Navigating the Intersection of Spiritual Needs and Human Desires


August 22nd 2023

#273: Navigating the Intersection of Spiritual Needs and Human Desires

What if our sexual integrity is intertwined with understanding these signals and aligning them with God’s design for sexuality? 

Have you ever paused to consider that our sexual desires are essentially a longing for God’s presence?

In our enlightening conversation, we unearth the profound connection between our physical desires and our spiritual hunger.

We discuss the concept that temptations, such as pornography and other sexual behaviors, are not mere urges but indicators of a deeper yearning for God.

What if our sexual integrity is intertwined with understanding these signals and aligning them with God’s design for sexuality? 

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Shame plays a significant role in our lives, shaping our actions and choices. But instead of labeling ourselves negatively, we shift our perspective.

We unveil how our temptations are born from a thirst for God’s goodness. We delve into our human needs for comfort, power, tenderness, and pleasure, and discuss how to harmonize them with our spiritual needs.

Our discussion aims to guide you through this sensitive topic with empathy, helping you uncover actual cravings beneath the surface. Join us as we help illuminate your journey towards sexual integrity, resonating with God’s vision for sexuality.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Discussion Questions:

  • How does the concept of the female body and the marital sexual union being reflections of God challenge or affirm your understanding of sexuality within the context of your faith?
  • Do you resonate with the idea that the desire for sex, pornography, lust, or casual hookups is actually a longing for God? Why or why not?
  • How does the concept of the image of God as a sign or hint pointing towards God impact your understanding of human desires and temptations?
  • How can recognizing and understanding the “real thing” behind the image of God in our desires help us navigate and overcome sexual temptations?
  • Have you ever considered the deeper desires behind your own sexual temptations? What might those desires be for you?
Transcription: Navigating the Intersection of Spiritual Needs and Human Desires

Josh Glaser [00:00:00]:

It would surprise you if I said that when you are tempted to view porn or you’re tempted to act out in some way sexually, what you really want is God. Now, I know, I know, I know that oftentimes in church we hear things like that and we’re kind of like, oh, you mean like, I really want to read my Bible. I really want to obey God. I really something else like that. I’m not talking about that necessarily. I’m talking about in your heart of hearts, in your body, even in your brain, when you are drawn towards sexually explicit, sexually illicit material, what you really want, what you are really, really hungry for at the core of who you are deep down inside your body, your heart, your mind is hungry for God is desiring God. Now, how can I say that? Well, in the beginning, God created male and female in his image and in his likeness, and he commanded the two to be fruitful and multiply, to become one flesh, to be fruitful and multiply. In other words, there is something in the male body that images God in a unique way in all the earth.

Josh Glaser [00:01:14]:

There’s something in the female body that images God in a unique way in all the Earth. And there’s something in the marital sexual union between husband and wife that images God in a unique way in all the earth. What do I mean by images God? I mean that there’s something, there’s a foretaste, there’s a hint, there’s a whisper. There’s something that’s meant to be a sign pointing to God in our bodies, our naked bodies as male and female and in the marriage sexual union. That’s how I can say so confidently that when you find yourself desiring sex, desiring porn, desiring to lust, desiring to hook up with somebody, what you’re really, really longing for is not the image, not the sign, not the whisper, not the hint. You want the real thing behind the hint, behind the whisper, behind the sign, behind the image. Now, in Christian practice, the image for the real thing behind the image is God. And the image is meant to be an icon.

Josh Glaser [00:02:20]:

That’s what an icon is. An icon is an image that actually points to something larger. You know that, right? Like on your computer, on your phone, on your device, the icons. You click on the icon and it takes you to the actual thing. The icon’s, not the thing. The icon just points to the real thing. If you’re trying to get onto Instagram, you click on the Instagram icon, the little camera. But you’re not interested in the camera.

Josh Glaser [00:02:44]:

You’re interested in instagram? In the same way, when you find yourself longing for sex, that’s just an icon pointing to the real thing. Now, what does this do for us? What good does this do, this knowledge? Because when the rubber hits meets the road, when you’re in that moment of temptation, when you’re in that moment of desire. It’s not like you necessarily want to go to church. It’s not like you necessarily want to open your Bible, not necessarily like you even want to turn on Christian music or pray. I get that those may be the furthest things from your mind, but the reason it’s important to recognize this and the reason it’s important to practice this truth, that those things, that the pornography, male body, female body, sex is just an icon. Two things, two reasons it’s helpful for us in our journey towards sexual integrity. One, it opens us to receive compassion for what we’re experiencing. Shame is at the heart of why we keep doing the negative stuff we’re doing.

Josh Glaser [00:03:46]:

Shame is at the heart of it. If you’ve wrestled with sexual sin for a long time, if you’ve told yourself, I don’t want to do this anymore, I’m not going to do it anymore, maybe you’ve promised God, yourself, and a spouse and others, you’re not going to do this anymore, but you keep returning to it. On some level you’re wrestling with shame. That’s a sign that on some level you’re wrestling with deep shame. That’s a whole nother podcast. But for now, the reason I bring it up is because if you’re wrestling with shame, then you need compassion. You need compassion and recognizing that you’re not just some pervert, you’re not just some sex crazed maniac, you’re not just some crazy person or lunatic for continuing to do the bad things that you’ve been doing. You can have compassion in yourself recognizing that what you want is not something that’s bad.

Josh Glaser [00:04:34]:

You want god. And however perverse, twisted, confused, contorted, the sexual stuff that you’ve done and the sexual stuff you find yourself drawn to, when you untwist it, what you’re really longing for is God. So you might even begin to ask yourself, what do I think I’m really looking for here? Is it something like comfort? Is it love? Is it connection? Am I looking for control or power? Am I looking for Nurture. Am I looking for fruitfulness? Am I looking for joy? Am I looking for bliss? Well, according to this psalm, what is it, Psalm 16? At the right hand of God are eternal pleasures. God holds eternal pleasures in his right hand. He is the author of pleasure. He is the author of comfort. He is the author of power.

Josh Glaser [00:05:26]:

He is the author of strength. All of the things you long for, all the things that are represented in that pornography or represented in that naked body that you’ve been drawn to or whatever that sexual behavior is, all those things deep, deep down inside, deep underneath the surface, gods is the creator of all those things. Because you, my friend, were not created for sexual sin. You were created for goodness. And so however broken and sinful and evil the stuff you’ve been going to may be, you’re actually longing for goodness so you can have compassion on yourself. God created you for goodness. One Corinthians Six says your body is not for sexual immorality, it is made for the Lord. So whatever your body may be drawn to today, you can trust that when it’s untwisted from all the sin and all the brokenness, what you’re really looking for is actually good.

Josh Glaser [00:06:17]:

What you’re really looking for is actually God. So have compassion on yourself. God certainly has compassion on you because your desires have gotten all twisted up, they’ve gotten all misdirected. You’re heading in a direction that isn’t satisfying you, that isn’t bringing you the eternal pleasure. It’s bringing you a momentary glimpse of pleasure, a momentary sense of comfort, a momentary sense of control, a momentary sense of power. And at the end of the day, it’s just making you feel more and more and more ashamed. God has compassion on you. He wants to give you eternal pleasures.

Josh Glaser [00:06:49]:

He desires to go and to bring you to Himself. This is what Jesus said at the end of the Book of John. He said, he said, I go to prepare a place for you so that I may bring you to be with me where I am. That is what he wants. So you can have compassion in yourself. Secondly, understanding that you’re really looking for God, it gives you light for the journey. It gives you light for the journey ahead. It illumines the path for you to some degree because now you know that you can do something with it.

Josh Glaser [00:07:19]:

So two questions for you. One, what are you really looking for? So is it comfort? Is it power? Is it control? Is it tenderness? Is it bliss? Is it pleasure? What is it that you’re really looking for? And here you might think about the ways that the acts that you’re viewing, or the body parts that you’re looking at, or the types of body you’re looking at, or the types of people you’re drawn to. How do they image God? In what way are they like God? Just be curious about that. Ask yourself the question. Well, this guy is really strong. He seems to have a great deal of confidence. She has a beautiful body that’s soft and tender. Maybe I’m looking for a soft, tender place to go.

Josh Glaser [00:08:02]:

She seems to be willing to be controlled. And so I feel out of control. So maybe I’m looking for control, this person’s hurting another person. And so maybe I’m looking for healing, for hurt that I carry. Or maybe I’m looking to not be hurt anymore because I’m in a situation that’s hurting. So begin to ask yourself, what am I really looking for? And then once you do that, then you can begin to bring those specific requests to God in prayer. Secondly, you might ask yourself, what happened in my life that I don’t believe? Or that I am not believing that I can receive those things from God? What’s happened to my view of God that I don’t believe I can receive comfort from Him? Or I don’t believe he wants to heal me of my wounds, for I don’t believe that he wants to help me to not be controlled by another person. Or maybe what’s happened in my relationship with God that I believe he wants to control me.

Josh Glaser [00:08:57]:

And so I’ve gone to these shameful places rather than to Him. Now, you might need help unpacking all that I know if you’re listening, going, Whoa. I have no idea. You might need help. That’s why we offer spiritual coaching here at Regeneration. So reach out to us. Like, we’d love to help you with that, but for the time being, you might just begin to ask yourself the question, like, what am I really looking for if this isn’t what I’m really looking for? If this is just an image, an icon pointing to something else, then what am I really looking for? And if nothing else, if nothing else, it illumines the path. You can begin to just pray something simple like this.

Josh Glaser [00:09:32]:

Lord, all I know is that the sexual behaviors I’ve been going to, the pornography I’ve been looking at gives me some pleasure. And I feel in my body that I want that kind of pleasure. But, Lord, you hold eternal pleasures at Your right hand. So as twisted up as this may be, here’s my one prayer. It’s a cry of the heart that you can pray today. Lord, I am hungry. My body is hungry for eternal pleasures, not some kind of ethereal pleasure, not disembodied pleasure, but I am hungry, body and heart. I’m hungry for pleasure.

Josh Glaser [00:10:10]:

Lord, help me to find the real pleasure that I am hungry for. Help me to find the real pleasure I’m hungry for and lead me away from the false sources of pleasure that I’ve been going to. It’s a simple place to begin. So, number one, recognizing that what you’re really looking for is behind the image. The image is actually some kind of icon that is meant to be interpreted and understood, rightly? It’s a sign pointing to what you really want. And so therefore, you can have compassion on yourself because God has compassion on you. And secondly, he can help you to illumina the path. I’m looking for something.

Josh Glaser [00:10:46]:

What is it? And at minimum, Lord, you have the eternal pleasure that I’m after. So would you lead me to those? Lord, we pray those things for all those listening today, and I pray for myself today. Bless you, brothers and sisters.

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By Josh Glaser

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