“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” — 1 Corinthians 6:13
Ever since the Greek philosopher Plato wrote about the legend of Atlantis, archaeologists and historians have been searching for this lost city that was believed to be a sort of utopia on earth. Likewise, there is something within all of us that seems to be searching for something just out of reach. But what are we searching for? Deep down, you and I are searching for intimacy.
The first story in the Bible teaches us that the human race really did live in a spiritual Atlantis at one time. We were connected—close to God and one another. But sin entered the human equation, separating man from God, man from woman, and man from himself. Soon, humans couldn’t meet their deep ache for intimacy and were forced to settle for less. Today, when the word intimacy is used, it is almost always associated with only one thing: sex.
In 1 Corinthians 6, the apostle Paul dealt with the confusion around sex that was ransacking the church in the city of Corinth by introducing a critically important truth: “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord” (1 Corinthians 6:13). He introduces God’s design for sex by quoting Genesis 2, where God placed one man and one woman in a garden and performed the first wedding ceremony. The act of sexual intimacy serves as a bonding agent that would fuse the two together in a profound and mysterious way, so much so that the two actually became one—spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, economically, and physically.
Paul taught that sex in marriage is a gift from God but that it’s not an end in itself. It’s an arrow pointing to the final source. The body is meant for the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:13), and whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17). This is the gift of eternal life! It is the truest, deepest answer to your heart’s cry for intimacy!
This is why God outlines only two roads for the follower of Jesus and then promises to provide the power to walk down one of the roads. Either express the depth of Christ’s love for the church through the covenant of monogamous marriage or express the breadth of true fulfillment in Christ through celibate singleness. Both roads honor God and redefine the cultural narrative around sex.
If you wish to maintain the boundaries that God has etched into the universe, specifically in the area of sex, know that this won’t be accomplished without extreme intentionality. Scripture teaches at least four specific boundaries that must be embraced for the rediscovery of true intimacy.
Boundary 1: The boundary of a flawed soul. The first step toward freedom and victory is acknowledging your own brokenness. Sin has distorted the soul, which means that you can’t trust yourself in the area of sexuality and you can’t figure out your own way. According to Jesus, you are a dead person who can come alive only by his power (John 5:25).
Boundary 2: The boundary of real accountability. Find a mature follower of Jesus of the same gender who is living in victory and confess your areas of struggle with sexual sin. Then commit to talk regularly about your areas of weakness until you see habitual victory. In this act of humility, God will respond by providing for you the power to walk away.
Boundary 3: The boundary of a future picture. In moments of temptation, picture your life if you pushed the clock forward. Consider the guilt, the shame, and the loss of spiritual confidence. Use this boundary to snap your heart out of the spell that sexual temptation casts.
Boundary 4: The boundary of resurrection power. Romans 6 teaches that “we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6). Jesus put his Spirit within us, giving us the power to say no when temptation knocks.
More than any other kind of sin, sexual sin can devastate your relationship with God. That is why habit 4 is so critical to your spiritual maturity and joy.
Habit 4: Live within the accountability of biblical sexual boundaries.
Father in heaven, I need your healing. I have acted outside the sexual boundaries you created for my benefit. I have trusted my desires over your word. Forgive me. Today, I turn to you and open my heart to your boundaries. Help me to take the next step into joy and freedom.