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Sex, wine and wealth: They’re not bad things

wine, alcohol
Photo: Unsplash/Kelsey Knight |

The sinful trinity of the Christian world: sex, alcohol, and wealth. If we’re painfully honest these things are how we judge our fellow man.

Let’s dive into the first topic: sex.

Navigating discussion around this topic is uncharted waters for many people. Especially when it comes to educating teens.

The most common approach for a pubescent believer to learn about sex is from their parents and or youth pastor. Sex is seldom brought to light by both parties. However, it is a prevalent discussion among their peers, classmates, and teammates.

If you’ve ever been in a teenage boys locker room nothing is sacred. When I was a teenager I was baptized weekly in stories of my teammates, “scoring” with girls from the weekend before. As a young Christian, I didn’t know how to respond. My strategy was to find the other Christian guys and talk with them while preparing for practice. Yet, to be honest, I wanted what my teammates were talking about. I wanted to share the experiences my unbelieving friends we’re having. I wanted to have sex.

I wasn’t alone, like any other teenager I wanted to make love but that’s not a bad thing. Teenagers should desire to have sex. If they don’t, they might be having some health issues. That’s the way God made us, he gave us hormones and passions and these urges come about in our early teens.

However, the hard truth for many young Christians is you can’t have sex … for a long time. I’m going to focus on the male side of the issue since I can speak to it.

Many young men go through puberty between the ages of 13 and 15. Adults are now marrying between the ages of 25 to 30. The math is simple, most Christian males have this gauntlet of at least 10 years of suppressed sexual desire. Unfortunately, these desires will need proper outlets, and without wisdom, many teens fall prey to temptations. This can cause them to set bad sexual habits they will carry into adulthood. The most common mistake they make is viewing pornography.

There have been a plethora of studies on the topic of pornography, but many numbers point to somewhere around 68 percent of church-going men view adult content monthly and 50 percent of pastors (according to TruNews). If these numbers are accurate it’s staggering.

Maybe this is why nobody talks about it. It’s easy to tell a drunk to stop drinking, but it’s hard to expose lust hidden in a man’s heart. Women, next time you go to church and look around, if you greet ten men, seven of them have looked at porn within the month. Also, flip a coin and potentially the man leading the church did as well.

This is a real issue Church, and we are ignoring it.

We’re not educating our youth about this, and our leaders aren’t talking about it. The early church leaders weren’t timid in bringing up hard topics. How can we address such a taboo topic?

We all need men to be men, and start leading the church. When I was in youth group it was a guy named Pete. We all need a Pete in our church. Pete was a man who met up with a bunch of teenage boys weekly and we talked about real stuff. Pete opened his doors to us and most importantly his heart. He let us talk about these feelings openly and challenged us to live righteously. Do you know how freeing it is to let out some of your most hidden thoughts? It’s liberating.

Pete would say things like, “I know what you’re going through. I know that you boys want to go out and ‘park’ with your girlfriends until 2:00 am. I know it would be fun, but here’s why you shouldn’t.”

He would walk us through these real emotions and explain the covenant of marriage. He had girls of his own and he would explain how precious they are to him, and how he would want a young man to treat them with respect. He taught us to be righteous men, not irresponsible boys.

When we ignore the topic of sex with our children, we’re ignoring the elephant in their room. Parents are tempted to hide the beauty of sex behind clouds of negativity. When you talk about sex as a bad thing, you might actually be damaging your kid's psyche. Young men sometimes find their wives indoctrinated with the pretext of sex being a negative thing, which can be a major stumbling block for young marriages.

It’s not just teenagers who need to hear that sex is a blessing. The Church needs to hear it too. Sex is often portrayed in scandalous terms by our culture but this should not define it. We need women talking about it in their small groups and men talking about it in their groups. We have too much divorce in the Church, and a lot of that comes from bad sex lives. 

Sexual desires, we all have them, let’s talk about them. Let’s make sure we're keeping the marriage bed holy. When honest confession comes, spiritual growth sprouts. 

On to the next topic, alcohol.

“That man smokes a pipe….and that man drinks liquor….but I do believe he is a Christian!”

Dr. Jones on the character of C.S. Lewis.

I’ve always liked this quote about the character of C.S. Lewis. It captures the stigma which surrounds our faith when it comes to alcohol. My goal is not to defend consuming alcohol through scripture. I find scripture is clear, but I want to speak to the stigma of drinking. But if you would like to read two articles I found on the topic here is a great essay on the topic of alcohol in the Bible, defending drinking. Also here is a counter argument on why Christians should not dink.

We find a handful of people in the Church who condemned the act of consuming alcohol. However, they’re only subtracting blessing, and they need not. I want to be as delicate as possible, but there is no solid scriptural ground against drinking. On the contrary, there is ground encouraging drinking. Some will try to say drinks in biblical times were not high in alcohol content. But this at best is a stretch and one has to trust an uneducated historical claim. I’ve read some biblical arguments against drinking and all I could do was scratch my head, and wonder why. It was like going through a maze of scripture, which largely was being ripped from context to defend their stance. At one point they pulled in the Nazirite code.

So why? Why do believers buy into the idea of abstinence from drinking?

What I find most often is the believer has had a bad experience with alcohol. Unfortunately, this is too common, they’ve been hurt by an alcoholic. It’s a sensitive issue, and it’s real. Alcohol can be dangerous, but it’s not evil. Like any blessing, it can be abused. As I mentioned earlier, sex is a blessing. However, there are many ways the act of sex is used to hurt others. Likewise, wine is a blessing but man can abuse it.

What is clear is one must be of sober mind, meaning one should not become drunk. If someone would like to dispute the claim of drinking because it destroys lives, one could make the same argument about sex, food, money, comfort, etc. It does not prove that the vice is evil, but that humans are evil.

Alcohol is a wonderful gift. It’s hospitable to offer a guest in your home a drink to make them feel at ease. Wine gives a romantic spirit to an evening with your spouse. Sometimes you need to grab a beer with a friend and talk about hard issues. Alcohol can give a spirit of unity amongst friends. It’s truly a gift from God, and when we treat it as such it brings blessing to those who consume it.

With all that being said, brothers and sisters, if drinking causes problems within the local body do not be stubborn. The scripture says we ought to not drink if this is the case. If it’s going to cause your brother or sister in Christ to be upset with you or fall into sin, it’s a no go.

On the other side, those who argue against drinking. Dive into scripture and ask yourself if you’re holding on to a personal biased. Cultural biased based around dogma arrises with every generation, which leads me to my next stigma, wealth.

Wealth is a blessing, but it’s the most deceiving of the three mentioned.

I think we all have this bias. Any time we see a Benz roll up to the church parking lot, do you not think (even for a second) this person should’ve bought a cheaper car, to give more to the poor? We stick our metaphorical noses in the air and keep walking.

How dare that believer? How dare they… While others are starving… (I’m being sarcastic)

We all get a little weird about money. Some are Dave Ramsey nuts, who count every penny, others don’t have pennies to count.

Scripture has a lot to say about money, more so on the dangers of it. This is the very reason I believe wealth has a bad rep. I can rattle off a lot of red-letter scripture about money. However, what scripture is talking about is the love of money, not money itself.

With western civilization being prosperous a lot of people are falling prey to the love of money. We’re buying ourselves the convenience of comfort. We’re doing what the Bible warned against. We’re hoarding all of our coins for ourselves and not giving any of it away. We have this upside down idea that we should save our money, then at the end of our life, we’ll spend it. Then what’s left over we’ll give it to our children. In the back of our minds, we believe we’ll become more generous in our final stage of life.

America is playing with dragon’s gold, and it’s driving us crazy. We’re tempted to spend our excess wealth upon ourselves. This is not to say we can’t treat ourselves or save money, because we can. However, if all we do is treat ourselves we have fallen prey to the love of money.

In itself, wealth is a blessing and we have plenty of believers using this gift for God’s kingdom. We should not be tempted to look down upon our fellow believer because of how big their wallet is. The truth is a poor believer can be just as guilty of mismanaging funds as a wealthy believer. It’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with it.

When it comes to sex let’s communicate, to alcohol let’s moderate, and to wealth let’s donate.

"Everything is permissible," but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible," but not everything builds up…” 1 Corinthians 10:23

Will Vining is a passionate follower of Jesus. In his free time, he enjoys writing and going to the lake with his family. Follow Will on his Facebook page Will Vining

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