A husband should fulfil his obligation to his wife, and a wife should do the same for her husband. A wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but his wife does. Do not withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time in order to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should come together again so that Satan does not tempt you through your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a command.1 Corinthians 7:3-6
Don’t touch, fondle or pet. You know what it leads to. Be controlled. So guard against all this promiscuity around you by marrying. Commit to one person. And in your marriage relationship, don’t withhold sexual favour or your obligation to satisfy the other person for long. It will only lead to problems. Very sound advice. Advice that is timeless really. It applied to the Corinthians when it was first written and it sure applies in our current world. With all this sexual temptation around, guard against the temptations that come. Give yourself to one another. Your body is not your own, it was bought with a price, but it also belongs to your spouse as well. Part of Christ’s purchase deal it seems. (Ian’s tongue in cheek comment in case you didn’t realise that)
It is interesting that Paul says I say this as a concession, not a command. Well what on earth does that mean? I will set this as another matter for you to try to sort it out for yourself. Because I am lazy and don’t want to do it? Or worse yet don’t know and so ask you to do it because I have nothing to tell you? No, I am merely leading you to dig for yourself and find the gems in Scripture alone.
So how would you do that? By looking at the various versions to see how they handle it. And by studying the words used. There’s a clue, now go do it.
Isn’t it interesting: prayer or sex? Which would you choose? As I said yesterday the Bible is very down to earth. One of the benefits of following through on a book is that you don’t miss anything. This is not the sort of topic that one would hear preached these days although we should do. It involves too many sensitivities. “It is hardly appropriate for the Bible.” WRONG! The Bible is very appropriate to life. Nothing is really too sacred or taboo. When Elijah was challenging the prophets of Baal he asked them, is your god busy? What he said idiomatically was, “Is your god on the toilet?”
We have to learn set aside our inhibitions and talk about the real stuff. Tania and I have learned to do that while in Indonesia. There are certain topics that are taboo in some cultures and certain topics that aren’t. But the problem is like our concepts of sin (see Bible Gem 340, 341, 346 & 353) taboos vary from culture to culture. Some things that are never talked about in one culture are talked about freely in another. We would meet strangers in the supermarket when we first arrived in Indonesia who would ask us what family planning methods we used. Our initial reaction was to hide behind our taboos but we soon learned to just come right and tell them. Because family planning was a hot topic here and because we had two girls who were older and no boy, it was obvious to them that we used family planning methods. So strangers just came right out and asked. Just like Paul, I learned to play with words. More in the next Gem.
It’s important to keep on keeping on – doing what you know is right, even if you are the only one doing it.Joyce Meyer
A man’s character is a prophecy of his destiny.Robb Thompson