Confident Christianity: “Sexual Revolution” (Part Three) – 1 Corinthians 7:18ff

hold hands1Jean Lloyd, PhD, is a teacher and a happily married mother of two young children. When she shared her story about the journey through rough waters toward a fulfilling walk with God, it got my attention. She has a voice worth heeding. She wrote:

“…Recently, my dear friend Diane was lamenting the fact that there are few places for Christians who experience same-sex attraction and wish to be faithful to Christian teaching to deal openly and honestly with those issues. Our culture’s sexual floodtide is breaching many individuals’ and churches’ fidelity to truth, and now, post-Obergefell, there is mounting pressure on any traditional morality “hold-outs” to give in and affirm all sexual acts as long as they are consensual. Thus “safe spaces” for Christians like Diane and me are fewer and farther between…When I use the term “safe space,” I … mean a space where people can openly share their experience of same-sex attraction, where others will affirm their dignity as children of God and accompany them in friendship. But I mean something [else] as well. In my vision, those with same-sex attraction can take refuge in this space and trust they will be sheltered from harm precisely because there is a steadfast refusal to affirm falsehood or to encourage any behavior that is contrary to human good.

Diane and I have journeyed together for over twenty years. I remember well the summer we met … She wore a ball cap and had her girlfriend in tow, while I wore my hair buzzed in keeping with my masculine style. Both of us were confused, wondering whether we should continue to embrace our lesbian identity with abandon, give it up for our faith, or try to have it both ways by twisting the Scriptures and suppressing the voice of conscience. Those were difficult times. That summer, I had gone to a well-known Christian professor on campus and begged her to tell me—as a Christian—her thoughts on homosexuality. In a reluctant voice, she said slowly, “Well, I can’t see anything in Scripture that would condone it, but . . .” Her voice picked up speed as she listed disclaimers of how the prohibitions couldn’t possibly apply to every situation, no one can judge, and so forth. As well-meaning as I’m sure my professor was that day, she did not have the fortitude to let God’s “yes” be “yes” and “no” be “no.”

I practically ran from her office, confused and desperately wanting someone to show me where the boundary line was. Greg, a classmate who was also a military chaplain, overheard the exchange and followed me out. As I wept, he grabbed my shoulders and commanded my attention: “Jean, Romans 3:4, let every man be found a liar, but God be true. You know the truth.” I was in dangerous waters, and rather than being given consoling words as to why I shouldn’t feel bad, I needed to be pointed to the shore. Despite all the “Safe Space” stickers decorating professors’ offices on campus, it was Greg who provided one that day.

However, I not only needed to be pointed to shore, I also needed hands to pull me out of the water and help me learn to walk uprightly. A few years later, I moved to attend graduate school and found myself in the same city as Diane. I knew that Diane had found a strong church, one that was providing the safe space she needed to heal and grow. So I visited, and as is typical with such generous lovers of God, they made room for me as well. These were rough and imperfect years for both Diane and me, but they were also deeply blessed. We had found hope. We became part of a group of Christians who were committed to truth and willing to honestly share the messiness of life as we all walked toward maturity and sought holiness together. These spiritual friends and mentors were a wonderful example of a welcoming and accompanying community who made us feel safe and protected us from harm. I am forever grateful to God for their life-changing love, prayers, counsel, and friendship.

Over twenty years later, I am a teacher and married with children. Diane is an excellent businesswoman, lay missionary, and highly esteemed friend to many. She is still single. Our individual fulfillment lies neither in our marital state nor in our sexuality, but in our surrender to our Creator’s truth, love, and will for our lives.

When the Supreme Court redefined marriage and everything from the White House to corporate logos turned rainbow, I recalled that year of monumental personal decision when I was struggling with my relationships with God, women, and myself. I remember digging out my Bible, which was dusty from disuse. I dared to look at the first chapter of Romans. The words blurred through my tears as I read. My mind was also blurry, for having opened a door to sin, I had opened a door to deception. I prayed, “If it’s wrong, You’ll have to show me another way, because I can’t see it.” I honestly couldn’t see the truth—it was as if there was a veil over my eyes.

These days, when I see the multitude of profile pictures on Facebook bearing a rainbow filter, I think of that veil. The rainbow veil tints reality with false hues, blurs the vision, and prevents one from seeing clearly. But what is most distressing is seeing the rainbow veil over the faces of Christian friends and family…” (

She went on to offer straightforward advice to those of us in ministry in these days. Her advice was well founded, and her words dripped with humility and love. The Witherspoon Institute printed her letter in their “Public Discourse” and I am grateful for the tone as well as the content. We have been investigating the direct teaching from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians about human sexuality, celibacy, marriage and divorce. It was always a concern to the church through the ages, but never more than now. God’s Word is sharp in focus, careful in prescription and effective in result – but we must teach it thoroughly and hearers must embrace it fully. Remember our Key Principle for these few lessons has not changed…

Key Principle: The Designer knows the design, and His Word makes clear what it is.

There is a Biblical Context for Marriage

Before we look back at our primary passage, we should briefly remind ourselves that the Bible relates the PRIMARY PURPOSES for marriage:

• First, the Bible paired man and woman for the purposes of procreation – (To keep the race going). Sex wasn’t PRIMARILY given as “entertainment” but rather as the mechanism of procreation. Note that in Genesis 1:28: God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” This isn’t the Creation account, but the summary found in the story of the Seven Days of 1:1-2:3 in the prologue to Genesis. Yet, it included the detail that God intended procreation from the beginning, and made a system for reproduction to occur.

• Second, let’s not be prudes – God intended us to WANT to be involved in sexual expression. It was a pleasure both in its immediate physicality and its emotional by-product. In other words, it was both fun and fulfilling – because it was designed to create an emotional bond after it was over. God referred to sexual pleasure as something we would hunger for like water in Proverbs 5 – and that is what made it ripe ground for the enemy to torque into sinful mutiny from God’s standards.

• Third, a man and woman were paired because God wanted relationship at the center of our lives. He made man to be a guardian, and woman to be his helper. This was his provision for completion of both the man and woman. We weren’t generally meant to live outside of relationship (Ephesians 5:25 – 32 makes that clear).

• Finally, the picture of something greater was given in this union – in the Hebrew Scriptures it was a picture of YHWH and Israel in relationship nationally (cp. Hosea); in the Christian Scriptures it is a vibrant picture of Christ and His betrothed, the Church (see Ephesians 5).

When Paul wrote on these delicate subjects, he did so in the context of much revelation already available. The Bible affirmed “TWO PRIMARY PRINCIPLES CONCERNING MARRIAGE”:

First, Scripture offers the Permanence Principle: God’s original intention was that marriage be one man for one woman, PERMANENT until the death of one of them. This was His ideal (Gen. 2:24). Jesus echoed the same thought in Matthew 19: 1 -12 (cf. Mk. 10: 1-12). Though God allowed polygamy during the centuries when the infant mortality rate and the high death rate in delivery prevailed – that was never His design according to the revealed Word. When Jesus affirmed it was so “from the beginning” (Mt. 19:8), He rejected some rabbinic claims that Dt. 24 was an “easy out if the paperwork was proper” (Mk. 10:4). God wanted marriage to be permanent.

Second, Scripture presumes the Purity Principle: God’s stated desire for every man and woman was that their relationship be PURE by each pledging a covenant of faithfulness to one another (Ex. 20:14). This purity was to extend into their thought life, as they were not even to foster a desire for another’s spouse (v.17). Jesus reminded His followers of the PURITY standard including their “thought life” in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:27, 28. God is serious about our purity – even in a sex-soaked culture.

The Biblical Context for Divorce

Beyond marriage, it is probably also important to mention something else. In addition to setting out God’s design for marriage, the Word also included a sharp-focused teaching on DIVORCE. God knows man, and God knows the brokenness of sin would drive men and women apart. As a result, God offered “TWO PRIMARY PRINCIPLES CONCERNING DIVORCE” to match what He revealed about marriage.

First, Scripture made clear a Principle of Practice: Divorce was a Biblical practice, insomuch as God himself placed regulations on it in some cases – and set the standard for when it was appropriate and disallowed. In one special event He even required it (Ezra 10), when the marriages were specifically forbidden by Him beforehand. The formula was offered “..she is not my wife, I am not her husband…” in Hosea 2:2. Though He hated the sin which caused the hardness between people that ended in divorce – and He hated the process itself (Malachi 2), God did acknowledge this practice (Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:8) and regulated the procedure of the PRACTICE (Deuteronomy 24). The emphasis was on protecting the weaker party from abuse by the law. Jesus acknowledged that the PRACTICE of divorce was regulated (“epitrepo” means allowed – Mt. 19:7,8), but this was only due to the “hard heartedness of sin”. Even in cases where God allowed divorce, He limited the circumstances which were allowable – but there were some. Jesus appeared to limit the “uncleanness” of Dt. 24 to the specific moral uncleanness of immorality (Mt. 19:9). That didn’t offer His complete position, but it settled a debate of that time on the meaning of Moses in the Law.

Second, the Word offered an often forgotten Principle of Presumption: The Hebrew Scriptures PRESUMED that remarriage would follow a divorce (Dt. 24:1-4), and regulated this practice to show the gravity of divorce, and minimize the continual damage to others. Jesus also PRESUMED that divorced people would remarry (Mt. 5:32). For that reason, He warned that others could suffer from the sin of one couple! Remarriage was not always sin, but was sin in cases where the divorce was not on Biblical grounds (Matthew 5:32).

Let’s say it this way: God gave us a gift of procreation that included pleasure with the one who was His Divine completing provision for us, as a picture of eternal and spiritual truths. It was intended to be a pure expression of a permanent earthly covenant – lasting as long as our sojourn on earth together.

In that context, God used Paul to add more Revealed Truth.

As we combed 1 Corinthians 7, we saw a number of truths that help us with God’s plan for our lives and relationships. We have seen in the chapter important truths:

• Believers were called to base their practice on God’s Word – not the culture, or even the LAW of the LAND in 1 Corinthians 7:1.

• The Bible defined marriage as one man to one woman in 1 Corinthians 7:2.

• The Bible defined the proper places and participants for sexual expression in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

• Men and women are equal in the sight of God in regards to the practice of sexual expression, and need to consult one another and care for one another as in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

• For some people, marriage is the best option – even when persecution grows, 1 Corinthians 7:8-9.

• God did not call a believer to leave their partner if one came to Jesus after marriage and the other partner did not, 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.

• God’s distinct call for us is found in our birth; we are to be the person God made us (cp. 1 Corinthians 7:17).

Paul Continued with a simple idea:

Be what God made you and celebrate that! (7:18-20)

1 Corinthians 7:18 “Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.”

For believers in our time, (unless you come from a Jewish background) you may easily ask: “What is the big deal with “circumcision”?”

Let me explain. In the time of the early church, the message of Jesus was moving from a tiny Messianic movement within Judaism to a transformation movement of God appearing and working all across the Roman world. The earliest followers of Jesus were Jewish. He was Jewish. As the message spread, it came largely through the hands of Jews. As a result, and aided by some Jews who mistakenly wanted everyone in the Gentile world to see this movement as still something within Judaism, some Gentiles were feeling pressure to enter the Jewish world (and its prescriptions of Atonement Law) as part of knowing Jesus. They felt pressured to join Jews in worship and walk because they thought it was closer to God – or at least that is what they were being told by some traveling teachers. Circumcision was the beginning point of entry to a Jewish world that called people back to the Atonement taught in the Torah. Paul wrote letters like that of Galatians designed to counter than thinking. The problem was that Atonement was replaced by Justification – and there was no need for them to go backward.

Here is the point: If you were called to Jesus as a Jew – don’t try to stop being one. Things God has said to Jews and for Jews are YOUR things. The replacement of a “one size fits all” sacrifice of Messiah made your sin issue something that did not require atonement – but that wasn’t all there was to being Jewish. You had food restrictions, you had Sabbath requirements and you had national identity. Those things weren’t stripped from you when you came to Messiah. No one need trade his gefilte fish for a ham, nor their menorah for a Christmas tree. If you know Yeshua as your Messiah – you are complete in Him. You are part of the body, and you came to it the same as a Gentile did – through the completed payment of the sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb – your Messiah. Because you were saved the same way, does not mean you LIVE after salvation the same way. Women and men have different restrictions. Slave and free have different restrictions. All are saved the same way. For this reason, there are some Epistles that were specifically written to instruct Jews who came to Yeshua – such as Hebrews and James.

Conversely, if you were called to Jesus as a Gentile – don’t try to play the role of a JEW. Don’t wrap yourself in Jewish garb and try to become something you aren’t because it will somehow be more holy or more powerful in the Spirit of God. Your Designer made you the ethnic background He intended you to be. Dare I say it: Be the person God made you. Be that person for God’s glory. Stop letting someone tell you that what you are isn’t good enough.

Let me bring it even one step closer. If you are a believer, celebrate your identity as a follower of the Creator.

If you are a woman – don’t try to dress like a man, act like a man or imitate masculinity. I am a man – and I totally believe we have enough men in the world. Look like a woman. Act like a woman. Celebrate your womanhood. The world will tell you children are a burden – don’t believe them. Celebrate your womb and intentionally shape a life if God gives you the opportunity. It is a career – I don’t care what the world says. Don’t let the world convince you that being a man’s helper is some kind of DOG WORK – that demeans God’s Word concerning your design. At the same time, you are God’s beautiful creation whether you are 22 or 92 Don’t let the world tell you that your value is found in the outward traits of your body. It isn’t. Become within the person God is making you to become – that beautiful creation that God will take joy in watching and hearing. Paul continued…

Sexual participation by force is never the fault of the victim (7:21-24).

The Roman world was filled with slaves. Robert Garland at Colgate University offered a course I took on this subject a few years back. He opened the class with these words:

Imagine working down a mine ten hours a day and then being shackled for the other fourteen as you try to catch a bit of sleep or simply huddle with your fellow slaves to keep warm. Or, if you happen to be in a more “favorable” situation, imagine hearing with unimaginable dread your master’s heavy tread and knowing that he is about to force himself upon you yet again, as he has four nights in a row.”

Roman citizens believed they had as much right to own a slave as you do to own a microwave – and they thought about it in moral terms about as much as you think of your vacuum cleaner in moral terms. Slaves were a fixture. Snatched up as the common spoils out of the many Roman wars, slaves were abundant and filled the streets of Roman cities. Some came to Christ in the early years, and they couldn’t “walk out” of the brothel they worked within or the domestic service they were bound into. Paul wrote:

1 Corinthians 7:21 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.

It may not appear so, but these few verses are a comfort to many people in modern churches. Why? Because they may not have been sold into slavery, but for one brief period of their personal history, someone forced them into a sexual situation from which they did not have the power to free themselves.

• Perhaps they went on a date, and someone slipped into their soft drink a tablet or powder of Rohypnol (roh-HIP-nol), the trade name for flunitrazepam (FLOO-neye-TRAZ-uh-pam). When they regained their controlling senses, either they were engaged in something or had clear evidence that something had happened to them. For all practical purposes – they were enslaved.

• Perhaps they weren’t drugged, but were overpowered in a physical exchange. During the time they were forced to do what they did not choose to do – they were essentially a slave of someone else’s desires.

In both cases, and many like them, Paul offers a simple set of words that bring powerful comfort: “Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.” I don’t know if that will mean much to those who have never had this experience, but I can tell you from counseling people in the Word this truth: the fact that God told them to put away any sense of worry about it has freed many in the past. You are not responsible for actions beyond your control – period. It didn’t have to be hurtful on unpleasant – that isn’t the point. How you felt about the experience doesn’t determine your culpability or guilt. If you had no power to break free from the situation – you are not guilty before God in any way. If you were not of age to know what was happening – you are not at fault in any way. If you hid what happened because it upset you – that doesn’t make you guilty of wrongdoing in the actions… only that you should have spoken up. Let me say it this way: If you were not in control of the situation because of the power of another, you are free within and God understands what your place in that situation truly was.

Paul urged them not to CHOOSE to be in a situation where they could be abused – but not to beat themselves up if they worshiped Christ and served until freed in the local brothel. It was terrible, but it was real in the first century, and is real to some of our beloved brothers and sisters under a yoke of bondage today! Don’t think this is over…

Human trafficking represented an estimated $31.6 billion of international trade per annum in 2010, and is thought to be one of the fastest-growing activities of trans-national criminal organizations. We will lead some to Christ, and they will need to know how to deal with the pain and sweeping guilt. Paul continued…

When persecution comes, it may be easier not to be married (7:25-38).

Because Paul said things that confused them when he taught on the subject, he had to come back yet another time to make God’s design clear to them. He wrote:

1 Corinthians 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26 I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

Paul offered a clear, concise opinion that came from his broader view of the increased tensions of the time. This is specific to the time of persecution, and is important. At the same time, this reiterated what we already spoke about extensively in the series, so I will avoid more on this subject. Keep reading…

Use caution: Marriage is designed to both complete the ones called to it but it will divide them (7:29-38).

Paul made clear that persecution was rising and the end appeared very near. It has a number of times in history, and we are always told to be on watch and ready for the end. He wrote:

1 Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. 32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure un-distracted devotion to the Lord.

Paul understood the needs of men and women. He knew the desire to marry and build a life here was from God. His caution was this: “It is getting bad out there. If we have only a short time left, let’s be careful about using it for ourselves.

Let me ask you a question that gets to the heart of this issue:

If you found out tomorrow that you had six months to live – but you would be healthy until that time, what would you change about your life? Would you simply consume the remaining time on your own interests? Would you drop your responsibilities and take off to travel the world? Would you place more emphasis on your spiritual life or on having a good time?

That is at the heart of Paul’s concern. He thinks he is facing the time before Jesus will wrap up the program – and he is calling them to “pour it on for Jesus” and take a back seat with their own desires. His words are tough. They challenge us at a level we need to be challenged. He is stripping our life down to this: “What is REALLY the most important thing about your sojourn here on earth?” Do you consider FAMILY at the center of your being? Remember, you will not be a marriage partner or a momma in Heaven.

Let me say it plainly: If your walk with Jesus is second to ANYTHING, it is in the wrong place. Your family is important – but second to Jesus and your walk with Him. Your accomplishments may have Kingdom results – but honoring the KING is the point of it all. Paul continued…

God gave each believer His Spirit, His Word, and their own choices (7:36-38).

Paul knew his view of the lateness of the hour was not God’s complete call for everyone. They were to steward what God put in their lives. They had choices to make and he wasn’t going to stop them from doing it. He wrote:

1 Corinthians 7:36 But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. 38 So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

If a young woman is in a culture where the father chooses her spouse as they were in Corinth, it was that man’s responsibility to make his own choices based on the Word’s fences and the Spirit’s guidance. Paul understood that, and wanted them to be clear.

Your pastor isn’t responsible to make you obey Jesus – that is your job. Your spiritual parents led you to Jesus, but they aren’t commanded to carry you through your walk – that is your job. Yet, there is more. Paul wrote…

Marriage is for this world (7:39a).

I cannot imagine life without my sweetheart, and I don’t want to. I do know that Scripture is clear that in Heaven the “shadowy earth” picture of marriage will give way to absolute intimacy:

1 Corinthians 7:39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes…

That underscores the point we just made – that your marriage is NOT more important than your walk with Jesus. It also says that if you lose a spouse due to death – you are not being “unfaithful” by finding another mate. That seems simple, and straightforward… but the last part of the sentence CANNOT be neglected…

A believer should only marry another believer (7:39b).

I see no “But he is such a nice guy!” caveat to the standard. The Word says:

1 Corinthians 7:39b … only in the Lord.

For believers, we limit our choices to those in God’s family! Don’t take this lightly. Don’t think that because marriage is only about this life, you needn’t be concerned about the eternal destiny of your spouse. What kind of love is that? I suspect that many people honestly believe a lie that goes like this: “When we get married, I will get him/her to Jesus!” Here is the problem: That isn’t what Jesus told you to do.

Let me close with…

Six Truths for the Tempted Christian

First, if you struggle with sexual desires, you are normal. That doesn’t mean you are free to do what you want – it means we are all struggling with you. The battle between the flesh and the Spirit has been going on since the Fall in the Garden of Eden. We don’t need false promises, and we can’t solve it with a cheap-grace that simply “forgives my failures. God calls us to obedience and surrender of every area of life – and this is part of that call. The continued struggle of life in the fallen world is the truth, and part of the Gospel. Deeply rooted in the Gospel is this truth: All are bent toward sexual sin of some sort, because all of us entered the world with fallen DNA and a corrupt nature (Romans 5:12-21). Your struggle is common to us – so you need not feel alone!

Second, sexual attraction is (and will likely long be) a part of your life. Coming to Jesus doesn’t change that. The Holy Spirit will soften you and transform your mind – but it will probably take a long time and come slowly into a changing heart. I need to be clear: surrendering to Jesus isn’t guaranteed to automatically and instantaneously take wrong desires away. We must recognize that as long as we are in this body, we stand the chance of fighting this fight. We should not be seeking a “healing” of sexual desires – because though they have been skewed – they are part of our design. In fact, this is true of those who are opposite sex attracted, and yes, those who are same-sex attracted. Jesus can do a work in us to heal us – but there is no Biblical mandate that we will lose these urges quickly any more than there is a mandate that we will stop getting hungry – so don’t hold your breath on a false promise.

Third, Jesus commanded us to flee from any sexual behavior that is not according to His holy design – no matter the context. Biblically speaking, whether this is a “one night stand” borne out of drunken promiscuity or a so-called “loving act” in committed monogamy, sexual behavior outside of marriage is a detestable evil because it is mutiny to the design God made and revealed – period. Because one situation is more acceptable to the world than the other doesn’t make one more acceptable to God. His plan is the right way. Any opposing plan in simply more rebellion – no matter how polite it appears to be to the people of our age. Consider this:

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around about drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are too easily pleased.” (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory)

Fourth, you must not accept the premise that your identity is found in your fallen desires. This is one of the true tragedies of the homosexual movement – they are convincing people that their very identity is bound up in their hungers and desires. We must assert anew this truth: You are not defined by your flesh – that is only the home where YOU live. The desires in this body are temporary, and our identity is tied up in Christ forever (2 Corinthians 5:16-17). In the end, Christ will come again, and your journey will be over. You be like him – beyond the clutches of sin, for “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

Fifth, God will redeem every struggle against the flesh for His glory. Sexual attraction can have a divine purpose! It can humble us and make us seek Jesus for the strength to simply get through the day. It can help us become more empathetic toward the struggles and needs of others as they face their sinful desires. It may keep us from becoming Pharisees. It may help keep us in tune with a broken world we are called to reach. It is a mystery, but yet a truth: God is using even your battle with your own sexuality for the good of telling His story through your life (Romans 8:28).

Sixth, the Restrictions of your sexual desires are a practical altar on which you can sacrifice something for your Savior in His honor. Obedience in this area entails celibacy at some stage in everyone’s life. Celibacy requires restraint. Restraint requires choosing to deny our biological wiring in favor of our Savior’s smile. There will be deep fulfillment in loving Him more than yourself. That is at the heart of Christian thinking. He will also use your life in a more wondrous way. Nothing given up for Jesus gets overlooked by Him.

The Designer knows the design, and His Word makes clear what it is.

She was fourteen when he met her. She came from a small village in the Mexican countryside. He was well-dressed. He was a smooth talker. He told her she was his princess and she would be treated to anything she wanted. One afternoon she finished hanging laundry in the side yard, and jumped into the car that changed her life. He pulled up, and in she went. That was twelve years ago. She has been beaten, used and abused on the streets in three American cities. Her spirit was all but crushed… until last week. Dropped off at an abortion clinic by her pimp, she walked toward the door, with a broken heart and empty eyes to match. Standing by a tree was an old Hispanic woman with a sign that said: “Jesus loves you!” The woman looked like her mom – but that just couldn’t be. She turned a second time to look and the woman smiled kindly. She hadn’t seen a kind smile in… she couldn’t remember. She walked a few steps toward the woman, and the smile grew bigger. Her arms extended. She said, “Come, child. This is too heavy for you to carry!” She fell into the woman’s arms. She sobbed the cries of the fourteen year old that left her village. She was broken, used and felt worthless. The woman held her and whispered: “It doesn’t matter where you have been, child. He loves you… He really does. A new life began that day… and a tiny life inside was saved. It wasn’t by preaching. It wasn’t by arguing. It was by meeting a girl at the place of her pain. That’s where Jesus wants us to take Him.