“Do You Think Those Guys are Gay?” (Part 4)
Last week I promised to address the question: So if we’re made in God’s image and His image isn’t sexual, what are we? For that answer we go right to the source. Jesus himself said (in John 4:24 ESV), “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” So not only is the God of the Bible not sexual, He’s not even physical. He’s spiritual. Now, curiously Jesus also claimed to be God, but was a real-life-flesh-and-blood man (with the sexual anatomy to prove it). Wassup wit dat?
One of the purposes for God becoming man was to demonstrate how life was meant to be lived. Jesus came to show us how to live in fullness and freedom within this fragile flesh.How? By living in the reality that we are first and foremost spiritual beings – not sexual beings.
For starters according to scripture, Jesus never had sex. And if we truly believe he lived a sinless life (Which if He didn’t, how could He ever save us from our own sin?), then we must believe He never even lusted after a woman (or a man). After all, it was Jesus Himself who equated lust with adultery (in Matt 5:27-28).
Now in truth we are prone to discount the difficulty level for Jesus living a sinless life. “Of course He didn’t fret over identity issues (like homosexuality) or fall to physical temptation (like lust). He was God! Dah!”
Well, though 2,000 years of Christian orthodoxy teach us that Jesus was indeed fully God, that same tradition asserts that He was also fully man. Isn’t that glorious? Hebrews 4:15 (ESV) describes Jesus this way: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
What a mind blowing truth, that our perfect God can actually sympathize with our imperfections! He was tempted as we are, yet never sinned like we do. How did he manage that? The same way we are called to do so: in the spirit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16 ESV)
It ain’t easy though. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” (Gal 5:17 ESV)
The battle between our spirit and our fleshly desires (especially the sexual ones) can be brutal. I remember times when I literally felt like I couldn’t help myself. I had to indulge in pornography and masturbation. It all came so naturally. And then natural became habitual and habitual became obsessive. (Can anyone relate?) And even after I made my break from pornography, the fantasies continued. (Resistance is futile.) I’m a sexual being, ya know.
But by God’s grace, I discovered the power to resist my sexual urges in this realization: My sex drive was actually driven by much deeper desires; not even desires – actual needs. But remarkably, those needs weren’t sexual at all.
I wasn’t actually dying to know someone sexually. I was dying to know someone intimately. I wasn’t longing for someone to uncontrollably desire my body. I was longing for someone to unreservedly desire my company. I didn’t actually want to get naked with someone. I wanted to get real with them. I was looking for a nudity of a different kind. And most alarming, fixating on the one kind was keeping me from knowing the other.
Are we sexual beings? Clearly. Indeed, in our world too clearly, but that should not define who you are. Whether you struggle with same sex attraction or homophobia, you are a spiritual being ultimately destined for a spiritual union with the God who made you.
So what do we do with our sexuality (can we stop calling it our identity now?) which has been set aflame by our culture? How can we “walk by the Spirit,” so we don’t “gratify the desires of the flesh?” We’ll close out this discussion next week with some encouragement. In the meantime, if you’ve walked this road of surrendering your sexual identity to Christ would you share your story. Maybe someone needs to hear it right now.
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