Day 59: Common Sense


CONFUSING PAIN FOR PLEASURE

I enjoy shooting guns. Ever since I was a young boy I've pulled the trigger on rubber band guns, water guns, BB guns, airsoft guns, nerf guns, paintball guns, and (now that I'm an adult) actual firearms. There is something powerful and satisfying about the feeling of pressing the trigger here and watching something there be affected. Although I experience joy when shooting targets and pop cans, I would never dream of shooting a person (unless you intrude in my house to harm my family). For some reason, however, when it comes to our sexuality we confuse pain for pleasure and think that shooting ourselves in the foot will be good because we like the pull of the trigger.

We’ve taken God’s creation and intention with sex and turned it into something man made. We’ve made it into something selfish, that requires no commitment from us. Sexual sin is usually done in secret, where it grows into something uglier than we ever intended. We’ve taken something that God created, something that was good, that made sense… and we’ve turned it into a self-centered, perverted act.

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How is sexual sin devoid of common sense? Ask yourself this: what is it you were looking for when you stumbled into sexual sin? Generally sexual immorality is born out of some kind of desire for goodness. It could be the desire for a spouse, for pleasure, to feel acceptance, or to be swept up in romance. These are legitimate desires, meant to be experienced within the confines of a God-inclusive marital covenant. When we give in to the temptations of sexual impurity, we show that we lack the understanding of what we ought to do with desire. It is like digging through the dumpster of a 5-star Italian restaurant for a meal rather than just going through the front door. Since we've fed on garbage, it's no wonder our hearts bear the scars they do.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18

SETTLING FOR LESS

Why then do we continue to return to the darkness? It makes no sense. The only thing we can conclude is that we have given into some serious lies. You see, we are not alone in the dumpster. The Evil One lurks in the depths, convincing us that the decaying garbage we're eating is better than the real thing. Before we know it we've lost the hope we had in the first place - we've made the agreement that its up to us to find our own scraps. We have become resigned.

Brent Curtis writes this in his essay, "Less-Wild Lovers":

Resignation is not just the sigh that groans with something gone wrong. Such a sigh can be redemptive if it does not let go of the Haunting we have all experienced of something presently lost. Resignation is the acceptance of the loss as final, even as I chose to interpret it on the bridge that long-ago November day. It is the condition in which we choose to see good as no longer startling in its beauty and boldness, but simply as "nice." Evil is no longer surprising; it is normal.

It is from this place of heart resignation where many of us, perhaps all of us at one time or another, having suffered under the storm of life’s Arrows, give up on the Sacred Romance. But our heart will not totally forsake the intimacy and adventure we were made for and so we compromise. We both become, and take to ourselves, lovers that are less dangerous in their passion for life and the possible pain that comes with it—in short, lovers that are less wild. [1]

I remember for me, what started as a small glance quickly grew into a week long battle against temptation. We are victims of our own shortcomings, we open ourselves us to the enemy and then he has his way with us. So how are we to break this chain? Well, as you’ve probably guessed it’s impossible on our own. The dumpster is too deep, and the voice of the enemy is too strong for us to crawl out on our own. As we've discussed in prior lessons, when we sin, we become a slave to sin. A slave cannot escape without outside help. God comes into the dumpster we're stuck in, subdues our master (sin) and breaks the chains and gates barring us from freedom. He truly is our rescuer, our refuge and our strength. We only need to seek his help.

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CRYING OUT

When we sin, we become a slave to sin. A slave cannot escape without outside help. God comes into our dwelling place, subdues our master (sin) and breaks the chains and gates leading to our freedom. He truly is our rescuer, our refuge and our strength.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Open, for a moment, to Psalm 107 and read through it. Really. Come back here when you're finished.

What stuck out to you? What themes did you notice? Those who wandered in the desert, were lost in darkness, who became fools, and were lost at sea were all saved from the impossible when they cried out to the Lord to save them. This took the recognition that they were not where they were supposed to be, and that they were unable to save themselves. We must be willing to come back to our senses. It will require courage. It is no small feat to step out from the darkness of the dumpster, allow Christ to dust you off, and go wait in line for the meal of a lifetime.

There is no pit so deep that God is unable to pull you out. No valley so low that He is distant. We are senseless to return to the dumpster and continue in sin when God has pulled us from it. Rejoice in the victory that you have, and allow yourself to feel the desire for good things!

Day 59 Application

Do you believe in complete freedom from this struggle? Where are you in experiencing that freedom? Psalm 107 encourages those who have been redeemed by God to tell their story. How can you tell your story? Are you already doing so?

Reawakening desire can feel overwhelming. When we have trained ourselves to immediately gratify even the slightest inkling, we have to take small steps to re-sensitize ourselves. What is something good you can do with the desires that used to overwhelm you?

How can your desires be used to foster deeper intimacy with God? Are there desires that would work against that intimacy? If so, what can you do with those desires?

Have you been in contact with your accountability partner such that you were asked tough questions about purity? Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?