Principle #3: As you walk along (teach your children godly sexuality part 14)

as you walk along copy

In our last post we began to look at the how of communicating the goodness and holiness of our sexuality.  We saw that it’s not “the talk” but lots of “talks” in the messiness of everyday life as it comes up.

We’re now going to tease this out a little bit in three short posts.

Be there and be first!

Since most our conversations about sexuality will come from answering questions/dealing with situations as they arise we need to be askable parents.  I don’t think I know of any parents who didn’t inwardly baulk when their child asked them something about sexuality.  But believe me: it’s far easier answering them when they’re little rather than having this conversation for the first time when they’re teenagers.  Just take a deep breath, pray for wisdom and talk as naturally and as matter of fact as you can.

However, sometimes certain topics don’t come up – whether because the child hasn’t thought about it or because they are shy and don’t like asking.  In which case we as parents need to initiate a conversation.  A simple way to do this is to say something like “when I was your age I used to wonder about…” or “when I was your age I used to worry about…”.

Don’t assume that no questions means that your child is not thinking about things!*

It might be worth drawing up a checklist of topics that your want to cover with the ages that you feel are appropriate (yes really! I’ll do one at some point in the future to share). Then you can tick them off as you cover them.  This is important because ideally we want to be the ones giving the first message about sexuality.  So in the UK children will get the “plumbing” science lesson about sexual organs in Year 7 so it needs to be covered by then at the very latest.  Otherwise we have to undo a lot of confusion.

A simple example that really brought this home to me was when one of my children listened to Jonathan Park story about aliens which used the bible to prove (yes really!) that they couldn’t exist.  They were adamant that this was true – as it was the first message they had heard.

So let’s ensure that the first message they hear about sexuality is about how special it is because it reflects God’s glory!

Think about your own experience of this:

When did you first hear about sex?  What was the message portrayed?  

OK.  Now it’s your turn to practise being an askable parent by answering this tricky question I received from one of my children.

Dad, why does my willy get hard sometimes?

Talks not “the talk”

We’ve already mentioned in this post and the last one that we respond to questions as they arise and give answers that are not only godly but also age-appropriate.  So we won’t ever have “the talk” but lots of little talks.

It may be tempting also to breathe a sigh of relief after you’ve “covered” a topic but repetition is important.  Children will ask the same questions again for reassurance and also we can never be sure that they’ve actually learnt what we’ve said.

I learnt this the hard way.  We worked so hard with our oldest child on giving godly responses to the many questions she asked when she was young and we’d covered all the topics so I secretly congratulated myself on a job well done.  However, it turns out in conversation with her some years later that she had forgotten everything we had said and because she was older and bit more shy about these issues (especially so since we hadn’t been talking about them because we thought we were done) – she stopped asking us and started asking others instead.  Hence she started all sorts of contradictory ideas.

Stories are better than facts/rules/morals

Facts are dry and don’t engage the soul whereas stories draw you in and teach concepts in a much deeper way than ever “objective” facts could hope to do.  This is the Hebrew way of life – sharing their collective story with their children, for example the Passover meal (Ex 12:24-27) or telling stories of why memorial stones are placed there (Josh 4:2-7).  Much of the Bible is written as narrative/story and Jesus taught ideas through parables/stories (eg  “what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Lk 10:25-37).  A story invites our participation whether it’s true or fictional.

For example, one of our girls was flirting with a boy who was, quite frankly, treating her appallingly.  But she just couldn’t see this.  So I made up a story called “The Princess and the Crocodile” where a princess who loves pets wants a crocodile but her father refuses saying it won’t be a good pet because it won’t love her back.  So she decides to go to the river and well, let’s just say her father had to rescue her from a sticky situation…

Our children also view any stories about us (especially about when mummy and daddy were courting) as something extra special and so they are powerful messages.

However, it isn’t always appropriate to share specifics so we may say something like “before I was a Christian I made some wrong choices about…which I regret now and so I want to make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes I did”

But just like we talked about in our post about godly parenting, we don’t have to be perfect.  We just have to point to a perfect saviour.  For example: “I struggled with that too…but God helped me…”

This is easier said than done, particularly if you have shame about something.  Like Adam and Eve we want to cover it up but still want to prevent our children from making that same mistake.  However, what will happen is that we’ll simply end up preaching at them which will turn them off and will then cause them to repeat the same mistakes as us!  The only way to break the cycle is confession to God and then humility to our children!

Here’s some questions for personal reflection:
Think of a story that your parents told about themselves before they were married.
What effect did this have on you?

Is there something sexual that you did that you now regret?
Confess it to your Father and receive His forgiveness and healing.
How can you communicate this mistake to your children in a sensitive way that will help them to break the cycle?

Now let’s see if we can apply this principle to helping our children:
Think of a story from your life that you can share with your children about:

  • A worry you had about your body when growing up
  • A hard lesson you learnt about sexuality being holy/about character

I hope you’ve found this post helpful.  Feel free to share any comments, stories or experiences below.

Principle #3 As you walk along (teach your children godly sexuality part 13)

as you walk along copy
We have now seen that when teaching sexuality we should ensure that our answers walk the line between declaring it’s goodness and also it’s holiness.  The third principle looks at the how we communicate these truths.

The first problem we have is that in our culture we have absorbed what is called the Platonic divide.  That is that there is the important spiritual realm and the separate and less important physical realm.

In an earlier post or on this YouTube video we saw how this view had corrupted understanding of the value of our bodies and our sexuality.

However it also created the so-called sacred/secular divide in our worldview.  Sacred stuff such as meditation, prayer and going to church are important but everyday stuff such as paying bills and shopping is not.

We can therefore see church on Sunday as important and the rest of the week as mundane.

We can have our family “devotion” time and then the rest of our time is unspiritual.

Similarly we can end up having “the talk” about sex from a Christian point of view separate from everyday life.

However, this is not the Hebrew godly view of the world that has no divide (or if you prefer posh words it is holistic or theocentric).  This view is that God is intimately involved in everything.  He didn’t create the world, wind it up and then stand back to watch (except for the occasional special event).  For example:

“in [Jesus] all things hold together” Col 1:17b
“The Son is…sustaining all things by his powerful word” Heb 1:3
“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” Jn 5:17

It is not God’s involvement that can be limited, but only our awareness of it*.

For example, it was only when Moses was just tending sheep but when he met God there it became holy ground that he had to take his sandals off (Ex 3:1-5).

When Jacob ran away and feel asleep exhausted on a rock he encountered God through a dream and awoke saying “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”  He renamed the place bethel which meanshouse of God and anointed the rock with oil (Gen 28:10-18).

Similarly any place or an event has the opportunity of becoming “holy” when we encounter God in it.  For us, one such moment was on the day we discovered that one of our babies had died.  This was the second of our babies to die and we were distraught.  More so, because the hospital was so uncompassionate.  My wife and I had decided to name our baby James and we drove in a darkened daze to a garden centre to buy a tree to plant in our garden so we could remember him.  We were directed by one of the staff to the apple trees to discover they only had one type of tree in stock.  Its name?  James Grieve.  The love and compassion of God crashed into our grief torn hearts and made it a holy moment that remains with us now 7 years later.

How does this relate to teaching our children?  Recall the passage in Deuteronomy where it says:

“Listen, Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You must love the LORD your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.  These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates.” Dt 6:4-9

If we read this with a dualistic mindset we will think this means “teach our children the bible” wherever we go.  But if we understand that God is everywhere, that everything was made for Jesus (Col 1:16) and the heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps 19) then this will mean that everywhere we go the glory of God is there ready to be discovered and shared with our children.  Not as a lecture but as a beautiful celebration of the glory of God.

For example we might see a flower opening we could share with our children how that reminds us that we need to open ourselves up to the Son who shines His love on us and warms our hearts.

Specifically because we’re made in His image our sexuality reflects the glory of our Three-in-One God there is nothing else that can tell us so much about God!

So we won’t have “the talk” but lots of “talks” in the messiness of everyday life as it comes up.  Each time celebrating the glory of our God that is revealed.  Nothing heavy but just a conversation simply delighting in the way God made it good and holy.

More to come in the next post….

*I’m sure I got this phrase from a book – but I can’t remember which of the many books I’ve read!  If you know then please tell me via the comments and I’ll properly credit the author.  Thanks!

Principle #2: Holy (Teach your children godly sexuality part 12)

So far in this course we have looked at how two principles: our sexuality is both good and holy.  We’re now going to apply both of these principles to two of the four broad areas that arise with children aged 2-11:
  • Exploration/questions about their bodies
  • Questions about growing up/parents bodies
  • What does it mean to be male/female?
  • Where do babies come from?

For each of these areas I give some examples of common situations that arise.  For each scenario I have also included a fairly typical parental response.

First I would like you to see what message the typical parental response is giving and what the consequences of that response will be.  Then I would like you to come up with a response that both brings out the holiness of God’s creation whilst also positively affirming/blessing its goodness.

Let’s recap the example we looked at in a previous post:

For example:
Your son/daughter (age 4) has his/her hand down his pants/knickers and is gently playing with their genitals.

A typical parental response would be to say:
“What do you think you’re doing? Stop that at once – it’s disgusting!”

What is the message that this response is giving?
Well firstly the response forgets that this is a child who has no idea that what they’re doing has any “adult” sexual connotations.  It simply feels nice and comforting.  So the parent’s reaction will seem quite over the top to their child.  Coupled with this will be the message that either feeling nice is bad or my genitals are bad or both and is likely to lead to guilt or shame about their sexuality or sexual feelings.  In addition, it will make them unlikely to come to you if they have any questions or concerns in the future – which will lead them to seek answers elsewhere which may be inappropriate.

So what is a better response?
Firstly, we need to affirm that that God made our sexual organs pleasurable as a gift to us (however, this is not the full response – but you’ll have to wait until the next post before we can do that!) and then we need to point to the true meaning of the gift (ie its holiness).  So a response might start something like this (goodness in green and holiness in purple):

“I see that you’re touching your …”

“Does it feel nice?”

“Did you know that God made our … to feel nice?”

Yes it’s true.  Daddy God gave you this gift to share with your husband/wife when you grow up because it will help you experience the joy in Heaven when the world was made.

I hope this helps you see the kind of conversation we’re going for.  Honest, affirming its goodness and the true meaning.  More details on the how to communicate will be covered in the third principle that will be blogged in the next post.

OK, your turn now.  Here are some situations and a typical parental response.
Identify what message the current response gives and its consequence and then be.  Then I would like you to come up with a response that positively affirms the goodness of our sexuality and displays its holiness/true meaning.

Exploration/questions about their bodies

You catch your daughter flashing her knickers to the boys.

Current response: stop that at once! We don’t flash show our private parts to other people!

You catch your child taking clothes off with a friend

Current response: Put your clothes on!  God says you only take off your clothes with your wife!

Your child finishes a story with ‘Johnny was mucking around again at school. He’s such a dick!’

Current response: I never want to hear such filthy language again – go to your room!

Where do babies come from?
Your son aged 8 asks “But how does a baby get inside mummy?”

Current response: The man puts his willy inside mummy’s vagina.

The balance between the two principles of goodness and holiness is key.  Saying it’s good without mentioning holiness (like the world) will just lead to indulgence.  Saying it’s holy without mentioning its goodness (like the church has done but with a legalistic view of holiness) leads to shame.  Mentioning both is the secret to all our conversations with our children.In our next post we’ll look at the third principle of teaching our children godly sexuality: “As you walk along…” which covers the how in more detail.

Principle #2: Holy (Teach your children godly sexuality part 11)

godly sexualityWe have seen in the previous three posts that sexual intercourse is holy as it reflects the oneness and intimacy in the trinity,  it is the seal of the marriage covenant and it points to the ecstasy of our future union with Christ.

Since our sexual intimacy is Holy it needs to be treated as such.  It is a precious gift for the one we marry and ultimately a gift for Jesus:

Give honour to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage.
Heb 13:4a

You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride
SoS 4:12a

If she is a virgin, like a wall, we will protect her with a silver tower.
But if she is promiscuous, like a swinging door, we will block her door with a cedar bar.
I was a virgin, like a wall; now my breasts are like towers .  When my lover looks at me, he is delighted with what he sees.

SoS 8:9-10 NLT

We see this in Scripture: it is not prudish but it does treat sexuality with respect.  It uses “to know” (yada) for sexual intercourse in marriage as a reflection of the deepest unity.  And “to lie down” (shakav), “stretch out” (raba) or “crouch down” (kara) for non-marital sex.  Also genitals are never mentioned explicitly but are alluded to instead.  For example “thigh” (yārēk) in Gen 24:2 in Gen 47:29 and Num 5:22 used for testicles*, “feet” (regel in Isa 7:20, and perhaps also in Ruth…) for a man’s genitalia.

Before we apply this second principle to real life situations we’re again going to spend a little time reflecting on the inheritance we’ve received from our parents and the church about the holiness of our sexuality:

How was the holiness of sexuality conveyed to you by your parents and/or the church?
Was it communicated as a beautiful thing of intimacy and our future marriage to Christ or as something shameful?

How did that make you feel about sexually intimacy?

Satan is the “father of lies” (Jn 8:44) who seeks to “steal and kill and destroy” (Jn 10:10).

Ask the Holy Spirit to highlight specific occasions where you believed a lie.

We need to replace lies with truth so that we can be transformed (Rom 12:2) and that truth will set us free (Jn 8:32). 

Ask Jesus, the truth, to speak the truth about his holy gift into each of these situations.

How have these lies affected your marriage and your response to your children’s sexuality?

Ask the Father to restore what has been lost and make it new (Isa 61). 

Finally, if there is some shame or unconfessed sin in your past that is affecting your marriage and your responses to your children then confess it and receive the Father’s forgiveness, asking him to “cut off” any joinings and restore your whole self for your (future) spouse.

My prayer for you is that our glorious God meets with you and bring you healing and transformation.  

After this it important to maintain and walk in the freedom you have received and how we act flows out of what we believe (“For as he thinks in his heart so is he” Prov 7:23a NKJV). One way to help you replace core beliefs is to write down the truths that you have learned and declare them aloud as faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom 10:17).  In the same way when Jesus was being attacked about his identity (“if you are the Son of God”) he quoted scripture out loud (Mat 4:3, 6).

If you need further help then I do recommend a Sozo, or Restoring the Foundations, Freedom in Christ or liebusters.org as helpful ministries.  Take the time to do this because as I’ve said before – we can’t pass on wholeness if we ourselves are not whole.  We’re seeking restoration for our children and future generations.  We are making a stand now that will impact the rest of our family line.

Feel free to comment below or if you prefer to ask something privately then do contact us via our website.

Next time we will apply both principles to common scenarios faced when parenting.

*placing a hand on the testicles of the person was a solemn oath.  It’s where we get the word “testify” from.  You’ll probably never be able to use that word in the same way again.  Sorry about that.

Our marriage to Christ (Teach your children godly sexuality part 10)

godly sexualityWe saw in our previous post that marriage is an exclusive covenant relationship between a man and a woman which reflects the intimate relationship between the father and the son.

However, it is also a prophetic declaration of the relationship that Jesus wants to have with us:

For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;he is called the God of all the earth. Isa 54:5

This is why Jesus refers to himself as the bridegroom (Lk 5:34-35 also Mt 9:15; Mk 2:19-20) and John the Baptist refers to himself as the friend of the bridegroom (Jn 3:29).  And we, the Church, are his promised bride:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Eph 5:31-32

Jesus proposed to us using the traditional Hebrew wedding ritual:

The arrangements preliminary to betrothal (Shiddukin)

The father approves a bride for his son often long before the couple were of marriageable age .  In our case God the Father chose us to be His Son’s bride before the Creation of the world (Eph 1:4, Jn 6:44).

The rite of betrothal (erusin)

When the groom comes of age he would go to the young woman’s home and present to her and her father the written marriage covenant (ketubah), which details the terms of the proposed marriage.Jesus came to the home of his bride (Earth) to present his marriage contract – the new covenant, which provides for the forgiveness of sins (Jer 31:31-34) written on our hearts.

This also includes the bride price (mōhar).  In our case Jesus pays for us with his life (Lk 22:20; 1 Pet 1:18-19; 1 Cor 6:19b-20a).

The prospective groom then pours a glass of wine (the cup of the covenant) for the young woman.  By drinking it she indicates her acceptance and the couple are now betrothed.  This is legally binding, like marriage, but is not yet consummated[1][1].  Jesus sealed is betrothal to us with the cup of the covenant at the last supper (Lk 22:20).

Before the groom left he would give a speech to his bride (the engagement promise) that he would come to claim her soon after he has prepared a new home for her.  Hence Jesus says:

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Jn 14:2-3

Finally, the groom gives a bridal gift (matan[2]), to his wife as his pledge of love for her and a reminder that he is thinking of her and will return to receive her as his wife.  For us, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:7-8; Acts 2:38) as he returns to his father’s house.

The betrothal period (kiddushin[3])

During this period of typically a year the groom will prepare the bridal chamber where they will consummate their marriage and build a new dwelling place for his bride.

The bride will undertake a ritual immersion (mikvah) to symbolise her turning aside from all the former things and starting a new life with her beloved.  Our ritual immersion is baptism (Rom 6:3-6; Eph 5:26-27).

She would also make her wedding garments (kittel).  Our garments are robes of righteousness (Isa 61:10; Rev 19:8).

The wedding ceremony (nisuin[4])

When the father of the groom approves the bridal chamber and new home, the groom would go to fetch his bride.  Whilst the bride knew the approximate timing, the exact day or hour was uncertain, so she and her bridesmaids had to be continually ready for his arrival.  One of the bridegroom’s party would go ahead and shout “Behold, the bridegroom comes” followed by the sounding of the ram’s horn trumpet (shofar).

When the wedding procession reached the bride’s house the groom would “steal” the bride and carry her back to his father’s house to meet the guests, share a second cup of wine and then enter the bridal chamber to consummate their marriage under the chuppah[5].

The groom tells the best man when it is consummated who then announces it to the guests waiting outside.  The guests would then celebrate for 7 days until the bride and bridegroom emerged from the wedding chamber honeymoon at which point they would participate in the marriage supper given in honour of the newlyweds.  Finally, the couple would leave for the home that bridegroom had prepared.

When the Father chooses (Mk 13:32-33) Jesus will return for his bride with a shout and a trumpet (1 Thess 4:16) return to His father’s house where we will share the second cup of wine (Mt 26:28-29) and He will take us to His chuppah and we will become fully known (1 Cor 13:12) – the language of one flesh (Eph 5:31-32).

Our greatest moment is described as the ecstasy of sex when we shall say “I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine” (SOS 6:3) and experience the “pleasures at His right hand” (Ps 16:11b) where “our souls will be satisfied as with the richest of foods” (Ps 63:5a)

We will then emerge from the wedding chamber and participate in the wedding supper (Rev 19:9) and go to our home in the new Jerusalem (Rev 21:1-4).

There will no longer be marriage between people (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:35) as we are married to the Lamb.  Our sexuality will find its ultimate fulfilment in Him, the Desire of all nations (Hag 2:7 NKJV).  Hence in this world we will not find ultimate satisfaction in our spouse (or any other part of creation):

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.
C. S. Lewis

So every act of sex prophetically points to this beautiful wedding consummation with our Beloved.  How much more holy can it get?

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
Rev 19:6-9


[1] The man would need a religious divorce to annul the contract. For example Joseph seeking to divorce Mary, his betrothed, in Mt 1:18-25.
[2] The bridal gift, matan, is Charismata in Greek, which is used for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
[3] This means “sanctification”, ie to be “set apart” (1 Pet1:2; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Cor 6:11).
[4] This means “lift up” or “carry” since the bride was carried to the ceremony during the “home taking” in a carriage lifted by poles or on an animal.
[5] This was a rectangular piece of material, often the Jewish prayer shawl (tallit from Num 15:38), that would be attached to four poles above the bed. Representing God’s presence hovering over them witnessing the covenant.

The marriage covenant (Teach your children godly sexuality part 9)

brideIn the previous post we looked at the first aspect of the holiness of our sexuality: it reflects the inseparable oneness and intimacy of the Trinity.

In this post we look at the second and related reason it has been set apart by God:

It has been set apart by God to reflect the eternal covenantal love of the Trinity.

As we mentioned in a previous post the Father has been eternally loving the Son (Jn 17:24) by the Spirit (eg Rom 15:30) and so John declares that “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 Jn 4:8). So we are created as lovers in the image of God.

However, this love is very different to our concept of love – it is Holy.  The aspect of this holy love that we want to look at here is the covenantal nature of His love.

What is a covenant?

The word “covenant” comes from the Latin con venire meaning a coming together. It describes a solemn binding agreement between two parties, where the deity was solemnly invoked as witness (Gen 31:50 ) to the oath that was sworn (Gen 21:31).

It was the most serious form of agreement and breaking a covenant was considered a heinous sin, and often imposed the penalty of death but at the very least there was an understanding that the one who broke the covenant would be cursed[1].

The Hebrew verb “to seal” or “make” a covenant karath (כָּרַת), translates literally as “to cut”, hence you cut a covenant.  That is because the parties were usually bound together usually by a blood sacrifice with a celebratory feast afterwards.

The tradition the Hebrews used was to cut an animal in two and then have both parties pass between the two parts (Gen 15:8-21; Jer 34:18-19).  It is suggested that they are saying “May I be torn apart like these animals if I fail to uphold my part of this covenant.”

Afterwards the parties would eat the meat together in a meal (Gen 26:30; 31:54).

The cutting was the oath sign (a symbolic and specific act that seals the deal) but sometimes an additional sign or witness to the covenant was given. For example a pillar of stones (Gen 31:52).

So in summary, the components of a covenant were the oath where God was invoked as witness, the oath sign and the meal together.

Covenants between God and mankind

This most binding form of agreement was the one God chose to enter into with man.  He makes oaths with man (eg Dt 4:31) where He swears by Himself (eg Gen 22:15; Heb 6:13-17) and confirms it with a sacrifice (eg Gen 15:17-18; Ex 24:8; Matt 20:28) or other oath sign (eg Rainbow Gen 9:12-13) and a meal together (eg Ex 24:9-10).  Since God is eternal and a covenant last until the death of the parties the covenants He makes are everlasting (eg Gen 9:16; 17:7).

And yet despite us repeatedly breaking God’s covenants of love (Dt 7:7-9; Neh 1:5; 9:32) He does not change his mind (1 Sam 15:29) and is faithful when we are faithless as he cannot disown himself (2 Tim 2:13).

Marriage is a covenant

Since we are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27) we are created as covenantal lovers[2]  and marriage is a prophetic declaration of the Trinitarian love.  However if we want to truly understand marriage then, like Jesus did (Mt 19:4), we need to go back to the beginning.

Adam and Eve were married (see Gen 3:8; 4:1) and we see in the bible that marriage is a covenant:

“It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.” (Mal 2:14b)

So Adam made his covenant oath in the presence of God and later Jewish marriages were performed under the chuppah[3]  (חוּפָּה) as a sign of God’s presence hovering over His people[4].

Like the other covenants we have referenced it held until the death of one of the parties and hence there was no divorce:

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.  But it was not this way from the beginning” (Mt 19:8)

And had Adam and Eve not have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then their marriage covenant would have also been eternal like the Father’s eternal love for the Son.

What is the sign of the marriage covenant?

It was the consummation.  This is why Jewish marriages were not considered complete until consummation, and only after that would the seven days of feasting begin.

This is why when blood was spilt by a broken hymen upon consummation it was understood to be the blood of the covenant they had just made.

Hence, thereafter lovemaking[5]  is a reminder of that marriage covenant in the same way a rainbow is a reminder of God’s eternal covenant with Noah (Gen 9:16)[6].

So the marriage covenant is symbolic of the eternal oneness and covenantal love of the Father for the Son.  The covenant joining as we saw in the last post is by God Himself (Mt 19:6) and the blood covenant represents the sacrificial act that is necessary for this to remain so.  Hence because the marriage between a man and a woman is one of the highest prophetic declarations of the nature of God:

“Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Heb 13:4)

This is why God hates divorce (Mal 2:16a) and why he won’t receive the offerings and prayers of a man who breaks faith with his wife (Mal 2:13-14) or who does not treat her with respect (1 Pet 3:7) as he is profaning the image of God[7] .  How can a man say he loves God if he does not love his wife (cf 1 Jn 4:19-21)?

What is our covenantal marriage oath of love like?

Well we can’t define our own terms as that would be setting up our own image of God.  So we need to know what the love of the Father for the Son looks like and what Son’s love for the Father is.  But since God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isa 55:8-9) we can’t even begin to fathom.  But Jesus shows us what that love looks like as He said “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (Jn 15:9a) and Jesus’ love for the Father was shown by his sacrifice (Jn 14:31a):

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (Jn 13:3-5)

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. (Jn 15:13)

This kind of love isn’t like how the world loves (see also Mt 20:25-28; 5:44-45) but we are to be holy like our God is holy (1 Pet 1:15-16; Lev 11:45; 20:26).  Our God makes the sun shine on the evil and the good (Mt 5:45), he loves us even though we didn’t love him (1 Jn 4:10), and sent his son to die in our place (1 Pet 3:18) while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8) and His enemies (Rom 5:10).  He now calls us His friends (Jn 15:15) and adopts us as his children (Jn 1:12) and makes us fellow heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17) with Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor 5:21).

And so the marriage vows are about lifelong sacrificial giving and laying down our life for the other not a demanding that the other person satisfies my needs.   Hence:

“Any attempt to define love in the context of what the other person does or doesn’t do violates God’s definition of love as well as the vows you spoke on your wedding day.” (Tim Alan Gardner).

This is why Paul says that “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25).

I, N , take you, N , to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part; according to God’s holy law.  In the presence of God I make this vow.

Heavenly Father, by your blessing let these rings be to N and N a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, to remind them of the vow and covenant which they have made this day through Jesus Christ our Lord.

N, I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage.  With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


[1] Hence the stoning of those who broke the covenant and also the curses listed for those who broke the covenant.
[2] Hence we are to be like Him “Be Holy because I am Holy”
[3] This was a rectangular piece of material, often the Jewish prayer shawl (tallit from Num 15:38).
[4] Certainly marriages weren’t originally performed in the tabernacle or temple as Jews understood that God was present everywhere.
[5] Though technically you don’t make love you celebrate your covenant of love.
[6]Thank you to Tim Alan Gardner and his book “Sacred Sex” that first opened my eyes to this.
[7]This is why homosexuality is akin to idolatry (Rom 1:22-27) as it is setting up a different image of God to the true one presented in Genesis.

Principle #2: Holy (Teach your children godly sexuality part 8)

godly sexualityIn the previous three blog posts (1 2 3) we’ve been discussing the first principle of teaching your children godly sexuality: communicate its goodness.

And it was declared to be very good (Gen 1:27) as our sexuality images our Three-in-One God.

Now, the lie that the world tells us is that we’re just clever animals.  Therefore sex doesn’t mean anything; it’s just an ordinary act to meet a biological urge.

The truth is actually the complete opposite and the opposite of ordinary is holy.

Holy means “set apart” and totally different from the ordinary; hence we have holy-days, ie holidays, which are different from our ordinary (work) days.

The way Hebrew communicates more and most is by repeating the word. So:

  • holy holy = more holy
  • holy holy holy = most holy

Which is why God is referred to as “holy holy holy” (Is 6:3; Rev 4:8) as He is the most holy.

So the flip side of our the goodness of our sexuality imaging God is that it is also holy.

However, if you’re anything like me then you have probably heard a message of “sex being holy” as a synonym for a heavy talk where all the consequences of not keeping it holy are made clear.  Is that it?  Is holiness just a reaction to the evils of the world?

No!  This view comes from a misunderstanding of our the nature of our Holy God.  Yes, holiness means being set apart and since God is holy He is set apart from me and the world…

“…but there our troubles begin, because naturally I think I’m lovely.  So if God is ‘set apart’ from me, I assume the problem is with him.  His holiness looks like a prissy rejection of my happy, healthy loveliness…the reality is that I am the cold, selfish, vicious one, full of darkness and dirtiness.  And God is holy – ‘set apart’ from me – precisely in that he is not like that.”*

The Father is perfectly loving and intimate with His Son and so much so that compared to our love for our children, Jesus says:

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”        Lk 11:13

This is one reason why Jesus was so angry with the religious Pharisees – as they misrepresented the nature of our loving and gracious God; they made Him into a angry, judgemental nit-picker.

So over this and the next post we’ll look at just two aspects of our sexuality that reveal something of the holiness of our God.  And it is my prayer that you get captivated by the “beauty of the LORD” (Ps 27:4).

Firstly it has been set apart by God to reflect the inseparable oneness and intimacy of the Trinity.

Jesus said:

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” Jn 14:11

There is an intimate oneness in the Trinity and as the Body of Christ we are meant to be an earthly physical representation of that oneness – in the same way that Jesus was a physical representation of the Father so that whoever saw Him had seen the Father (Jn 14:9).

Jesus prayed for the disciples that:

“they may be one as we are one” Jn 17:11

And he prayed for us that:

“all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…that they may be one as we are one” Jn 17:21-22

Since we are the Body of Christ – we are meant to be the physical representation of Christ and as such our unity and oneness will show the world (Jn 17:22, 23) that we are like Jesus who was one with the Father.

Similarly, since male and female were created in the image of God (Gen 1:27) they are a physical representation of the nature of our Three-in-One God.

Hence we saw that man was first made one (Gen 2:7) and then from that oneness man was made two (Gen 2:21-22) but designed to become “one flesh” again (Gen 2:24; Mt 19:6a) to image our God (Father, Son and Spirit) who is Three but one.

However, since God is Spirit (Jn 4:24), he breathed his Spirit into us (Gen 2:7) – so we are embodied spirits and are composed of not only a body, but also a soul and a spirit†.

But it is a mistake to think that our soul (which is often thought to be our intellect, will and emotions) and spirit are somehow separate from our bodies.  This dualistic thought has Greek not Hebraic origins (see our video on YouTube here).  This would mean that the real us is our soul/spirit and not our body.  The Hebraic worldview is holistic: there is no separation between the spiritual and physical worlds and there is no separation between the physical self and the soul/spiritual self (which of course mirrors the idea of the Trinity being one – even with Jesus now eternally made flesh).  Our bodies are physical expressions of our soul/spirit and we would be incomplete without them – which is why we too will have a bodily resurrection rather than becoming angelic spirits‡.

Now given that we are integrated beings, when we become “one flesh” there is a joining or bonding not only of our bodies, but also of our soul and our spirits.

The physical joining is obvious – God designed men and women to fit together perfectly.

On the next level there are a number of God designed chemicals to create an emotional bonding: oxytocin (which creates that feeling of bonding and trust), dopamine (a reward hormone which causes the brain to make connections to crave this cocaine-like rush) and PEA (a stimulant like ecstasy or speed).

But unlike the animals there is also a spiritual joining by God Himself:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mt 19;4-6

Paul also talks of this spiritual joining in 1 Corinthians 6 and says that:

“do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”

We, who are “temples of the Holy Spirit”, have our spirits joined to anyone we have had sex with**.  Some Christians can think this is far fetched††.  I can only testify to the tangible effects I have seen when praying with people to break (ie loose – see Mt 18:18) these “soul ties”.  There is a severing that not only sets people free from previous relationships that they “couldn’t get over” but also changes them to be more whole and complete and thus more able to be joined properly to their future spouse.

This is why the Hebrew word for sexual intimacy, יָדַע (yada’), is literally translated as “Adam knew Eve” (Gen 4:1).  Unlike the Greek worldview where “to know” something is merely intellectual, the Hebraic/Biblical view of  “knowing” is always experiential.  There is a deep experience from this “one flesh” joining that connects us in no other way.  And in its pure form there is “no shame” as there was complete openness, acceptance, intimacy with nothing hidden.

So we see that, as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says, “Sex is the ultimate bonding process” which God is involved in to create a vision of His Holy Self: male, female and Spirit as one like Father, Son and Spirit are One‡‡.
This oneness is so complete and so intimate that Paul says:

“he who loves his wife loves himself” Eph 5:28

Since there is this joining then what affects one affects the other.

The best example I have experienced of this deep joining is when my wife was undergoing a sozo prayer session.  I was in another room and found myself undergoing all sorts of emotions from jubilation to fear and back again.  When we met together after her session she discussed the journey of healing that the Spirit led her on and it coincided exactly with the emotions that I had been experiencing.

Sex is certainly not ordinary.

*Quoted from “The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son and Spirit” by Michael Reeves.  I cannot recommend this book enough if you want to end up on your face in worship of our beautiful Three-in-One God.
†God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 2:7) and God’s breath represents the Holy Spirit (eg Job 33:4; Jn 20:22) – indeed the Hebrew words for breath and spirit, רוּחַ and נְשָׁמָה , both can mean spirit and breath.  And spirit and soul are not the same thing – otherwise the word of God would not be able to divide between them (Heb 4:12).
‡The best book I’ve found so far on helping distinguish between dualistic Greek and the holistic Hebraic/biblical view is Harold R. Eberle’s “Christianity Unshackled“.
**Another biblical example of this effect would be Shechem who after having sex with Dinah found his soul “cleaved” to her (Gen 34:2-3).
††Although it is very well known to Satanists, witchdoctors and occultists who use the joining to gain control over people’s spirits.  It seems that we Christians having been blinded by society/Satan and do not realise the power of this joining.
‡‡Some of the ideas presented here were first inspired by “Sacred Sex” by Tim Gardner.  It’s a good start but if you want to delve deeper into this whole area then Christopher West’s exposition of Pope John-Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” is an absolute must.

Principle #1: Good (Teach your children godly sexuality part 7)

Godly sexuality

Now we’re going to apply the theory of God’s goodness of our sexuality to three of the four broad areas that arise with children aged 2-11:
  • Exploration/questions about their bodies
  • Questions about growing up/parents bodies
  • What does it mean to be male/female?
  • Where do babies come from?

For each of these areas I give some examples of common situations that arise.  For each scenario I have also included a fairly typical parental response.

First I would like you to see what message the typical parental response is giving and what the consequences of that response will be.  Then I would like you to come up with a response that positively affirms/blesses God’s good creation.

For example:
Your son/daughter (age 4) has his/her hand down his pants/knickers and is gently playing with their genitals.

A typical parental response would be to say:
“What do you think you’re doing? Stop that at once – it’s disgusting!”

What is the message that this response is giving?
Well firstly the response forgets that this is a child who has no idea that what they’re doing has any “adult” sexual connotations.  It simply feels nice and comforting.  So the parent’s reaction will seem quite over the top to their child.  Coupled with this will be the message that either feeling nice is bad or my genitals are bad or both and is likely to lead to guilt or shame about their sexuality or sexual feelings.  In addition, it will make them unlikely to come to you if they have any questions or concerns in the future – which will lead them to seek answers elsewhere which may be inappropriate.

So what is a better response?
Firstly, we need to affirm that that God made our sexual organs pleasurable as a gift to us (however, this is not the full response – but you’ll have to wait until the next post before we can do that!) and then we need to point to the meaning of the gift.  So a response might start something like this:

“I see that you’re touching your …”

“Does it feel nice?”

“Did you know that God made our … to feel nice?”

“Yes it’s true.  Daddy God gave you this gift to share with your husband/wife when you grow up because it will help you experience the joy in Heaven when the world was made.”

I hope this helps you see the kind of conversation we’re going for.  Honest, affirm it’s goodness and the reason for that – but notice we’ve also put it in the right context: marriage.  This last part will be covered in the next post when we talk about the second principle: the holiness of our sexuality.  And more details on the how will be covered in the third principle that will be blogged later.

OK, your turn now.  Here are some situations and a typical parental response.
Identify what message the current response gives and its consequence and then be.  Then I would like you to come up with a response that positively affirms the goodness of our sexuality.

Questions about growing up/parents bodies
Your daughter comes into the bathroom whilst you (mum) are dealing with a period. The daughter sees the blood on the tissue and says “have you cut yourself mummy?”

Current response: get out! this is private!

One of your children comes in whilst you’re having a shower and asks “will I get hair on my body when I get older?”

Current response: You shouldn’t be looking – get out!

What does it mean to be male/female?
One of children (age 3) states proudly “Daddy, boys have ‘willys’ and girls have ‘ginas’*”

Current response: we don’t talk about other people’s body parts!

*At some point you’ll have to decide what to name to give to your children for their genetalia.  In our household we used ‘gina’ as a nice form of vagina.

Exploration/questions about their bodies
Your son exclaims “Look dad! When I pull back my skin on my willy there’s a purple bit!”
Your daughter exclaims “Look dad! I’ve got a willy too!” when she opens up her parts and reveals her clitoris…

Current response: Stop that! It’s dirty!

I hope this has been a useful exercise to see that if we only mention sexuality in a negative way then we assign negative value, ie  a curse to what God has created and deemed very good.  Secondly, we not only stop cursing of the goodness of sexuality but actively replacing it with blessing, as just saying nothing speaks volumes and can allow the seeds of doubt about its goodness to be planted– just as if a parent never said “I love you” despite their loving actions.

Principle #1: Good (Teach your children godly sexuality part 6)

Godly sexualityIn our previous post we saw that our sexuality is good because it reflects the:

  • community of the Trinity
  • oneness of the Trinity
  • love of the Trinity
  • delight & joy in the Trinity
  • joy of the Trinity in Creation
  • ultimate ecstasy of our union with Christ

So we need to communicate the goodness of our bodies and our sexuality to our children.  We need to affirm and bless in our children what God blessed in creation.
But the truth is we might not know its goodness – intellectually we can see what I’ve said is true but we don’t feel comfortable – we don’t know the “without shame” (Gen 2:25).

We live in a fallen world – when Adam and Eve disobeyed God they broke fellowship with God – and so history is man trying to replace that gap, that pleasure with something else and so see sexuality as god.

But fellowship was also broken with each other – they lost that sense of unconditional love – and so hurt/rejection can lead to us to see our sexuality as gross.

And your parents will have been affected and then passed on their beliefs to you.  Those around you at school, work or church will have also assigned a value to sexuality which may have influenced you. And finally any sexual experiences you may have had will also affect your core beliefs.

So before we look at how to apply the first principle to situations with our children we’re going to spend a little time reflecting on the inheritance we were given and asking the Holy Spirit to highlight the lies that you have believed about His good gift.  This is important because as we mentioned in a previous post: it’s hard to pass on wholeness if you’re not whole yourself.

Did you see your parents celebrate the goodness of God’s gift with each other?

Positive – on a rating of 1-10 how positive were your parents’ responses to your sexuality?

How did that make you feel about your sexuality?

Satan is the “father of lies” (Jn 8:44) who seeks to “steal and kill and destroy” (Jn 10:10).
Ask the Holy Spirit to highlight specific occasions where you believed a lie.

We need to replace lies with truth so that we can be transformed (Rom 12:2) and that truth will set us free (Jn 8:32).  Ask Jesus, the truth, to speak the truth about His good gift in each of these situations.

How have these lies affected your marriage and your response to your children’s sexuality?

Ask the Father to restore what has been lost and make it new (Isa 61).

My prayer for you is that our glorious God meets with you and bring you healing and transformation.  After this it important to maintain and walk in the freedom you have received and how we act flows out of what we believe (“For as he thinks in his heart so is he” Prov 7:23a NKJV). One way to help you replace core beliefs is to write down the truths that you have learned and declare them aloud as faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom 10:17).  In the same way when Jesus was being attacked about his identity (“if you are the Son of God”) he quoted scripture out loud (Mat 4:3, 6).
If you need further help then I do recommend a Sozo, or Restoring the Foundations, or Freedom in Christ as helpful ministries.

Feel free to comment below or if you prefer to ask something privately then do contact us via our website.

Next time we will start applying the truths we have learned about our sexuality to common scenarios faced when parenting.

Principle #1: Good (Teach your children godly sexuality part 5)

Godly sexualityIn the previous three posts we talked about how we can establish firm foundations in your heart, in your marriage and with your children. We are now ready to move onto the four principles of how we communicate godly sexuality to our children.

Our first principle is that God created our sexuality and declared it to be very good.

So why is it good?  Let’s take a look in Genesis:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” … God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
(Gen 1:27-28, 31a NIV)

First we see that our sexuality (“male and female”) and sexual intimacy (“be fruitful and increase in number”) were created before the fall and therefore they were made pure, unspoilt and therefore good.

Is that the only reason it’s good?  Well we know that everything was made through Him [Jesus] and for Him (Col 1:16).  Creation is an extravagant love gift to Jesus from the Father and so it is good because the Father only gives good gifts (Lk 11:13; Jas 1:17).

But in addition we see that:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  (Rom 1:20a)

So God’s divine nature is made known through creation or as David says “The heavens declare the glory of God…” (Ps 19:1).  Hence Creation is good because it brings glory to God as it speaks of how amazing He is.

But unlike the animals who were simply called into existence by God’s spoken word, all of our bodies were personally formed by His hands (the word “formed” in Gen 2:7 is used of a potter with clay). and declared “very good”

So why do our bodies, our sexuality and our sexual intimacy give Him such pleasure and glory?  Because unlike animals we’re made in His image and so our sexuality is theographic (not pornographic) as it reflects the glory of our Trinitarian God.

Let’s look at six ways how…

Firstly our sexuality reflects the community of the Trinity.

Since God is a community of Father, Son and Spirit and we are made in his image (Gen 1:27) this is why God said “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18a) and He says “I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen 2:18b).  Like man but not like man  – male and female in His image (Gen 1:27).

But we are not only male and female as God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 2:7) and God’s breath represents the Holy Spirit (eg Job 33:4; Jn 20:22) .

So we are also a trinity (male, female and Spirit) like the God we image* .

Secondly our sexuality reflects the oneness and intimacy of the Trinity.

Jesus prayed  for us “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…that they may be one as we are one” (Jn 17:21-22; see also Jn 14:10; 17:11) .

So there is unity, oneness and intimacy in the Godhead.  Since we are made in the image of God, man was first made one (Gen 2:7) and then from that oneness man was made two (Gen 2:21-22) but designed to become “one flesh” again (Gen 2:24; Mt 19:6a):

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why 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. (Gen 2:22-25 NIV emphasis mine)

And hence Adam wants to re-unite with the missing part of himself that the women embodies and become whole and completely himself and be the full image of God.

We’ll talk about this much more when we look at the second principle.

Thirdly, our sexuality reflects the love of the Trinity.

In Jn 17:24 we see that the Father (the lover) has been eternally loving the Son (the beloved) by the Spirit (eg Rom 15:30) and so John declares that “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 Jn 4:8).  So we are created as lovers in the image of God.  Adam (the lover) was made to love Eve (the beloved) by the Spirit.

Again we’ll talk about this much more when we look at the second principle.

Fourthly, our sexuality reflects the delight and joy found in the Trinity.

God made our sexuality and intimacy to be pleasurable as it reflects the delight and pleasure experienced within the Trinity† .

In fact the bible is the story of three marriage celebrations: Adam & Eve at the beginning, the marriage supper of the Lamb at the end and the marriage song of Solomon in the middle:

Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. … Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.
She: Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.
(Sgs 4:5, 11-16 NIV)

Here we see them celebrate and enjoy God’s good gift without shame.  This is the way God made it and He is pleased when His children enjoy His good gifts: “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:4).

Fifthly, our sexuality also reflects the joy of the Trinity in creation.

Our Three-in-One God was complete and needed nothing but he chose to create life out of love for His Son (eg Col 1:16) to share that love, and that creation was a joy and delight.  We can see this in the angels shouting for joy (Job 38:7b) during creation.  This joy and delight was also experienced in the Trinity, for example Jesus personified by wisdom at the Father’s side in Proverbs:

Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.
(Prov 8:30-31)

Since we are made in his image – a husband and wife are complete but they too desire to have children to love.  And we mirror the joy and delight in the Trinity by creating life out of our sexual intimacy.

Finally, our sexuality reflects the ultimate ecstasy of our union with Christ

Jesus is “the Desire of all nations” (Hag 2:7 NKJV) and the pleasure of our marriage consummation is meant to be a shadow of our ultimate ecstatic union with Christ:

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
 “Hallelujah!
  For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
 Let us rejoice and be glad
  and give him glory!
 For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
  and his bride has made herself ready”
(Rev 19:6-7)

Then Christ and the church will become “one flesh” (See Eph 5:31-32)‡ and our souls will be satisfied as with the richest of foods (Ps 63:5).

We will not find ultimate satisfaction in our spouse (or any other part of creation) as it is only in Jesus that we will find the end to all our deepest longings.  Amen.

* Note that the number three is also the Hebrew number of completeness.  You can see this in the Hebrew language which doesn’t have a word for more or most.  So if something was more holy you would say “holy, holy” and if it was the most holy you would say “holy, holy, holy”.  Saying it three times indicates the entirety of something.  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this ties in with the Trinity.

†  If you’re anything like me you might struggle with this point.  God having fun – surely He’s sombre and only interested in serious things?  But we see this joy and delight throughout the bible.  God ordains celebratory feasts in His law.  David speaks of joy and pleasures at God’s righthand (Ps 16:11),  God rejoices over us (Is 62:5 or Zeph 3:17b), Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard (Lk 7:34) and was full of joy (Lk 10:21) and wants to give us life to the full (Jn 10:10) and faced the cross for the joy set before him (Heb 12:2).  The fruit of the spirit is joy (Gal 5:22), the Kingdom of heaven is righteous, peace and joy (Rom 14:17) and when Jesus returns its a wedding feast (Rev 19:7).  And in creation we just see the duck-billed platypus and we know.  And we in His image are gifted with a sense of humour.  

‡ If anyone asks you “what is heaven like?” the theologically correct answer is “better than sex”.  I recommend the excellent book “Fill these hearts” by Christopher West.  This whole area will become the subject of our future “Godly Desire” blog.