Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a wise King gave each of his subjects a special TV set. Each person had one of his or her very own, and each was unique and beautiful.
"Take good care of this TV set because through it I will send my most important message to you of all time. It will concern the very meaning of life, and you will find it very pleasant. I will send it when the time is right, but the only way you will be able to receive it fully will be through the TV set I gave you."
This was a cheering message, even if a bit lofty to the people of this land. In any case, the actual TV sets were beautiful to look at and an interesting gift in themselves.
But some grew tired of waiting for the much anticipated "message" and turned their TV sets on in advance of the broadcast. A neat sort of snow filled the screen. "Wow" said some, and began to encourage others to do the same.
Another group, realizing this was simply noise, were disinterested. They turned their units on, but seeing that it was not what the King had promised, they quickly turned their sets back off.
"But wait," said the snow-watchers, "Turn the unit back on, and turn this color control adjustment knob here and it converts to a beautiful pink." This was much more eye catching than the first boring snow-noise signal. But this was modifying the sets from the original settings. Still, it was indeed quite fascinating and appealing. These TV set were proving rich in possibilities, even outside of how the King had said to use them and beyond his sanctioned use.
"Ah, look here!" Someone had opened a panel and found the vertical and horizontal hold controls. By tampering with these, truly dazzling images could be created, and by adjusting the color controls at the same time these pictures could be endlessly modified, it would seem. But this new discovery grew boring and unfulfilling very quickly since the images had no real meaning.
Minus a real broadcast, the sets should not have even been turned on, just like the King had instructed.
Those possessed with having an image now went around experimenting with all the sets they could get their hands on, encouraging others to turn their TVs on and to fiddle with the settings as well, in hope of getting a "new" or better picture out of the resultant distortion. But the sets at this point were being seriously degraded and ruined for their intended use.
Such were the perversions of those bored with waiting on the King and his promised message, but who retained the dream that they had barely acknowledged: that these sets must mean something. By now many sets were on the wrong channel, color distorted, image warped, antenna bent, even physically damaged.
Others, however, waited for the King to broadcast the promised message, and guarded their sets carefully so that they could get the clearest, most accurate picture.
Then one day the King decided to send his message. Those who had waited and kept their TV sets at the original settings got an incredibly powerful and important message from the King on the meaning of life, just like the King had promised. When this happened, they were very glad that they had not tampered with their sets before the broadcast. Now they understood the reasons why the King had told them to be so careful with such a delicate and powerful instrument in the first place.
The others, however, had mutilated their sets by screwing up the knobs for self-amusement before the King sent his message. When it came, it was garbled and warped. There were ghost images. Many were broken. Some were on the wrong channel and got nothing. These people were very sad that they had tried to get an "image" while none was being sent, and thus had ruined their chance to get the King's real message in its pure and perfect form.
Of course there is no such land or King, and the TV sets are merely a parable of sexuality. God gives us our sexuality and tells us:
Eph 5:31-32 (NIV) "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.
The purpose of the sexes, according to God, is so that we might understand the mystery of the relationship between Jesus and his bride through marriage. This is a profound mystery indeed, for it is the meaning of life.
But each of us only have been given one set. If we "turn it on" before God speaks we will certainly get something, but not what God intends. And if for fun we turn the knobs, it may get more interesting but we will always get "de-tuned" from the station and/or "warp" the eventual image and/or put an odd "tint" to the color. And if we change the channel or worse, we may get nothing and wonder why God made such lavish promises about this set to begin with.
In light of this parable, consider the following scripture:
1 Cor 6:18 (NIV) Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.Get it? If you play with this "set" before its time, you will ruin its reception.
1 Cor 6:18 (NRS) ... Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
If this is you, do not despair. Even if you have messed up your set, when God does communicate in the way he promised it will still be better than looking into noise, or any of the other damaging experiences. It may be color shifted, warped, or vibrate off the screen; but it will still be better than when God is not broadcasting.
And if God wills, he just may pay a visit to your house and readjust your set. It is worth asking him to do if you have already used your set in an unauthorized way. But he may not, and so you may have to live with the substandard image. This is at least more meaningful than the noise of inordinate use.
Better still, let us not do any more damage to our "sets". Let us resolve to cherish the great and splendid gift God has given us. Let us take him at his word, since he made us and knows why and what is best for us in the long run.
The meaning-of-life message transmitted through godly sexuality is the most important sermon we will ever hear. For singles, the struggle to remain pure is a vivid sermon of our present spiritual longing and delay in functioning as we someday will and were made for; and a pure marriage is a reflection of the joy we will have with him at the consummation of all things. But even the best marriage, if it occurs, only derives its meaning from the reality which it reflects. So even if we never marry, we should remain pure. For someday, all that marriage is about will be revealed in a moment of piercing joy, the likes of which this universe has never seen. For his coming is described as a wedding feast, after all.
So let us not be flippant or stupid about tampering with and ruining our ability to perceive this message through temporary "thrills" now. God will communicate all he intends if we will trust his wisdom, believe his promise, and keep the unit pure until the broadcast is sent in married sexual consummation.