There are many things for which I am thankful to the God who created me. I'm thankful he made so many colors, so many tastes, so many expressions of beauty. When you think about it, he could have created a universe with only 2 tastes, only 5 colors, and only a few modes of beauty.
But it turns out God is prodigious in his generosity, overwhelming our senses with myriad smells, sights, sounds, and ever new means of joy. We live in a world, although broken and dangerous, that still meets us everyday with boundless excitement. We just have to know where to look.
And that's the problem. Too often we look for excitement and satisfaction is the wrong places. And we end up quite addicted to what I'm calling "unrighteous excitement."
Here's an example. God created sexual intimacy to be mind-blowingly wonderful, an exciting feast for all the senses. But he also created it to be enjoyed within the bounds of marriage. That is the only place our sexuality will find righteous excitement. God made it that way because he loves us, and wants us to experience the best in life.
But you can find sexual excitement outside of marriage, only there's a grave difference. Sexual intimacy outside marriage is unrighteous, and its rewards are unrighteous as well. Sexual gratification outside marriage brings unrighteous excitement, and that kind of excitement is dangerous in that it never truly satisfies. In fact, when you seek out and experience excitement in unrighteous ways it actually hooks you into wanting more and more.
Part of what makes extra-marital sexual intimacy exciting is the risk factor. It is exciting because it is dangerous. It's with someone new, and that makes it exciting. But, as time goes by, the excitement drains even as the risk and danger lessen. In this arena, when sex becomes comfortable it also becomes boring, even as the addiction to unrighteous excitement drives the person to find a new partner in hopes of recapturing the spark. And, even worse, as the cycle continues the risk must grow as well, propelling men and women into even riskier ways of satisfying the gnawing hunger they have awakened within them. They are hooked on a drug that can never satisfy simply because it is sinful. Like drinking salt water, the addiction to unrighteous excitement appears to satisfy a desire while actually deepening and strengthening it.
But it doesn't have to be that way! Those who honor God and pursue sexual intimacy within the bonds of marriage have the chance to find true satisfaction. Done well, marriage joins two hearts into one, which is the prerequisite for true sexual satisfaction. In a good marriage, physical intimacy is the bloom, not the root. It is the consequence of deep mutual love rather than an isolated experience. It is the capstone on the daily excitement of living life in loving community. And when marriage is done well, the intimacy is comfortable, and meaningful, and mind-blowingly exciting in a way that only gets better and better and better.
All around us our world is rushing to find newer and riskier and more outlandish ways of infusing excitement into life. But all the unrighteous excitement in the world will never match the deep-seated joy and manifest delight found by those who pursue righteousness, living life according to God's Word.