Editor’s Note: Throughout the years, TheReb has published thousands of articles, each challenging and encouraging Rebelutionaries to do hard things and seek God. But among these posts, some have especially resonated with you, our readers. So over the next few weeks and months, we’re bringing back these classics, reposting our most popular and well-read articles every Thursday. May they encourage and remind you of God’s unchanging truth!
We live in a culture that is constantly talking about love, lust, sex, and romance.
It’s hard to get away from, honestly. You can barely turn on the TV, walk around the mall, or glance at a billboard without being assaulted by it. Of course, the mere fact that culture is vocal about it is not the problem. It’s an important conversation to have, for sure. The Bible itself frequently talks about it, revealing God’s concern for it.
The problem is what culture says about love, lust, sex, and romance. Unlike Scripture, culture is driven by a sinful and emotional perspective which feeds us lies that damage and pervert this beautiful gift. Here are 10 of the dominant lies culture tells us.
1. Love is lust.
The picture of true love that culture paints for us is nothing more than a cheap Polaroid of lust. Watch a modern sit-com or rom-com, and you’ll see this spelled out plainly in the portrayal of our hookup culture and the ubiquity of sex before marriage. Love is not steadfast, faithful, and forever. It is selfish, fickle, and feeling-fueled.
2. Romance is eternally satisfying.
Romantic love is idolized as a god that brings deepest satisfaction. Culture tries to convince us that relationships are what fulfill us and that significant others are saviors. But humans are sinful and incapable of satisfying our restlessness for meaning, purpose, and acceptance. Romance doesn’t have the power to save.
3. Boundaries are legalistic.
To our society, purity and abstinence are retrograded, prudish words for an ancient world. We are modern. We are liberated. That means boundaries are obsolete. Legalism has no place in love. Yet they don’t realize that boundaries are actually an expression of love. Boundaries exist to protect. Boundaries exist so purity can flourish and thrive. Boundaries are for our good.
4. Follow your heart.
Perhaps no lie is so pervasive or destructive as this one. We’re told: if it feels good, do it. Take a risk, take a chance, live in the moment. As long as you’re doing whatever you want to, you’ll be happy. Surely the prophet Jeremiah would disagree: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
5. Sex doesn’t have any consequences.
You can give your body and mind completely to another person – and walk away like it never happened. This is a subtle lie woven throughout many of culture’s narratives (think movies, shows, books). Yet sex is an act God created for one man and one woman to participate in within the sacred confines of a covenant marriage relationship. Two become one flesh, a physical union to represent the emotional and spiritual one. Despite culture’s cry, sex has long-term consequences, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
6. You have to date a lot.
To find “The One,” society expects teenagers to date and date and date until they find them. Dating is what we do. It’s pushed and pressured. There’s a lady at my church who has been half-jokingly asking me for years if I have a boyfriend. The answer’s still no. I’m convinced that teen serial dating is not the path to true romance.
7. Marriage is the Ideal.
Singleness is sad, culture says. If you’re not in a relationship, you must want to be in one. And of course, everybody wants to be married. That’s the ultimate, the pinnacle, the moment you’ve reached life perfection. I’ve even seen this lie steal into the church. Marriage is idealized and idolized and the important season of singleness minimized. That’s neither fair, nor biblical (1 Cor. 7:8).
8. Parents shouldn’t be involved in your love life.
It’s so uncool for young people to have their parents hold them accountable, talk to them about love and sex, or put restrictions and guidelines into place. How stifling. How babyish. Yet this is exactly the model Scripture gives us – parents training their teens to grow up and pursue healthy romantic relationships. Culture would want you to be ashamed of your parents’ involvement in your love life. God would want you to be gratefully joyful of it.
9. The Bible doesn’t speak into modern love.
Culture considers the Bible’s norms and instructions regarding love, sex, and marriage to be repressive and tyrannical. It speaks into ancient relationships, fine, but it has no place in the contemporary world. What a tragically flawed view. The Bible speaks into every area of life – even, dare I say especially, love.
Read the Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ruth, 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians. Read the whole Bible, and you’ll find principles and practices and failures and instructions on godly love and relationships. Romance is a pretty big deal, and God is not silent on it. Don’t let culture tell you otherwise.
10. You were made to love (people).
That sounds good, right? That we were created for the glorious purpose of loving others? It likely sounds good because it’s got some truth in it. God did create us with the capacity and desire to love others. But first and foremost, He created us to love Him. We were made for God, not humans. The deeply-rooted, unfailing, everlasting love our hearts crave is only found in Him.
No matter what culture says.
This is a great article. So many people don’t realize so much of this stuff. Thank you so much for bringing this to light for everyone to see.
Thanks, Rachel! I appreciate your encouragement.
This is so great! Most people don’t see the lies that our culture is feeding us. Thank you so much for writing this!
Wow, Hannah, what kind words. Thank you. And you’re absolutely right – so many people don’t see these lies. What a blessing that God has graciously exposed them to us!
Really good article. These lies are all so prevalent we barely even think about them anymore, but it’s so easy to let them get a foothold in our mind. Thank you!
Thank you for your gracious comment, Katherine! The article was a joy to write, and I’m glad it could be an encouragement. 🙂
This is truly a good article! Sometimes culture just creeps in and if we are not careful, destroys us as Christians.
Yes! Something I’ve been learning lately is how much these lies can creep in unseen, and we can unconsciously fill ourselves with them from the books we read, the movies we watch, and the songs we hear. I’ve realized that even some of the ‘cute, sweet’ love-songs assume that we should get our complete fulfillment from another human, or that our heart is the ultimate standard… which are troublesome things to plant in your mind when you are already enough of an emotional teenager! 😀 Thank you for this!
Emphasis on emotional for me! lol
Yes yes yes. You are so dead on. I’ve recently been thinking about some of the exact same things – especially how these lies can creep into our lives so quietly. Sometimes I can be tempted to focus so much on culture that I miss where I’m being infected by its lies. This is so important to remember. Your comment was such an encouragement! Thank you, friend. 🙂
Yes, the difficulties of balancing being in the world but not of it! :/ And it’s rather troubling when you realize that the most dangerous things for you aren’t the big, blatant, ugly, sinful things, but the little lapses that can sneak in. So, basically, yes, courage dear heart, stay vigilant! 🙂
Well, you’ve always been such an encouragement to me, so the least I can do is return a little bit of the favor. 😀
Thank you Jaquelle! Like @BelleIngalls:disqus I have been learning similar things! This was a much needed article for me. Thank you for your concise, no nonsense way of stating the lies of Satan (-:
Haven, you’re welcome, and I’m so happy the Lord could use this piece to encourage you – especially in light of these last two weeks for you. He is so good to give us exactly what we need when we need it. 🙂
Thank you so much for this article! It was really encouraging for me. 🙂
This is fantastic, Jaquelle. Thank you for standing up and exposing the lies of our culture that I for one am often far too ready to accept.
Thanks for exposing the lies our culture feeds us! Great article!
I’ve read several pieces written by Jaquelle and shared them on my FB page (as I will w/ this one too).
Most articles are specified for young people, but I have found that they’re also very applicable to older and gray-haired people, who still “drink milk” like babies. Especially in the romantic love!
Your parents did an excellent job in raising you, Jaquelle. Must’ve leaned wholly on God’s teaching while teaching you.
Thank you, Tiet. And I can only echo your assessment of my parents – they are amazing, and everything good from me comes from them, by the grace of God. They are incredible examples of submitting themselves to God and being faithful in parenting. 🙂
Thank you, Jaquelle! So true. I enjoyed your interview with Brett, by the way. 🙂
You’re welcome, Amanda. And thank YOU for your encouragement about the interview. I had fun doing it, that’s for sure. 🙂
I don’t mean to judge but I’ve always know that the world’s view of all of these things is wrong because it’s a fallen world and of course the world’s view of marriage is going to be messed up.
Well marriage isnt really the ideal. I completely understand where you are coming from, but most people hold marriage as cheap, divorcing after a few years or not bothering with the whole thing entirely before giving themselves to someone. However, I do see that you are trying to explain how the importance of being single is minimized. Maybe a better caption would be “Relationships are Ideal”.
That’s kind of what I was thinking too. Marriage is a Godly institution, why would the world want that?
Thank you for putting that so succinctly. I’ve been struggling to articulate that for ages. Consider yourself highly quotable 🙂
I think you’re right. Its like that in the UK. Marriage is seen as unnecessary and binding outside of the church. But in certain circles within the church, there is the pressure of a view that marriage is the ideal and it’s not always helpful.
Yeah. I think the church is trying to combat the co-habitation idea that is now so common, but are going about it the wrong way. Also, especially for women, marriage was seen as God’s purpose for every good believer; either marriage, or single and “married to God (devoting yourself entirley to Him)”. Which is quite true, those are the two Biblical paths, only the first is often stressed at the expense of the latter.
First of all, great article!
However, there is one point I feel inclined to disagree with.
7. Marriage is the Ideal
I agree with you that culture makes a bit more of it than it is, but what about Genesis? (English is not my mother tongue, so sadly I can’t really remember the verse)
But we have to multiply right? We have to fill the earth! I agree with you that some people are called by God not to be married,(Paul, Peter etc.) But nonetheless, marriage is something we should strive for, (the way God meant it to be of course, Holy in Him)
But overall this was a great article.
(I note that I may be a bit late lol, most recent activity is a month, but I only saw this article today, and boy I just told myself I had to check it out!)
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Rom 13:1-2 NIV.
God calls us to have that peice of paper.
Thank you so much for stating the lie of dating. My teens are ridiculed for their desire to date purely. They want to save themselves for marriage. They date to find a spouse. So dating just to date is not for them. They have to put up with peer pressure from others. We are blessed to have a church that supports them as well as a great group of friends.
Jaquelle, I am a Biblical Counselor and I have had the privilege to spend time with many teens. I found your article to be very well written and so very spot on in identifying the tension between what our culture promotes to our developing young adults (and those not so young).
Thank you for the Godly direction that can serve as a solid resource!