For the Christian girl struggling with lust, no day is an easy one. What most perceive as a “man’s problem” is largely a woman’s problem, too. And for the girl striving for purity, it’s easy to see marriage as the solution to her struggle.
Perpetuated by the idolatry of marriage, and the idea that human relationships satisfy more than God, this lie finds a home in the hearts of young women. Marriage, the flicker of hope at the end of the tunnel, is the assumed solution to their struggle with sin.
We’ve let this mentality thrive. We’ve celebrated marriage as the haven for God-defined sexuality that it is, but we’ve forgotten something. We’ve forgotten that marriage can’t fix a lust problem.
Lust is a Sin Issue – Not a Sex Issue
Satan targets sexuality because it is one of the most influential aspects of the human being. Our sexuality is connected to body, mind, and spirit. Because God designed sex for spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy, it has incredible value. To protect this value, God requires a covenant of marriage in order to participate in sex.
Lust is simply a form of idolatry; worshiping a desire instead of worshiping God. Because of the culture in which we live, the desire for sex is a subject of confusion and tension for Christian women. The world tells them to embrace the desire; the church tells them to ignore it. Left in a sexual-spiritual limbo, many girls resort to hiding their struggle and repeating patterns of secret sin. The only way to find relief from lust – they believe – is to get married, where they can finally express sexuality in a God-honoring way.
But lust is not a sex problem. Lust is a problem of sin, and as such is a spiritual issue only resolved by a spiritual solution.
Our sexual desires are not the cause of lust. Sex is simply the vehicle used to shift our focus from God. The enemy uses sex to convince us God cannot satisfy, and this belief will not go away simply because we say “I do”. By recognizing that lust is a spiritual battle – not a physical one – we can begin to fight lust spiritually first. And instead of burdening a spouse with the responsibility of “fixing” a problem they could never repair, we enter marriage equipped by God to overcome sinful desires.
Lust is Selfish; Marriage is Selfless
Lust is inherently selfish. We desire something that’s not ours to take – and we take it anyway.
Marriage requires continual selflessness. It’s not 50/50, but 100/100: giving our all to our spouses because Christ gave His all for us.
These two are at odds with one another, and the very idea that marriage would “fix” a lust problem is absurd. The intimacy of marriage exposes sin, and the presence of another person, with whom we are intimate on every level, makes lust that much more hurtful and burdensome in the life of the believer. The opportunity to have God-blessed sex won’t remove the selfish, spiritual root of lust. If anything, it will exacerbate the problem.
Marriage is a process of continual sanctification, and as such, no couple will be perfectly selfless. But we must be aware prior to marriage that this covenant is not designed to solve our spiritual problems. Christ is the Redeemer and Restorer in singleness and matrimony. Expecting marriage to redeem and restore is a set up for disillusionment. Rather than look to marriage as the solution for a struggle with lust, we should look to Christ. We should address the sin issue at its root, daily walking in the Spirit to destroy selfishness and sin. This active faith allows us to live powerfully in the present while simultaneously preparing us to enter marriage spiritually equipped for selfless love.
Sexual Freedom Only Exists With Christ
If lust were a sex problem, having sex would fix it. But it doesn’t. Problems with porn, masturbation, fantasy and extramarital sex don’t go away after the vows. In order to find freedom from sexual sin, we must go to the source of sexual freedom.
Our culture defines sexual freedom as having sex with whoever you want, when you want, where you want, as any gender you want. This is indeed a form of freedom. But it’s a freedom with consequences.
The sexual freedom God offers is different. It is not freedom to but freedom from: He offers a sex life free from emotional, physical, and spiritual pain, when done His way. He offers redemption for those who have transgressed His design. He offers purity to the impure. He offers great sex to those who recognize and embrace His loving design for their sexuality and marriage.
In order to participate in this freedom, there is a requirement: commitment. Because God takes vows very seriously – evidenced by His own blood covenants in Scripture – it’s not enough to simply say, “We love one another.” Vows must be made. A covenant must be cut. The boundaries of covenantal love protect true sexual freedom from being abused; covenant and intimacy are inseparable. Thus, the best sex is the result of intimacy on all levels of our being: physical, emotional, and spiritual. It’s one of the reasons Paul warned against being unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14). A marriage united in spirit leads to a sexual freedom unparalleled by the world.
This freedom can’t be grasped with hands still clinging to sin. In order to celebrate our God-designed sexuality as women, we must let go of the lies. We must let go of the lust. Marriage can’t be the solution because sex isn’t the problem. Problems with sin are only conquered by the One who overcame it. Sexual freedom only exists with Christ.
The woman who embraces her sexuality as the good and beautiful thing that it is finds freedom to be her truest self. She finds wholeness.
The woman who pulls marriage off its pedestal and stands in faith on her blood-won freedom can laugh at the future. She finds confidence.
The woman who drops the crutch of lust she’s been using as a coping mechanism – her hands are now free to grasp abundant life.
She finds Jesus.
Marriage won’t fix a lust problem because marriage is no savior. Fortunately for us, Jesus is.