Men: We have to talk about sex.
If there’s one area where millennials are stuck, this is it.
The Water Was Dirty Before You Got In
Now, before you conclude that I’m pointing my finger at you, please realize that the Boomer cohort gave us the sexual revolution and rampant divorce, and the Gen X cohort were equally careless about sex and marriage. But it’s even worse than that. These are the guys who grew up to convince you that everyone but you was sexually active, to encourage the women you know to emulate the worst of promiscuous men, and to offer you pornography pretty much anywhere and anytime — and all so they could separate you from your money. If you want poor examples, the generations ahead of you are shot through with them.
So if you’re a typical American male, you were probably exposed to pornography somewhere around age ten. But even if you didn’t see any sexually explicit magazines, videos or websites in your youth, you’ve been awash in a culture that has turned sex into a commodity devoid of any spiritual significance. As a man who has spent much of his career in and around sales, I say it’s lazy to use sex to sell. As bad as that is, it’s worse to be so checked out that you allow it to influence you. There is a better way.
Meet King Solomon
In the Old Testament (that’s the first 39 books of the Bible), we encounter a king named Solomon. He was the son of King David and Bathsheba. When Solomon succeeded his father as the king of Israel, God told Solomon to ask him for anything. In reply, Solomon asked for wisdom to govern God’s people. This pleased God and he promised Solomon that no one would be wiser or more honored than he.
In addition to building the Temple in Jerusalem, Solomon reportedly had 1,000 wives and concubines. (Here I should point out that just because the Bible describes something, it does not therefore prescribe it.) Solomon is also credited with several books of the Bible. And that brings us to the purpose of this post.
In Proverbs 5 Solomon writes this:
My son, be attentive to my wisdom;incline your ear to my understanding,that you may keep discretion,and your lips may guard knowledge.For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,and her speech is smoother than oil,but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,sharp as a two-edged sword.Her feet go down to death;her steps follow the path to Sheol;she does not ponder the path of life;her ways wander, and she does not know it.And now, O sons, listen to me,and do not depart from the words of my mouth.Keep your way far from her,and do not go near the door of her house,lest you give your honor to othersand your years to the merciless,lest strangers take their fill of your strength,and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,and at the end of your life you groan,when your flesh and body are consumed,and you say, “How I hated discipline,and my heart despised reproof!I did not listen to the voice of my teachersor incline my ear to my instructors.”
Among his words of advice is a clear instruction to men to be the moral leaders in the arena of sexuality. His counsel is not that women are evil, but that a man needs to be aware that some are evil. I’d add that some don’t know any better. A man should take care not to be led astray by his desires, nor to let a forbidden woman play on those desires for her own ends. So if you’re in a dating relationship, you need to establish the moral framework and see to it that you avoid the circumstances that pose the greatest temptation.
Notice what’s at stake — a man’s honor, his years, his strength, his earnings his peace and his self-respect — and it all hinges on his self-control.
I’d love to tell you that Solomon himself was a perfect example to follow in this regard, but that isn’t true. His fondness for the ladies led him to abandon faithfulness to God and to worship idols. This was, in fact, a mere formality, since any man who loves sex more than he loves God is already worshiping an idol.
To those of you who have committed to the proper use of God’s gift of sex, I want to encourage you to persevere. And to those of you who who want to live chastely, God is always willing to welcome His repentant sons home. As we all know, God’s standards for sexual morality are truly counter-cultural. But as Solomon’s words and bad example demonstrate, this is critical — especially today.