One of the important lessons all people must learn is the difference between a want and a need. For example, everyone needs food, water, sleep, air, and some sort of shelter. You may have different preferences like ice cream or coffee, but you don’t need those to survive. When you need something, you are a slave to that. We need air to survive. We need food, even if it is just bread and vegetables, and water to survive. So in that way, we are slaves to those needs. God made us that way. However, Paul says:
1 Corinthians 6:13
You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies.
God created us with these basic needs, and they are good. However, any need can be taken to an unhealthy extreme. When people become addicted to a substance, activity, or experience, they become a slave to it. The wants or desires ultimately enslave the person engaging in those behaviors. Lead Pastor Ben Snyder pointed out this weekend that when we are mastered by anything, it begins to kill us. When we allow our desires to consume our lives, they crush us into a small, one-dimensional being that is defined by those desires.
In our culture, sexual identity is a hot-button issue. Many define themselves based on their sexuality, and therefore, they are enslaved by it. Our identity should not be based on what we do or who we think we are. When we do not find our identity in Christ, we will ultimately be enslaved by that identity. Because when desires, sexual or otherwise, define us, we are allowing those desires to take the place of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (NIV)
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God…
When we know God, we need to put our desire in its proper place. If we cannot control our bodies, we are slaves to them and have made our desires our idol or god. These desires then begin to define our self-worth and value. God created us as multidimensional beings. Our sexuality is one of those dimensions, but it should not be our primary dimension. We were made for so much more.
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Do you know the difference between a want and a need? When you think of your own sexuality, does it define your identity? Are your sexual desires in line with the parameters laid out in Scripture?
If your sexual desires do not line up with the parameters laid out in Scripture, get help. Check out Celebrate Recovery to meet with other people and help reframe your sexuality in a way that honors God and yourself. If your sexual desires do line up with those in Scripture, use those desires to honor God, your spouse, and yourself this week.
Heavenly Father, thank you for making us multidimensional beings. Thank you for the gift of sex. Thank you for giving us guidelines that help us honor you and our bodies with this gift. Help us to bring our desires under your control and to embrace the boundaries you have put in place so that we may live in freedom. Amen.
This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.
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