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Men, Power, and Sex

men in suits

by Dennis Pollock

At the time of this writing there has been a rash of incidents involving powerful men who have been accused of all sorts of sexual misdeeds, ranging from verbal harassment, groping, and even sexual assault. These men come primarily from the political and entertainment worlds. This, of course, is nothing new. Men in places of authority have been taking advantage of young ladies throughout recorded history. In the Bible, the sons of the High Priest Eli, who were themselves priests, were sleeping with the women who served as Tabernacle assistants. The fact that we are hearing more about it these days is probably not because there is more of it. It is more likely that women are a little bolder to share their stories than in times past. Of course, it usually takes one brave lady to open the can of worms, and then suddenly half a dozen others find the courage to tell their own experiences.

One thing stands out. Despite many decades of the feminists and the politically correct attempting to convince us that there are essentially no differences between men and women, the overwhelming majority of those who sexually harass, molest, and grope members of the opposite sex are men. Yes, we occasionally hear of female school teachers who become sexually intimate with underage male students, but even in those rare cases, the male students are typically quite eager about the relationship. These ladies don’t have to apply much coercion in order to convince their hormone-laden young male students to get involved with them. But when you look at the statistics, or even the anecdotal reports, there can be no doubt that men make up the vast majority of sexual harassers, molesters, and assaulters.

What is it about men that moves them to break God’s laws, society’s taboos, and risk the loss of reputation and career, the destruction of their families, and even jail time, for a few minutes of sexual pleasure? One simple reality that cannot be denied is that the sexual urge in men is significantly stronger than it is in women. Women do have sexual desires, of course, but typically those desires are in a nearly perfect association with romantic love. When young ladies fall passionately in love, sexual urges flame up in a way they never existed before. Women do not normally find the desire to sleep with any random, attractive man that they come across at a restaurant or an entertainment event. But if a relationship is formed and there is a strong mutual affection, with the man showing courtesy, compassion, and real interest, the woman’s desire for sex will soon increase. Often, in those first months or years of a powerful romantic bond, the woman’s sexuality is at nearly the same fever pitch as her boyfriend or husband. But with marriage, children, and the daily grind of living, it is common for the woman’s sexual desires to drop considerably below that of her husband or partner.

Why?

Now because this study is from a Christian standpoint, we need to consider all of this from God’s perspective. Specifically, we need to ask the questions: 1) Why would God give men such strong sexual passions? And 2) What has God provided for men to safeguard them from the very desires which seem to have been built into their gender?

First, let’s deal with the “Why?” We must keep in mind that marriage is God’s idea. We didn’t one day come up with the notion that life might be better if men and women made public, lifetime commitments to one another early in life, and then lived together all the rest of their days. It was God who said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Jesus tells us that in heaven there will be no marriage, so we must assume that there is something about our very imperfect state while here on earth, and “in the flesh,” which makes marriage a very definite asset to human beings. And since God apparently wants most men and women to be married, the sexual drive He instilled in them surely must be a part of the motivation He has supplied to ensure that this will happen.

Men are from Mars, Women from Venus…

In nearly every culture and in every generation, women have normally been far keener on marriage than men. Young people won’t remember this, but in previous generations young ladies used to have “hope chests” in which they kept various clothes and items they would need once they married. The idea for ladies was this: “I may not have a boyfriend or a fiancé right now, but I have my hope chest, which expresses my faith that one day I will receive the fulfillment of my dreams, and my Prince Charming will come along, sweep me off my feet, and give me a “happily ever after” life with him, our children, and our nice little home and picket fence.

Men had no hope chests. They sometimes tried to put off marriage as long as they could. But in previous generations most of them could not put this off all that long. Back in the days when women refused to sleep with their boyfriends until they “put a ring on it,” young men would find themselves proposing almost in spite of themselves. The sexual drive of a young man is nearly overwhelming, and this is just as true of Christian young men as it is with atheists, Hindus, or Buddhists. The result was the young men and women would often marry in their early twenties, have several children, and dwell together as long as they both lived.

Of course, God had another, and arguably larger reason for giving men such a strong sex drive. He wants the human race to continue from generation to generation, so that He can have more people who will trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, and live with Him forever in heaven. Until birth control became available in the last fifty years or so, this meant that most couples would have large, noisy households. My mom told me that her mom, my grandmother, used to say that she and my grandfather had seven children, as a result of “being careful.”

The Marriage/Sex Chapter – 1 Corinthians 7

There is, in the writings of the apostle Paul, one particular chapter which goes into great detail about sex and marriage. Paul says things so plainly here that throughout the history of the church most pastors have been afraid to preach about it. But we must believe that whatever the Holy Spirit felt it necessary to include in the infallible word of God must be worthy of study. Let’s look at a few of Paul’s statements along these lines in the seventh chapter of the epistle we call First Corinthians.

Paul begins by expressing his feeling that, in an ideal world, it might be better for Christians to be single and wholly devoted to Christ, as he was. But, being a realist, he then declares, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). This may seem rather cold, unromantic, and unspiritual to us. What? People should get married to avoid sexual immorality? What about romance, what about young love, what about violins playing and fireworks going off? Or, to be more spiritual about it, what about having a clear word from the Lord telling us, “This is the one!”

But Paul knew the human condition as well as God’s strict and uncompromising commands about avoiding all forms of sexual immorality. He tells us in the previous chapter of this epistle that fornicators, homosexuals, and adulterers “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” To live a life of unrestrained sexual expression and lust is to forfeit any possibility of heaven. Far better to marry someone who can fulfill you sexually and consequently keep you from sliding into fornication than to try desperately to live a holy and solitary life, only to succumb to powerful sexual urges during unguarded moments.

Paul wanted to make sure that Christians understand that to marry is to give yourself to your partner sexually, not only during those flaming days of your honeymoon, but in the decades to come when the ardor of romantic love has cooled somewhat (or a lot). He declares that the husband must render to his wife “the affection due her,” and likewise the wife to her husband. He even insists that when individuals marry, they lose authority over their own bodies, thereby surrendering them to their spouses. There simply is no getting around this, if we are to believe the Scriptures. Men and women are commanded by the Holy Spirit to make themselves available to their spouses for sexual pleasure.

The one time Paul says sex can be avoided among married couples is when there is a special time of fasting. But even this must be with mutual consent and when the fasting is over he urges couples: “Come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5). This is one of God’s basic provisions to prevent sexual immorality, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. “Let each man have his own wife and let each wife have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). What are young men to do with these nearly irresistible sexual urges that arise in their youth? For most it means this: get married at an early age, enjoy sex with your wife, have babies, raise families, and apart from your wife keep your hands (and other parts) to yourself.

The Powerful

Getting back to the plague of powerful men who sexually harass and assault young female underlings, we notice that in most cases these men are married. We would assume that their wives are still providing them sexual intimacy, so why should they seek out all the other experiences with women whom they have no business touching? The short answer to this is: because they can. The Bible speaks about a major aspect of sin being “the lust of the eye.” Men, who are naturally oversexed, aggressive, and possess a “hunter” mentality, often yield to desires which contradict the vows they made at their wedding.

For ordinary men, this is not quite so much of a problem. Usually, as they age they lose their looks, gain a sizeable belly, and are not likely to succeed on any quest for much sexual adventure outside of marriage. But powerful men, wealthy men, men possessing authority and fame find that women may still be attracted to them even in their middle age and beyond. My guess is that for every woman these harassers victimized, there were probably more who yielded voluntarily to them, to the extent that they began to think of themselves as irresistible, and assumed that any woman and every woman would and should submit to them, whether for a long term “affair” or a short fifteen minutes in their office behind locked doors. They seem to be clueless that, while some women may be flattered by the attention, others will find it demeaning, insulting, and entirely unacceptable.

Does God have a solution for men in power, who know that they can get away with a whole lot more in the sexual realm than the average man? He certainly does. It is summed up in the phrase “Christ in you.” Men were never made to live without God. For a man to go through life without the indwelling Holy Spirit, without a relationship with their Creator, and without the fear of God, the love of God, and the love God gives them for their wives is entirely unnatural.  And yet that is exactly how many men, probably most men live all their days: without Christ and without God. Men (as well as women) were made to be temples of the Holy Spirit. And as we abide in Jesus Christ, keeping our hearts and minds on Him, the fruit of self-control is manifested in our lives. John writes: “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3), and again, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him…” (1 John 3:9).

Sexual desire may be strong, but Christ is stronger. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, and abide in Him in daily fellowship, He becomes the Keeper of our souls. Jude makes a wonderful declaration about the One to whom we have entrusted ourselves: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” (Jude 1:24). Let us not get too down on men. Not all are cads. Throughout our world there are decent and honorable men who follow Christ, walk with God, and love their wives, and only their wives.


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