In our Discovering the Bible series, my co-authors (Jean and Karla) and myself, try to…
Never Settle for Grey When God’s Love is Red Hot!
With all the stir over the upcoming release of the Shades of Grey movie , and the cultural impact of more than 100 million copies sold, I thought I would share why I WILL NEVER SETTLE FOR MR. GREY. I will NOT read the books NOR will I watch the movie—or any erotica or mommy porn like it. Simply put, I don’t like counterfeit love when God’s plan for love is REAL and it produces LASTING RED HOT RESULTS!
In this blog, I won’t spend a lot of time delving into all the reasons why I won’t stoop to the gutter and read Shades, or anything like the shady, illicit literature so readily available in our broken world. I think Dannah Gresh and Dr Juli Slattery have done a terrific job explaining in detail, and in excellent manner, all the many reasons erotica and porn are NOT healthy for our soul, NOT healthy for women, NOT healthy for dating relationships and NOT healthy for marriages. I highly recommend Dannah and Juli’s book Pulling Back the Shades. (They are even gracious enough to let you “trade your shade” (mail in your copy of Shades of Grey and get a free copy of Pulling Back the Shades).
What Dannah and Juli also do, and this is where I will jump into the conversation, is we all think:
SEX IS A GREAT GIFT! Sex is God’s gift of love to the human race!
I love sex. I love my husband. I love God. And those things all go together wonderfully!
Good-by Mr Grey! Stay out of my bedroom! I don’t want counterfeit excitement instead I want REAL, LIVE, RED HOT LOVE for a LIFETIME! That is why I am hosting The Red Hot Wives Challenge.
Using my book Red Hot Romance Tips for Women, we will look at 26 traits (A to Z) that make us a more desirable, loving, positive, red hot wife! Starting on Feb 13, for 26 days I will send a daily encouragement to your inbox, you will read that day’s trait in Red Hot Romance Tips, then YOU will decide how to best express your love to your mate that day. I know God’s plan for creating Red Hot Romance works . . . God’s plan has created 35 red hot happy years of marriage between Bill and I. . . and we have seen that couples that invest in REAL LIVE PURE DESIRE toward their spouse can achieve God’s best for their love lives too!
We believe God placed into each woman and each man, a deep longing to connect body, soul and spirit. In our book, Red Hot Monogamy (authored with my husband, Bill), we share over 200 ideas for fanning the flame on intimacy in marriage and give you an 8 week guide book to keep the sizzle in your sex life—God’s way! We explain the five reasons God created sex:
God is the Creator, the author of sex!
God is love! (1 John 4:8 and 16)
Yes, sex , Red Hot Monogamy, was God’s secret long before it was Victoria’s Secret!
Sex is a gift, a precious gift, so as with all precious gifts, it should be well cared for.
And this is where two world views collide. The world sees sex as an event, or an activity to gratify YOUR DESIRES. God sees sex as a gift that is best enjoyed when used as God designed it—in line with God’s desires for your life and your love.
What are God’s desires for you?
God desires to love you.
The entire Bible from Genesis to Revelations is one big love letter to the human race. In Genesis 1, God created everything, including man and woman. After God created man, he said, “It is good”, After he created woman (from the rib of man), he said “It is very good!” The Hebrew term “good” is TOB which means good, beautiful or functioning as God intended.
God intended sex as a bond between a husband and wife:
“…And the two shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24)
In the New Testament , God explains that a loving marriages with a sex life that is shared as a secret between a husband and a wife is a powerful picture of how Christ loves the Church:
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:31-32)
Bill and I have been trained in numerous ways to share God’s love with people, but the method God uses more than any other to introduce God’s love to people is the authentic love Bill and I share. We don’t even have to say anything about our marriage or our “red hot” vibrant, intimate, precious sexual relationship,
PEOPLE JUST SEE IT,
by the way we smile at one another; the way we give small gestures of kindness and affection, by the sparkle in our eyes when we see each other or talk about each other and by the way we greet each other with joy and enthusiasm.
God’s love in us shines through us.
YOUR LOVE IS A LIGHT!
The way you love, the way you treat people, is a beacon of light; a lighthouse of hope; and a ray of sunshine in a dark, hurting world.
But to have the kind of love that radiates OUT, you have to let God’s love radiate IN.
In 7 Simple Skills for Success for Every Woman (releasing this spring) I state why I have made the choice to love like God loves: It really comes down to two key questions:
#1: Do you believe God loves you?
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15: 13)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
God PROVED His love for you and me when he died to pay the price for our imperfection, our sin, and our selfishness.
That leads us to the second question:
#2: Do you love God?
You are My friends if you do what I command you.( John 15:14)
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:10-11)
So what does God say about sexuality? In Red Hot Monogamy we explain God gives great freedom within guidelines that protect hearts, lives and the health and well-being of individuals. (Check out the whole book of Song of Songs in the Bible—8 chapters dedicated to red hot romance in marriage.)
You can say “Y.E.S.!” to sex if it meets all 3 criteria:
Yielded to God, and to one another:
To God: To gain the benefits of the gift sex, we must yield to God’s guidelines of how sex is to be experienced. Sex is meant for marriage. The #1 indicator of sexual fulfillment for a lifetime is TRUST, that is built by intimacy with a committed faithful partner—your spouse!
I love all these translations of 1 Thes 4:3–
It is God’s will that you keep away from sexual sin as a mark of your devotion to him (1 Thes 4:3 GW)
God wants you to be holy, so don’t be immoral in matters of sex. (1 Thes 4:3 CEV)
God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality. (1 Thes 4:3 GNT)
Now this is God’s will for you: set yourselves apart and live holy lives; avoid polluting yourselves with sexual defilement. (1 Thes 4:3VOICE)
When you dig into this verse, holy, means to be set apart as valuable! And sexual immorality is any sex outside the parameters of marriage as defined in Gen. 1. Simply put, sex is for hetrosexual marriage. (If you think about it, all the negative consequences come when people do not follow God’s plan: rape, sexual abuse, adultery, premarital, extra marital or deviant sex that opens a person up to disease, broken heart of giving years self to another with no commitment or the scientific consequence now captured in books like Hooked that shows sleeping around with partner after partner actually programs brains for opting into a lifetime pattern of sex, then breakup or if you marry- the “fall-out-of- love–bolt- for-the-door-quickie- serial-divorce” syndrome. “Casual” sex undermines our ability to gain the lifetime of red hot romance and fulfilling sexual intimacy our heart, soul and body longs for. However, when we yield to God’s plan of purity before marriage and fidelity after marriage, this safeguards our health, our partner’s health and raises the enjoyment and satisfaction levels of sexual interaction.
God reminds married couples of healthy boundaries:
Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled. For God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery. (Heb. 13:4 ISV)
Extended in love- no one should ever feel forced, coerced, controlled, demeaned, belittled or intimidated. In the Old Testament, the word most often used of sexual relations is “know”. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of love, a mate that knows how to be committed to you, knows and values how God created you; knows how to make you feel loved, desired, thrilled, protected and safe; knows you inside and out, head to toe and appreciates every square inch of you–isn’t that our desire in intimacy, to be truly known and valued for our authentic self and to know our spouse that same way?
Above all, be loving. This ties everything together perfectly. (Colossians 3:14 (GW)
Secured with privacy—your sex life is a sacred secluded intimate investment in a lifetime of love. Kick out all counterfeits—say NO! to porn, illicit erotica, and Hollywood’s fake airbrushed, edited, unrealistic forgeries of love instead say YES! to God’s real love!
Consider this contrast between God’s authentic definition of love in 1 Cor 13
and the world’s TOXIC imitation:
To create the toxic version word picture for our book 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make, I simply replicated what Satan does, he twists God’s Word inside out, backwards and upside down. The Devil and those who seek to warp God’s plan for mangle, distort and warp love—and the results are toxic! And sin always leaves a wake of pain. In the wake of this toxic view of relationships are broken hearts, broken dreams, and broken lives. God’s love protects and provides safe haven, the world version of love (more aptly called- lust) prostitutes and perverts for selfish gain.
Conversely, God cares deeply about how you love and how others love you. God is interested in extending love to you. (If you want to know the secret of our lasting love, read more on how to let God love you)
God expresses His love to you: “The Lord appeared . . . saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness “ (Jer 31:3)
When we allow God to love us, we gain the ability to love more like God.
When our vertical relationship with God is healthy, our horizontal relationships with others will be healthier too.
Let me wrap up with a poignant piece of our own love story. Bill and I decided when we first met that we were going to do our best to love each other according to God’s guidelines (Yes, some might think our decision not to have sex before marriage was Old Fashioned, but like the couple in the new movie, Old Fashioned,(releasing on Valentine’s Day) Old Fashioned values- God’s values worked for us!)
But we were two imperfect individuals that God was working to redeem. (Me from the pain of being raised by an abusive alcoholic father, and Bill from the impact of a childhood dominated by a mother racked with fears and emotional brokenness.) So we had our issues.
But God’s love overcomes issues.
God’s love redeems and restores.
God whispers His love into our own love stories—if we let Him.
On our honeymoon, I stepped out of the shower and I was looking in the mirror blow drying my hair and putting on make up. As I looked in the mirror, all the old messages began to play in my mind: unworthy, unloveable, unwanted, and unbecoming. So I began to criticize myself, head to toe out loud.
Bill was sitting on the bed and he thought, Oh dear! She is going to get all depressed and it is going to take the rest of our honeymoon to pull her out of this negative spiral! Lord, can you help a guy out here?
Just then a thought crossed Bill’s mind that He knew was heaven sent:
Bill, you could do a better job than that mirror.
So instead of getting angry at me, Bill came over to me and gently wrapped me in his strong arms, he took my face in his hands and looked deep into my eyes and said, “Pam, let me be your mirror. If you need to know what a beautiful godly, amazing woman you are—you come see me!” And with a sweet smile he added, “If I have to break every mirror in the house to get you to believe me, I will. But from this point on, let me be your mirror.”
Immediately I changed. The out pouring of God’s love through Bill revived my life, my hope, my ability to receive and give love. In our DVD series for Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, the last lesson is a music video of that moment, with a song written by Boomer and Lisa Reif. In their song, I Will Be Your Mirror, there is a line:”The words he gave that day became the ground I walked upon”
(Yes, Bill’s kindness set a strong foundation for our love.)
Years later, a single woman, Rebecca Friedlander, was listening to Focus on the Family and heard us share our mirror story. She thought that was a beautiful depiction of how God loves us. God wants to be our mirror so we see ourselves from the Creator’s point of view: precious and beloved. So she wrote a song and made a music video – so her Mirror video is our Valentine’s gift to you. Let God be your mirror. If you need to know how precious, valuable, and beautiful you are, go to God, let God be your mirror.
And for the wives out there, my gift to you is the offer to spend 26 days doing
The Red Hot Wives Challenge . (Register now.) Your husband will be glad you took God up on His offer to build a Red Hot Romance. Will you say with me, “No thank you, Mr Grey! I’m bolting the door shut on shades and opening the door wide to God’s Red Hot Monogamy! “
Our relationship verse etched into the wedding gifts we gave to one another is 1 John 4:19
We love because HE [God] first love us.
Let God love you . . .you will be glad you did.
God’s Love is Red Hot!