[0:00] We're going to read together from Proverbs chapter 7. That's our text from which our teaching is based this morning, Proverbs chapter 7. This is God's word.
[0:10] My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you. Keep my commandments and live. Keep my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers.
[0:20] Write them on the tablets of your heart. Say to wisdom, you are my sister. And call inside your intimate friend to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.
[0:33] For at the window of my house, I have looked out through my lattice and I have seen among the simple and I have perceived among the use a young man lacking sense. Passing along the streets near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.
[0:50] And behold, the woman meets him dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward. Her feet do not stay at home. Now on the street, now in the market and at every corner she lies and waits.
[1:03] She seizes him and kisses him. And with bold face she says to him, I had to offer sacrifices. And today I have paid my vows, so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly and I have found you.
[1:16] I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen. I have perfumed my bed with my murals and cinnamon. Come let us take our fill of love till the morning.
[1:29] Let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home. He has gone on a long journey. He took a bag of money with him. At full moon he will come home. With much seductive speech she persuades him.
[1:41] With her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her. As an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast. Till an arrow pierces its liver.
[1:52] As a bird rushes into a snare, he does not know that it will cost him his life. And now listen to me and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways.
[2:04] Do not stray into her paths. For many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are mighty throng. Her house is the way to shield going down to the chambers of death.
[2:16] This is God's holy word. We're working our way in the summertime through proverbs and through specifically problems of the human heart that appear most frequently across the book of proverbs.
[2:31] And so so far we've looked at pride, envy, and anger. And today as you might have noticed from the reading, we turn to one of the big problems across the book of proverbs, and that's the problem of lust.
[2:45] So if you're a first-time visitor today, you've come on a wonderful day. Welcome to St. Columbus. We're going to talk about sexual lust from the Bible.
[2:59] But actually this is really important of course because sex and sexuality is always upfront in the culture we live in. And so if the church has got to be talking about it all the time and got to be treating these issues.
[3:15] And proverbs five to seven actually is a series of texts that are very similar. We read really a sample of proverbs seven, proverbs five and six do very similar things.
[3:25] Talk about what's called here translated as the forbidden woman. And really we're going to see in a moment that it's talking about something underneath the surface of the text. It's talking about the problem of lust.
[3:37] And it is so critical to talk about this because the contemporary culture actually says to us that that lust is okay and that lust is normal. It's just a part of what a human being naturally, instinctively does and is. And the Bible comes and says actually it's a big problem.
[3:55] And it's one of the great human struggles and that we should fight to put it away. And so you've got two very different visions of what lust is. One says that it's good and one says that it's not. And so let's look at that and explore that for a few minutes this morning.
[4:09] We're going to look at two things. First, the nature of lust and then secondly, the way out. So very simple. The nature of lust and the way out. So let's start with the nature of lust.
[4:21] All right. Proverbs chapter seven, as you noticed in the reading is tracing the movement from lust to adultery, to the act of adultery. It doesn't ever use the word lust at all.
[4:34] Proverbs almost never. It only shows up two times in all of Proverbs, although it talks about lust and around lust all the time. But if you look at the other terms that are translated lust in the Bible, it's very clear what lust very literally means. The term in the New Testament, the Greek New Testament for lust very literally just translates to over desire, too much desire.
[4:57] It means desiring. And this is very important. Good things, but in the wrong way, too much in bad ways. What Proverbs five, six, and seven does is talks to us about how it happens, how it arises. And here in chapter seven and verse one, the father is talking to a son and he's trying to give the son wisdom. And he says that he tells his son of a story.
[5:24] And the story is of a young man who the father perceives through the window and he sees this young man and it says that he's being tempted by verse five very literally in the Hebrew text, the strange woman. So it's translated here as forbidden woman, but it's very literally the word strange, the word strange woman. And we'll come back to that. That's important. But notice if you see in verse 12 that when the young man is walking around the city, he sees quote the strange woman on every street corner in the marketplace on that corner, on that corner, on that corner. And that's an important detail because what that tells you is that what's happening here is not an actual story. It's not the father's not literally telling a story of something he's seeing right then. He's he's speaking in metaphor. He's saying that I see a young man, I envision a young man who stands on every street corner and sees the strange woman.
[6:20] And so you see he's talking about more than an actual literal, literal, literal woman. He's talking about lust. And he's saying here in the young man's life, sexual lust is happening frequently on every corner. Every in the market. He's in the marketplace and he's seeing beauty that entices him and he's lusting after it. And it's happening all over the place. And what the passage is doing is very simple. It's saying it's very easy to move from the initial moment of lust to the point of external physical action in a short time. And that's he's saying that that movement from lust adultery, in the case of a married woman, a married man, is like being is like an ox or a fox being caught in the trap of the snare. That's how he compares it metaphorically here. Now you've got to read this. That's that little nuance that this is a metaphor is very, very important because at the very end of the passage in verses 25 to 26, the father concludes with this, let not your heart turn aside to her way, to her ways. You know, don't let your heart be captured by her. Now any modern person in Edinburgh, as the late modern 21st century people that we are, is going to come to that and read a text like this and say, you know, it really sounds like what it's saying is that when it comes to lust, women are the problem. And you know, this man's being enticed on every corner, but he's being enticed because this woman is always being seductive. And she's trying to draw him. She's the one that's really doing this. She's the one at fault. And so if women would change, men wouldn't lust. But of course, proverbs, it's not doing that. Proverbs knows that lust works both ways, number one. And it has sections where men are being seductive across the book of Proverbs. But the most important qualification is that he's speaking metaphorically to both genders even. But there's a context here and the context is this.
[8:25] The reason why it's written like this is because Proverbs is a book originally written for boys, young men. And it was a book written for young men who were training to be leaders. They were probably royal young men in the household of Solomon and beyond. And they're training to be leaders.
[8:45] And so this is written and there are two great characters in Proverbs, the two most dominant characters. And who are they? There's one, the strange woman. She is Lady Folly. And but, you see, you can't say that he's blaming women here because who is the greatest pinnacle character of all of Proverbs? It's Lady Wisdom. And you see at the very beginning of this chapter, it says, young man, son, seek after Lady Wisdom, make her your sister. Sometimes it says mother, sometimes it says friend. But basically what Proverbs teaches is a father talking to a son and saying, you need to be like your mom. She's the pinnacle of wisdom. You need to be like her and grow into her. You need to find a wife, Proverbs 31. That is like your mother because she's, she's a person of wisdom. That's what Proverbs is really doing. And so he's saying metaphorically, there's Lady Wisdom and there's Lady Folly in both genders. Men and women can fall and chase after Lady Wisdom or Lady Folly because ultimately what is Lady Folly here? Who is Lady Folly here?
[9:46] Lady Folly is what's going on in the young man's heart. It's lust. Lady Folly is lust. It's actually what's happening in him, not what's happening outside of him. And that's why when he steps onto every street corner, he sees her, meaning he's struggling in his heart and in his mind with lust. It's his problem, not her problem fundamentally. It's, but it can be, it's a woman's problem. It's a man's problem that Lady Folly is ultimately disordered desire. That's what the book of Proverbs is trying to show us. Now it's hard to talk about lust without immediately jumping to the New Testament and quoting Jesus on this issue, Matthew chapter five, the most famous section on this problem. And remember what Jesus says, Matthew five, he says, if you look at another person with lust, you've committed adultery in your heart. And then he goes so far as to say, if this is your struggle, pluck out your eyeball and cut off your hand to deal with it, lest your whole body be cast into hell. Now again, you come to a text like that as a modern person and you say, boy, does Jesus seem to be very negative about sexuality and sex. And further, a modern person from, and from this city is going to say, you know, what is the big deal anyway with lust?
[11:13] Because it's something that happens in my own thought world. It doesn't harm anyone. And of course, the great rule of sexuality in the modern era is only this, do no harm. As long as you do no harm to another, you can do anything you want to do sexually. And so people are going to come and say, what's wrong with lust? It does no harm to anybody else. It's just me. It's a solo enterprise.
[11:36] And Jesus, two things, Jesus is not number one, not being negative about sex and sexuality. And he's saying there is a huge problem with lust. And you've got to have a bigger vision, a different vision than the way of the world in order to see that problem, in order to see the damage that it that it actually does. Okay, so the word here that Jesus uses, in fact, for lust, this New Testament word, can literally just mean greed. And that's that's where Jesus starts. That's where Proverbs seven hints. In other words, the problem with lust, the alternative vision, and I'm going to start to build it for us, is that lust is actually deep, disordered, and especially selfish desire. That's the way that the Bible takes it. Now, Jesus is not condemning sex or sexuality, or even sexual desire at all. People will often say today that Christians perceive of sex and the body and sexuality in really negative ways that religious people are prudish. And indeed, sometimes religious people are prudish. But you can never say that about the
[12:47] Bible. And if you read carefully through the Bible, one of the things that you'll see, you know, if I was to read certain passages from the song of song, song of Solomon, as we often call it, right now out loud, in St. C's, all of us would blush, you know, the Bible is not negative about sex and sexuality. It's positive. It gives a positive vision for it. But what it wants to do is say that it's, if you don't treat it in the right way, it will break you. It will destroy you from the inside out and the outside in. And lust is the beginning of that problem. And here's why.
[13:21] Here's why lust is greedy. Here's why it's selfish. Here's why it misses what sexuality is and sexuality is for. Let me show it to you. The first thing to say, back in Proverbs 7, there's a real reason, I think, why the writer uses the word strange to talk about the woman, the problem that's going on in the young man's heart. Why is she called the strange woman? And it's because strange in Hebrew doesn't have the connotation of weird. It has the connotation of unknown. So some people will translate this as she's a foreign woman, but that also kind of misses the mark. It's saying that she is the unknown woman on every corner. He has, in other words, he's seeing beauty all around him and he's letting that beauty entice him to the point where his thought life is running wild with it. And she is the, she is exactly unknown. In other words, all he perceives about the person that he's lusting after is the external. He doesn't know her. She's truly unknown. All he has is what's on the surface and he lets that run wild. And you see that that's exactly the problem with lust because, and here's the start, the biblical vision of sexuality comes to us and says that the only way that sex and sexuality really work well in the order that God's created it is when a person gives themselves physically when they've given themselves in every other way, emotionally, spiritually, by, by total union. And lust does the exact opposite of that.
[14:58] Lust says, I want to have this person, but only in one way, in a way that keeps them at a distance, that keeps them unknown to me. I never truly need to know them. I don't need to know their character. I don't need to ever know what a relationship with that person would really cost to me. You see, what lust does is it says, I can get sexual fulfillment, but maintain my utter freedom and individuality. And so it's fundamentally selfish. And that is the modern cosmopolitan concept of sex, lust, sexuality. It's basically this. Sex in the modern world is a consumer approach. It's just like any other market transaction. It's like buying something on Amazon.
[15:39] When two people find that they have a good that they want to share with one another, and they agree, then you can do whatever you want. And once it's over, that contract ends, you're out again. You're gone. There's no sacrifice. But there is, but there is a sacrifice, because sociologists are very clear on this. And I had notes on this, but I took them out because I knew that my notes were already too long. But several quotes from different sociological studies, not from Christian sources, that have shown that the modern notion of what sex and sexuality is has utterly broken people consistently. It hasn't fulfilled these temporary sexual pleasures, have not sustained society. They've destroyed society in many ways. And they break people's hearts. And it takes years and years for people to recover from a lifestyle of utter promiscuity.
[16:29] It's damaging. It's because it's a broken vision, because it has no understanding of what sex is and what sexuality is for. And so we've got to turn today and see that the problem of lust, the problem of free sex as it's acted on in a consumer environment that we live in, is all part of missing actually a vision, a vision for what all of these things actually are. And so here it is. I'm going to give it to you very fast, so we don't take up too much time. But it's two things, the biblical vision that Proverbs wants us to see, that Jesus wants us to see a better way for all of these things as this. One, sex is created by God only to exist within a covenant. And that's an enduring legal and spiritual vow before God and the local authorities, that you commit yourself fully to a person in every way. And C.S. Lewis picks up on this. He says that the real damage of lust, pornography, sexual promiscuity is that it makes us more and more selfish because we were not made for sexual action, physical union without total union, without emotional union, spiritual union. And so it doesn't work outside a covenant. Now what's a covenant? A covenant is when you so legally, before God, commit yourself to another person that you're saying, I lose my freedoms for your sake. And that only happens in the bounds of marriage as God created it between a man and a woman. And the reason that it's so, you know, when we do a wedding, if you've been to weddings, you've all been to weddings, you'll hear in the vows, they'll say, in sickness and in health, you know, I commit to you before
[18:19] God and these witnesses in sickness and in health. In other words, no matter what comes, as long as we both live till we die. And why do we do that? Because, well, because you know that if you were to ask, you know, do you need that vow on the wedding day? No. Everybody knows on the wedding day, these two people, they're in, they're all in, they're committed, they love each other, they love each other emotionally, physically, spiritually, in all these ways, they're excited.
[18:48] But in 10 years, you know, that's when the vows really start to matter. In 10 years, in 20 years, in 50 years, when physical attractiveness isn't quite what it used to be, then the covenant is really the power to sustain the marriage. And in that, and through that, in loving with the whole self, then physical love actually all works together to create a love that's deeper than anybody could ever imagine. And that's exactly what the modern world loses with the contemporary vision of sexuality loses. Now, level two, the last thing about this, and we'll move on, and this is our long point, we'll have a short point. And even bigger vision than that, that sex only fulfills and works inside of a covenant, and even bigger vision of that, because you could say, well, why?
[19:38] Why is that? And here it is. God created sexuality, God created gender, God created sex, God created us and tells us how to be, how to be fulfilled, how to act, what the things that He's made or for.
[19:53] He tells us, and here's what He says, here's what the Bible says over and over again, that God gave sexuality and sexual love, and this is its meaning. And it's a grand meaning, one that the contemporary world can't understand without help. And this is a, that sex and sexual love is to be seen as a signpost and foretaste of the love that fulfills all loves. And that's experiencing the love of God in person. That God, the Bible says, created sex and sexuality to just be an allegory and analogy of foretaste, a sign, a signpost of the ultimate love that fulfills all love that everybody was made for, and that's experiencing the love of God and being near to God. That's what sex actually exists for. And what that means actually is that sex isn't necessary. Expressing one's sexuality is actually not necessary in life, because in the biblical vision, the greatest love, the only real love that everyone needs to be ultimately fulfilled, is experiencing the love of God. And that's why when the apostle Paul comes and says, it's good to be single, he revolutionized the world, because he said, because the love of God is the only love that a person really needs to be fulfilled, that you can be single and it's great. Or you can be married and it's great. And if you're married and you're, and you can express your sexuality in that way, then that's a signpost, just a small hint of the overwhelming experience of the love of God that you will share in the new creation in the face of Jesus Christ. And that's what sex is actually for. And without that vision, you can't put lust in its place. You can't kick it to the curb. You can't even, you don't even know why it's bad, because it just feels like natural human instinct. But in that vision, in the vision of creation order, it changes everything. It turns what the world says upside down. Now, the last thing I want to say about it before we move on is that the way the word lust is used in the Bible is not just sexual. You can lust after anything. The great Greek word that's used for it, overdesire, epithemia, can be applied to any object. You can, you can lust after money, relationships, safety, security, jobs, success, power, health, longevity, food, drink after anything, because lust is simply this, loving and longing too much for good things that God has made in illicit, disordered ways.
[22:35] In other words, it's longing and chasing after things to the point where you want them more than you want God. In other words, very simple. And the Bible, lust is the pathway to idolatry. That's what lust is. Let me give you one example. Might not resonate with everybody, but it's understandable at least. In the late 90s and early 2000s in the United States, baseball was in the news all the time, much more than today. And the reason for that is because at that time there were three or four individuals playing Major League baseball that were chasing the home run record. And they were hitting home runs to the extent that had never been seen.
[23:17] You know, they were hitting, they had power to hit home runs in game after game, every single game, it seemed like. And the world had never seen anything like that before. And they would interview these men, there was three or four of them, and you know, you got the sense. They wanted to be the greatest. They wanted to be, they wanted their name to be above all other names in the Hall of Fame. The greatest achievement a baseball player could ever have is to set the home run record for all time. And they did it. And each of them broke the others records and nobody could believe it and how they were all doing it at the same time. And then it came out. And you remember, it was in the new international news, you remember what happened. It came out. We learned that consistently they were, they were many, not all, but most of them were taking steroids.
[24:02] They were taking human growth hormone. They were taking anything that could get them to the top, that could get them into the Hall of Fame, that could get them to the name that they wanted. And what happened? It all fell apart. And now their names are tarnished. Their names are worse than ever. Their names will not be in the Hall of Fame. And they experience public shame. And you see that, that is exactly lust. In other words, lust is longing for a good thing and an illicit way to the point that it carries you down a path where you'll do anything to hold on to it. And what happens is it ends up destroying you. It's the path of the young man from lust to adultery.
[24:42] It's the path of home run hitters in the MLB. It can happen with anything. And so Lady Wisdom says today, lust is so serious because lust is the starting point of all idolatry. All right.
[24:56] Secondly, and very briefly, the way out. The reason we lust is because we have unfulfilled longings and we look for fulfillment in the wrong places. That's what Proverbs is teaching us.
[25:12] De Tocqueville, Tocqueville is a famous French political philosopher that wrote a lot about American democracy, but he has a great line. He says it like this, the incomplete joys of this world will never satisfy the human heart. And that's exactly what the Bible says over and over again, the incomplete joys of this world will not satisfy the human heart. We'll continue to lust as long as we chase after incomplete joys. And instead, we've already said that God is our greatest fulfillment. That's what Christianity says, unlike any other tradition that love beyond all love is the love of the love of God. And if you don't grasp that, you'll find instead that your heart will be really damaged. You know, lust leaves a trail of bodies, of dead body, of damaged hearts, of broken hearts. Verse 22 says that following lust is like an animal walking to the slaughterhouse.
[26:07] It destroys us. And here's the way out. There's a famous moment in John chapter 4, New Testament. Jesus is there with the Samaritan woman at the well. And he says to her, very strange, he says, I have water to drink that will satisfy your thirst forever. And she says, what do you mean?
[26:28] You know, where is this water? I want, if you have water to drink where I never have to come back to this well again, I want it right now. And he says, okay, go and get your husband.
[26:41] And she says, I don't have a husband. And he said, I know you have, you've had five and the man that you're living with now is not your husband. Now you say, why in the world does Jesus do that? Why does he say, I have living water to give you that will, that will fulfill all your lusts, your longings forever. And he says, now this is your sexual history.
[27:02] Do you see what he's doing? He's saying, I know you, you have been looking for deep fulfillment in sexual intimacy, person after person after person. And the reason it's been person after person is because none of it satisfied you. It's never really been what you're looking for.
[27:21] Because we don't actually need it. And he's saying, I've got water that is much greater than that, living water. And look, here's what makes Christianity so powerful. Christianity comes and it says two things. Okay. One, when we lust and we struggle with sexual sin, what we're doing in that moment is saying to God, I don't believe you can really fulfill me. And then secondly, this is what Christianity does. It says that, but then it says this, there's good news. And that's that your lust, your broken sexual past, whatever it is, can be forgiven fully, finally, and forever.
[28:03] It can be cast on 103 we read as far as the east is from the west past, present, and future, and never remembered in the eyes of God, in the mind of God any longer. And also, it's not just the negative side, but the positive side of your real needs of fulfillment can be met. You can actually rest in a love that fulfills your desires and that will never leave you. That's why the Bible speaks of our relationship to Jesus Christ as marriage. It's the greatest marriage. It's the true fulfillment Ephesians chapter five. And so here it is Jesus Christ, who is the water of life himself, who has God become man, who is the only one that can both forgive and fulfill our sexual past. He was the lamb. He was the fox. He was the ox from Proverbs seven that was led to the slaughter for our lusts. You know, he joyfully went to the cross to bear the weight of what our sexual sin has cost. And he can in his power of resurrection heal the brokenness and fulfill a life and set it on a new path and changes forever forgiveness and fulfillment all had in the death and resurrection of the Son of God fully and finally. Now, Jesus says that that's the way out, but he also says to after that, and this is the last word he says after that, you got to cut off your hand and pluck out your eye to deal with this. And you've got to Proverbs seven at the very beginning of the passage. It says that you've got to make the way of wisdom, the apple of your eye instead of lust.
[29:43] So anytime you may have heard a sermon on lust in the past, you've probably thought, I'm here for the practical bits, you know, I'm here to hear like, what are the steps to take? What do I do today? And that's important. But not until you have a biblical vision, not until you've come to the man himself, the power forgiveness and fulfillment.
[30:05] And only then can you come to the practical helps. And here's a few practical helps to close. One, if you're a Christian today, start today. So that means very easy, not easy, very, very clearly.
[30:18] Start where you are, make a plan today for how you're going to fight the battle. Don't leave it. So that leads me to second, just four things and they're this fast. Second, don't take a passive view of your thought life. The Christian can never have a passive view of your thought life, of what you ingest, of what you consume, of what you think about, of where your thoughts go. You've got to fight a battle where you take active control of your thought life. It's got to be part of your spiritual disciplines to never be passive, but always active to go into battle for your mind. And you say, look, I've struggled with this issue for my whole life. I've struggled with this issue issue for 25 years. And I don't feel like it's gotten very, very, very, gotten very far, including everything I've already said. Are you, are you passive about your thought life? That's a question to consider. Third, here's a little detail to fill that out. Galatians takes up this issue and says the way to deal with lust is to walk and step with the spirit in order to put away the desires of the flesh. That's the line. So it says walk and step with the spirit. Here's a way to think about it, a pithy way to remember what that means.
[31:30] Fitness, when it comes to our thought life in terms of lust, is just like physical fitness. If you want to get fit physically, you got to do two things. You've got to have resistance and nutrition. All right, so resistance, you got to be lifting. You know, you got to be, you got to be pushing against gravity in some way. You got to be pulling weights off the ground.
[31:49] You got to be running long distances, whatever it may be, you got to be resisting gravity in order to get fit. It tears your muscles. They grow back bigger. That's how it works. That's part of fitness. Resistance, spiritual fitness, fighting lust has got to have resistance.
[32:07] So you got to put boundaries and rules. At the beginning of Proverbs 7, he says, write the rules of wisdom on your forehead, on your wrist. You've actually got to start there. In Christ, you've got to start with some rules. How are you avoiding temptation? What are you putting in place to deal with it? Later on, you can kick away the rules once your heart and your will grows fitter. But you begin with boundaries. You begin with rules to fight temptation.
[32:37] And then once you get more spiritually fit in that arena, then you can kick away the scaffolding of the rules and go back to some normal activities. But at first, there's got to be an avoidance of temptation, a resistance, a weight training element. But then secondly, a nutrition element. It's not just about how you're resisting negatively, but also what you're putting in. So you can lift as much weights as you want. But if you eat terribly donuts every day, every meal, you're just going to have a big biceps, but with a lot of layers of fat on top of those biceps, right? That's how it works. You got to get your nutrition under control.
[33:12] The same thing. What are you ingesting? So there's a negative and a positive. Of course, the word of God in prayer. But let me say even more than that, because sometimes reading God's word and all these things, but in midst of the main thing, which is this, we're not just about reading God's word. We're about meeting with the living God through the word.
[33:38] It's not the word that we're coming to be with. It's God. It's him. It's the trying God, Father, Son, and Spirit. So you've got to be actually ingesting a relationship, eating and drinking the relationship you have in Jesus with God himself in very intentional ways, seeking his face, praying and asking that he would make himself a much greater desire than sexual fulfillment is for you. We've got to be eating and drinking in that way. And then a principle to go with that.
[34:11] And it's this. Remember, in this fight, awareness of beauty is not sin. Awareness, sexual desire is not sin. Jesus is not saying that. Awareness of beauty is not sin.
[34:25] But what you do with those things can be and can become sin. And so I'll leave you with one thing that Alan Noble, an American public intellectual writes in one of his books. He confesses in one of his great books, his own fight with lust over the years as a grown man. And this is what he says he learned to do. He says, every time I begin to be tempted, he says this, and this is for the for the men, especially, I think, but for everybody, he says that I pray this prayer, Lord, thank you for the beauty you create in others and help me to appreciate that beauty and to know that that beauty is not mine to possess. He says, that's his prayer. Every time he struggles, Lord, help me to love that beauty. But no, it's not, it's not for me. It's not mine. Lastly, for Jesus Christ has to be your main spouse. If not, if God is not your greatest love, if Jesus Christ is not your first spouse, your main love, your first spouse, the marriage, the groom of the bride, the church, the people of God, then we'll even look to the best things in our lives for fulfillment, our spouses even for fulfillment in ways that they cannot be. And because God is our true spouse in
[35:40] Jesus Christ, you can be single, you can be married, and you can find a real lasting fulfillment in this life instead of soul destroying lusts. Let's pray. Father, we ask now that you would give us a better vision than the modern world gives us, which is so broken, but it's in our bones sometimes in our hearts because we eat and drink the nutrition of the world all the time. So we ask for help and a way out and help those today maybe that are visiting, that are exploring Christianity even for the first time and thinking about this and not sure what to think Lord, would you reveal yourself to them and meet with them we pray and help us to have a good conversation and answers Lord. And so we pray for these things that you would move by the Spirit in Christ's name. Amen.