Called to Sexual Integrity: How God Redeems Our Sexuality – 3

Called to Sexual Integrity
“Understanding How God Redeems Our Sexuality
Through Our Union With Christ: Part 3″

Article originally appeared in “Get in the Game”
a periodic email communication from CEP
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May/June 2007 Vol. 3 No.3

Surveys among Christian men routinely indicate that the temptation they struggle with the most is sexual lust. Long-term success in battling this temptation does not come in an easy three step formula. If overcoming sexual impurity were that easy, men would take those three steps and this would not be the huge problem among Christian men that it is.

Genuine success in overcoming sexual impurity only comes through our abiding relationship with Christ. Sexual integrity is a matter of the heart and it is only through our connection with Christ that the spiritual fruit of a pure heart is produced. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). He is the source not only of our justification, but of our sanctification, i.e. our growth in holiness.

The classical understanding of how this union with Christ leads to our growth in holiness is that it takes place through repentance, faith, and obedience. These three Biblical concepts may seem familiar to us. But a careful examination of each of these aspects of sanctification yields the rich, practical, Biblical insight our men need to overcome the sexual lust that overpowers them.

True repentance engages our heads (affirmations), our hearts (affections), and our hands (actions). It begins by bringing our sin into the light, confessing it, mentally agreeing with God’s verdict. But, true repentance goes well beyond mental submission to God’ standard; it engages our heart. We become grieved over our sin because it is a personal offense against our God. It is his law that we have broken, his authority we have defied, his name we have dragged through the mud.

Not only that, but in a deeper sense, our surrender to sexual temptation reveals that we really don’t believe I Corinthians 6:13, “But you cannot say that our physical body was made for sexual promiscuity; it was made for God and God is the answer to our deepest longings.” Ed Welch points out, “The true nature of all addictions is that we have chosen to go outside the boundaries of the kingdom of God and look for blessing in the land of idols. In turning to idols, we are saying that we desire something in creation more than we desire the Creator.” (Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave.)Increased consistency in defeating sexual temptation will never come until we address the sin beneath the sin-the way we look to another God to satisfy out heart longings.

Heart Repentance means to:

I. Recognize how inadequate your idol is to truly satisfy your heart.

“Lord, I have foolishly made this good thing absolute. What is this compared to you? It can not bless me, and love me, and help me like you.”

II. Recognize how dangerous your idol is to you. It enslaves and will never be satisfied.

“Lord, why am I giving this such power over me. If I keep doing it, it will lock me in chains. With your help, I will not let this idol jerk me around, as if I were a dog on a leash. This will not be my master. You are my only king.”

III. Recognize how grievous this idol is to Christ.

“Lord, I can’t imagine how repulsive this idol is to you. In yearning for this more than yearning to please you, I have trampled your love for me into the mud. I have gone after another lover and said that you are inadequate to meet my needs.”

Besides tracing sexual sin back to its idolatrous roots, repentance of heart means training our hearts to hate evil. In Romans 12:9, Paul writes, “HATE WHAT IS EVIL; cling to what is good.” Most men neglect this command and vital aspect of genuine repentance; so we will look at it in detail in the next issue of “Get In the Game.”

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Rev. Gary Yagel began his ministry as a volunteer Young Life leader, served 4 years as a youth pastor and over 20 years as a church planter and senior pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America. He has led various men's discipleship ministries, including Top Gun, and spoken to numerous men's groups. He is a Field Network

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