Pitfalls, betrayal, pride, shame, cycles – While you do the work of becoming whole, these are some of the things that will pull you from your calling.
You are made for greatness.
And God gave you a vision for what that looks like in Jesus: “We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him.” (Romans 8:29 MSG)
Keep doing the hard work.
You were made for greatness. Don’t you forget it.
Do we no longer do the hard work of pressing into the subtle, sinister places in us that keep grasping and holding onto sexual immorality?
We can be transformed in the innermost person.
Transformation is more than setting up legalistic boundaries. It’s actually about heart transformation that exudes through how we act with one another physically.
If we’ve lost that vision, then we’ve stopped believing in the power of the Gospel, we’ve stopped believing in the power of the Resurrection, we’ve stopped believing in the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and changing us.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” –Romans 8:28-29
Jesus is not meant to be the exception of who can be trusted in a situation to do the right thing, act honorably with someone. He is meant to be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters who can be trusted to act honorably in situations like that.
If we stop aspiring to that then we settle for less than the greatness for which God has saved us.
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This Episode’s Transcription
Brothers and sisters, I have a call for you today, I want to set before you a vision of something that is good and right and holy. Something that I believe God wants for us in the church that we don’t typically believe is possible. So listen up, I hope this is going to be an encouragement to you today. All right, so let me start with a story. So you’re so go, I was talking on the phone with a Christian brother who experiences exclusively same sex attraction. He doesn’t have any attraction, sexual attraction, romantic attraction to women. He’s a faithful Christian, in the sense that he’s he’s understands that God’s design for sexuality is that it be expressed between husband and wife and marriage. And so he has decided to live a celibate life. And I appreciate that commend him for that. His desire to be faithful the Lord in that way. But I had read a blog post that he had written in which he had described, he was trying to describe how he was his sexual struggle, was actually a gift to the church. And this is the story he shared, in essence, that he was at a friend’s house and he was talking to the friend’s wife and the friend’s wife expressed some insecurities about her body. And this Christian friend responded to her with you don’t have to be insecure about your body, your your beautiful. Another guy at the party overheard and shouted out the door to this woman’s husband saying, hey, you know, so and so’s in here? Hitting on your wife, and the guy outside, who according to the man on the phone that I was talking to, knew about this guy’s same sex attraction and said, Oh, I’m not worried about him. That was in so in the blog, this guy was saying, Hey, isn’t that great? Because since I’ve got exclusively same sex attraction, this Christian brother knew that he didn’t need to worry about me and I could affirm his wife as a male, I could affirm his wife without him having to worry about it. And on the face of it, I’m like, Hey, God is using you in this woman’s life, and in this couple’s life, in some great ways. Amen. Yes, love it. But there was a piece of what he shared that actually sat wrong with me and Sat Sat uncomfortably with me. Because it ought not be that that’s the reason this Christian brother was comfortable with him, complimenting his wife. The reason his Christian brother ought to be comfortable with him complaining his wife is not that he doesn’t have attractions to her. It ought to be because he’s a Christian. So in other words, why is it that in today’s day and age, we would entrust a spouse more to someone who’s not attracted to them, because of some brokenness in their in their life, then we would trust our spouse to someone because they are a devout follower of Jesus. Now, listen, I know, even as I say that, I know that that we live in a world in a day and age where there is such a lack of sexual integrity in the world of men and women, that it makes sense that we would struggle to trust a brother or sister in Christ with our spouse, where we get concerned that something untoward might happen that they might have an attraction to each other, that there might be an affair that somebody might be hitting on her spouse. It happens all the time. But have we lost the vision for ourselves as the people of God, that it ought not be that way? Have we lost the vision for ourselves that we can actually aspire to be the kind of people that can be trusted, to not cross a physical boundary when it’s wrong to do so? Have we lost a vision for ourselves, that we might be the kind of people that when a woman is caught in adultery, and brought before us, caught in the very act that we don’t mistreat her. But then we look at her with eyes of love, and dignity and honor, and forgive her and call her to something greater encouraging her not to sin anymore, like Jesus did. And we lost the vision of being able to be a people who had run into a sexually immoral woman in a secluded place in the middle of the day when no one else is around, and would call her to Christ, like Jesus did with the woman at the well. Have we lost this kind of vision for one another brothers and sisters, that we no longer aspire to this that we no longer call each other to this kind of greatness, that we no longer do the hard work of pressing into the subtle, but sinister places in us that keep grasping and holding on to sexual immorality. Have we lost a vision for each other that we can actually actually act? Phillippi transformed in the innermost person, that it’s not about setting up legalistic boundaries all over the place. But it’s actually about heart transformation that exudes through how we act with one another physically. Brothers and sisters, if we have lost that kind of vision for ourselves, than I think we’ve, we’ve stopped believing in the power of the gospel, we’ve stopped believing in the power of the resurrection of Jesus, we’ve stopped believing in the power of the Holy Spirit in dwelling us and changing us, Romans 828 and 29. It’s one of my favorite couplings of passage that says, God works all things together, for those who love him for those who’ve been called according to His purpose. For those he for knew, He predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son, that He Jesus might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Jesus is not meant to just be the exception of someone who can be trusted in a situation to do the right thing to act honorably. With someone else, he is meant to be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters, who can be trusted to act honorably in situations like that. Now, listen, you guys know, I’ve worked in this area of ministry for 20 years. And so I know, I know, I know the pitfalls that can exist around what I’m talking about. I know that some of you listening, you did trust someone else with your spouse, and they betrayed your trust. I know that some of you listening, thought too highly of yourselves. And you thought you could handle situations that you couldn’t, and you crossed boundaries that you couldn’t. So I know the real life that we’re living in, and what the vision I’m holding up is something that not all of us will achieve, but we cannot let go the vision, and we and we should not, ought not let go of aspiring towards becoming that kind of man and that kind of woman. Because if we stop aspiring to that, then we settle for less than the greatness for which God has saved us. This is his destiny for us. We will one day be like that, whether in this world or are in the age to come. This is what Christ has saved us for. And let us continue to aspire to it. And yes, aspire to it with all the practical means in your power. If you struggle with sexual integrity issues, get help dig down into the trenches of where that stuff comes from, for you. Do the hard work of facing your story, do the hard work of excavating the bones that you buried long ago that you want to know when to know about? Do the hard work of bringing the things that are in darkness into light of community, do the hard work of practicing living in the light of community so that you can be trusted, and that you will act honorably in those moments, whereas someone else might be tempted and cross a line they ought not. Or you yourself have crossed the line that you are not in the past. Me, let me close with just a couple thoughts. One is one of my the surprising passages I ran across in St. Athanasius is a small book on the incarnation is when he is recounting, he’s giving. He’s giving examples of proofs for Jesus resurrection. And he’s not talking about historical proofs he’s talking about. These are things that we see today in the church, that that could only be possible if Jesus truly were a man truly died and truly rose in the dead. And one of the proofs he gives is that young men and young women are living chastely, where they didn’t before. He points at the young men and young women of the church in his day. And he says, look at them, look at the way that they’re living. They’re living honorably, they’re living chastely, they can be trusted. And that is not possible. Without godly divine power working because of the resurrection of Jesus. That is something worth aspiring to. We can’t We can’t do that today. We can’t in large quantities, we will appoint individuals and we want to build upon it more and more in individuals to say look, this is evidence that Jesus rose from the dead.
So it matters for the witness of the church. The second reason we can’t stop aspiring to this kind of honorable living this kind of chastity that’s that’s not just in our behavior, but in our in our guts in our hearts and our wills. We can’t stop pursuing it. Because in order for people to be healed, we need men and women of integrity, men and women who are whole. There is something different about a man who ministers, the love of Jesus. And there’s something different about a woman who ministers the love of Jesus. And men and women alike need men of integrity who can be trusted to minister in Jesus name. And men and women alike need women who can be trusted to minister in Jesus name. We need men and women who are whole enough and trustworthy enough to be able to pray for the sexually wounded, the sexually vulnerable. This is such an important part. If the church is going to be a whole, spotless, unblemished bride, then we need men and women who are healed and whole enough, walking in enough integrity, to be trusted with that kind of ministry. And brothers and sisters, it can be you, it can be you, Jesus, help us to never let our experience of ourselves or others and our own failures, Lord dissuade us from continuing to hold up high, that we are made for something more, and that we are made to be honorable and trustworthy. Jesus gives every man listening, a vision for himself that he might aspire to. And the humility enough Lord, to recognize the truth about how close he is or how far he has to go. And learn to pray the same for every woman listening that you give a vision of herself as an honorable woman who can be trusted, and give her the humility, Lord, to know how far she is and how far she has to go. And Lord, be with us in every step of the way giving us grace are not to beat ourselves up for how far we have to go, but for thanking for how far we’ve come and knowing that you will bring us all the way home and complete the work that you’ve begun in us. Praise You, Lord Jesus praise you. We pray these things in your name, amen.