If you want sexual integrity, you’ve got to become more emotionally healthy.
For many people who wrestle with habitual unwanted sexual behaviors, it can come as a surprise that the journey toward sexual integrity is one wrought with emotion. But it’s true.
When I first came to Regeneration years ago, I remember telling the man who led my small group something like, “I’ve got work to do for the Lord, so tell me what I need to do. I want to get in, fix the problem, and get out.”
Little did I know that there are no quick fixes to sexual integrity. Little did I know how much my sexual behaviors were wrapped up in my inability to walk with emotions in a healthy way. And little did I know that, as much as my sexual sins were a problem, they were actually more of a symptom of deeper wounds that God wanted to heal.
To become a person of sexual integrity means much more than abstaining from a certain set of sinful behaviors. It means learning to care well for yourself and others, including doing so in the realm of emotions.
Jesus knows about emotion and He can help you. As a human being, he felt all manner of emotion—joy, hope, loneliness, anger, grief, anguish, fear, rejection, and loss. As the Creator, He created human emotion in the first place. He created you with emotion, and in fact, He created you to feel deeply.
Make sure you check out Becoming a Woman of Sexual Integrity and Becoming a Man of Sexual Integrity. These quick video series are an introduction to becoming more whole in the area of Sexual Integrity!
Emotions are a key part of how we connect with ourselves, others, and God. Unwanted sexual behaviors are often a sign that, deep down, in some important part of our hearts, we are living disconnected from ourselves, others, and God.
So where do we start? A good place to begin is desire.
In Luke 18:29-42, we read of a blind man who wanted Jesus to heal him. When Jesus calls for the man to be brought to Him, He asks the blind man a strange question: “What do you want me to do for you?”
I say this is a strange question because the man’s blindness was evident to everyone. If his eyes didn’t make that obvious, he was unable to work and had been begging on the side of the road. And he been calling out for Jesus because he couldn’t make his way to Christ by himself.
So why did Jesus ask what He did?
I think it was because Jesus wanted him (and us) to be in touch with his desire, and to bring it to Him. Did you catch that? Jesus didn’t just want the man to bring his blindness, He wanted the man to bring his desire? The same is true for you and me.
As I said, I wanted to get in, get healed of my sexual sin, and get out. I was ready just to bring my problem to Jesus. Jesus was more interested in my desire.
Take a close look at what you’re really desiring when you experience temptation to sin sexually, and you’ll find desire for something much more than sin. You’ll find desires for…
And under all these, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find desire for Him.
Emotions—our God-designed, God-given emotions—are windows into what we truly desire, who we truly are, and Who we’re truly made for.
If you want to go deeper than just quitting bad behavior and instead want to grow sexual and relational integrity, hear Jesus asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” And our team at Regen would be honored to help you.
I’d love to hear from you: Which of the things on the list above have you been looking for and where have you been taking that search?
Make sure you check out the 4 part podcast series on Sexual Integrity here with Episode 2, Sexual Integrity & Your Emotions
Thanks for the article Josh. It really resonated with me in regards to the deeper issues of my heart. I can certainly relate to feelings of belonging, meaning and love. Coming from a family where I was told I wouldn’t amount to much really put a deep wound in my heart looking for a sense of belonging and can’t forget affection. Thanks again for going deeper brother! Always appreciated!