Why Stop: What the Bible says about desire and intimacy in our relationships.
Why do we want intimacy with others? (Emotional, spiritual, physical)
What do you think the Bible says about desire & desires? Are there different kinds of desire?
Is desire a good thing or a bad thing? How do you know?
What does intimacy with God look like? What has it looked like in your life?
What do I want when I crave intimacy?
It is something that we do not talk about, why do Christians present themselves asexually? As if we don’t think about beauty, attraction, intimacy, and desire?
Augustine answers this question about intimacy better than anyone else.
He spoke about how his disordered sex-drive was about love.
“The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and be loved.”
WE WANT TO BE LOVED
Desire to Give Ourselves to God
We have an inherent desire to give ourselves to something infinite and outside of ourselves.
We desire to give ourselves away, but instead we give up our bodies.
Disappointment and exhaustion comes when we are trying to stave off our fundamental and transcendent desire.
We ask for intimacy and desire to do too much.
We want it to fulfill the desire for something outside of ourselves. But we try to access it through our physical bodies. We hope for more, promiscuity does not keep its promises.
Desire Throughout Scripture
It appears 99 times in the Bible
1 John 2:15-17: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever
What are the desires that are talked about in this text?
Russel Brand on Intimacy and His Promiscuity
Russel Brand: After leveraging his fame for a life of philandering, he knew his sexual desires were tied to his previous addictions.
The great gift of promiscuity is that you get to experience all the intimacy with strangers and it feels exciting. Sexuality is often more about worship.
Isolation: You acquire all of these encounters, but within it this kind of on-going seem of loneliness is unignorable.
You’ve had a bite out of the carrot, and you realize, hold on a minute this is bull.
You can stop chasing them. It is a hard one… but it takes a while to recognize the emotional toll that it has on me and the spiritual cost on others. The fact that it is preventing me from becoming a father, rooted, actually whole, from becoming a man from becoming connected.
Many people do not break out of this pattern.
This is addiction, you are expecting this to make you feel better.
Promiscuity fails to deliver what we are asking of it.
Pain is what tells us to slow town, to attend to a problem.
What is both sad and genius is the extent to which we can deny the pain with explanations and rationalization. Mute it with louder music and more sexual partners.
We are great pretenders.
Self-Deception: This is amplified when society tells us that disappointment is pleasure. Even when it is leaving us lonelier than ever.
Intimacy and Commitment
Intimacy matches the commitment
Sex before marriage: not a self control test, or even because it is the right thing to do.
The level of intimacy when you engage sexual can only be handled by God’s covenant.
The greatest level of intimacy demands the greatest level of commitment.
Hold Boundaries - The boundaries that we set for ourselves, the lines that we draw, leave lasting marks on our relationship. Our boundaries and our lines reflect whatever we value.
I will draw lines on my sexual exploration, because I value my sexuality as a gift given to me to be offered to my future spouse.
What Are We Supposed to Do with Our Desires?
Christians throughout time offer a number of responses to this question:
Crucify all of them – Become cave people, run away from the world and all of your desires and never act upon them. Become an aesthetic or a monk, this is the only way that you can navigate the overwhelming desires that we have for sin.
Crucify some of them - Understanding that not all desires are inherently sinful, but that one can have good desires for good things. But, recognizing that our desire can be deceiving, our hearts can have a desire that has begun in a good place but moves toward something sinful.
Example: We see a beautiful person that we find attractive. We are appreciating the beauty of someone, but our brains have been so programmed to begin to think of that person as an object of our lust. What began with an appreciation of a beautiful person turns into a lustful attraction. Thanks a lot Adam and Eve.
Redeem all of them - This is a particularly popular Christian approach to desire, one that many people are falling into today. Where the things that we desire, all of them, have some good in them. And those that are more sinful, well Jesus has forgiven us already so no biggie. We have to therefore find that silver lining of redemption, and lean into it. Even if it means pursuing a desire that we know to be wrong.
We see so many people living together before marriage today – it has become a norm even within our churches. After all, we are going to be married probably someday and the economy is tough, so why not?
Reorder all of them - This, I think, is the Biblical response to what we do with our desires.
If we give into what we know to be sinful desires, gratifying instead of crucifying, they will consume us (Col. 3:5).
James 1:13-15, “13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
When our desire for love leads us to giving our bodies, breaking our boundaries, believing things of ourselves to appease others. When we desire for intimacy and love leads us to porngraphic addiction that offers an immediate intimate love, but gives us no fulfillment but shame.
But, if we reorder and redirect our desire toward God as the object of our souls longing (Romans 10:2), to His gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31), then we become people whose desires reflect God’s desires.
Our desire for intimacy with another person is to love and be loved. Let us start, instead of with another person or multiple people, with the one who has always and will always offer us perfect love (1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”).
Challenge for this Week
Spend some time each day, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, asking God in prayer to open your heart to receive his life-changing love.
Read 1 John this week and ask the Spirit to show you how it is that God sees you, knows you, and is calling you to a deeper, intimate relationship with Him.
Ask God to show you the desires that need to be reordered, and for the strength to trust in Him and seek change.
Ask God to show you how you can take delight in Him: "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." - Psalm 37:4