Excerpt from Biblical Sexuality & The 21st Century Rev. Jayson L. Graves, M. MFT
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What is sanctification? The word means to be set apart for the purpose of being sort of cleaned up. We all know what the salvation process is. It’s the process of coming to a saving faith, joining the body of Christ, being saved. What comes after that? The sanctification process. We get saved and then we get cleaned up. That’s one that we live out the rest of our life. We’re going to be learning what it means to be followers of Christ and how that plays out in our lives. Luke 6:42 says, “How can you say to your brother, brother let me take out the speck that is in your eye when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye. You hypocrite! First, take out the log out of your own eye and then you’ll see clearly to take out the spec that’s in your brother’s eye. What’s this really saying to us? The bottom line here is that this is just as much for as it is for anybody we’re ministering to. We have to get our own stuff worked out and we have to be working on it and keep working on it as we live out our sanctification process. We can’t give what we don’t have.
Conversely, when we do have something, when we have some experience and we have some gains in our sexual redemption process, in our own personal sexual story, we have something powerful to give. We can relate with people who are stuck. We can relate with people who are also committed to their own sexual redemption story and process as part of the sanctification process. We have something really precious but it’s only if we’re willing. You might say I don’t have a testimony of sexual brokenness. That’s fine. If that’s not what largely characterizes your testimony, that’s alright not everybody has that. What is it? What do you have sexually that you can relate with? There’s no such thing as the perfect sexuality. None of us has the perfect sexual story. Maybe you can relate with some little piece and start to work on that and get better. Everybody will be better because of it.
I Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you accept what’s common to man.” We don’t have to be afraid. I’m not alone. No temptation has seized us except what’s common to man. This stuff, sexual brokenness of any kind, any flavor, any variety is common to man. We’re not only not immune but our temptation doesn’t make us special. We are special, but other things make us special.
Another thing that comforts me as Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I love the heart of that message which is that God doesn’t want to condemn us He wants to help us. Those of us who are in Christ who are part of the body and living an incarnational life, we don’t have condemnation.
Do you know how far away God separates us from out sins?It’s infinitely and exceedingly distant. Linearly east is always traveling in the polar opposite direction of West, so they’re perpetually and increasingly distant. That means good news! God is always in the process of separating us from our sin and our mistakes… further and further and further and further…
No wonder he remembers them no more. That is so awesome to me. That is so comforting. No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We’re not alone, our struggles aren’t unique, and God wants to help us. We have to remember these things. Many people can relate with you. They may not be talking about it, but trust me, they can. I tell them there’s not anything that you can tell me that I haven’t heard before, and that I probably haven’t been involved with myself. It’s okay. I’m not going to judge you. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Do you know what mercy is? It’s not getting something you deserve. We have all been the recipients of mercy. If our righteousness is like filthy rags and if what we really deserve for the due penalty for our mistakes and sin is death, we’ve been spared of that not only here, but also for eternity for those who are in Christ. Let’s let compassion be a vote for those who are bound because we can relate with them.
It’s a great opportunity when somebody is bound to empathize with them in such a way where you are able to be open and authentic about your own experience of boundless. If somebody is struggling it’s likely they’re going to make the same mistakes that they’ve made in the past, again we can say, I’ve been there in a similar situation my life. I’ve been there.
I know what it’s like to feel like you’re stuck in something. We can do our best. We can hope for the best. We can plan for the worst, but at the end of the day Jesus as our back. If our heart is in the right place, and we’re earnestly trying to seek him, even if we make a mistake his grace is sufficient. We ought not to be afraid.
We need to get sanctified by learning how to recognize and express our emotions. We need to be able to speak what we’re feeling otherwise if we don’t master our emotions we will be mastered by them.
It’s a big part of the process.
Being willing and able to open up and share what you’re feeling with others in your life is an essential key of emotional health and particularly of recovery. We have to do it. Gordon Dalbey is a great friend and mentor of mine. He is the author of, Healing the Masculine Soul. Order your copy here
This is the book that I’ve used the most in the past 10 years to help people, particularly men, to understand what’s going on for them.
He gave me this quote especially for this conference, “Sexual wounds arise out of the world’s brokenness and thereby would bond you to the world’s agendas and consume you, like with bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, and last but not least shame. Jesus’ death and the release of his spirit enable you to disengage from the self-centered powers of the world and go to Father-God for his healing. Forgive others as Jesus forgives us. Receive his spirit and get on with God’s purposes for you at last.” That is so awesome to me. Gordon is a man that not only says it, but he lives it.
Remember that spiritually we are wired to be spiritually connected both vertically to the Father, like our devotional life, through prayer, meditation and Scripture reading and also horizontally with our brothers and sisters in our communal spirituality. We talk about communion. Communion is about being in a community together. That’s a part of our spirituality that we sometimes neglect.
I really think that if we focused as much on our horizontal or communion spirituality in our community as much as we did our vertical spirituality the church (the body of Christ) would look and function very different. Consider that for just a moment.
If you were just as connected to people as you were to things like the Word, what would that look like in your life? How would that look different?
Remember, more important than what we know and say is how we think and what we do.