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Growing up, I spent my middle and high school years in the 1980s in Florida. Our family chose to attend a church that was adjacent to a retirement community. In those days (and it’s somewhat that way now), speaking on certain topics was awkward, embarrassing, or just plain taboo in their eyes. So I never heard any of my youth teachers or preachers address the areas of sexual relations.
Tim and Kathy Keller in their book The Meaning of Marriage notes that people usually think of sexual relations in one of three ways:
- Just another appetite and desire to be quenched–like eating and drinking.
- Depraved and disgusting, but necessary in order to perpetuate the species, if you will.
- Self-expression. To have someone else (even God) tell you the limits of how you should engage in this area is exclusively up to the consent of the individual in an effort to pursue fulfillment and self-realization.
But, boy, did I hear this addressed at school. Between the conversation, the musical lyrics, magazines that were passed around and the posters that were up in the locker–oh yes, this topic was spoken of a lot. And this was before smartphones where these images can be accessed directly, privately, and immediately. How we approach these matters wires our minds and hearts in significant ways. If we approach these matters the way the culture approaches them, our minds and hearts are affected adversely and destructively. If we approach these the way God designed, we will find ourselves at cross-purposes with the culture, yes but we will also find ourselves in the center of God’s will and with the peace that accompanies it.