How should I think about sex?
Here is a quote that I believe captures the glory of sex and cautions us against the over-emphasis of sex.
“Our Christian task is to remember that every sexual union is profound. It always points to the deeper union that we have with Christ by faith. Sex mirrors the glory of God in the gospel. It exists because it expresses God’s oneness with His people, His fidelity to us, His ownership of us, His self-sacrifice, and the pleasure we can take in this relationship… Sex is a good thing, there’s no question about that, but we don’t need sex. Humanness, found in Jesus, is not defined by sexual intercourse.” Edward T. Welch in “The Apostle Paul: On Sex” The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Fall 2005).
How does sexual sin (or any other sin) begin to change me?
The article “Not Again Sin” by Brad Hambrick [SIN_article_Hambrick] takes you through nine questions to help you see the influence of your sin in your life. Often, like David, we miss the subtle changes. He moved from sense of entitlement about rest (staying home “because he had already won many battles and deserved a rest”) to a sense of entitlement about pleasure (having Bathsheba). Chances are, he didn’t see the connection. When we see the ways our sin influences us, then our resolve to avoid temptation becomes stronger.
What should I do if I struggle with pornography?
Act now! You need to talk to somebody. Private sins, like pornography, fester in anonymity. We would highly recommend you join our Freedom Group on purity.
Install accountability and blocking software on your computer. For free accountability software on your computer, see www.xxxchurch.com. If you want a slightly more sophisticated program, see www.covenanteyes.com.
How hurt or offended should I be by my spouse’s pornography problem?
The article “Is Pornography Biblical Grounds for Divorce?” by Brad Hambrick [PORN_MARRIAGE_article_Hambrick] is meant to walk couples through this question. Don’t let the title make you think it’s a debative article. It attempts to walk a couple form hurt (intense and personal) to hope (real and honest). The article walks a couple through understanding the hurt, what to ask, who to involve, and what each spouse should do next.
A sample piece of advice: don’t let your wife be your primary or exclusive accountability partner (or vice versa). These dual roles of spouse and accountability are hard to balance. The wife should be allowed to ask any question she would like to know, but the husband should protect his wife by not forcing her to perpetually ask him uncomfortable questions or risk her husband being alone in his battle with pornography.
What do I do if my spouse has been unfaithful?
Don’t continue to hurt alone and in silence. Yelling at your spouse doesn’t count as speaking up. Infidelity should not be handled alone. The powerful emotions of anger, betrayal, fear, shame, shock, and the corresponding temptations to denial, blame-shifting, manipulation, and quick fixes are too strong to be navigated alone. Reach out to our counseling office for help (919.383.7100).
- After Adultery: Healing After Adultery by Robert Jones
- Help! My Spouse Committed Adultery: First Steps to Dealing with Betrayal by Winston Smith
What if my struggle stems from insecurity?
Our culture tells us that the universal solution to all our problems is to love ourselves more. The Bible predicted this and warned against it long before psychology “discovered” it (2 Tim. 3:1-2). Focusing on and thinking more of self doesn’t provide relief from insecurity – it makes it worse. Staring in a mirror longer and closer doesn’t excite us any more about our appearance. This is especially true when we “score” ourselves by appearance, instead of treasuring who we are in/to Christ and what God has done for us and is willing to do through us.
The following four articles should help you think through this further.
- “If Not Self-Esteem, Then What?” by Brad Hambrick [SELF_ESTEEM_article_Hambrick]
- “A Portrait of Christ-Honoring Security” by Brad Hambrick [INSECURITY_article_Hambrick]
- Bob Kellemen “Who I Am In Christ?” Bible passages
- Bob Kellemen “Who I Am To Christ” Bible passages
How should I talk to my children about sex and lust?
You should talk to your children about sex and lust. If you don’t, somebody else will. With that said, it is an intimidating and awkward subject. Paul Tripp’s booklet Teens & Sex: How Should We Teach Them? provides an excellent brief discussion of how to have these talks (yes, plural). Joshua Harris’ book Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World is an excellent PG book on lust written for teens with a gospel focus.
Pastor JD talked about not dressing for attention. This is not an attack on style and is difficult. Carolyn Mahaney has written a four page “modesty checklist” [PARENTING_Modesty Checklist_Mahaney] that takes you from heart to heels. It is an excellent tool for parents to talk through with their daughters (and their sons concerning what attracts them to girls).
How do I train myself to be “captivated by God’s beauty”?
Too often a phrase like this can be good rhetoric, but hard to apply. There are no picture magazines of God’s beauty and our captivation in God’s beauty is more declaration than self-gratification. If this question intrigues you and you want to make a reality in your life, I would recommend chapters 25-27 of Future Grace by John Piper (only 30 pages total for all three chapters combined). The title of chapter 27 is “Faith in Future Grace vs. Lust.”