A lot happened when Adam and Eve ate that apple! A lot happened again, when Jesus died on the cross for us; rose from the dead; ascended to the Father’s right hand; sent His Holy Spirit to indwell us – and today intercedes for us!
We know that in creation design, that is, in the Garden of Eden, man and woman were naked and unashamed. We also know that after they sinned, Adam and Eve were suddenly aware of their nakedness and attempted to cover themselves. There is something incredibly instructive in that for Christians today.
Why didn’t Adam and Eve feel the need for clothing in the Garden? And why did they sense the need for the proverbial fig leaf after sin? There is truly something about the human body, and nakedness, that was deeply impacted by sinfulness.
The Big Three
It is commonly understood that there are three major points of temptation for mankind, and they are money, sex and power. Israel’s kings were forbidden to acquire great numbers of horses; to take many wives; or to accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. (Deut. 17:16-17) Obviously horses represented power; many wives, sex; and silver and gold, money.
These three areas of life became powerful weapons in Satan’s hand when Adam and Eve fell. Each can be a wonderful servant or a horrible master in our life and in the church. None of them is “dirty” in itself but each can contaminate us when experienced in an unholy way. (While the present discussion is about sex, it is important that we keep all three in view.)
Christians agree that public nudity today violates God’s intention. There is something about “male and female” which represents at a very high level, His design of man and His plan for the God/man relationship. Sexual intercourse symbolizes our spiritual interaction and intimacy with God. It is a privilege and a sacred trust that is to be reserved for a man and woman in marriage. Adam and Eve’s need for clothing symbolized the broken relationship that came to them because of sin.
It is commonly understood that we men are typically more visually stimulated than women are. The eyes are the gate to our inner being. We are significantly impacted by what we see. To be faithful to our wife in the area of one of the most powerful and defining aspects of our manhood and personhood, and to protect the intimacy of our relationship, means that we will determine before God to guard what we see with our eyes.
Show and Tell
Because of our imagination we can proceed to visualize what is beyond what we can actually see. A provocatively dressed woman can be almost as titillating as a naked one. While few Christian women would advocate public nudity, many feel a freedom to dress and/or sit in a provocative way.
I can think of only three reasons why women dress in a way that displays their breasts, or accents their legs or derriere. It might be that they don’t know what that does to a man, in which case a parent, a wiser woman or their husband ought to have the guts to tell them.
It might also be that they enjoy making things hard for a man. Getting sadistic pleasure from it would represent the spirit of feminism quite well. Provocative dress can be a tool a woman uses to harass men if she is antagonistic toward them.
Showing herself can be part of a woman‘s attempt to find satisfaction and wholeness through being wanted by a man. To flaunt her body is to make herself available, at least for fantasizing. Maybe it makes her feel more secure because of some perceived inadequacy. “Nine to Five” comes to mind.
Regardless of the reason, immodesty of any kind is inappropriate for godly women. Those who respect men won’t dress in a provocative way and will be ashamed when they realize they have. Actually, a reasonably well-kept and modestly dressed woman of gentle and quiet spirit, because she is at peace with herself and her womanhood, is the one who defines “feminine” and “beautiful.”
Back to the Garden
Nakedness and sexual intercourse in the context of marriage, love and respect, is in a certain way a trip to the Garden of Eden. It is where the fig leaf comes off. It is a unique expression of God’s creation design of male and female, and where some deep meanings of masculine and feminine can be played out. Uncorrupted, pure sex is the best sex. Sex as God intended it, is the most fulfilling.
It is innate in a woman to give herself to her man, but we guys can discourage her by actions which do not communicate our love and acceptance of her. Do we sometimes think we should be able to act like a jerk and she should still want to give herself to us? A woman is vulnerable when she gives herself to her man, and it helps so much for her to know that she is loved and cherished.
A woman is not a “lover” because she has all the right amount of stuff in all the right places. A lover is a woman who freely gives what she has, to the man she loves. A man is not a lover based on how often or how long he can “do it.” It is based on the measure to which he gives himself to his wife, and to her needs, both in bed and otherwise. He is only a true lover, when she feels loved in all of life.
Lovemaking is a time of intercourse with a person, not just a body. The person who probably deserves far more love and affection than we have given her. The one who has probably extended more grace to us than we deserve.
Certainly visual stimulation is a big thing for men, and maybe the years have brought some changes, but we need to remember that it was we who asked this woman to be our wife. It was we who pledged life-long love. She may have borne children and now shows the effects of that. Regardless, if we are a “man” in terms of strength and integrity, we will love her because we said we would – and my guess is that she very likely deserves it. Let the good times roll!
This is #10 in the series "For Men Only" on www.john2031.com. © 2010 Ken Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636 USA. May be printed for personal use and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes without further permission if proper acknowledgment is given. Posted: March 12, 2011