Is sexual integrity something you aspire to? If so, find an old-fashioned clock.
When does a clock most exhibit integrity?
You might be tempted to think it’s when the clock is telling the correct time, but that’s not it. Even a stopped clock will tell the right time twice a day.
Integrity is not first and foremost what you do, it is who you are. Integrity means oneness, wholeness, completeness. So, a clock has integrity when all its parts are in good shape and assembled in the right places, with the right tensions, working together properly. Remove the hour hand and the clock loses integrity. Change the tension on one of the coils or remove one of the gears, and the clock loses integrity.
Similarly, for you to become a man or woman of integrity means being put back together, it means becoming one whole. It means that your different parts no longer work against each other, but with each other in harmony. Your spirit, soul, body, heart, mind, and will are all alive and well, and they are working together for your good and the good of others.
Begin with your body.
We know that sexual sin produces bodily pleasure. This can lead a lot of us to assume that sexual integrity will mean forever working against our body. But this is untrue. According to the Apostle Paul, sexual sin is sin against your body, not in harmony with it. Paul clarifies that your body is made by God for God and not for sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:13-19).
This is so important to remember, because when it comes to sexual integrity, it means your body is not your enemy. Your body is your ally. Yes, your body may have been taken captive to sin, but that means it needs rescue not condemnation. A lamb being fattened up for slaughter may develop a taste for the extra food and an affection for the farmer feeding it, but neither are truly working for its good. In the same way, your body may have developed a taste for sexual sin, but don’t allow that to fool you any longer.
“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.” (1 Cor. 6:13b-14 ESV)
Here are some practical exercises you can engage in to help you grow in sexual integrity bodily:
- Beginning at the top of your head and working your way down to the soles of your feet, thank God for the gift of each part of your body.
- With each body part, pray a blessing, “My [body part] is for the Lord, and the Lord is for my [body part].”
- Part by part, consecrate your body to Jesus, and bless each part to receive anew His goodness and love.
- When you are tempted to engage in sexual sin, declare out loud, “In Jesus’ name, my body is for the Lord and the Lord is for my body,” or “My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I choose to glorify God with my body.”
- If you fall into lust, take a moment to confess to the Lord that you misused your body.
- If you lust, lay your hands on your eyes and apologize to them for misusing them. Do this with each part of your body that you misused by engaging in sexual sin.
- As you confess your sin to God, receive His grace and blessing into your body. Use your imagination to envision His love entering anew into your body and bringing you life.
- Practice attuning to and tending to your body’s needs, hungers, longings, and hurts. This will include rest, nutrition, exercise, fresh air, sunshine, healthy touch, music, art, etc.
- Worship God with your body. (Sexual sin is just presenting your body to the wrong god.)
You might think of all these as ways of welcoming your body back into the whole of who you are, and the whole of who you are back to where you belong—in Christ and His Body.
Question: In what ways does this approach (viewing sexual integrity as a matter of re-integration rather than merely abstaining from sinful behaviors) change things for you?
Make sure you check out the 4 part podcast series on Sexual Integrity here starting with Episode 1, Sexual Integrity Starts Here