In case you missed the last post, I am currently in a series about, you guessed it, love without sex. Feel free to scroll down or click the link to read all about the heart behind this series, or just jump on in now.
Before I continue, I want to make yet another disclaimer. This series will contain different forms of language, and I want to differentiate between them. The majority will be my personal experience and opinion, and it should be viewed as such. If I offer advice, it's only because it was tested & proven wise in my own life. But I always preface my advice with "this is what worked for me," or "absolutely seek the Lord, but here are my thoughts..."
If I quote a book, it's because I appreciate the author's wisdom and find it to line up with Scripture. But again, human words do not equal God's words. Nothing can replace the Word of God, which will be the third form of language I use.
So, in summation, the following can be found in this series:
1) God's Word (the best. ever)
2) Not God's Word, but not my words either (b/c sometimes, someone already said the words you're looking for)
3) My words
Alrighty, we're good to go.
I was hours from home, flipping through radio stations, when my own pastor's voice spoke to me through my car and preached on sexual purity.
I had heard the message before, more times than I could count. I had been chasing Jesus for months, and giving him areas of my heart that I hadn't ever surrendered. Yet, I still hadn't given Him access to my vision of sex.
Until that night.
I thought about God's Word. I thought about His instructions on sex, and marriage.
"But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have His own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill His wife's sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband's needs."
1 Corinthians 7:2-3
I thought about His instructions on guarding your heart.
"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
And I thought about my past relationships. I thought about each one, and noticed some undeniable similarities. I could not ignore the impact sex had on these relationships. Each time, my emotions and attachment would sky rocket once sexual intimacy was brought into the equation. It was scary how in my most extreme situations, I would go from complete indifference to truly believing I was in love.
I realized that once sexual intimacy was introduced to a relationship, it trumped or even disregarded all over forms of intimacy. At this point in my life, I don't even think I remembered that there were other forms to cultivate: emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, friendship, etc. Physical intimacy is one aspect of a relationship, and yet it was the only one I paid attention to.
In that moment, the Holy Spirit did something inside of me. It opened my eyes to the impact that sexual immorality had had on my life, and although it was daunting and scary and I wasn't even sure I could do it, I decided it was time to follow what Scripture commands:
"Flee from sexual immorality. No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does."
1 Corinthians 6:18
Let's take a short side trail real quick to define this phrase that keeps coming up: sexual immorality. Here's the part where I'm going to borrow someone I respect's words.
In his book, Loveology, John Mark Comer writes that "the phrase 'sexual immorality' is porneia in Greek, and it's a junk-drawer word. Paul means any and all forms of sexuality outside of marriage between a man and a woman."
If I were to take a stab at elaborating on this, here's what I would say: sexual immorality is when our sexual drive, urges, and desires control us. God designed sex for good purposes (fo real!), and sexual immorality is when we take the creation outside of the Creator's vision to satisfy ourselves. You see, sex is powerful, and God knows it. He commands that we save it for marriage because He knows that it's for our good to engage in such a powerful form of intimacy only when we've committed ourselves to this person for life. And sexual immorality is when we say "yahhh, no thanks God. I know better on this one."
I was doing that for a long time. And my motivation? To feel wanted. To feel loved, and desired. To feel attractive, and pursued. I wanted to feel all of this, and my way of satisfying those desires? Sex.
Ridding my life of sexual immorality meant letting God take the reins in my romantic life. And even now, it is a daily decision to surrender those reins.
Making this decision meant that a lot had to change in my life. But you know what? I didn't realize that at first. There was an awful lot of trial and error that helped me see that if I wanted to pursue purity, I had to stop pursuing my old life.
What did that look like for me? Welp, I had to stop engaging in romantic relationships with men who didn't share the same feelings on sex. I fought that at first, but I very quickly realized that I wasn't strong enough to uphold this lifestyle on my own. If I was going to be in relationship, it had to be with someone who could partner with me in this.
I had to stop flirting with men if I knew there was no purpose in it. I had to examine my heart: why am I flirting with this man? Just because sex was out of the equation didn't automatically mean my emotional issues were. I was still searching for love, still wanting to feel wanted. And if sex couldn't satisfy those cravings, it was real easy to let flirting fill that void.
I had to let God fill that void. Something in me eventually discovered that if I ever wanted to have a healthy relationship, one that was free of sexual sin, I was going to have to let my God be my source of love. I was going to have to let Him make me feel wanted and pursued.
And, I eventually had to stop drinking. Because even as I made immense growth in this area, it only took a few drinks for me to revert back to old habits.
In all honesty, though? Alcohol and sex were easy to give up when I realized that freedom was my prize.
I think this post is wordy enough, so I'll go ahead and wrap it up. I got to a place in my life where I finally stopped searching for love. I figured if it found me, it would be at church or at some Jesus conference. Little did I know that it would find me at a hotel bar, the last place I would expect.