One Flesh Sacrifice, Pt. 1, Day 13
When I was thinking about how to write this post, I was struck with how much the 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5 passage has been abused. In our humanity, we often struggle with this concept that love is about sacrifice (selflessness) and delight (pleasure). Those two don’t seem to go hand-in-hand, but this is the exact picture that God gives us in the Bible when He talks about sexual intimacy.
Genesis 2:24-25 says, “A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
Sacrifice #1: Leaving behind your former family: this applies to both sexes. You are sacrificing your former family to be united to your new family. You are bravely jumping into the unknown together, leaving behind your former lives. This doesn’t mean you cut off all connection to your individual families, but it does mean giving your spouse the first place in your life. Together you make decisions, meet each other’s emotional needs, care for one another’s well-being, and work through conflict.
Sacrifice #2: Becoming one flesh: Your body isn’t your own. You can’t just do what you please with your body – be with whomever you want, do whatever you want, etc. This doesn’t mean your husband has full right to do whatever he wants with you and vice versa. God gives us 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 for our protection. This isn’t about domination or conquering. This is about living separate from the world – not engaging in sex like the pagans.
God wants us to honor Him with our bodies. Making love is a deep physical and spiritual need. God designed and hardwired your bodies to desire the martial union of sex. Neglecting this need is like cutting off your arm and saying you’ll be fine without it. Lack of sex imbalances the marriage, and also introduces temptation – not just physical (ie. looking to another partner), but emotional (ie. using other things to substitute your emotional needs, disrupting unity and peace causing more conflict).
The infamous Ephesians 5:21-33 passage is about sacrifice. God compares the sexual union of a husband and a wife to the spiritual union of Christ and the Church. Look at what Christ did and what the husband is called to do:
- Christ died for us just as a godly marriage calls you to die to self.
- Christ sacrificed to make you holy just as the purpose of marriage is holiness.
- Christ sacrificed to cleanse you just a godly marriage purifies and sets you apart from the world.
- Christ sacrificed to present you as radiant just as a godly marriage is designed to make you glow.
- Christ feeds and cares for the Body of believers just as a godly marriage requires tender-loving care and devotion to be nourished and to grow.
- Christ united us, creating relationship through His sacrifice just as a godly marriage unites a man and a woman and builds their relationship.
Today’s Challenge: Pick one of the above statements about Christ’s sacrifice and its correlation to godly marriage. How can you practically apply this to your marriage bed? Take some time today to pray about this and ask God to help you understand this idea of sacrifice and sex in a whole new light.
Bible Passage: Psalm 51
In lieu of a “share with us” question and Facebook page content, I wanted to add a personal note.
I understand this idea of sacrifice and sex is a sore subject for possibly many of you. In our fallen, broken world, marital intimacy and sexual responsibility often gets warped into a message of guilt and shame and a weapon used for selfish purposes. Dear sister, if you are struggling with sexual intimacy because of a physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual issue in your marriage, please seek professional help. Tomorrow I am going to offer practical tips from my personal experience for overcoming sexual difficulties in your marriage. I also would like those of you committed to the challenge to spend the next two days on the Facebook page praying for your sexual intimacy and encouraging your married sisters in the faith.