The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.
Is Sex Really Spiritual?

yousoothemysoul asked you:
I have a question about sex/marriage/God. Is sex REALLY spiritual? I mean yes God created it and I’ve never been married or experienced it before but c’mon…I just don’t understand where God comes in when you’re havin’ a great time with your beloved. How the heck could it possibly be spiritual when all you are doing is thinking about your spouse? There is not way you’d have time to be thinking “wow God, this is so holy”. I just really doubt that. Is this too personal to be asked?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey sis,

This is a great question.  And it’s a question that’s much, much bigger than sex.  I think we need to ask: what makes anything spiritual?

When the Bible talks about something being “spiritual” or “of the spirit”, it’s often in contrast to something related to our “sinful nature” or “the flesh.”  Here’s an example of that:

“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”  (Galatians 6:8, NIV)

This verse, I think, actually gives a good hint in answering the question of “what makes something spiritual.”  And the hint is to look at who we’re trying to please.

See, because you and I exist in the context of a physical body, everything we do is physical, at least at some level.  When somebody leads worship, their muscles are working hard to keep strumming that guitar.  And that’s a physical thing.  When somebody ladles soup at the soup kitchen, again, it’s a physical action.  When somebody hugs their child, physical.  Even when you pray, the neurons in your brain are firing like all get out, which, it turns out, is a physical phenomenon.

But what makes any of those actions spiritual – in the Biblical sense – is the goal of the act.  That’s what Jesus said:

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them… When you give to the needy, do not announce it …to be honored by men. When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4, NIV)

This is a crazy idea!  We could do something “good” as a part of trying to hook ourselves up, and God wouldn’t like it one little bit! 

By contrast, check out this verse:

“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness” (Psalm 141:5)

Here, David is saying that, if he starts to be living in a way he shouldn’t, if he starts to wander away from the Lord, he wants the Godly people he knows to kick his butt.  So, again, something that would normally be a no-no – assault is illegal most places – is absolutely Godly and spiritual if it’s at the right time and for the right reasons.

Ok, so, we could be generous for the wrong reasons, and it wouldn’t be spiritual.  And we could throw down for the right reasons, and it would.  So what does that tell us about sex?

It tells us that sex can be – and is – spiritual when it’s a part of serving the Lord with our lives.  And that’s exactly what the Bible says:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1, MSG)

So, then: Sex as a one-night-stand because we’re feeling horny?  Not spiritual.  Sex as a part of cultivating and maintaining intimacy with your spouse and giving each other a great stress reliever while you deal with the challenges of following Jesus in the midst of tough circumstances?  Extremely spiritual.

And that leads to a bonus point.  Spiritual things – in the true sense of things that are done as an offering to God – very often do not feel spiritual at all.  Tonight, I hung out with a friend in a rough neighborhood, and, at the restaurant we were at, I was subjected to the most disgusting bathroom in the history of mankind.  Believe me, it did not feel spiritual.  But I was in that place as an offering to a God that was willing to start life-on-earth in a filthy stable.  And nothing could be more spiritual than that.