I lament the number of Christians who are faltering, compromising, and walking away from the faith because of concerns related to Christianity’s views on sex and sexuality. I think one of the biggest reasons has to do with our individual and collective struggle with waiting.
Advent means beginning. We often think of Christmas as the end of our waiting. But that’s not exactly true, is it? Yes, the Savior came at Christmas, but all throughout Jesus’ life, the faithful and foolish alike expected something different than what they got with Jesus.
We live in a time of the now and not yet. Jesus came at Christmas (such utterly good news!), yet now, we continue to wait for His return. We celebrate and we ache, we rejoice and mourn, we know Him and we wait to know Him more. Waiting is not passive. It is an active participation in God’s Kingdom, even while we do not yet fully see.
This is so important, because until we learn to wait and remind one another that this is the way of the faithful, we will remain prone to grasping for comfort, nursing pet sins, bending truth to fit our desires, or forsaking the faith altogether:
- When no spouse comes, we indulge in porn or sex outside of marriage.
- When a spouse remains aloof to our feelings, we begin toying with the idea of divorce.
- When we have a same-sex orientation, we find a gay-affirming church that affirms gay sexual unions.
- When we feel at odds with our biological sex, we pursue hormones and surgery to force our own kind of bodily resurrection here and now.
- When we’ve tried to overcome unwanted sexual desires, but temptation keeps returning, we give in just “once more.”
I am not making light of the difficulty associated with these kinds of struggles. Actually, I mean to elevate them because taking them into your own hands in these ways will not satisfy you as much as God will one day. When? Not until heaven unites at last with earth and all temptation, trial, disunity, brokenness, sin, suffering, and death come to an end.
Until then, we wait together.
To wait like this means we choose to trust the Giver and we trust the Gift He is preparing. We trust that all we invest, lose, suffer, and miss out on in this life will be worth it in the life to come. We trust that every physical loss, wound, and death will be restored and every internal sadness, grief, pain, and trauma will be healed beyond measure.
One more thing. I know it’s easy to say we believe, but it’s hard to live it out. We look around and see that suffering is not doled out evenly in this fallen world. As the journey goes on longer than we want, the losses pile up, the pains increase, and the waiting continues, we discover our hearts are set on things, outcomes, and people other than the Giver and His Gift.
In short, waiting reveals our idols.
If Scripture is true, many will not abandon their idols. Not trusting the Giver or His Gift, many will stop the journey. They’ll sit down in the desert and nurse at the breast of their stone and metal gods.
God intends far better things for you, and for me. He does not expose our idols to condemn us. He does so to provide us the opportunity to forsake them. He does so to remind us that our Bridegroom is coming again.
“For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:14-16 ESV)
Father, may this Advent expose our false gods—be those comforts, sins, or meager attempts at resurrection. More importantly, would you increase our faith for the waiting ahead that we might be found faithful to You. We choose to trust You.
Friends, while we wait let us remind one another that waiting is the way of the faithful and that it will be worth it, and let us bear one another’s burdens so no one waits alone. If our team can help you, let us know.
Question: What’s one idol you’ve been clinging to that you want to give up?
Want to hear more on this very topic?, Check out the latest episode of Becoming Whole, If You Want Integrity, You Have to Wait
Great stuff, Pastor Josh. Keep up the good work!
The Lord truly was speaking to my heart!
I really, really needed to hear that.
God Bless you and your ministry.
Great article Josh! Waiting is hard for sure. Lastly my idol of sexual fantasy has gotten better but I still cling to it at times. It certainly doesn’t have the stronghold it once had. Praise the Lord..
Waiting is so hard! I take comfort in knowing that Jesus is patiently waiting too (Hebrews 10:12-13; 2 Peter 3:9) and that He promised repeatedly that He is coming soon (Revelation 22).
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Until then, please fill me anew with your Spirit. Help me to trust you more, to wait patiently for you, to fix my eyes upon you, and to love, honor, and obey you alone.