951753

This Site Is No Longer Active

Check out RESTITUTIO.org for new blog entries and podcasts. Feel free to browse through our content here, but we are no longer adding new posts.


  

Recently, I attended my first (of a series) of classes for a Christian teen counseling certification course. As I walked into the room I was greeted by a small group of individuals who had already been attending the course, all of them ladies, & all of them just about old enough to be my Mom. Nothing wrong with moms… or my mom’s age group, I’m just trying to paint a scene for you. I’m honored that God would call me to take part in something like this with this group of people who all seem way more gifted, wise & entertaining than I am. So after we introduced ourselves we got into one of our topic videos for the night and what else would be more comfortable to discuss with these “golden girls” than… … “The Power of Sex”!

The video brought up some interesting points of view in regards to humans and their desire, pursuit and reactions to relational love & lust. Stats were given, such as…

  • At least 20,000 American adults visit Internet sex sites at least 11 hours per week
  • 1/3 of American teenagers have “hooked up” with someone they just met that day.
  • Porn sites make up 60% of web traffic with more than 11 million teens viewing porn regularly online.
  • 80% of young unmarried Christians have had sex.

These stats had me thinking about Christians in our circle who may be caught up in pornography, fornication or even an over-desire to receive a relationship partner. This led me to a book by Tim Keller, who Dr. Shaub from the counseling video quoted. The book, “Counterfeit Gods” discusses areas such as “success, money, true love” & things people “place their faith in, believing they hold the key to happiness” but end up leaving us unsatisfied or empty.” In the section entitled “Love is not all you need”, Keller explains the story of Jacob in the Bible and his over the top quest for Rachel. I mean, homeboy worked 7 years to have this girl, and he stated that it “only felt like a few days to him because of his love for her” (Gen. 29:20)!! That’s some insane love, & although we may feel like we wouldn’t be that “caught up”, sometimes our infatuation in aspects of this area, specifically the quest for a relationship partner, or the fulfillment of a sexual desire or the desire for a “new & improved” significant other, can be as strong of a (physical or mental) pursuit for us. One section I wanted to share in full (below), was Keller’s explanation of the idea of “Cosmic Disillusionment”:

“We learn that through all of life there runs a ground note of cosmic disappointment. You are never going to lead a wise life until you understand that. Jacob said, ‘If I can just get Rachel, everything will be okay.’ And he goes to bed with the one he thinks is Rachel, and literally, the Hebrew says, ‘in the morning, behold, it was Leah’ (Genesis 29:25). One commentator noted about this verse, ‘This is a miniature of our disillusionment, experienced from Eden onward.’ What does that mean? With all due respect to this woman (from whom we have much to learn), it means that no matter what we put our hopes in, in the morning, it is always Leah, never Rachel (“Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.” – Genesis 29:17 ESV)  .

If you get married as Jacob did, putting the weight of all your deepest hopes and longings on the person you are marrying, you are going to crush him/her with your expectations. It will then distort your life and your spouse’s life in a hundred ways. No person, not even the best one, can give your soul all it needs. You are going to think you have gone to bed with Rachel, and you will get up and it will always be Leah. This cosmic disappointment and disillusionment is there in all of life, but we especially feel it in the things upon which we most set our hopes.”

Nobody has ever said this better than C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity”: Most people, if they have really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we have grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us.

When you finally realize this, there are four things you can do. You can blame the things that are disappointing you and try to move on to better ones. That’s the way of continued idolatry and spiritual addiction. The second thing you can do is blame yourself and beat yourself and say, “I have somehow been a failure. I see everybody else is happy. I don’t know why I am not happy. There is something wrong with me.” That’s the way of self-loathing and shame. Third, you can blame the world. You can say, “Curses on the entire opposite sex,” in which case you make yourself hard, cynical and empty. Lastly, you can, as C. S. Lewis says at the end of his great chapter on hope, reorient the entire focus of your life toward God. He concludes, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Don’t be disillusioned by the things of the world, you were made for and can only receive true joy from the great & glorious LORD. Seek Him fully & find He’ll leave you feeling the eternally opposite of the world’s disappointment.

18 Responses to “Cosmic Disillusionment – The quest for joy in worldly love.”

  1. on 19 Oct 2012 at 4:03 pmRussell

    In relating to this, & the opportunity to maybe counsel teens later, what do you think of the first in this list? http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationship/features/20867-3-lies-the-church-tells-about-sex

    In terms of joy, the Jacob Rachel/Leah analogy is on-point, where no matter what it is, unless it’s from God it’s going to fall flat in leaving you joyfully fulfilled.

    However, do you think the “physical lustful acts/sex is going to leave you feeling horrible” could be a bad approach at times with teens? For me, when I was younger the times I had committed acts of sexual sin, I felt horrible (painful even) afterwards. I think part of it is because my parents raised me to know in part the right & wrong from the Bible in regards to this aspect. I think a huge part was also a Romans 2:15 aspect (“They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them”) where my conscience was screaming what I did was wrong, no matter how I tried to water it down or justify it. That ultimately led me to run hard away from pursuing these acts.

    I guess if this was true for everyone though, as this article points out, sin would be way less. Obviously people are engaging in sin left and right and not feeling horrible afterwards (is that an absence of the holy spirit at work in them?). What do you think, in terms of this topic of sex and pursuing lustful acts, is the best way to address it with teens. Or do we just focus on leading them (Christians or not) closer to God and the holy spirit will convict them in this area?

  2. on 20 Oct 2012 at 3:26 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Russell,
    I have found that once you start sinning it becomes easier to continue in that sin. For example if you participate in pre-marital sex, and you feel guilty about it. You will feel less guilty about it the more times you do it. I think it is a good idea to point out to teenagers that they will one day regret these indiscretions. It also takes away from the sanctimony of marriage. I have only had sex with my wife, so I am not tempted to compare her to others from my past. Sex is meant to create a special bonding between a man and his wife. This bond helps them to endure any troubles or problems that may come their way.

    Pre-marital sex erodes away at that special bond that a man and his wife are suppose to share…

  3. on 20 Oct 2012 at 9:04 pmSean Taaffe

    So Real

  4. on 21 Oct 2012 at 10:51 amTim (aka Antioch)

    For unbelievers, I agree that our focus should be first and foremost of helping them to know God. The gay community, for example, too often sees Christians as judgemental and unloving. What a shame.

    But even for unbelievers, I think you can make the case that they need to look ahead to a time when they have met their husband/wife and what is the best scenario? Is there really any case to be made that when either or both partners has baggage that that would be preferable? I think Satan succeeds when he gets us to think short term and we succeed when we think long term and according to God’s will.

    My struggle is in trying to reconcile this with the advice I would give my son to not marry until he is 25. That leaves a period of several years where hormones are raging and our mainstream culture heavily promotes having sex (just be ‘responsible’ and use a condom). That is very tempting even for a believer.

  5. on 21 Oct 2012 at 1:55 pmWolfgang

    Russell,

    In terms of joy, the Jacob Rachel/Leah analogy is on-point, where no matter what it is, unless it’s from God it’s going to fall flat in leaving you joyfully fulfilled.

    is the analogy from this author really on point? or is it based on the gentleman’s private idea taking only part of the Jacob Rachel/Leah analogy into consideration ? Is the author sort of “spiritualizing” half the story while staying entirely away from the rest of the story … which would ruin his analogy and show his interpretation about Jacob’s love to not be quite correct?

  6. on 21 Oct 2012 at 2:17 pmWolfgang

    Russell,
    you ask above:

    What do you think, in terms of this topic of sex and pursuing lustful acts, is the best way to address it with teens. Or do we just focus on leading them (Christians or not) closer to God and the holy spirit will convict them in this area?

    I would think that it would be a very good idea that the counselor first of all establish what regarding this topic actually is a matter of religious or in particular Christian living, and what regarding the topic concerns social and cultural matters and has perhaps not much to do with whether or not something is right or wrong for a “Christian” …
    In other words, is what someone might regard to be Biblical command of God, perhaps actually not be a command in the first place but only a description of a particular situation in Biblical times and the culture of that day? Why is this relevant? Because one might counsel someone as if they had committed a sin against God when in reality they perhaps have not …

    Something to consider: Is pre-marital sex always “pursuing a lustful act”? If we want to speak of “pre-marital” then we first must have some point established at which “marriage” takes place … now, are we taking current society and cultural definition of “marriage”, such as regarding the signing of a marriage license or marriage certificate in the presence of a State officer as the point in time from which sex is “permitted in God’s sight and therefore not a lustful act or sin”?

    In counseling and speaking with young people / teens perhaps it would be helpful to point their attention to the “value” of a sexual relationship with someone … many might agree that it is perhaps the most valuable they have to give to someone. If so, one might ask why they would want to give their most valuable gift to someone to whom they really might not want to give it ? Would it be great to still have the most valuable gift when the right person to commit oneself to for the rest of one’s life to give it to them?
    Whatever, the point is that the teen will (and also must) decide for themselves as to what he/she is going to do … and will either bear the consequences or enjoy the benefits

  7. on 21 Oct 2012 at 2:58 pmSheryl

    Wolfgang and all, This is a very timely post in my personal life right now as I know a very young couple who are “committed” to each other and struggling with sexuality. They are both committed Christians as well. Their parents are counseling them to wait for marriage. Right now, at 15 and 16, they are planning on getting married at some point in the future. But we older folks who have been around the block a few times know the way life can sometimes not go as we plan. So, Wolfgang, this girl in her young and immature state of mind, believes in her heart that this boy IS the one she wants for the rest of her life. So if I understand you right, they can be “married” in God’s eyes and give themselves to each other with God’s blessing. But…chances are this young couple will graduate high school and go on to college, probably separate colleges and then who knows what will happen. In God’s eyes they have already committed themselves forever to each other.

    Also, if we are called to obey the laws of our land and right now there is a well-defined (so far) concept of marriage do we ignore the State and follow our own definition of marriage…or what we perceive a biblical definition to be?

  8. on 21 Oct 2012 at 8:56 pmSarah

    Tim,

    I think Satan succeeds when he gets us to think short term and we succeed when we think long term and according to God’s will.

    You hit the nail on the head. I am 35 and never been married, so I know only too well the trials and temptations that go along with an extended (and unanticipated) waiting period. When I need help in the area of patience, I have only to reflect on the fallout now sweeping over a society that has laughed at sexual restraint and mocked the concept of one man and one woman committing for life. The relational devastation across our cultural landscape is breathtaking.

    It also helps me to consider the woman I was named after, who mind-bogglingly urged Abraham to commit adultery in an attempt to fulfill God’s plan more quickly and by her own means. One little decision that at first appeared to affect only a few people – yet here we are some four millennia later watching the enmity between the descendents of Isaac and Ishmael explode into global proportions.

    My own impatient choices in life have always ended up twisting unnecessary knots into a situation. I’m finally old enough to see that waiting on God is the wisest course of action, but it surely can stretch my faith at times. And maybe that’s the point.

  9. on 21 Oct 2012 at 11:27 pmRay

    While reading this article the deceitfulness of riches came to mind.

  10. on 22 Oct 2012 at 3:09 amWolfgang

    Sheryl,

    Wolfgang and all, This is a very timely post in my personal life right now as I know a very young couple who are “committed” to each other and struggling with sexuality. They are both committed Christians as well. Their parents are counseling them to wait for marriage. Right now, at 15 and 16, they are planning on getting married at some point in the future.

    I would wonder if the two at their age even know what “marriage” and what “committed” means? I agree with the parents … also, note, if “they are planning on getting married at some point in the future” they themselves do not consider each other as married at this time anyways …

    So, Wolfgang, this girl in her young and immature state of mind, believes in her heart that this boy IS the one she wants for the rest of her life. So if I understand you right, they can be “married” in God’s eyes and give themselves to each other with God’s blessing.

    See above … there are a few more considerations to be included which were not mentioned in my earlier post.
    I know some couples who actually were what folks call “high school sweethearts”, one of them had a civil and church wedding at the start of their university time (they were age 19), some did not have such ceremonies until after finishing university and even getting started in their jobs for a few years (age 28-29); yet, they considered themselves to be a couple, behaved and lived like it in public, obviously were intimate with each other and lived together as a couple even for several years of their university time and onward.
    So then, was the one couple “living righteously” because they decided to have a civil and church ceremony, whereas the other couple was “living in sin” for all those years before they had a civil ceremony? Does it take a civil ceremony (please note, I say “civil ceremony”, because even in the US where you can have only a church ceremony, the point with that is that the minister acts as a State authorized officer signing the marriage license certificate, etc) for a couple to be married? Sure, a couple is only married in the eyes of the State if it makes its contract (has a marriage license signed by a State authorized officer, such as a State registered church minister) and only then will be treated by the State as married … but does a couple need State authorization to be married ?

    Also, if we are called to obey the laws of our land and right now there is a well-defined (so far) concept of marriage do we ignore the State and follow our own definition of marriage…or what we perceive a biblical definition to be?

    See above ….. certainly the State defines when a couple is married in the State’s eyes and from when on the State treats a couple as “married couple” … but does God demand that a couple be making a marriage contract before a State official in order to be married in His eyes?
    It may be helpful to consider what constituted a marriage in biblical times, and then see how and what applies to us today in our societies and cultures … I don’t think that the State ever defined what was right or wrong before God.

  11. on 22 Oct 2012 at 3:43 amWolfgang

    Sheryl,

    some further thought on something you wrote above

    So, Wolfgang, this girl in her young and immature state of mind, believes in her heart that this boy IS the one she wants for the rest of her life. So if I understand you right, they can be “married” in God’s eyes and give themselves to each other with God’s blessing. But…chances are this young couple will graduate high school and go on to college, probably separate colleges and then who knows what will happen. In God’s eyes they have already committed themselves forever to each other.

    “but … chances are ….” — yes, chances are many. BUT consider this, how many couples are there who get married much later and at a (supposedly) much more mature state of mind, and with very few chances their marriage falls apart ? Marriages are somewhat of an “on-going / continuous and continually developing” matter based on a one time decision … and it is the couple who determines if it falls apart at some time or if and how it continues.
    So, even if we want to go by “State authorized marriage” equals being “married in the eyes of God”, there is the possibility of the relationship falling apart … and being a committed “Christian” is perhaps no more of a guarantee for a marriage to last than being what many Christians might call an “unbeliever”.
    Also, what about those who have “married” according to the civil law and church denominational view … doesn’t what you wrote above (“In God’s eyes they have already committed themselves forever to each other”) hold true for them as well? Does perhaps entering into an intimate sexual relationship with someone, combined with an expressed commitment of taking the other as one’s man or woman does not already constitute from God’s point of view that henceforth the couple ought to be continuing as a couple and care for one another as husband and wife ?? Perhaps a regard and acknowledgement for this type of “value” of the sexual relationship as a consummation of a relationship is missing in the place “sex” is given in our day and time in our “Western civilization” societies?

  12. on 22 Oct 2012 at 10:05 amRussell

    Wolfgang,

    Thank you for your informative replies. In response to your first reply, good correction, I agree that there is a stretch to the analogy made (especially with some of the details of the story not being there in the Bible & assumed by the author). The idea that I wanted to direct to as being “on point” was the author’s alluding to a pursuit for something outside of the will of and obedience to God will ultimately lead to failed expectetations of joy.

    I like your advice of speaking to the value of this gift with teens, especially teens with no Christian up-bringing at all. In terms of directing the teen to the Biblical commands, this probably wouldn’t work well with a teen who wasn’t raised with a Biblical overview and a fear of God. For me, my parents raised me to fear & reverence them and what they said, & this ultimately led me to fear & reverence God & what He said in the Bible, even when I wasn’t a legit Christian. There were times when the flesh won, but the majority of the time during my teenage/early 20 years of living for self more than God (not a genuine Christian), still knowing that being a “fornicator” was displeasing to God, prevented me from having sex, & the same for stealing & so on. Looking back, having a fear for God & His commands was a safe-guard for protecting me from committing sinful acts that may have caused serious long-term damage. So, I feel that re-directing a teen’s focus to the commands of God may be effective at times.?.

    – “It may be helpful to consider what constituted a marriage in biblical times” –
    This is a great point. My question is what does God consider a “marriage”? The extreme side of me wants to say “only the joining of a man and a woman who have fully devoted their lives to YHWH before getting married & make a ceremonial covenant before YHWH to declare their devotion to God through their life-long committment to each other”, constitutes a valid marriage;) What if any other “marriage”, done by any other civil or religious figure is not considered a real marriage in God’s eyes? I guess 1 Corinthians 7:13 refutes that theory though (an example of a couple who both aren’t devout Christians, but are classified as married).

    I guess, as Tim stated, a counselor’s most effective approach is to lead them to God and a love for Him… the stronger the bond between them and God, the less their chances will be of getting caught up in any sexual sin, married or not. It’s just finding the best way to convince a non-Christian to not endulge in sexual sin, so that they avoid what could leave life-long mental or emotional scars.

  13. on 22 Oct 2012 at 12:33 pmtimothy

    Russel,

    FYI…from the LAW

    Deuteronomy 22:
    28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

    29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

  14. on 22 Oct 2012 at 1:07 pmWolfgang

    @Timothy,

    I wonder sometimes how many young men would keep their supposed “hormone attacks” in check if they knew that they would be held accountable according to the above standard in a case as mentioned … 😉

  15. on 22 Oct 2012 at 1:13 pmWolfgang

    @Russell

    The idea that I wanted to direct to as being “on point” was the author’s alluding to a pursuit for something outside of the will of and obedience to God will ultimately lead to failed expectetations of joy.

    I wonder where Jacob was outside the will of God and disobedient to God in loving Rachel and wanting to take her as his wife? Yes, there was an older sister in the picture, but was it God’s will that the younger girl could not be given in marriage if there was an older sister still unmarried? or was that a cultural matter of the day and the girls’ father was simply a rather “tricky fellow” successful in “getting his older girl married off first” ?

    I don’t see how the this story can be used at all as such an analogy as the author seems to make …

  16. on 22 Oct 2012 at 2:24 pmtimothy

    Wolfgang,

    Here in the Bible Belt South the simple country people take serious the Christian bible chapter and verse.

    So over time

    Deuteronomy 22:
    28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

    became the urban idiom **Shotgun Wedding**

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY4bG49cTys&feature=related

    8)

  17. on 23 Oct 2012 at 10:40 amRussell

    Timothy,

    That verse is great… kind of confronting/scary to the unamarried, but revealing to God’s nature in his dealings with the early people in regards to this topic. That video was amusingly great too…

    Wolfgang,

    I’m agreeing with you my man… the more I unravel the story, the more I see the author taking a story from the bible and stretching it to fit his agenda. What I’m saying I do agree with though, was the subject of his agenda —> “a pursuit for something outside of the will of and obedience to God will ultimately lead to failed expectetations of joy”. Thanks for your (& everyone else’s) insight throughout; it’s helped to open my understanding to this topic & hopefully mold my counseling approach in an effective, God glorifying way.

  18. on 27 Oct 2012 at 4:46 amGeorge

    Thank God For the Hope of His sons return that keeps us rooted and grounded in His word.For I look for a city whos builder and maker is GOD.I wake up to the LORD,Thank you for all you do I have watch you grow from a boxer to a man who to the best of his ability puts God first.No more J-lo girls just a wonderful proverbs 31 wife,God Blesses you sir!!! Love gw

  

Leave a Reply