// not of this world / in which we’ve distorted His gifts (again) //

Can I be frank with you for a moment?

Because I hope you know this by now– this world is so, so good at feeding you lies.

And quite frankly, it’s time to shed some light on the lies to find our way back to the truth. (Again… doesn’t it seem like we’re always having to do this?)

What is the truth?

Well, many things, but the truth festering in my heart at the moment is this: sex does not equate love.

Did you catch that?

Lean in and listen close–

Sex does not equate love.

You’re probably looking at your computer/phone screen in confusion, thinking, “Well, of course not. I know that.”

But that’s kind of hard to remember when the media is constantly bombarding us with messages that say otherwise.

They make jokes out of it all, highlighting the dirty little particulars, championing exploits, tossing morality to the wind, encouraging viewers that their lives will be better if they can “get it”– all in the name of true love. (Because THAT clearly makes it all okay.)

Um, no.

Since when does self-gratification equal sacrifice?

Since when does the physical aspect of the relationship overshadow the truly-caring-about-the-person part?

Have we lost our minds? (The answer is a resounding yes.)

Please don’t mistake my meaning– I’m not trying to be that ultra-conservative who shouts that ALL sex is bad.

It’s not.

In fact, I would venture to say that sex is good.

It’s a gift from God, a way to express love within the bounds of marriage.

It’s not sex itself that’s the problem; it’s how the media perverts it.

God had a design, a purpose for this gift.

That purpose was not for us was not for us to use as a means to determine who we love, who we want to be with.

It was supposed to come after all that– after we make the commitment of marriage vows.

It’s supposed to come after we make the commitment to love for life.

When I was in middle school, this guy from our local Crisis Pregnancy Center came and spoke with us every year about abstinence. I remember it vividly– he would write the words SEX and LOVE side-by-side on the whiteboard. Then he would go on to explain that so many teenage girls think along the lines of, “If I agree to have sex with him, then he’ll love me”. As he spoke, he would draw an arrow connecting the two, then immediately go back and scribble it out.

“Sex does not lead to love,” he was sure to impress on us. “It can lead to STDs and pregnancy and other consequences– but it never leads to real love. That’s ridiculous to say.”

We would spend some time going over all the consequences, and then he would finish with, “You want to know the best way to avoid all these consequences?” (waving a hand at the words STDs and OUT-OF-WEDLOCK PREGNANCY and BROKEN RELATIONSHIP).

Options like condoms and birth control were thrown out (and seriously, how do middle schoolers know about that anyway? What even?), but he shook his head and turned back to the board, writing one more word: MARRIAGE.

What he was saying is this: it’s not sex that leads to love, but rather real love that leads to sex, and the best possible way to enjoy that physical side of love is by being married.

Because that’s what the media often forgets in their glamorization of physical relationships– there are indeed consequences, and we would be fools to say “hang the consequences” because they exist, they are serious, and the only way to guarantee you’ll never have to face them is through marriage.

That’s no coincidence.

God’s standards are always the best, after all.

And quite frankly, I’m really tired of shows and movies that make the hooking-up a huge plot point and showing the real love an afterthought, and try to tell us that “see they clearly love each other because they did the thing!!1!!!!!111! What more do you need?”

Because I can show you a ton of relationships, fictional and real, that aren’t founded on physical desires, but on caring and sacrifice. Relationships that, after marriage, obviously do have sex but are classy enough to not shove it in our faces. (Which is very much appreciated.) And honestly, I like and admire them so much more for that. In this time where morality is subjective and everything is out in the open for everyone to see, we need that.

A lot more innocence.

A lot more true love.

And a whole lot more of doing things God’s way.

Why don’t we champion that instead of laughing and cheering when people try to sell us the wrong definition of love?

We don’t have to look appealing to guys to be loved.

We don’t have to give ourselves away to be loved.

We don’t have to follow the crowd to be loved.

Do you want to know what real, true love is?

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.” *

Let’s not forget that, what love really is.

And let’s not forget that the greatest Love of all is sacrificial.

And let’s stand firm behind the true definition of love.

And let’s use the gifts He’s given us the way they were designed.

(Life is much, much better that way.)

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll defy the lies and the Light will burn bright.

{love always (and I do mean that <3), Em}

*1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

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