In our frustrations with our sexual purity journey we’ve probably wondered:
- Why doesn’t God just take my sexual desire away?
- Why doesn’t He zap me and give me self-control?
- Why do I have to continue struggling?
- If God would take away my desire, wouldn’t it fix everything?
Let’s consider why the sexual purity journey takes time, and why taking our sexual desire away is the wrong solution to our struggles.
We didn’t get here overnight; it won’t go away overnight – Our sexual struggles took time to develop, sometimes decades. Any habits like looking at porn, fantasy, masturbation, pre-marital sex and adulterous relationships develop by gradually stepping over lines. It takes time to unpack these.
The struggle shows us we’re powerless – The struggle is our desire to be righteous, our desire to meet some sort of standard. We have to realize that I can’t do it on our own. We need to admit our inability and seek help from others.
The struggle helps us depend on God – I’m convinced that the only way we are to break free from sexual addictions and achieve sexual purity is with God’s help. He is the only one who can do the deep work in our heart that’s needed. He is much stronger than these desires we have and wants to help. If he took our struggles away quickly, we would be less likely to lean on Him and others.
The goal is healthy sexuality – Sexuality is a part of our makeup as humans. To ask God to take that away would make us less than he created us for. Our aim should be to take the sexuality God has given us and focus it in a healthy way. A larger goal of purity is learning how to glorify God with our sexuality.
Getting healthy costs us something – The things we have to work hardest at and lean on God the most seem to be the things that mean the most to us. If getting sexually pure doesn’t cost us something, we’ll be less likely to appreciate the magnitude of the victory. And if we’re spending money and time on books and counseling, we’re probably going to approach the journey with greater seriousness.
God cares more about building the character of the person – God seems to be less concerned about our behaviors and more concerned with our heart. What good is it to God if he takes our bad behaviors away, but our hearts toward Him are still cold? God wants to mold us into the best vessels possible. A change of heart and the building of character take time.
We have layers of deep stuff that need work – Our sexual behaviors are out of whack for a reason. It’s usually because we have hurts in our past that we’re trying to medicate. It’s also because we have God-given needs that we’ve been trying to meet in unhealthy ways. We need skilled friends, pastors, and counselors to help us explore and heal from the deep stuff.
It takes time to leave, grieve, and attach – When we are seeking to be sexually pure, we’re actually breaking up from a relationship. It might be an actual relationship with a person, but it might be a breaking up from the Internet, porn shops, masturbation, mental or fantasy. It takes a long time to get over breakups. We have to leave and cut off all ties. We have to grieve that loss. And we have to find healthy relationships to attach to.
We’re in a war – The quest for sexual purity is a battle. Our culture tells us we don’t need to worry about purity. Peers, movies, music and even family members encourage sexual behavior. There is also a spiritual dimension to this battle. Staying pure means we go against the flow. Even if God took our sexual desire away, the flow would be there pushing us right back.
We have to learn to hate evil – This is another heart change. It takes a deep work in our hearts for us to truly hate a behavior enough to avoid it. We have to hate the things God hates, and cling to the things that are good. This cannot happen quickly.
Others around us have to heal too – We’re not the only ones suffering consequences for our sexual sins. Others are involved, including past girlfriends, our spouses, our friendships, our close friends, and perhaps our children. They have their own healing journeys.
We have to feel the consequences of our sins – One of the biggest deterrents to relapse is being aware of the consequences of our sexual sins. We hurt others with our sexual sin. We hurt God. We hurt our spouses and our friends. And we hurt ourselves.
We have to retrain our brain and body – If God instantly took away our sexual desires, it would still take time for our bodies and brains to readjust. We have spent years training our bodies and brains to act out when we are triggered sexually. It is a well-worn path. It takes time to fill in the old path and forge new habits and patterns of responding to sexual stimulation.
We’ll want it to be easier in other areas too – A friend mentioned this to me. If God takes His magic wand and wipes away all of our sexual struggles, we will expect Him to do it for other areas. What we really want is the easy way out. We don’t want the pain. We don’t want to sacrifice.
Watch out for the anger
I don’t thing it’s wrong to ask God to take away sexual desire. Most people I know struggle with sexual sin ask it. But I discovered I had a lot of anger toward God, and when I was asking this question, I was blaming God.
I blamed God for making me sexual. I blamed Him of giving me a high sexual desire. I accused him of leaving me alone to wrestle with my lust and temptations. I blamed God for giving me a wife with a low sexual desire. I blamed Him for allowing me to get hooked on Internet porn. I was surprised at how much anger I had.
As you’re exploring this question, let God open your heart to what you’re really feeling. Also, allow God to show you the steps you need to take to move toward a healthy sexuality.