The journey toward sexual integrity is a life-long journey.
How does that statement strike you? In my experience, it typically hits most people in one of two ways. For some, it brings up a sense of dread. “Ugh! You’re kidding! I can’t keep going like this forever! The journey is too far.”
For others, it brings up a sense of offense. “What? How dare you! I’ve made great progress and I’m living in sexual integrity right now! So what do you mean it’s a life-long journey?”
Then for many of us, we go back and forth between these two places over the course of our lifetimes, maybe depending on the topic. Sometimes, we feel worn out from the journey and wonder if we can keep going much longer. Other times, we feel we’ve arrived.
For me, I’ve found an antidote that helps me no matter where I am and how I feel I’m doing.
I try to focus on the cross.
I actually learned this from a talk I heard many years ago in which Andrew Comiskey told his audience something to the effect of, “We all need to blaze a well-worn path to the cross.”
For those weary from the journey, those who feel they’ve fallen too many times, those losing hope: The cross is the place we can bring our weariness, our sins, and our despair. We can press all this and more into the Savior’s body where He absorbs into Himself what we cannot bear.
For those who feel triumphant, like they’ve arrived, like they’ve mastered their sexual drives and are doing well: The cross is the place we can bring our joy, gratitude, and yes, our pride. At the cross we find both the true reason for our success and a greater love than our own—the only truly self-giving One—who provides us a higher vision of what we are meant to become.
Gazing at Jesus on the cross, our failures no longer disqualify us because He is the source of our forgiveness, which ever flows from him. Gazing at Jesus on the cross, our successes no longer make us proud because he is the source of our holiness and his holiness always reveals more to which we can aspire.
But all this is meaningless unless rightly understood, so let me clarify. I’m not talking about doing a better job of remembering or thinking about the cross, as helpful as those are. I’m talking about a prayerful interaction with Jesus at the cross.
The cross of Jesus is both a literal event that happened at a moment in time and also an ever-flowing source for you and I today. If the infinite, eternal One was crucified on a Roman cross in the first part of the first century A.D., then we (who are in time) can interact with Him who is not bound by time.
So how do we actually “go” there? If the cross is an historic event, how do we make our way there 2000 years later?
What has helped me meet Jesus at the cross most is what C.S. Lewis called the “sanctified imagination.” Rather than using my imagination for lustful and prideful indulgence, here I use my imagination as an instrument of faith, helping me to “see” the unseen reality. You can do the same.
If you are falling, flailing, and weary, then in prayer see yourself at Jesus’ cross, and press your wounds and sin into His body. See those things that are too much for you being absorbed into Jesus’ body on the cross.
If you are thriving, flying, and victorious, then in prayer see yourself kneeling at the cross, offering up to the crucified Christ all the success His death and resurrection has afforded you thus far. Gaze upon Him who is love that you might become more like Him.
Brothers and sisters, let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has now sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
Question: Have you “seen yourself” at the cross in this way? How has that shaped your own journey?
Want to hear more this week? Check out the latest Becoming Whole podcast; Focus On the Cross