There are two primary courses offered to life in the full. The enemy (the world, the flesh, and the devil) has a way. And God has a way. Both include death.
Sin’s way, the enemy’s way is life now, death later. Or we might write it this way: Sin’s way is “life” now, death later. We know this from experience with our sexual sin. We indulge, enjoying the “life,” the thrill, the adrenaline, the attention, the pleasure. But afterwards, we feel wounded, raw, ashamed, fearful, dirty, weak, and on and on.
God’s way is death now, life later. God’s way is “death” now, Life later. Christ’s way is not unique to those seeking freedom from sexual addiction. Remember, we are slaves to that which we obey, and walking into the freedom Christ has won for us usually entails death. This is the way of all followers of Christ.
Jesus is not indicating that He is selective, trying to weed out those who aren’t serious enough for Him. No, those He seemed to favor most in the gospels dispel that notion. Rather, Jesus is stating the reality that to follow Him we simply must release our grip on our other sources of “life”. He is fully alive, eternally youthful, and filled with joy. And so His path requires more agility than our alternate sources of “life” allow; they’re far too cumbersome, too limiting, and they stiffen our joints.
Following Him means our packs need to be light, even when He calls us to leave the mirage and come into the desert.
Christ has died our death for us. By His blood and cross, we have died with Him to sin, to judgment, and to the kingdom of darkness. Any death (desert) he sets before us is a little death by comparison. What are your other sources of life besides Christ? Where are you clinging, grasping at life instead of receiving it from Christ? What little deaths is He asking you to die that you might walk truly free from your sexual addiction?
Is He asking you to die to the pride that keeps you from asking for help?
What about your insistence on control?
Is He wanting you to let go of your image? What are the images you’re portraying, the impressions you’re working so hard to convey, the masks you’re scurrying to maintain?
Do you have a case of chronic uniqueness? Are you different from everyone else? Do their rules not apply to you? Could it be Jesus is asking you to die to this?
What about deception in your own life? Might Jesus be asking you to break your alliances with darkness and deception?
What would giving up your subscription to that pornographic site do to you? Or cutting off once and for all that relationship?
Is there a sin you cannot forgive yourself for? Do you insist on holding to it, punishing yourself for it, viewing yourself through its lens? Can you die to this self-aggrandizement that sets you up higher than Christ who has forgiven you?
Could it be Christ wants you to die to letting your sexual attractions define you?
What are the little deaths He wants you to die? There are many others. Remember, His way is death unto Life, not death unto more death. Jesus died on the cross to be raised from the dead. He was given a resurrected body that some didn’t even recognize. What about you? What’s on the other side of the desert of the real? What will you look like? Our true selves are passing through the fire that all else might be burned away, and God’s glory in and through us might be revealed.