|1 Corinthians 7:5-7 |
5 Do not deprive each other of your body, except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer and then resume relations so that Satan cannot tempt you because of your lack of self-control. [If you independently, (without mutual consent), withhold sexual relations with your spouse, you risk major alienation of your spouse. If you hear a command to cease sexual relations, and your spouse does not agree, the command is not from the Lord; instead, it is the devil hoping to cause you anguish, your loss of confidence, and even the dissolution of your marriage. Like Mat 17:21 and Mark 9:29, in this verse earlier manuscripts read prayer only, but scribes in later manuscripts added the word fasting, making it fasting and prayer instead.]
Like Mat 17:21 and Mark 9:29, in this verse earlier manuscripts read prayer only, but scribes in later manuscripts added the word fasting, making it fasting and prayer instead.]
6 But I speak this as a concession, and not as a commandment.
7 For I wish that all men were like I am myself. But every man has his proper gift from God, one in this manner, and another in a different manner.1
1 Do not deprive each other of your body, except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer and then resume relations so that Satan cannot tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I speak this as a concession, and not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were like I am myself. But every man has his proper gift from God, one in this manner, and another in a different manner. When a man and wife are freed from lust, there is a love that does not depend on receiving pleasure.
There is a gift from God to be freed from lust: there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it. Mat 19:12. To receive this gift from God, a person must hate their lust for bodies of others with a passion. When it is received, you are able to love your spouse like a brother in Christ, for in Christ there is neither male nor female, all are one, all are sons of God.
It is impossible to overcome one's sexual desires until one of the following happens: 1) a person, (married or unmarried), becomes painfully aware that their desires apply to attractive persons in general, and that awareness then leads to a strong desire to be rid of them; or 2) in sympathy for the weakness of a person's spouse who is committed to ridding his or her sexual desires for attractive persons in general, that he or she is a willing and enthusiastic supporter to their spouse's efforts, which support would include consent to withdrawal from relations according to Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians 7:2,5-7.
Any decision to strive to live as brother and sister, has to be one of mutual consent. If either spouse desires to continue sexual relations, the other must comply, according to the tenet of love: love is not self-seeking; for marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. Even if a seeker is married to a non-believer; or if a seeker is married to a believer that has no interest in overcoming their sexual desires; if that seeker truly desires to overcome his or her sexual desires, it is possible with the Lord's help, (for all things are possible with God). However, sexual relations with that uninterested spouse would not be withheld because that is firmly stated by Paul as requiring mutual consent; in that case the seeker's participation in sexual relations would be an act of submission or deferral to their spouse.
If you independently, (without mutual consent), withhold sexual relations with your spouse, you risk major alienation of your spouse. The devil would love to successfully order you to cease sexual relations independent of your spouse's desires in order to create a hostile relationship in your marriage, destroying your peace and confidence, possibly even your marriage. In my experience I never heard the Lord suggest I give up sexual relations; and I don't think you will either because I know from His messages to me that He wants us to become so sick of our weakness that we ourselves decide to do something about it. My motivation was simple — the lust for most any attractive woman that I knew was adultery, and had to be overcome in order to enter the kingdom. (In heaven there is no marriage or giving in marriage, there is no male or female, all are sons of God, and all are like the angels of God). There were several times of abstinence with return to relations after a time. The final time my wife and I had agreed the time had come to cease sexual relations; and when that had begun, the Lord then encouraged me to continue that abstinence, and the sexual desires melted away within several months.
Anything you and/or your spouse use or take to enhance sexual pleasure is a betrayal of your fervent desire to be free of sexual desires; you must stop their usage in order to progress. Any physical changes in you and/or your spouse that reduce sexual pleasure should be considered a gift from the Lord to aid your efforts; there are many possible physical changes that can occur for both the young and old.
Whatever the motivation, the overcoming of sexual desires is a gift from the Lord, given over time to those who desperately want to be rid of them. From the word of the Lord within: "sexual desires can be overcome." This applies to both males and females, to both heterosexual and homosexual desires, providing there is a fervent commitment to become completely free of them — but, as Mat 19:11-12 states: "all men cannot receive this;" (because they cannot believe overcoming sexual desires is even possible).
In early Quaker, kingdom-dwelling Stephen Crisp's several sermons, he spoke of the necessity to overcome sexual desires as extracted below:
The faith that falls short of sanctification, and redemption from sin, is such a faith as God never gave his people; it came some other way into the world, and it has captivated most of the sons and daughters of men, and they have expelled the true faith (as much as in them lies) that saving faith that purifies and cleanses men from sin, and gives them victory over the world, and have got another faith in the place of it; and they live in their sins, and in their lusts and sexual desires, and still remain in captivity.
Let me tell you, men of the greatest wisdom, courage and strength, of the most excellent natural talents that any man can have, are not able to grapple with their enemy the devil by their own power; there are seeds of sin, and lust, and sexual desires sown in all their hearts; so far this is right and sound doctrine, that no man can do anything in his own power and strength.
For so long as men or women stand in unity with their lusts and sexual desires, with the spirit of this world, and the way of it, they are not capable of receiving what should lead them into the way of holiness;
And when a man finds such divine assistance, his faith is strengthened and confirmed, and so he fights the good fight of faith, and at last gets the victory; victory over his sin, and his own lusts, and sexual desires, and victory over the assaults and temptations of the adversary; and at last he comes, through the grace of God, to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live righteously, soberly and godly in this present world.
Many, in our days, have put up their petitions and prayers to God, that he would reveal to them the state and condition of their souls. The Lord has answered them, and despite all the profession that they have past made of his name, and of their faith in his Son Jesus Christ, and of the work of redemption, yet he has often declared: you are still unredeemed, you are still in your sin, and lusts, and sexual desires prevail over you; you are still in bondage. This is God's answer to many; but there is something arises in their minds, that they are not willing to believe this; they think they are better than God has told them.
If a man is ever so wise, and rich, and great in the world; if he is a prince or an emperor, without being a partaker of the divine nature, he is a child of wrath. Now if these children of wrath meet with something that convinces them; if they are touched and become a sensible people, then crowns and diadems are nothing to them. Such a one will say, "if I am a child of wrath, a captive to sin and my own lusts and sexual desires, yet for all that I will go to a religious meeting, where I hope the word of God will be preached; I hope to meet with something there that will do me good; and I have a desire that I may be translated out of a natural state, from being a child of wrath, to be brought into the kingdom of God.
Let your supplication therefore be poured forth unto God, to endow you with power and wisdom to subdue all your spiritual enemies, and to conquer your sexual desires, and the inordinate desires and affections of your own hearts, that you may take up the cross of Christ and follow him as your great pattern, and in his name, and by the help and assistance of his Holy Spirit, you may know how to overcome all temptations.