Is your view of God getting in the way of your pursuit of sexual integrity? God isn’t blocking your healing.
But your view of Him, your assumption about God could be an obstacle standing between you and your freedom.
Let’s try to understand the theology working in the background of your heart, that may be limiting your progress.
Let’s blaze a trail to Jesus when you need Him most.
Functional belief = what you believe in the moment of pressure
When you’re tempted to sin sexually, what do you think about God in that moment? How is god seeing you in that moment?
How do you feel in that moment as God sees you?
When you fall into sexual sin, how do you feel God sees you then?
How does He feel about you then?
The next time you go to an adult book store or knock on the door of your next hookup; bring Jesus with you. He’s already there.
Pay attention to the reality Jesus is with you everywhere you go.
Images to work into your Functional Theology:
Jesus reaching for you.
Jesus stretching his nail pierced hand to you.
Jesus rushing toward you to embrace you, carrying you, holding you up.
Read through & take note of how Peter’s Functional Theology changes in John 18:15-27 and John 21:1-17
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This Episode’s Transcription
Is your view of God getting in the way of sexual integrity is the way you think view feel about God getting in the way of the sexual integrity that you want in your life? minded. And I know there’s so many men and women who have experienced the same thing. Now, before we go any further, let me explain. I’m not talking about your confessional belief about God, there’s a difference between what we confess we believe, and what people call our functional belief. Our functional theology, confessional theology is, is what you say when you’re giving the right Christian answer the Sunday School answer somebody says to you, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Your confessional leave his Yes, I do. You believe God loves you? Yes, absolutely. Do you believe that God is with you? Yes, I do. We all agree on those things as Christians. But our functional theology is something different functional theology is what you believe in the moment of pressure, which you believe in the moment when you are out in the real world and the crap hits the fan, that’s where our functional belief is revealed. And functional belief is not a bad thing. It’s it’s it’s just kind of when we experience that our functional belief is different our conventional belief, it’s just an opportunity to go okay, look, I still have growing to do I have sanctification to grow to do I’ve, I’m maturing to do I’ve deepening in my relationship with God to do but functional theology or functional belief is kind of like, you know, say you’re, you’re driving down the road and somebody asks you, do you believe in the God loves you? Yes, I do. Do you believe that he’s with you? Yes, I do. And then right, then somebody pulls out in front of you and smashes the front of your car, and you get into a bad accident, and your car is totaled, and the person in the passenger seat is is injured? And so are you and you’re out of work for at least a month in recovery? Who are you supposed to interpret that? Like, what does that mean? For you to have a thought in those moments or a view of God in those moments that seems contrary to the idea of God loves you? And God is with you? It makes sense. I’m not saying that your confessional belief is wrong. In that moment. It’s actually exactly right. God does love you, He is with you and was with you even then. But your functional belief is challenged in that moment. So what I’m asking when I say is your view of God, your belief about God getting in the way of your sexual integrity, I’m talking about your functional belief about God. So let’s dig into that a little bit. Let me ask you a couple questions to kind of get the ball rolling here. When you’re tempted to sin sexually. What do you think about God in that moment? When you think God is how he’s looking at you in that moment? How is he seeing you may ask it differently? How do you feel in that moment that God is looking at you? How do you feel in that moment? Picture his face? What does it look like? In that moment of temptation? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? As you consider that question? Let’s ask another question. When you fallen to sexual sin, when you knew it was wrong, you’ve done it before you told God you wouldn’t do it again. But you do it again. What’s your sense of what God is like? Then what do you think? How do you think God sees you? Then? More importantly, how do you feel that God sees you then? For me, I felt this that his back was turned, I felt that he was distant. He pulled himself away from me, he was displeased. He was angry, he was frustrated. Maybe he was even, you know, like, I couldn’t understand why I could have done what I did again. That’s that’s what my functional belief was. I knew that God loves me. And he’s with me, I could read all those passages. But after I sinned sexually was just so hard for me to believe in usually, I’d kind of go through a period of time where I’d keep my distance from God, I wouldn’t, wouldn’t pray much wouldn’t bother him much because I felt like he didn’t really want to talk to me. And after a day or two would pass, and, and it was interesting, because it was kind of arbitrary, right? Like, the worse I felt my sexual sin was, the longer I felt he needed to kind of cool off before I could go back to him. And, you know, again, this is not my confessional theology. This is just kind of how I felt and how I acted in response to those moments. Now, let me ask another question. When you’re in the midst of sexual sin, when you’re in the midst, and you hardly even want to talk to God, you hardly want even think and acknowledge that he’s there that he exists, because you know what you’re doing is wrong. And you’re having such a good time and your sin. And we’ve been there. I’ve been there. How do you think God sees you then? How do you feel God sees you that may ask this question? How do you feel that God feels about you then? You know, in the midst of my own sexual addiction, my sexual struggles, I remember going to an adult bookstore. And that was that was part of my part of what I did, I would occasionally go to an adult bookstore and that was kind of, you know, that was on the on the worst end of stuff. Like I just felt so bad about doing that because I’m out in public. At this particular time. I was already in ministry. I was already working in regeneration. I just started here. And I remember my my boss, he was one of them. towards that point, Jeff, when I came, and I confessed to him after the fact, and I told him about the whole night I’d had and I, his response to me at one point, we talked about a lot of things. One of things he said was, Hey, Josh, do me a favor. The next time you go to an adult bookstore, bring Jesus there with you, because he’s already there with you. Bring Jesus with you, because he’s already there. Now, let me I want to just kind of pause there, because what Jeff was doing was he was really challenging my functional beliefs, my view of God, not because I doubted confessionally my brain, that God was there with me. But there was a couple things in in what he said, I don’t even think I realized it all the time. But first of all, the first the way he started, the sentence was the next time you go to an adult bookstore, and he wasn’t telling me Joshua, give you my permission, my blessing to go in and help books or he wasn’t saying that. But he was saying the next time you’re there. In other words, it’s possible you’re going to be there again. And I acknowledge that, you know, that might be true. We don’t need to pretend otherwise. Because it’s been a habit for you. The next time you’re there, be there with Jesus, bring him there with you. Because he’s already there. Jeff was inviting me to pay attention to the reality that Jesus is with me everywhere I go. Now, I’ve shared this story before. And I’ve had some people say to me, like, I remember talking to a guy who heard the story. He was like, Yeah, that was really helpful for me, because man to imagine how displeased Jesus is with me in that moment really kept me away from it. And I actually kind of lamented the way he interpreted that what I was sharing, because that’s not what Jeff was saying, to me. That’s not what I heard in that moment. What I what I understood Jeff to be saying to me, and the the invitation he was giving me, was to be with Jesus who loves me in in the place where I am least loving Him to be which he is in the midst of my sin, he was challenging my functional belief. So those three questions, what’s your sense? What’s your feeling about how God views you how he feels about you, when you’re tempted to sin sexually? What’s your view, your sense your feeling of how God feels about you, when you fallen into sexual sin? Again, what’s your view, your sense, your feeling about how God feels about you, in the midst of your sexual sin? Each of those questions in their own way is probably going to reveal to you some of your functional theology, some of the theology that’s working in the background of your heart, that may be limiting. What working against your own sexual integrity working against your own progress in this area, you probably have an image in your mind, maybe of an expression on God’s face, or an image that that kind of speaks to you about how close or how far, how far he may be from you in that moment, what his posture is like towards you? Is he facing you? Is he turned away from you? Is he stiff arming you? Is he raising his fist? or raising his arm to swipe at you? I mean, what what’s your sense your feeling in those moments? Are his arms open wide to you? Is he moving toward you? Is the expression on his face loving? Is he weeping for you? Is he reaching out his nails girl scarred hand for you? You recognize even as asked those questions that there’s going to be a difference in your hearts response to him, depending on what you view. How would that functional view of him is, if you’re viewing him as angry, and fed up and tired of you, and not wanting to be with you, when you’re tempted to sin or when you fall into sin or when you’re in the midst of your sin, then you’re not going to feel like you want to go to him in those moments, you’re going to be more likely to avoid him to push away from him. And as you get a even a better sense of why you’re drawn to sexual sin in the first place. You recognize just what a trap that is. Because what you really want in those moments is someone who wants you who wants to be near you, who has compassion and kindness for you, who is for you and strong for you, not strong against you. And this is why those other views that I mentioned that you know God having open arms to you, God looking for you, God weeping for you, God reaching out his nail pierced hand towards you, God, being right there with you and walking with you waiting for you, beckoning you while you’re in the adult bookstore, or while you’re surfing the web, or while you’re while you’re driving to hook up with somebody.
Is Jesus there with you, reaching for you for you in that moment? If you can imagine in that way. And you can begin to nurture those images into your functional theology, your functional belief about God, you’re going to find that you are more able to get out of those situations. Because the God who is with us Immanuel God God who is with us is actually good news for sinners. Emmanuel, God with us is good news for sinners. We are in the Advent season brothers and sisters, at least when I’m recording this we are. And the good news of a great joy is God with us. But when we are tempted to sin, when we have sinned, are we in the midst of our sin, if it doesn’t seem like good news that God is with us in those moments, then we’re going to not hear this good news. And we’re going to be more likely to turn away from him. I think here again, you’ve heard me talk about this. I’ve just been meditating and just kind of so stunning to me, Peter, at the beginning of the Gospels, when he has pulls in that great catch a fish and realizes he is in the presence of the Messiah, he is in the presence of someone great, tells Jesus, he falls into Jesus’s feet and tells him depart from the Lord from his sinful man, he has struck to the core. And it is bad news that he’s there with Jesus, he, maybe he wanted to be with us. But it’s there’s something that is afraid and he wants to get away, tours ashamed and wants to get away. Something’s going on for for Peter, he wants to get away. It’s not safe to be with him. And that’s what we’ve experienced all the way back to Adam and Eve, Adam and Eve sinned, and they wanted to get away from God, their perception of him was different. And then Peter at the end of his life, when he’s betrayed Jesus three times in front of his face, and Jesus is put to death. Then after Jesus’s resurrection, Peter knows he’s alive, he goes out, he pulls in a great catch a fish again, by miracle at Jesus word. And instead of trying to get away from him, he jumps into the water to swim to him, his functional theology had changed. There was something different about his view of this one, because he spent three years with them. And he knew he knew he knew, not just confessional, but functionally, that this man is good news for sinners like me. And like you, brothers and sisters, is your view, your current view of God getting in the way of your sexual integrity? Is it making it harder, making it harder for you, to seek God out to come to him to receive His forgiveness, to receive His grace when you need it most, to receive his strength for you, not against you when you need it most? If so, I want to encourage you, I’m going to pray for you in a minute. But I would encourage you begin nourishing images, use your imagination. Your imagination has been imagining him angry, distant, pissed off, confused, whatever. That’s your functional theology working against you. begin using your imagination, to view God as reaching for you to view Jesus with his nail pierced hand reaching for you, in those moments, view him as rushing through the doors of that adult bookstore, and wrapping his arms around you and saying, I know what you’re looking for. I know what you’re looking for. And it’s not here. It’s not here, but I’ve got you. view him after your sin, not turning his back on you, but running towards you, holding you up carrying you view him as you as you search the web. Imagine yourself searching web looking for porn and view Jesus, standing there lifting you out of that chair, and taking you at holding you and pulling you close. Whatever it is, find images that match the truth about God’s love for you that he has good news for sinners. And imagine him coming to you let those images speak to your heart so that your functional theology can be transformed and renewed, so that you can be more likely to blaze a trail to Jesus and not away from him when you need him most. Jesus would you do this for us? I pray now even for every man and woman listening that you would elicit images in their mind that are false about you, and remove them or take those images into the cross of Christ. Bear them into your body, Lord and away from us. And replace them with images of how you are truly loving in images that speak to each man and each woman’s heart in just the way they need. Or whether they are in a moment where they’re not experiencing any temptation and they can reflect back. Maybe they’re in a moment listening right now where they are experiencing temptation. Maybe they’ve just fallen into sin, Lord, maybe someone’s listening even right now. And they’re in the midst of pursuing sexual sin. Speak to their hearts, show them images and give them the courage and faith to take hold of those true images of you. They might say yes to you and notice and we pray this all now in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.