Women are sexual beings. Although this has always been the case, perhaps it has never been more visible as it will be this Valentine’s Day as women from all walks of life will flock to the release of the 2015 major motion picture, 50 Shades of Grey.
The movie, based off of the erotic “romance” trilogy written by E. L. James, has sold a whopping 100 million copies worldwide and is available in 51 languages. These numbers vividly demonstrate that women are no longer hiding their sexuality behind aprons and motherhood.
All of these shades have the media in a frenzy as conservatives worldwide look for ways to implore individuals not to go the theaters. Yet just before you think, “Great, one-piece-swimsuit-wearing Bible-thumper freaking out about sex,” let me tell you: I love sex, and I believe it to be one of the greatest gifts God has given us. Yes, by our Creator’s design, women are sexual beings, and no, this is not a bad (or “unchristian”) thing.
Of course we are sexual beings, but we are so much more. Yet if we allow the entertainment industry to inform our sexual identity, we will become disoriented (and ultimately dissatisfied) people flailing about in disarray. On one hand, Hollywood is ironically fickle. They preach, “end violence against women,” and in this heralded movie they promote a mindset that endangers the very women for whom they are claiming to stand. This position is uniquely grey.
Even more generally, the entertainment industry does a fantastic job of painting a murky picture concerning sexuality as that which is acceptable at any time, in any place, and with any one. God, however does not take the same artistic liberties. He doesn’t leave us to wonder in grey areas.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of grey areas: Breastfeeding, Homeschooling vs. Public Schools, drinking, Yoga pants, etc. But concerning sex, there are no blurred lines.
Black and White
While God gives no blurred lines concerning sexuality, He uniquely gives beautiful and joyful freedom for sexuality in the context of the marriage relationship between a man and a woman. The gift of sex brings not only intimacy and oneness between the man and woman, but it powerfully and beautifully points us to the union between Christ and His people. Sexuality and romance are ultimately designed by God for His own glory.
Thus, it absolutely breaks my heart that many women have only heard the pulpit talk about sex in a negative light. Sex is a powerful gift, but just like a fire, it was designed for a specific purpose.
Before you buy a ticket to see 50 Shades of Grey, and before you have yet another finger shaking in your face, I want to let you know . . .
I get it
I really do.
Life is spinning crazy fast. From the time your feet hit the floor, you are running from here to there, trying to keep it all together with the clipboard in hand. Work deadlines to meet. Kids to take to soccer practice, ballet lessons, and weekend swim meets. PTA (dang, is it my turn to bring the cupcakes?) Not to mention attempting to make a healthy meal from whatever is left in the fridge.
Running your world from a clipboard gets exhausting.
Then there is the husband issue. Not only doesn’t he “get you” anymore, but between his IPhone and SportsCenter, he hardly ever looks at you.
Back to back in the bedroom, unless there is the occasional, “Uh, do you want to?” Then it is the same boring thing in the same boring place and you are making your grocery list for the next busy day.
Life is hard. Relationships are hard. Marriage is hard (my husband and I almost got a divorce within the first year).
There has got to be more.
Not only is life spinning you into insanity; it is boring. Bored with the busy, mundane, routine, we seek for a place to escape.
I just want to feel alive.
You would be willing to feel pain just to feel alive . . . maybe . . . even if that means taking the sting from someone else’s wounds across your body.
Yeah, I get it.
In an attempt to escape and fighting to feel alive, women across the world will sit with popcorn in hand while watching 50 shades of Grey.
In reality, all women have the desire to be captivated by something greater than themselves. I love family vacations at the ocean because staring out into a seemingly endless horizon reminds me that I am small, and in this knowledge, there is escape. There is an ironic security in being lost in something so great it consumes and hides you.
I totally didn’t want to write a blog post on erotica. Trust me, it was not in my plans for the week. But because I love you dearly, and I want you to have great marriages and to feel ALIVE, please hear me out.
I want you to have passionate sex (in marriage, of course). And yes, I even want you to experience great pleasure, but I fear you will walk out of this movie feeling less than alive.
I mean, what is the big deal? I am just going to watch a movie for a girl’s night out?
The big deal is freedom.
What captures our mind, controls our hearts. If we seek after pleasure, than the pursuit of pleasure will dominate us.
In search of freedom, we become slaves.
Everyone is a slave because everyone worships someone or something.
If we are slaves to pleasure, we will be left abused and tied up in lies. Our escape becomes our captor. Chasing after Christian Grey will be an endless journey of torture.
Pornography(yes, pornography)is a bully that turns our need to belong into chains around us, and it uses our discontentment as a way to keep us coming back for more. Discontentment is a multi-billion dollar industry.
The Bible teaches that everyone is a slave.
“You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Romans 6:16).
Is Christian Grey really worthy of your attention?
Jesus vs. Christian Grey
God has been wrongly accused of being a pansy. Kind of like a shy, nerdy kid tapping us on the shoulder in middle school, “Will you go out with me?” This is not God.
Many of us have a mental picture of Jesus as the Pantene Pro V model commercial tossing His beautiful main back and forth. He is really nice, tame, and boring. This is not the Jesus of the Bible.
Yes He is a gentle Lamb, but He is also authoritative. He told the storms to stop and they did. He told the lame to rise and they did. He said to His disciples, “Follow me,” and they followed.
This Jesus doesn’t merely tap on the doors of our hearts, asking if He can come in.
He commands us to follow Him.
With His words, Jesus said He loves us, and with His life, He demonstrated that love on the cross.
Authentic love is not afraid to bleed
The problem with Christian Grey is that his pleasure comes from others pain. As the beautiful survivor of abuse spoke out at the Grammys, “Authentic love does not devalue another human being.” Yet Grey asks for everything and gives nothing in return. That is the problem with erotica as is portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey; it devalues human life, and it replaces the person for a body part. Christian Grey doesn’t see you, he only sees your body.
Help your sex life? If pornography is the key to an amazing sex life than why is it a multi-billion dollar industry? Pornography only makes money from you ruining your sex life. It makes reality unable to live up to the fantasy and keeps us in bondage to a fantasy. Living in a fantasy is not really living. Spice up your marriage? Then do not invite Christian Grey into your bedroom.
Erotica is a relentless captor tormenting its victims with a constant desire for more. It will always break your heart and leave you to pick up the pieces. Erotica makes promises that it cannot keep because lasting pleasure is found only at the foot of a cross – the cross at which true love was displayed not merely in word, but in deed. It was death by love.
Sex is not just getting, but it is precisely about giving. Why? Because love is not primarily what we receive, but it is that which we sacrifice and give to another.
Perhaps, it is not Christian Grey that we want, maybe, we just want to be wanted.
Jesus is worthy of our submission.
The Jesus of the Bible loved you to death. Jesus doesn’t ask His bride to suffer for Him. He doesn’t say, “Do this for me; show me what you got.” Instead, He bleeds His heart out so He can have your heart forever.
Some of us have grown up believing there is this list of things we have to do in order to earn His love. Jesus was beaten so you would not have to prostrate yourself in any “red room of pain.” By His stripes (not our stripes) we are healed.
God pursued you. He came after you. Not when you were doing what He commanded, but when you were His enemy (Romand 5:8-10). When we were ugly in our sin, guilt and shame, He covered us with His righteousness.
He covered us. He protected us. He didn’t expose us and use our weaknesses against us.
He is not detached from His bride, “Let’s hurry and get this over with.” He longs to be with her and is jealous for her affections, ultimately because He created her to find fullness in belonging to Him.
Because He gave everything for you, you are His. He owns you. He bought you with His very own blood. What exactly did he purchase you from?
Well, spiritual death, for one. “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Christ died so that sin could no longer have dominion over us. No longer could the Enemy keep us tangled in bondage and misery.
If you are in Christ you are dead to sin and alive in Christ – ALIVE!
If you are thinking, “What in the world does God have to do with it?” He has everything to do with it! He made you! He bought you! You are His possession.
He is worthy of all of our submission because he gave us life.
To be a slave to real love means that our happiness becomes what makes Him happy. True pleasure is found in one Man; His name is Jesus.
You were created for Him, and in Him we find fullness of life.
So, yeah, I get it . . . you want something bigger and greater. You want that one thing that leaves you breathless. Yet stil, emptiness echoes in the chambers of your heart.
Take notice of the echo as you are walking out of 50 Shakes of Grey.
His holy hand carved out our hallow hearts for a holy purpose.
Christian Grey cannot even hold a candle to the all-consuming, passionate, white-hot love of Christ for His bride.
Everything you are looking for is found in Christ!
Run To Christ
There is no sex hot enough to keep you satisfied long enough. Sex wasn’t created to be your escape. Jesus Christ says, “I am your escape;’ ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
Maybe you feel forgotten. Maybe you feel alone. Rejected.
He sees you
The Lord sees you. He who made the heavens and the earth and all of the galaxies – He sees you.
He knows you
Though we are more sinful than we can possibly imagine, He knows us fully and loves us more than we could ever hope (paraphrase of Tim Keller).
When we truly understand we have His attention, our hearts can stop reaching for fantasy and enjoy the reality of His unending love.
You are adored!
Run after pleasure, but be careful to not run after fantasy and other small, fleeting pleasures.
In His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
Endless pleasure, you say?
Yes, I will take it!