Let me just insert in this discussion the aspect of controlling our sexual desires. In my previous post I stated that sexual desire is a God-given, natural desire, that is necessary for us to seek out a mate for the purpose of marriage. I just want to delve a little further into sexual desire and how it can turn into lust, which is what we are to avoid.
As stated before, lust is an evil desire or a desire for something which we have no right to have. Sex is something good given to us by God and is therefore not evil; but sex with someone we have no right to be having sex with is wrong. The question is, how do we control our sexual desires so that it does not turn into lust? That question is best answered by using food as an analogy. Food was created by God to satisfy our need for nutrition. Hunger, which creates a desire for food, is the driving force that motivates us to seek food. Ideally, we eat when we are hungry. Having a desire for food is not wrong when we are hungry, but having a desire for food when we are not hungry is not good. Desiring food when we are not hungry is called greed (food cravings), and when we eat when we are not hungry, it is called gluttony. I know many of us have been guilty of gluttony, myself included, but this example shows you how a normal desire such as hunger for food can become abnormal, if we do not properly control our desire for food. It is the same way with sexual desire and lust. Sexual desire is a normal desire, but when our sexual desire becomes the overriding factor in our dating relationships, and in our thoughts with real or imaginary persons, including pornography, then we have stepped over the line. Some people are so 'horny' that they cannot even bear to be in the same room with a member of the opposite sex without thinking sexual thoughts towards that person. Their desire is not really for that person. Their desire is really for sex, and they are going to get some, no matter with whom. When you find that your desire is for sex alone that does not include the well-being of the other person, then you know that you have crossed the line from sexual desire to lust.
Here is what God wants. He wants us our desire for the well-being of the other person to override and control our actions and desires, even our sexual desires. We have to learn how to bring our bodies under subjection to the will of the mind through the power of God (1 Corinthians 9:27). We must learn how to hold back on our sexual desires and deny ourselves, so that true love will grow. Here is what Paul had to say about controlling our sexual desires during courtship, "Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well (1 Corinthians 7:37). If a man with a girlfriend (virgin) exercises self-control over his own will to be sexually active with his girlfriend, then he is doing well! Sounds impossible in this day and age, but with God all things are possible. The apostle John was in just such a relationship with a woman, where he had to control his sexual desires for the sake of true love. We read in 2 John 1, The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth. In this verse, John expresses a general love for this lady and her children that is non sexual. Further in this epistle however, he makes a date to see the woman, so that their "joy may be full." He says, Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full (2 John 12). It is quite obvious that John was writing a personal letter to a lady friend, whose company gave him great joy and love.
Are you sexually attracted to someone? Ask God to help you to see the person for who he/she is and not for what you can possibly get from that person to satisfy your own sexual desires. Meditate on God's goodness and love, and show that to others. Show kindness and affection where appropriate. Consult God's law to see which relationships are sanctioned by scripture, and which are considered unholy. Being a good, trustworthy, and caring friend to your potential mate will go a long way to increase your sexual desire for that person, if that is the right person for you. If that person is not the right person, your sexual desire will decrease - trust me on this one! The sexual desire therefore becomes a monitor of how the relationship is progressing. Increased love and steady sexual desire - good for marriage. Increased love but decreasing sexual desire, with the person becoming more like a sibling or friend - bad for marriage. Decreased love and disliking the person - bad for marriage. So we see that sexual desire coupled with love is the basis for marriage. Remember, marriage is about both physical and spiritual union. Physical union without spiritual union is incomplete. Spiritual union without physical union is also incomplete. The physical union is what is needed to catapult the marriage relationship to a higher spiritual plane, which is not possible when couples are celibate.
In conclusion, let us not be afraid to use our sexual desires appropriately when we are in a non married relationship. We need to learn how to control them so that love can grow and deepen, before we express those sexual desires physically in marriage through sex.
I will continue debunking more myths about human sexuality in my next set of posts. My next post will be Myth #2: The Practice of Celibacy Is Endorsed By Scripture.