Wholehearted living – it affects our sexuality

To what can I give myself completely? 

What is the legacy I’m living for?

The ever-changing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced us to re-evaluate the purpose of our existence. One of the results of this purposelessness at this time, has been a sharp rise in the amount of pornography being viewed. It makes good sense when we understand that our heart’s longings to live wholeheartedly, and for a deep, lasting impact, come from the deepest part of our being, and when touched, can cause us to become very irrational.   

The God-given longings of our human heart are strong. More specifically, the healthy fulfilment of our longings to live wholeheartedly, and to have a deep and lasting impact, is essential. Good sexual health, is one of the positive consequences of this.

Jesus speaks of the longing to live wholeheartedly when he quotes the great commandment given to Israel, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind’ (Matthew 22:37-38 [NKJV]). The use of the superlative ‘all’ three times is significant. ‘All’ means everything, without holding back: it includes sacrifice, because it seems that a life poured out for someone else releases deep satisfaction and contentment that can restore and heal. Such is the nature and the result of living wholeheartedly.

In many of Jesus’ parables, he speaks of the importance to live knowing that we will have a deep and lasting impact. He spoke of the faithfulness we show on earth being rewarded in the future, and for eternity (Luke 19: 11-26 [the ten minas], and Matthew 25:31-46 [the sheep and the goats]). Everything about God seems to imply a deep and lasting impact. Jesus’s last command for us to make disciples in Matthew 28 is testimony to the fact that the whole earth should know, love and obey Him, with an eternal purpose in mind – this is living with a deep and lasting impact.

While counselling someone struggling with porn addiction, we were able to get to the point where he realised his obsession with porn was triggered by a change in his position at work. This change had caused him to lose hope and the sense of purpose that gave his entire being meaning. To cover up the pain, he started looking at pornography, and experienced temporary relief through masturbation, followed by paralysing guilt. As we were able to identify the issue that triggered his perceived need for pornography, he was able to let God into the disappointment and have hope restored by trusting God as his provider of a fulfilling and impactful future. Pornography was merely a counterfeit fulfilment for this deeper longing. He made wise choices, was delivered from the spiritual impact of pornography, and restored many relationships in the process. He is now living a purposeful existence again – free from porn. 

Like the disappointment this client felt, many of us find ourselves in a place of insecurity because of a virus that has infiltrated our world and affected every aspect of our beings. The worthy, secure jobs and positions in life that we toiled and sacrificed for in the past, have changed. For many of us, this loss and disappointment has caused us to be half-hearted, with little excitement for our future.

There is no better time for us to realise that God has an answer for these longings, even at this time. He is the provider of all opportunities, and our destinies are wrapped up in His presence and us finding Him. Porn, or other sexually deviant behaviours, may appear to alleviate the frustrations of these longings. Let’s acknowledge these longings, faithfully approach God who gave them to us, and find healthy expressions of them, which will result in true peace and fulfilment.

Questions to ask yourself:
1. What bad habits have you found yourself engaging in in the last 6 months?

2. How has this pandemic affected your perception of what you are called to?

3. Write a ‘calling statement’, that embodies what you believe God has called you to be to the world?

4. How can you change your habits to better reflect the calling you believe God has for this time?

5. With whom are you going to share the changes you will make?

If you would like to receive further counsel, or join others in a journey to a healthy, Godly, sexual lifestyle, please see the options available to you on our website: wonderfullymade.org.za

Don’t be a pain – let it work for you!

Everyone experiences pain at some stage in their lives. Unfortunately, in the sex-negative world in which most of us have been raised, the mere suggestion of sex and sexuality can sometimes be very painful. We need to change this view, but this will have to include us identifying, quantifying, feeling and finding healing for our pain. Sexual hang-ups and addictions (especially porn addiction), are rooted in pain and we need courage to face it and find freedom.

Pain is an essential part for our existence as human beings – without it we cannot protect ourselves. Congenital analgesia is a medical condition where children are born with a genetic malfunction that causes them to not feel any pain. In some sufferers of this condition children have landed up playing sport with broken limbs; suffering septicaemia from undetected appendicitis or internal damage; chewing into the nailbed of a finger causing it to rot with the need for amputation, or struggling to distinguish between food and the tongue with ghastly results.

Just as this is the case in the physical, it is also the case for us emotionally and spiritually. If we are going to be healthy people, and enjoy healthy relationships, we need to know that pain is essential for us to know our boundaries, and how we can love.  If we do not acknowledge our pain, realise its extent, care for it and nurture it to healing, it will cause us to choose unhealthy means to make us feel better. In short, we need to claim our pain and find healing from it. Intrinsic in this process is the fact that we become human, compassionate and highly dependent on God. It gives true meaning to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Nowhere in scripture do we find God’s people finding any freedom by running away from their pain. On the contrary, it creates more pain and ultimate destruction. One of the definitions of addiction is: finding a comfort; a band-aid; some kind of panacea for pain. It is very rewarding to help those struggling in their sexuality to embrace their real pain and find true healing through Christ.

Many Biblical characters chose to embraced and see God redeem their pain.

  • Moses ran away from his pain (from Egypt into the wilderness), but after his burning bush experience returned to it and freed the Israelites.
  • Ruth chose to embrace the pain of moving with Naomi to a foreign land without a husband, work or protection. This choice caused her to find favour with Boaz, her Kinsman redeemer, and she became part of Jesus’ bloodline.
  • In the New Testament, Peter, who denied Jesus three times, faced this pain, and Jesus reinstating Him as the ‘rock’ on which the church would be built.

While there is no doubt that God wants to redeem every bit of pain we go through, we must not believe the lie that God is the instigator of pain. Pain is a bi-product of sin and there is no sin in God – He is love. However, because of sin (our own personal sin, that of others and the world’s sin) we experience pain so that we can know where there is disequilibrium in our lives, and pursue healing and freedom. In John 16:33, Jesus says, ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ Pain is inevitable, but as believers we are overcomers through Jesus! Jesus suffered intense pain in Gethsemane and on the cross as He endured the pain and assault of every evil demonic force. On the cross, Jesus’ pain was very real. Without acknowledging, embracing and learning from Jesus’ pain, our freedom would be cheap. As we embrace, acknowledging, learn from, and pursue God’s healing of our pain, there is redemption and more of God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.

Becoming responsible with our pain by allowing God’s kind love to transform our hearts to forgive and be healed is challenging but also exciting. Healthy, positive sexuality should be the reality for everyone. If this is not your reality I trust that you will take heart and know that your pain does not have to define you – you can be healed from it – your pain can become your gain – use it!