My wife and I have been watching the show Lost, which follows a group of plane crash survivors as they try to escape from the mysterious island where they’ve found themselves.
One of the most captivating elements of the show is also one of the most disturbing: it’s incredibly difficult to know who the good guys are. Season after season, those who seem like allies end up being enemies.
And each time, as difficult as it is to discover that one of the survivors’ “friends” is actually a foe, it’s also good news. When their enemies are exposed, they’re no longer able to covertly stop the survivors’ attempts to go home.
The same thing is true in our individual battles for sexual purity.
There are two primary “friendly” voices competing for our attention when it comes to sexual desire. The first is the voice of indulgence: Your desires tell you who you are. Don’t resist. Enjoy!
The other voice is the voice of suppression: Your desires are bad. Repress them. You’ll be a better person if only you can resist.
I’m guessing one or the other of these voices has sounded like a friend to you, probably both at different times.
Which one is truly your friend?
They’re both versions of what the New Testament calls “walking in the flesh,” and they don’t work. Well, they do work (together) to keep you captive to your cravings. They don’t work to set you free.
Here’s a better way: rest and receive.
Resting means you let go of your own attempts at being your own savior, of earning the love, forgiveness, and purity you need. Instead, you let Christ save you, and you choose to receive him as a gift from God.
Receiving means you open your hands and accept the gifts God gives. It’s not a passive activity. It’s saying yes to God’s grace when you least deserve him, and it’s saying yes to God’s grace when you think you most deserve him.
If these sound relational to you, then you’re getting it. They bring you face to face with the One who is the Rescuer and the Giver of all good gifts. In union with him, freedom will come. And along the way, you’ll discover He’s the friend you’ve been needing.
Question: Obviously, there’s so much more that could be said. Add your ideas and experience! What helps you rest in Christ and receive his grace for dealing with habitual sin? Leave a comment below.
Rest: “…Instead, I turn to Jesus and ask Him for help – or, more faith – to hold onto Him, while the thoughts and urges pass through my mind and heart. Rather than thinking about or wrestling with those thoughts/urges, I re-focus my attention on the next thing on my to do list for the day.
& R: Meanwhile, in my heart I wait expecting Him to answer my prayer in whatever way He choses and to lead me along the path of life (Ps…).”
Nice work, Josh.
Working together in HIs kingdom,
Whoops! That was Ps 16:11. Just read it this morning.
“In You I take refuge… You make knows to me the path of life…”
Will I ever get it right?
You make known to me the path of life.”
Just read your article in the March/April 2013 newsletter – brilliant, fantastic, refreshing, welcome work. Much appreciated!
Mar 6…..April 14….o.k. I know I’m a little slow on the up-take but this is important to me.
I have been transformed by this concept of rest and receiving.
I was born again on July 15, 1981, (age telling I know) but the amazing thing was that it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I finally was able to receive this revelation.
After salvation I was very much caught up in DOING things for God.I was perpetually busy about spiritual things that I felt good about.
Those “good” things actually kept me from stopping to experience that He is God and that He is wildly, enthralled with loving me. Yes, I was saved for decades and ever new beyond a mental assent that God loved me. Due to my own wounds I was not able to receive love in so many ways.
It was when at women’s retreat. I literally sat still in God’s presence. No one prayed with me. I kept sensing the Holy Spirit leading me NOT to pray but to just sit. It was so awkward and I got up to leave a couple of times, but then God began to pour out His love on me. I felt like His daughter sitting in His lap. He wanted me to just experience His love and soak it into my dry soul. I’d feel unworthy to receive andy more and start to get up, and then I felt the Spirit calling me back. This happened two or three times. it was truly the beginning of a life changing experience with my creator that He has used in my healing walk.
I am so greatful for God’s love and for His grace!