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A Part of or Apart From?

 

Sex at its core is about relationship.

The world has tried to convince us that sex is primarily about pleasure or recreation, just a physical act, something to be enjoyed with whomever or by oneself.  But the fundamental fact remains—sex is deeply and profoundly relational.  It’s designed by God that way and can never be something different.  In Genesis 2 after God brought the first woman to the first man, Scripture reads:

The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones,

And flesh of my flesh;

She shall be called Woman,

Because she was taken out of Man.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

They shall become one flesh.  The traditional way of describing this is to say sex is unitive—it takes two and fuses them into one.  In light of this, God’s biblical parameters on sexual behavior begin to make sense.  God created sex to be a part of marriage between one husband and one wife—two distinct people who have given themselves to this exclusive, life-long covenant of mutual, self-giving love.

And if sex is always relational, always a unitive force, it is easy to understand one reason why sexual activity outside of the covenant of marriage is destructive.  (By the way, this is why sin is sin—it does damage to oneself and others.)  Sexual activity outside of marriage does not lose its unitive power.  Sex can be distorted, can become something that brings death instead of life, but it cannot become something that is absent of its relational core.  Even masturbation and fantasy—though done alone—have relational implications.  Sex is relational.

And because it is relational, finding freedom from sexual sin requires doing so in the context of relationships.

This is why so many have tried to find freedom on their own for years and years but have failed to do so.  You cannot break free from sexual sin on your own.  Men and women who are finding freedom and purity have discovered that a lone ranger or even a “me and God” approach by itself is insufficient.

And it means laying ourselves bare before God and others.  This means bringing not just clichéd answers but also the questions you’re afraid to ask, not just the parts of you that are together but the parts of you that keep falling apart.  This means letting other people hear your sin and your temptations, your insecurities and inadequacies, your fears and your hidden feelings.

For some, this means letting go of the falsehood that you’ll start to share vulnerably once you make some progress. Authentic progress does not come this way.  Honesty in sharing comes before real change—the kind of change that lasts.  We do not share the truth about where we are and what we’ve done so that we can remain the same, we share the truth about our lives so we can become more than we’ve ever dreamed we can be.  And that is exactly the work Christ is doing.

The Need for Trust

Talking about sex and pursuing sexual purity requires vulnerability.  Opening yourself up to others so they can see what’s on the inside does too.  It requires taking off the masks, laying down the titles, removing the plaques and diplomas from the walls, unplugging from the default poser mode we’ve rehearsed most of our lives.  In a metaphorical sense, we must learn to be “naked and unashamed” (Genesis 2:25) with one another, willingly letting others into those areas of our lives that have carried the most shame for us.

The purpose of this is not humiliation, but liberation.  All sin, sexual sin included, thrives in the dark.  So does shame.  Like Lazarus, Jesus is calling us out of the dark grave of isolation, He’s bringing men and women alongside us who can help us remove our old, worn, smelly grave clothes.

And all of this requires trust.  Not a theoretical trust, but a real, living, breathing trust risked day by day with those around you. Christ alone is worthy of this trust and He asks us to risk entrusting ourselves to Him by stepping out and opening up our lives to others.

Often, an unwillingness to open up reveals that we have put more stock in what others think of us than in what God thinks of us.  Or these fears may reveal that no matter what we say with our mouths, deep down inside, we don’t believe God thinks very highly of us either. Walking through these fears with the Lord and with others will take courage. It may be a close friend you confide in, or a parent, a priest, or here at Regen with us.

Come into the light.  Take the risk.  What do you have to lose? 

For you,
Josh

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