Struggling with unwanted habits can feel isolating.
Your journey to sexual integrity isn’t a common or easy topic of conversation which can leave you feeling alone.
Satan seizes your isolation as a perfect opportunity to tell you you’re different, dirty. This belief stacks a wall between you and your healing.
Let’s tear down the wall that says you’re chronically unique so you can keep moving towards becoming whole.
There are so many men and women, who struggle with sexual sin, believing that their struggle is different from everybody else.
If that feels like you, you need to know that belief is part of your problem and part of what keeps you stuck
When you view your problem as that which makes you chronically unique, then you actually damage your own ability to be free.
The separation from other people, from ourselves, from God is what makes us feel chronically unique. We were never intended to live apart from ourselves, others and God the way that we do in this fallen world.
Take the risk to move out of this space.
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This Episode’s Transcription
What if part of your problem is actually that you think your problem is different from everybody else’s problem. I’m talking about chronic uniqueness, chronic uniqueness, this ongoing perpetual sense that I am unique, different than everybody else. And usually, meaning that in it, I’m unique in a defective, different, dirty kind of way. In my 20 years of working in this area of ministry, I can tell you that there are so many men and women who are wrestling with sexual sins, who believe that what they’re struggling with, is different from everybody else. If that feels like you in any way, you need to know that that belief is a part of your problem. And it’s part of what keeps you stuck in your problem. I’m gonna give two reasons to that a little bit later. But let me just start by saying that often it’s something like this, might hear somebody say, you know, people in the church are really open and accepting of people who deal with XY and Z, but not with people who struggle with what I’m struggling with. Men have no problem with guys struggling with pornography, but they’ll look at you weird for the rest of your life, if they know that the pornography you’re looking at is gay pornography. Or the church is fine with guys looking at pornography, but not with women looking at pornography. Or maybe you’re even listening and you’re thinking, yeah, Josh, everybody knows those kinds of struggles exist in the church, but you’re not naming my struggle, because it’s so unique, so different, so much dirtier than everybody else, there’s so much more shameful from everybody else. And listen to the reality is that there are people who won’t understand certain struggles, there are some struggles that are more common than others. And so there will be times where you will be dealing with something that you don’t find anybody else dealing with around you there. And there will be people unfortunately, who, when they learn about your struggle might see you differently, might struggle to know how to relate with you in the same way that they do now, because they understand you differently. Nonetheless, nonetheless, when you view your problem as as that which makes you chronically unique, then you actually do damage to your own ability to be free. So listen, that feeling of being chronically unique, the feeling that what you are dealing with is different from everybody else, that you yourself are different and dirty, defective, in a way unlike anybody else, that feeling is actually common to everybody. in some form or another, it is common to everybody. It is a result of the fall, it came with the fall. And so it is it is a common experience to everybody. And I’d suggest to you that its genesis is not the sins that you’ve done, not the things that you struggle with, not the temptations that are that you think you’re the only one dealing with the genesis of that feeling that you are chronically unique, comes because we have been split off from one another and from the Lord through the fall. When Adam and Eve sinned, part of what happened for them is their eyes were open and they became aware of themselves in relation to others in a in an insecure way. Before that, they could look at one another, they knew the other people were looking at the other person was looking at them. And they felt no shame. But when shame came in, now they needed to cover themselves. They had some capacity to see themselves outside of themselves and not see themselves accurately. I don’t mean that. But to as Liam Payne puts it, to walk outside of themselves to walk alongside of themselves really though CS Lewis anyway, Liam painter, CS Lewis, one of the two. And it’s that experience of separation of other people and separate from ourselves and separation God. That’s what makes us feel chronically unique, because we were never intended to live separated from ourselves, others and God the way that we do in this fallen world. So, yes, somebody might look at you a little differently. They might struggle to relate with you in the same way, once they know the unique struggle that you have, or the specific struggle that you have. But that’s their problem. That’s a part of the fall that they’re wrecking with because they can no longer connect with you in the way that they were designed to. Your job is to forsake the idea that you are chronically unique. There is no temptation Paul says that has seized you except what is common to man. And not only that, not only that, but Jesus himself has become flesh and dwelt among us. him becoming flesh does not mean that He was God in disguise. He wasn’t Superman disguises Clark Kent, he entered in the fullness of our humanity, he entered into the fullness of our humanity, which means in every way that you experience your life. Jesus can relate with you. He can relate with you you are in not chronically unique, you are known, you are understood, you are felt, my brothers and sisters by Jesus, He knows you. He knows what you feel. Okay? Whether you believe that or not, I want to encourage you to take the risk, to move out of that space of believing yourself to be chronically unique because and I want to come back to those two reasons that that holding on to that belief, actually keep you stuck with your specific struggle, your specific problem, your specific sin. When you hold on to the belief, when you choose to continue to believe that your specific area of struggle makes you different from everybody else, here are the two things you do two things that happen for you that keep you stuck. Number one, you keep yourself out of relationships that can bring you healing and comfort and beauty and goodness in your life, the things that you’re really after. You know, by now, if you’ve listened this podcast for any length of time that when we struggle with sexual sins, we’re really struggling with relational issues. What you need in overcoming your sexual struggles is healthy relationships. healthy friendships have healthy brothers and sisters that you can call upon people who can know you and see you and love you, people whom you can know and see and love. As we fill up our lives with those kinds of relationships, sexual sin loses some of its luster for us. Because sex at its core is relational. It’s not just that we want the sexual thrill. Underneath the sexual thrill is something so much more important. Its union, its connection, its intimacy, in the in the purest sense of that word. That’s what you need, you actually don’t need sex, you need connection, you need connection with other people. And yes, sex is a form of connection that God intended for marriage. But you don’t need it, people actually don’t need sex, but you do need relationships. And so when you hold on to the idea that your sexual struggle makes you unique, and you keep that part of your life outside of relationship with those who know you best, you actually limit yourself from being able to grow, because you’re limiting your own capacity for relationships in those healthy holy ways. And when you do that, that in turn, makes you much more susceptible to running back to sexual sin to meet or to try to meet relational needs, and they won’t be met there. So you’ll be stuck in that same cycle over and over and over again. And the second thing you do when you hold on to the idea that you or your struggle is makes you chronically unique, is you cut yourself off from that which can heal you. In other words, you cut yourself off from the medicine that actually can bring healing to you. Well, how does that happen? Because when you believe that we you’re dealing with this is chronically unique is unique to you. Then when you’re in church on a Sunday morning, and the pastor is talking about how to grow closer to Jesus, how to overcome since you’re you already have a wallet that says, Well, that might work for other people’s stuff, but because this is unique, he doesn’t know about this, it’s not going to apply to me. Likewise, when you’re talking to your brothers and sisters, and they say I’m going to pray for you, you say yep, that works for this and this and that, but it doesn’t work for me. And you may not think that consciously. But if you’re holding on to the idea that what you’re dealing with is unique to you, then you’re already setting yourself in a prideful place. Basically saying like, only you deal with this, which means only you can say what’s going to work and what’s not going to work. You isolate yourself from the Mercy, the grace of what might come to you in the body of Christ. And worse yet, you also can be prone to isolating yourself from the power of God working in your life.
I think one of the area’s we’re seeing this most in the last 10 to 15 years and it’s only increased in volume are for those of you who wrestle with same sex attraction, the the LGBT ideology, that this is just who you are, and you’re never going to be happy, unless you embrace it and live it out, has seeped into the church, to the point where the gospel can change anybody have anything. Unless the kind of change we’re talking about deals with sexuality. So an alcoholic, who’s been an alcoholic for 20 years can be healed in Christ, a drug addict can be healed and Christ somebody who’s dealing with porn addiction can be healed and Christ. Somebody who grew up, abused and abandoned and was terrified of other people and terrified of God can be healed and enter into holy relationships and thrive in life. Someone is afraid of public speaking can be called into the mission field to speak and preach for Jesus. Somebody who has a chronic illness, that the physical ailment that can be healed, we preach and talk about all those things in the body of Christ. We No and proclaim sometimes those things happen in a moment when the when the Holy Spirit falls, the power of God manifests and someone has healed in a moment. And other times, it’s not in a moment. Sometimes it’s a long haul long journey, where somebody has changed little bit by little bit by little bit by little bit, through communion with other people in the body of Christ, practicing disciplines, getting the help they need, and the Holy Spirit working in their life over time, and they are changed. And we hear stories of this, and we believe that this is true. Why do we believe it? Because Jesus died and rose from the dead. And if that’s possible, all things are possible for those who believe. And yet somehow, it’s like we’ve we believe the gospel just doesn’t apply in the area of sexuality. Now, listen, I’m not in any way suggesting that we presume upon God and say, well, he’s always going to change someone’s story in this or that way. But when we believe that we are chronically unique, that our issue is unique, and that no one else is like us in this way, then we cut ourselves off from the possibilities that we see all around us all the time. Whether it’s a healing, or a Holy Spirit, empowered ability to endure, or pressing into the Community of Christ and finding that the family we’d hoped for that would be biological as actually the family around us, in the church, or whatever God’s means may be. We are not unique. Brothers and sisters, you are not unique, you are uniquely loved. You’re uniquely created, you’ve got unique DNA, you’ve got unique gifting. There’s nobody on the earth like you, you’re here repeatable, irreplaceable, beloved, by God in that way, you’re unique, yes. But when it comes to your struggles and your sins, they do not fall into a different category that does not applied everybody else around you in some way or another. And that feeling again, the feeling that you have, that what you’re struggling with makes you unique, it’s misplaced. It’s misplaced, that feeling of being uniquely different, defective, dirty, that came with the fall, not with your struggle, not with your struggle, so lay down that, that that faulty belief that there’s something uniquely deficient, dirty, or defective about you, and instead take up your place as a brother or sister, a son or daughter, a man or a woman in the body of Christ. We need you there and you’re welcome there and you are just like the rest of us there. There is no distinction. We are all one in Christ Jesus. Lord, would you help us to shed the that shame feeling that we are chronically unique in some defective dirty way? And Lord, help us to take our place as brothers and sisters all Yes, who have sin? Yes, your struggles. Yes, who are not yet what we will be, but who are beloved by you and your family with each other? Or that we might continue to grow in Christ’s likeness, whatever the area of our struggle, we pray these things now in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.