rebuked the Corinthians by reminding them, “The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
Is Sex Dirty?
The second ditch of bad thinking we can fall into is “sex is dirty.” If you grew up in the church, how many good sermons on sex have you heard? I bet most cannot recall ever being taught about God’s good design for sex in a church setting. This way of thinking about sex—that it is too inappropriate, shameful, or gross to even touch with a sermon, teaching, training, or even in conversation with other Christians—is not at all biblical.
The Bible has a lot to say about sex, yet most of those growing up in the church are starved for good teaching on sex. The result, oftentimes, is either learning about sex from the culture, or putting sex in a safe and throwing away the key. The very first command God gives to people is to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, which implies sex! Not only that, but we live in a big world, which implies a lot of sex!
Here is a picture of what falling into the ditches looks like. A fire on a nice, brisk, fall evening is very enjoyable to be around with friends. But take that fire inside your house and set it in the middle of the living room, and you have made for a disastrous evening. Fire is great in its context, but used outside of its design, it is destructive. Sex is not a good master and it was never intended to be.
On the other hand, imagine taking some friends on a dark, brisk fall evening around a firepit. The cocoa is piping hot. The graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows are all laid out. But there is no warm glow from the fire. We all know that the fire is foundational to that setting. God created the beautiful context of marriage to be enjoyed by man and wife. Sex is not dirty; it is a wonderful gift that God created for our good and His glory.
Sex is a Good Gift.
The truth is sex is a remarkably good gift from an endlessly good God. It is designed to unite two people together for life. Taken out of context it can destroy, but when kept in its design and utilized well, it is good, helpful, and God-honoring.
Again, if this is something you find helpful then consider listen to our series, Love, Sex, and Relationships.