Did you know that raising boys isn’t the goal of parenthood? Indeed, they come out as boys, but we are ultimately raising men. Men who, according to Scripture, are designed to leave their homes and begin families of their own.
Sadly, the age of first marriages is rising in our culture. People are waiting longer to get married and getting married less than ever. Why is this happening? These realities tie to the fact culture has completely divorced the sacredness of marriage and a sexual relationship. In other words, casual sex, meaning sex separated from a lifelong commitment, has become par for the course. It’s just the expectation. We have reduced one another to nothing more than objects to be conquered, and men are often defined by and celebrated for how many women they can attract and have sex with.
None of this is of the Lord, which is why we need to look to Scripture to define what a man is sexually.
A man SEXUALLY is uniquely made to either live a life of singleness and celibacy or commit his life to one woman in covenant marriage.
As men, we are wired to have a much stronger drive for physical intimacy than our female counterparts. Women typically desire emotional intimacy coupled with the commitment of covenant. When these are present, the physical unlocks for a woman. But for men, the physical desire and drive to be sexually active happens when we reach the age of fulfilling puberty. Lamentably, everywhere we look, our world is over-sexualized. For young men who are stimulated visually, this can be incredibly difficult – especially considering we are all just two clicks away from anything we want to see on our devices. That is why we must speak honestly to young men about this drive and what to do in the face of temptation. We must also communicate to them that getting married is a good thing for many reasons, one significant benefit being that it gives you the natural place to display the God-given desire to be intimate with a woman you are deeply attracted to.
Notice that the answer to the over-sexualization in our world is not for the church to treat this topic of sex as taboo. The Bible reveals that it is God who created the strong desires within us to express ourselves with someone we love intimately and physically. Marriage provides beautiful confines for all of this. It has been said that if sex is a river, marriage is the banks. When you allow a river to get out of its banks, it destroys everything in its path. But within those God-given boundary lines, it brings great blessings.
There are no biblical grounds for any other lifestyle other than a life committed to the Lord in singleness and celibacy or a life where a man covenants with one woman who will become his friend, his partner in life, his lover, and by God’s grace, the mother of his children – whether they have children biologically or through the beautiful gift of adoption or foster care. God set up this plan only three chapters into the Bible. In Genesis 2:24, we read, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Notice how this verse says a “man” shall leave his father and mother. Again, this is why I stated we are raising men, not boys. A man is called to come out from under the authority of his parents, establish his own home, hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. He becomes one with one woman. So, women are not merely additions to a man’s life. Women are not to be owned by a man or used by a man. The two become one.
It is essential to note that oneness does not erase individuality. I recently got to help my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Those 50 years have not erased my mom and dad’s individual personalities or passions. Also, anyone who has met both my wife and me can immediately tell we are two totally different people with vastly differing personalities. Oneness in covenant marriage means there is one life, one physical union, one mission, and one devotion to the Lord. It means being one family moving in one direction.
God does not take any of this lightly, meaning neither should we. The writer of Hebrews, when crafting the ethic of the church, said, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous,” (Hebrews 13:4). So whether we are married or living lives of singleness and celibacy, we must honor and champion marriages. One way to do this is by encouraging the young people in our lives to date strategically with clear expectations for meaningful and God-honoring relationships, and when they find that person by God’s grace, we should encourage them to marry. Our young men need to know that the cycle of going from boyhood to manhood and marrying is God-ordained and for His glory.
We have a world that is chasing the next sexual experience that never delivers, but it is only inside God’s design for sex that we will find peace and fulfillment.