The following information is only a portion of this important topic–“God’s Design for Sexuality” as provided by The Discovery Series aka: RBC Ministries; Designed for Desire as you see above-go ahead and click on the image to catch the full scope of this study by getting your own free-copy and checking out the other studies they have! I would highly recommend reading this material along with your bible in its entirety; for blogging purposes, I have highlighted some crucial points to consider on our (planned purity) journey that may inspire or motivate us into further exploration of this life-saving subject.
The most amazing news, life changing news is that we can actually find out what God desires of us and our sexuality through His personal written Word in The Holy Scriptures and our own life experiences. I believe in this study and know it is long over-due–especially living in society today that seeks to bring much distraction and confusion in this area.
If you have lost your way in the darkness of our sexualized world, there is a way back. There is a way to be sure of the forgiveness of God. But first, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the problem. Even though some of the following material might be painful to read, it’s essential that we know what God thinks of sexual behaviors that are not according to His design for desire. The prospects for recovery are much better if we are willing to listen carefully to the voice of God.
The History of Sexual Problems
The issues of marital unfaithfulness, homosexuality, abortion, abuse, and unwanted pregnancies once seemed new within the Christian community. But in many ways we are repeating the mistakes of our fathers and showing our need for repentance and the forgiveness of God. In many ways we are faced with a need to distinguish ourselves from those who don’t know God.
Moses warned the nation of Israel about falling into the sexual practices of the surrounding culture. In Leviticus 18, he expressed to his people what God had said about the dangers of adultery, incest, homosexuality, and bestiality. With the detail of a lawyer, he made capital crimes of sexual contact with children, step-children, parents, step-parents, brothers, sisters, step-brothers, step-sisters-brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. He outlawed sexual relations with aunts and uncles, a neighbor’s wife, a person of the same sex, or with an animal.
Not My People! The prophet made his reasons clear. All of these sexual sins (listed above) were common in the surrounding culture of his day. Yet God’s people were to distinguish themselves by avoiding those behaviors that had brought destruction, disease, and shame to the nations around them. Specifically, Moses wrote: “You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices (Lev. 18:3) Such behaviors, God said, would bring great harm to those who practiced them. (vv.24-30). Yet the people of God didn’t remain faithful to their God. Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, gave in to temptation. In a moment of misdirected passion, he had an affair with another man’s wife and brought enormous pain to himself, his family, his nation and his God. How could it happen? How could someone as godly as David fall so low? What was happening inside him on that dark night? How could sexual temptation reduce a man after God’s own heart into a sexual predator and murderer? If misdirected sexual desire caused David to act like a pagan, what chance do we have of not repeating his mistakes?
Not Even a Hint! A thousand years later, the people of God were still struggling to separate themselves from the sexual behavior of a surrounding culture. Writing to brothers and sisters in the metropolitan city of Ephesus, the apostle Paul said: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people (Eph. 5:3).” Earlier in the same letter he urged: “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more (Eph. 4:17-19).”
There was good reason for Paul’s concern. Yet, someone asks, so what? Why does religion have to look into society’s “bedroom”? Why would God be concerned about the sexual behavior of those who believe in Him? Isn’t it more important that we believe in Him, love one another, and respect our differences? There are several ways to answer those questions. One answer, according to the Bible, is that God cares about sexual behavior because it is rooted in deeper issues. More about that later. Right now, it is enough to mention what has been happening in our own society as we have increasingly thrown off the sexual restraints urged by Moses and Paul. Is it possible that God loves us enough to want us to be spared the pain of misdirected sexual desire?
Could this be why…. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: 1 in 5 people in the United States (65 million Americans) is currently living with an incurable STD. Not to mention the 15 million new cases diagnosed each year, each year and sadly they are those under age 25. AIDS: is now the 7th leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds (National Vital Statistics Report). Unwanted Children: In spite of all the “education” on risky sexual behavior and pregnancy, about 40% of American teenage girls become pregnant before age 20. And even more tragic, of those pregnancies, nearly 4 in 10 are terminated by abortion (Teen Sex and Pregnancy, Alan Guttmacher Institute). Sadly, despite a 20-year low in the teen pregnancy rate and an impressive decline in the teen birth rate, the U.S.A still has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any industrialized country (Annie E. Casey Foundation) Sexual Abuse: The costs and cries of misused sexuality are everywhere! Infatuation and physical conquest replace love. The explosion of the pornography industry routinely exploits women, children, and men. Society’s protectors become predators. Suspicion replaces trust. Little children are warned about adults. Adults, in turn, are hesitant to greet a little child on the street for fear of being misunderstood. Men are suspicious of other men, and women of both men and women. Families have turned upside down because of decades of secret abuse. Husbands and wives struggle with their memories and scars of prior sexual partners. Divorce: of long-term commitments is seen as freedom to pursue the short-term passion of a new relationship. Pastors, priests, counselors, and child-care workers all work under a cloud of distrust that has been created by countless instances of sexual misconduct by others in their profession (thus, the need for criminal-sexual-background checks).
These are some of the reasons that God cares about our sexuality. But there are deeper issues as well. Let us now take a closer look at why the Bible makes such an issue of our sexual behavior.
The Root of Sexual Problems
To the person caught in the grip of a sexual affair or a pornographic addiction, life’s problems seem very physical and focused. It seems so apparent that to satisfy sexual desire we must give it what it wants. What is not always apparent, however, is that behind our physical desires are deeper spiritual appetites, which are only temporarily numbed by sexual pleasure. The real problem fueling sexual obsession is not physical but spiritual.
At the root of our problems is a belief that we can satisfy our own hearts by taking matters into our own hands and by treating our desires and passions as mere physical appetites. Yet in believing this lie, we are missing our opportunity for real solutions and self-control.
Idolatry. Idolatry is the worship of anything or anyone (began in the garden of eden as we see above) other than the one true God. Adam and Eve had right relationship with God in the beginning, including everything was given to them freely from God with no trials, no pain, no suffering; they were supposed to be content with what was given them. But that was not enough when tempted. They believed a lie and chose something more…. The New Testament goes so far as to say that misdirected passions are idolatry. (Eph. 5:5, Col. 3:5). According to Paul, to covet (to long for that which God has not offered you) is to commit idolatry. The reason is clear. When we long for that which God has warned about and we do not “hunger and thirst” for that which our Lord has encouraged us to pursue, we have honored our own desires more than God Himself.
With this kind of danger in view, the first New Testament letter of John ends with the words, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1John 5:21). This warning was “the last word” of a letter that appealed to its readers to love God above all else and to love one another as a sign of our love for the Father. John realized that when God ceases to be the passion of our life, and when we do not honestly care for others with the kind of love that we ourselves have received from God, then a loss of healthy love will leave us consciously pursuing lusts that make us dangerous to ourselves and others (1John 2:15-17). This sin, idolatry, was the root problem of the twin cities Sodom & Gomorrah. (See Ezekiel 16) (See also Romans 1:18-32)
Lost Passion for God. Sexual obsession occurs (inside or outside of marriage) when we become more focused on temporary physical pleasure than in finding our satisfaction in the design and desires of God. Addiction occurs when we lose zeal for God and when we no longer “hunger and thirst” for what God alone can do in our hearts (Matt. 5:6). That is why it is so important to spend time with the One who taught us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” It is Christ who shows us by His own example that those who are filled with healthy love for God and others don’t have to be preoccupied with physical pleasures in order to be real men and women.
God’s Design and our plan of action!
Solutions are always found by creating or restoring a sense of design. Everything has a design–from the veins of a leaf to the mane of a horse, from a computer chip to Chicago’s Sears Tower, from a child’s toy to a supercharged Thunderbird. Everything has a design, a time, and a place. Everything demonstrates the existence of a creative mind behind the design. The same is true for our sexuality. It is the product of an all-wise Designer. (Read book of Genesis)
With decades of naturalistic, evolutionary theory built into our educational system, it is understandable that our generation would defend its sexual choices by citing occurrences of homosexual or multiple-partner sexual relationships among the animal world. We often hear, “Sex is natural and beautiful. Look at the animals. They show us that we don’t have to be so uptight and moralistic about freely expressing our heterosexual or homosexual desires.” Moses showed us, however, that even though we share with the animals a common Creator, we are not animals. Unlike the creatures of the animal world, we were created in the image of God. Furthermore, God chose the human sexual relationship to reproduce His own likeness in every child that is born.
It is this God-likeness that is so violated when men and women view one another as sexual objects rather than as whole persons with shared needs, dreams and destinies.
It is far more dignifying to see every man and woman as a whole person who needs not to be exploited and defrauded for someone else’s sexual pleasure, but to be honored, loved, appreciated, and enjoyed as a whole person. It is far more noble to be a man who loves women as friends than one who sees them as objects of sexual conquest. Yet it is not just a matter of being noble. The truth is that we have been designed for a desire that is far higher than self-centered sexual aggression.
TAKE A STEP to begin to reverse the addictive patterns as described above:
1. Acknowledge that we are designed for desire. God does not want us merely to deny or repress our desires. There’s a close relationship between our passion and our ability to worship. Desire is what God uses to bring us to Himself! (Psalm 37:4)
2. Get Honest–and face the dark side of desire. Sexual immorality involves the faulty direction of our depraved human heart that refuses to worship the God who made us. Courage is required to face the terrors of life (Josh 1:9)
3. Ask God to redirect your desires. The root problem is not -out-of-control sexual urges but an unbridled heart that has hardened itself against the warming rays of God’s grace and truth. Satan is the one who constantly seeks whom he may devour (1Pet. 5:8), so every addiction (or false god) has been designed to destroy the worshipper. Satan doesn’t reward the desires of the heart; he destroys the desire of the human heart so that there is no longer passionate desire for anything, especially for God. Confess your sins, God extends grace to everyone. (1John 1:9). Repentance at this level is a change in heart direction away from a false god to the one true God (1Th.1:9) see also (Ps.51:16-17)
4. Passionately commit yourself to living by God’s design. We are all involved in the war for the souls of men and women. We will either become a weapon in the hands of the evil one to rob God of glory and worship (Rom. 6:12:13), or we will become a weapon for good in glorifying God by the way we enjoy Him! While sexual temptation will always be attractive to us as long as we’re alive, it will become more resistible as we focus on our pursuit of a passionate relationship with Christ.
5. Gratefully accept the precious gift of gender. There is a difference between sexual desire and sexuality. Sexual desire is a God-given capacity that all too often is overrated as a pleasure. Sexuality, on the other hand, is a dimension of personhood, which reflects the way we have been selected and designed to reflect the image of God. While the sexes are often in conflict, the apostle Paul pointed out that both men and women owe their existence to God. Neither could exist without the other (1 Cor. 11:11-12). Both have equal access to salvation in Jesus Christ. And both have distinct roles in God’s plan for the family and the church (1 Cor. 11:1-16; Eph. 5:17-33).
6. Honor The Marriage Bed. The pleasures of sexual intimacy are intended to be a celebration of marital intimacy. Within the context of an enduring, faithful marriage, mutual submission and love are the guidelines for the enjoyment of each other’s bodies (Prov. 5: 15-23; Song 4:1-15; 7:1-8:4).
7. Make love your goal. Whether we are married or single, a love for God must become far more important to us than the pursuit of sexual pleasure or any other type of lust/greed. We will become more resistant to the allure of sexual temptation when we intentionally focus our energy on passionately loving Him and sacrificially serving others. The man or woman who is enjoying a growing, loving intimacy with Christ will not be willing to defraud another personal sexually. Love won’t let that happen! Love produces an overriding desire to honor the Lord and to see strength of character produced in the other person (1 Tim. 5:1-2). Sexual passion is very strong, but it can be bridled by a passionate obedience to Christ that is more than mere dutiful compliance to the letter of the law. A deeply felt hunger and thirst for God (Ps. 42:1-2) can help us to see one another through His eyes rather than through the self-centered demands of blind desire.
There is a time to humble ourselves and RUN–Today is the day… realizing the power of sexual temptation and any other temptation we face!
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits
sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1Cor 6:18)
“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on
the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22)