Written by Daniel Hazard
Excerpt from 1 Corinthians 7:1-9
"The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell
Hallelujah. For once, Paul gives sex advice that doesn't sound like it comes from somebody's maiden aunt. He's actually telling people to have sex! Not just giving permission, but commanding it! So OK, it's a little grudging. But it is Paul we're talking about here; cut the guy some slack. And OK, he says you should do it because if you don't, Satan will have you in his clutches. But still, even that's good news: the way to foil Satan is to have sex!
So what is this? Opposite Day in the New Testament?
Actually, no. In fact, Paul says here pretty much what Christians always say:
Be more generous than you are inclined to be, with your time and with your love.
Not just by the saying of the word but also by the doing of the deed, remind the people around you that they are cherished.
Consider yourself an instrument for the giving of delight to the world.
Decide that what other people need matters.
Pour yourself out.
According to Paul, what works for every other relationship works for marriages, too. What works for everything else also works for sex:
Love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Even if you're not in the mood.
God, for the delight and challenge of partnerships and marriages, thank you. For a Spirit that helps us power through the dry, selfish times, thank you. And for Paul loosening up just a little for once, hallelujah. Amen.
Click to pre-order Hark! Advent Devotionals 2012 from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.