This is a vulnerable post about my journey to sexual wholeness and may not be appropriate for minors nor for those of a sensitive nature
I think one of the biggest lies about the Christian life is that Christians think it is a destination rather than a journey.
We see this view presented by Christians through books written by those who have overcome their struggles and have “made it”. If you follow their steps then you too can be free of <fill in the blank>.
You know I’ve yet to see a book, let alone a best-seller, where the author mentions that they still struggle with anything of consequence, that they’re still on the journey. That just wouldn’t sell because people would say that their method can’t be any good as they’re not perfect yet. They clearly can’t be an expert. Can you see a publisher wanting to sell a book from someone who is not a “success”?
We buy into this lie. It’s so appealing because God has set eternity in the human heart (Eccl 3:11) and our desire is to be in that place of perfection. Hence we buy these books, follow the steps, learn the methods but yet struggle.
Maybe when this happens you are an optimist and simply think that this isn’t the right method as it doesn’t “work” for you and so continue on your journey searching for the “right” method/approach/teaching that does work.
Or maybe you’re like me and start believing that since you’re not “there” that maybe you’re not a Christian or maybe you are a “bad” Christian, that you are a sinner, that you are a failure. This is what happens to me when I believe the destination distortion.
This lie causes us to conceal our imperfections from others as otherwise the Church will know that we are not perfect, that we’re not at the destination. They might even question if we are really saved – as Christians don’t do that sort of thing.
Where does this lie take us?
The only way I can do this is to be extremely vulnerable with you so you can see it clearly.
This week I messed up. I looked at porn on the internet. I masturbated. I then felt rubbish.
I was so ashamed I didn’t tell my wife because I didn’t want to break her heart. My brother-in-Christ who I can be honest with has gone AWOL which of course left me alone with my thoughts and exposed to the lies of Satan who loves picking off those isolated Christians.
“Look at what you’ve done! How can you claim to know anything about godly sexuality? How can you help other people to get free when you yourself are not free? You’re a hypocrite.”
When prayer requests come in I hear “How can you pray for them after what you’ve done?”
So I stop ministering to others.
My focus changes from serving others and looking outward to looking at my sin and wallowing.
I’m no longer pressing onward on my Christian journey. I have stopped journeying because I’m clearly not at the destination.
This is where this lie takes us. It causes us to stop. And Satan wins.
The cure for destination sickness: living in the light
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:12-14)
Paul sees this. Even the great Christian Paul has not arrived but is pressing on to take hold of all that Christ has for us. We’re all on a journey. We’re not at a destination.
Yes we have a new nature and are no longer slaves to sin but we still mess up.
..let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)
How do we throw off the sin that entangled me and stopped me from running and caused me to look down at my sin and not on Jesus calling us by name?
We start by confessing what we have done to others. No excuses. No justification. Just truth.
You know how hard it was for me to tell you the truth earlier? I wanted to use euphemisms. I definitely wanted to miss our the bit about masturbation. But the Father challenged me to be more vulnerable so that more freedom will be released to those who are reading and struggle:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. (Jas 5:16a AMP)
Bringing sin into the light destroys its power over us. There’s no competition between light and darkness. When you turn on the light switch it’s all over for darkness. If we pretend that we’re OK we prevent ourselves from receiving God’s forgiveness and grace. How can we be forgiven if we’re saying we’ve done nothing wrong?
When I eventually confessed what I had done to my wife. She looked me in the eye and said “that explains everything!” She saw that I had stopped pressing forward and was no longer ministering grace to our family. She knew I wasn’t living in the identity of who I actually am. A cuddle, a kiss and her subsequent words of love over me bring healing and restoration and release me from my introspection.
So I get up and I start moving forward again. I’m already closer than I was when I had stopped. And by His glorious grace I will reach the goal:
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6)
Can I pray for others? Yes because my prayers are answered by a powerful and perfect God and not by my own efforts? Can I help others? Yes, because I’m not there but I am further down the road of maturity. By sharing my struggles I can help them to avoid or overcome obstacles that tripped me up. I can help them go faster and further than me.
Together we will obtain the goal for which we were called if we journey together in the light.
Father, I pray for those who are reading this. That they would find fellow brothers and sisters who would journey with them. They would find those who would be open and honest about their struggles so that together they can experience your healing grace and be transformed into the likeness of your glorious Son. In Jesus’ precious name. The author and perfecter of our faith. The one who calls us onward in love. Amen