Called to Sexual Integrity: Repentance – 5

Called to Sexual Integrity
“Lust Reigns Where Repentance Is Incomplete”

Article originally appeared in “Get in the Game”
a periodic email communication from CEP
October/November 2007 Vol. 3 No.5

Recently a friend’s eight year old son confided in him about his time management problems. “Dad, with all my video games to play and friends I want to play outside with, I just don’t have time for school.” School just didn’t seem to fit into his schedule.

Sometimes Christian men who are losing their battles with lust are looking for a quick and easy solution that will fit comfortably into their schedule. “Give me three steps for winning this battle for sexual purity and I will take them next Thursday afternoon at 3:00 and get this problem solved.” In a world where Yankee ingenuity allows us to read license plates from outer space and put 500 songs on something the size of a credit card, we expect to quickly solve our problems. But instant solutions to spiritual problems simply don’t exist.

Heart transformation can only take place through our union with Christ-and it is a life long cycle that requires repentance, faith, and obedience. Often this process is subverted because of incomplete repentance, so we are looking carefully at this Biblical concept through the lens of 1) mental assent-agreeing with God’s verdict, 2) our core affections-satisfying our hearts in God and hating evil, and 3) our actions-surrendering our will to Christ.

Surrendering our will to Christ is an integral part of repentance, yet surrendering to the will of Christ is what we feel so powerless to do, when lust is awakened. There is, however, no way to avoid the agonizing pull of temptation and no way to escape the battle over saying, “Not my will but yours be done.”

This battle to yield to Christ is easier to win, though, when we remember these truths:”

1. This pull of temptation is a chance to demonstrate our loyalty to our redeemer and king. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1Corinth. 6:19-20.

2. It is in remembering God’s mercy to us that we find power to surrender our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. “Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices-holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” Rom. 12:1. It is God’s grace to us that motivates obedience.

3. Surrendering to Christ’s Lordship does not mean trying to deny the pull of sexual desire; it is entrusting your sexual appetite to God. It is trusting God to satisfy your sexual longings in a righteous way-and it is “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” who “will be satisfied, not those who seek satisfaction in an unrighteous way.

4. We need to have the dignity to refuse to let sexual desire rule us. Slavery destroys human dignity. We need the dignity and sound theology to say, I wasn’t meant for slavery. I was created a king, made in God’s image to rule-not to be dominated, enslaved by some force like sexual sin. Christ, the second Adam, has set us free from our bondage to sin. We need to have the passion of freedom fighters to never again let ourselves be enslaved. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” Rom. 6:12

Heart transformation begins with full repentance, which is involves the mind – agreeing with God’s verdict, the emotions-realizing that our root issue is not loving our God enough, and the will – changing directions and surrendering to Christ’s Lordship. There are no easy shortcuts to sexual purity, but there can be a gradual heart transformation that makes us more inclined to surrender to his will. Click here to order The Called to Sexual Integrity Bible Studies

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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