Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sex & Money by Paul David Tripp

I've always been interested in reading more about the topic of sex in a Christian setting which faithful readers of this blog might have noticed in previous reviews of "Same Sex Attraction and the Church", "Sex and the Supremacy of Christ", "Meet Mr. Smith", "Sex Difference in Christian Theology", "Counterfeit Gods" just to name a few.

But this one takes the cake.

By popular speaker Paul David Tripp, this book discusses the topic of sex and money from a Christian perspective.

Unlike other books that take a prescriptive approach on how to handle sex, doling out advice such as being accountable and having boundaries and all, this book takes a bigger picture view on the topic.

We learn how, strange as it may seem, sex is ultimately about worship, and that pleasure is God-glorifying. I can already see some of you shaking your heads in disbelief, but hey come on, just give it a chance. Here's a tiny extract:

"God's creative intention was to bring glory to himself by the pleasure that he created. Each pleasurable thing was perfectly created and designed to reflect and point to the greater glory of the one who created it. These things were designed not only to be pleasure inducing but also for a deeply spiritual purpose. They were meant to remind you of him. They were meant to amaze you not just with their existence but with the wisdom, power, and glory of the one who made them. They were put on earth to be one of God's means of getting your attention and capturing your heart.

You see, you will never understand pleasure if you think that it is an end in itself. Pleasure is pleasurable, and you should never feel guilty that you have enjoyed its pleasure or that you want more. This is all according to God's design. But you and I must understand that pleasure has a purpose beyond the momentary enjoyment it will give us. Pleasure exists as a sign of the existence of one in whose arms I will enjoy the only pleasure that can satisfy and give rest to my heart. Pleasure exists to put God in my face and remind me that I was made by him and for him. Pleasure, like every other created thing was designed to put God at the center, not just of my physical joy but also of the deepest thoughts and motives of my heart. Pleasure exists to stimulate worship, not of the thing but of the one who created the thing. The glory of every form of pleasure is meant to point me to the glory of God.

The pleasure of sex is meant to remind me of the glory of my intimate union with Christ that only grace could produce. The pleasure of food is meant to motivate me to seek the heart-satisfying sustenance of the bread and wine that is Christ. The pleasure of all things beautiful is designed to cause me to gaze upon the Lord, who is perfect in beauty in every way. The pleasure of sound is meant to cause me to listen to the sounds of the one whose every utterance is a thing of beauty. The pleasure of touch was created to remind me of the glory of the one whose touch alone has the power to comfort, heal, and transform. The pleasure of human affection is meant to induce me to celebrate the glory of God's eternal, underserved, self-sacrificing love. The pleasure of rest is meant to draw my heart toward the one who in his life, death, and resurrection purchased for me an eternal sabbath of rest. 

Pleasure doesn't detract from God's glory. It doesn't necessarily deaden your heart. Rather, it is one of God's means of reminding you of the satisfying glories that can only be found in him. Pleasure in Eden and now, like every other created thing, was created to lead you and me to worship."

In the later part of the book the author dwells on the topic of money and how it has become an all-consuming passion for many people today, including Christians.

He then offers advice on how, as Christians, we might approach money with eternity in mind. After all, we won't take any of it when we go.

This book reads like how the writer preaches, in a sensible, easy-to-read style. However, the content can be slightly dense at times, which prompted me to reread several pages as I journeyed my way through the book.

All in all, I would say this book is the best of its kind, on par with Timothy Keller's "Counterfeit Gods".

I'd recommend all Christians to read it to develop a broader perspective on the topics of sex and money.

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