We’re In Trouble
by Paul David Tripp
Sex and money, you don’t have to look very far to see that we’re in big trouble in both areas. The news is littered with daily sex and or money scandals. The content of the tabloids is enough to alert us to the fact that something has gone terribly wrong. It’s hard to listen to any cultural discussion of either area that isn’t either infected with self-deception or distortion of reality. Neither sex nor money can deliver the promises that we think they’re making and each areas is more dangerous than we tend to think.
Both function today in the surrounding culture like spiritual solvents eating away at the very fabric of the human community. 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 for 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. Both sell you the lie that physical pleasure is the pathway to spiritual peace. Both are work of the Creator’s hands, but tend to promise you what only the Creator can deliver. Both are beautiful in themselves, but have become distorted and dangerous by means of the Fall.
With all of this swirling around us and inside us, 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 does not 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.
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. Sex and money came from him, belong to him and continue to exist through him; to him be the glory.
So we can’t act with regard to sex and money as if we’re powerless or it’s impossible to be prepared for what we will 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. And we mustn’t forget the lie-exposing, freedom-granting truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 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, but it addresses everything you face in the place where God has positioned you right here, right now. It’s this gospel which 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 effective cure. The gospel has the power 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.