The following is an excerpt from my latest book, Sex and Money. To learn more about my book or to pre-order your copy today, visit www.paultripp.com/sex-and-money
Sex and Money. Combine these two words with the selfishness of sin and the brokenness of the world, and you know we’re in trouble.
Sex and Money are both from the Creator’s hands. Both are beautiful in themselves. But both have become distorted and dangerous by means of the fall. Both have the perverse power to master your heart and in so doing determine the direction of your life. Both give you the buzz that you’re in control while, at the very same time, becoming the master that progressively chains you to their control.
Both offer you an inner sense of well-being while having no capacity whatsoever to satisfy your heart. Both seduce you with the prospect of contentment-producing pleasure, but both leave you empty and craving more. Both hold out the possibility of finally being satisfied but instead cause you to envy whoever it is that has more and better than you do.
The church of Jesus Christ has been strangely silent and reticent in both areas. We seem to approach both areas with a timidity, reserve, and embarrassment that doesn’t make personal, cultural, or biblical sense. Pastors are often hesitant to teach and preach about money issues as if somehow this topic is outside the boundaries of what they’ve been called by God to do. And if they’re cautious in talking about money, they’re even more so when it comes to the topic of sex. Meanwhile, in both areas the world around us seems to never stop talking.
Christian parents don’t seem to do a very good job in discipling their children in either area. How many parents teach their children about the street-level dangers of loving money? How many parents do more than have one creepy, quasi-embarrassed talk about sex, with joy once it’s over and a determination never to talk about it again? Meanwhile, the obsessions and distortions of an addicted culture are powerfully brought to the eyes, ears, and hearts of even the most conservative Christians by pervasive and intrusive media that's almost impossible to escape.
Yet God in his great wisdom, for his glory and our good, has chosen for us to live in a world where money is an unavoidable issue and sex is a significant part of the human experience. The issues of sex and money are important and unavoidable because God chose them to be. And because sex and money are the creations of God’s hand and exist under the control of his sovereignty, they should be approached by us with reverence and awe, not with embarrassment and timidity.
God has also chosen for us to live in a world where the lies, deceptions, distortions, and temptations of sex and money are many. The address where you live is not a divine mistake. Your exposure to the variegated difficulties of life in this fallen world, with all of its delusions and temptations, isn't in the way of God’s plan; it is his plan. He, right here, right now, has you exactly where he wants you to be.
So we can’t act with regard to sex and money as if we’re powerless, or it’ll be impossible to prepare for what we’ll all inevitably face. We can’t allow ourselves to think we’re alone in the struggle. We can’t allow ourselves to live like modern evangelical monastics, as if separation from the world is the key to true righteousness. And we can’t be lulled or intimidated into silence in two crucial areas of the human existence where the Creator has powerfully and clearly spoken.
It’s vital that we remember that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t just address your need for past forgiveness or your need for future hope. It addresses everything you face in the place where God has positioned you right here, right now. It’s this gospel that provides the only reliable diagnostic when it comes to sex and money, and because it provides the only reliable diagnostic, the gospel also graces us with the only truly cure.
The gospel has the power to make us sex-and-money wise, to keep us sex-and-money protected and sex-and-money bold, no longer willing to be sidelined by timidity and fear. The gospel graces us with everything we need to celebrate and participate in both areas in a way that honors God and fully enjoys the good things he’s given us to enjoy.
- What are some of the empty promises that you have believed about sex and money?
- Are you embarrassed and timid to talk honestly about sex and money? Why?
- How can you prepare yourself for the temptations of sex and money that you will face?
Paul David Tripp