Love Does Not Delight In Evil… Love Rejoices With The Truth
Her face showed sadness and confusion. I knew she wanted to believe what I told her, but she didn’t see how it could be possible for her.
I had just finished speaking at a marriage conference where I had talked to couples about how to experience greater intimacy–specifically in the bedroom. “Say his name. Say I love you. Concentrate on him, not just on what you think is sexy,” I had said.
And as soon as I was finished, she made a beeline over to me. “I just don’t get it,” she said. “If I say his name, that completely kills the mood.”
She had become trapped in a lie that our culture peddles: making love isn’t about intimacy; it’s only about physical fun. And when that’s what we believe, sex becomes shallow. It’s not about our husbands; it’s about fantasy.
I have often thought about that conversation in relation to Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians:
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:6, NIV)
I’m not sure exactly what Paul had in mind when he wrote those words, but today, in 2013, what comes to mind for me is how we have so distorted the beauty of intimacy that we often rejoice in the opposite of intimacy, rather than in truth.
We live in a culture which has divorced sex from marriage. And when you take sex outside of a marriage context, all you have left is physical pleasure. It’s not about feeling close to each other, or reaffirming a commitment, or building intimacy; it’s only about feeling good. And so many of us then get married and find that our spouses quickly lose their appeal. That’s not what’s sexy.
In Isaiah 5:20, God warns us:
Woe to those who call good evil and evil good!
Our culture calls “good” intimacy evil. Don’t stifle yourself! Don’t be so uptight! Explore!
And our culture calls evil–fantasy and lust–good. Anything that helps you feel sexy is seen to be a good thing.
My email friend Jessica knows what that’s like. When she first wrote to me, she was newly married. She wanted to have a beautiful, intimate life with her husband, but almost as soon as they were wed she found out that he used porn. He was a Christian, but he told her, “I don’t look at any weird stuff. And we’re married now; we’re supposed to enjoy it! It’s supposed to be fun! It’s all good!”
So she started indulging with him. She felt so ashamed. She didn’t like it. But she had done so many things, and now she didn’t know how to stop. He had no interest in stopping, either. He became angry when she started to suggest that perhaps making love was really supposed to be about, you know, LOVE.
And now she was at her wit’s end.
Should she keep sinning to keep her husband happy, or should she insist that they stop?
Jessica’s not alone. About 70% of Christian men are tempted by porn (though not that many use it on a regular basis). But women increasingly are tempted by it, too. And so many women have turned to erotica to boost their libidos, using the justification, “it’s my body, and I should be able to have fun with it. It’s good to imagine these things because it gets me revved up!”
We’re rejoicing in evil.
What is the truth? God designed sex to make us truly intimate on every level: physical, emotional, and spiritual. And here’s the neat thing: the women who actually enjoy making love the most are those who have been married for a decade or so and feel really close with their husbands. In other words, emotional and spiritual intimacy make the physical better. It’s a lie to think that ignoring spiritual intimacy makes sex more fun. In fact, it robs it of its power to connect us on so many ways.
How do we rejoice in truth instead?
Realize that God wants to be a part of everything in your life–including in the bedroom. We don’t often think of God and sex in the same sentence, because we don’t like to picture Him knowing what we’re doing. But God created it just the way He did for a reason: He wants us to enjoy each other, and He wants us to feel close. That’s an intimacy like no other.
If you want to feel closer in the bedroom, then, one step is to feel closer in all areas of your life. Pray regularly together–even pray in bed! Read a Psalm together before you turn in. Hold each other’s hands and pray for your kids. Ask God to bless your relationship. Talk and plan together. And throughout the day, laugh together.
Intimacy is a beautiful thing, but we have let ourselves rejoice and revel in a false version of it, which leaves us feeling empty, rejected, and even used. Real love doesn’t use someone. Real love doesn’t objectify someone. Real love does not rejoice in degradation. It rejoices in the truth of one flesh, joined together, truly intimate before God and vulnerable towards each other. That’s real beauty, and no false version of it will ever compare.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8
Evaluate your life to see if there is anything that you might be delighting in that is not righteous. Perhaps it is a perspective you have of marriage or intimacy, or maybe it is an activity. Ask God to reveal to you anything in your life that may be evil in His eyes, and then ask Him to help you make changes. Also, some of you may be aware that things you and your husband are doing are delighting in evil… this challenge to take a stand and stop delighting in evil will radically change your marriage… are you willing?
This verse struck a cord in my heart. I guess I never realized the impact the things I delight in have on my marriage. Thank you for helping me understand. I pray that you would reveal to me if there is any evil in my life. Is there anything that I am delighting in that is not of you? Is there anything that my husband and I are doing that you disapprove of? If there is evil in our lives I ask that you make us aware so that we can repent. I desire to rejoice in your truth! I pray that you give me the courage to take a stand in my marriage for purity and righteousness. May my husband have a soft heart and may he respond in a positive way to this change. I pray that this makes a radically positive change in our relationship in Jesus name AMEN!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13 : 4-8
Questions to discuss in the comments:
Have you ever had to confront your husband with making a stand against participating in evil?
How has making changes to live righteously affected your marriage?