Friday, April 21, 2006

Overcoming sexual Difficulty

Overcoming Sexual Difficulty

.Since there is much confusion in the realm of sex in our society I thought that it would be good to put together this synopsis to help us understand the subject. It may be that we need a change in our lives or that we may have opportunity to help others to change to God’s ways if the opportunity arises.

.In the beginning of the Bible we are told that God created humans, male and female. He also established the relationship which is to be between the two in marriage and sexual relationships. In the Westminster Confession of Faith we are told what the purposes are for marital relationships in summary.

WCF :

1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time.
2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.
3. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.
he marital relationship is a sexual relationship. Therefore there is a need to understand the biblical principals of the sexual relationship. Generally speaking the basic guidelines for governing the relationship is found in 1 Cor. 7 and Prov. 5:18-19

1Cor 7:1-5: Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. But, because of fornications, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife her due: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer, and may be together again, that Satan tempt you not because of your incontinency.

Prov 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed; And rejoice in the wife of thy youth. [As] a loving hind and a pleasant doe, Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; And be thou ravished always with her love.

The following passages establish the clear basic guidelines that family or married couples should adhere to in their sexual relationships. In summary we can say this:

a. Marriage and sexuality are good and holy, being ordained by the Lord.

b. Sexual pleasure is assumed.
c. Sex and its pleasure is to be guided by the precept and principle that it is other-oriented and not self-oriented. The right over one’s body belongs to their spouse. (Note also this also does away with homosexuality and masturbation)
d. The sexual relations are to be regular and continuous with your spouse. Adequate sexual pleasure is to be given to your spouse to avoid room for temptation.
e. Sexual regularity is to be determined as often as is required by your spouse. On the other hand let’s understand that there is to be consideration of our mate and that consideration is a rule as well to regulate your sexual requests in marriage.
f. There are no rights to bargain in the marital relations. No “in the doghouse” or “I will have sex with you if you...” or “if you don’t...” do such and such. Marriage partners must never bargain in this area of their relationship.
g. Sex is to be equal to both parties and reciprocal. Sex is the mutual right of both parties in the marriage. Either party (husband or wife) can and should request and initiate sexual relations.


Thoughts on sexual difficulties in marriage: .

Most sexual difficulties in a marriage are not difficulties in organic or mechanical problem areas. There is very seldom any organic or physiological problems in marriage. Sex is not the problem in difficulties in marriage. Sexual difficulties are, in almost every case the effects or results of relationship breakdowns. These difficulties consist in usually one or more of the following areas fear (ex. of getting pregnant, of abuse because of past mistreatment, some bargaining has happened, etc.), anger, resentment (which results in a “getting even with you” relationship), worry, guilt, jealousy, suspicion, fatigue (which is the result of not redeeming ones time so you become over tired). Also there may be a misunderstanding of the sexual responsibility as noted above. So when you see sexual difficulties creeping in your marital life check these issues in your life, find God’s answer and correct your life according to the Bible for real biblical peaceful change for the glory of God.

.What you will generally find in most instances is that the sexual aspect of marriage does not need to be focused upon to restore your marriage or the marriage of a couple you may be helping in resolving sexual difficulties. When we focus on biblical answers and seek God’s word to overcome biblically anger, resentment, jealously, fear and fatigue then our total self is healed in Christ by the Word and Spirit. Since sex and its difficulties are a result of relationship problems then when we work on these issues and correct our relationships the bad sexual habits go away. God's way in the sexual aspect of our relationship with our spouse then becomes the godly norm in our marriages.

.Often we find forgivness given to us quickly from our spouses in the areas of sin we have been harboring. That is great! That is a blessing! It is wonderful to live forgiven in Christ and forgiven by men. It is only then that we can move on to building a great relationship. But, let me say here as a warning, and because it is important, that due of the intensity of sex in a relationship we need to make sure we move past forgiveness and "quick sex" after forgivness to establishing measured goals to make sure we are building personal relationships with our spouses with a foundation of love and care toward he or she. We are to use Biblical discernment in building our personal relationships with each other to make sure they are godly strong and stable in accordance with God’s word. Our relationships need to be built on biblical building blocks and not on just emotional and physical release caused by purely physical methods. Realtionships properly built can stand the storms of life that the “thornes and thistles” so often bring our way.

.To help you keep your relationship biblically healthy there is one important daily principal that needs to be observed in all marriages. That principal is found in Ephesians 4: 26 “let not the sun go down on your wrath”. As someone has said the Apostle Paul in the Bible is stating that we are to keep a short account of any wrongs. You may and can get angry for righteous causes, but all is to be communicated and hopefully corrected and forgiven with reconciliation prior to bedtime and sleep on that day. This keeps our relationships strong and healthy for we are then walking through the open doors reconciliation brings so that we can build on our previously enhanced love and devotion to one another.

.All of your married life is to be regarded as a sexual relationship. If what you do in your marriage effects your physical time together then it must be understood biblically that you are one in all aspects and matters in your relationship with your spouse. Therefore your relationship is sexual. All that is done in the marriage will effect the physical act and desire for intimate relationships with your mate. Issues of fear, anger, hate, etc. would need to be overcome according to the biblical standards and directions. When done the sexual relations become natural.

.What if you find that in your life you are dealing with sexual guilt from your past then the question arises, "Do I speak to my spouse about the past issue?". Some say why do I need to allow my wife to know? It’s my guilt let me bear it! Usually most people come with these apprehensions and questions out of fear of the possible consequences. They have real genuine concern. However, biblically we are told that one cannot succeed in life if sins are hidden. Prov 28:13 “He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy.” In the long run continuing to hide these problems causes destruction in relationships; in this case between you and your spouse causing grave problems between the two of you. You see in marriage the two are now one. Your guilt is no longer just yours. You need to understand that these things will surface in time. There is no privacy in marriage both being one. One mate’s problems are the problems of both. We need to remember this basic reality of marriage. Your guilt affects you spouse. Do I tell my spouse? The answer to this is yes. Can it be difficult? Yes. But lets be reminded in Prov. 20:30 that difficulty in situations that are dealt with cause change. Prov 20:30 “Stripes that wound cleanse away evil; And strokes [reach] the innermost parts.” Painful experiences in the end and are to be seen as growth to the glory of God the Father.

.Communication must be spoken in truth and in this communication the desires of repentance and forgiveness asked for. We must communicate in such a manner that we let it be known that we want healing in our relationships to take place. It must be spoken of the in the context that repentance has been and is being accomplished. It must be communicated that you have and / or are seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. Once again the biblical principal here is that in the marriage the two are one. The spouse is not alone. What they do effects the other in the family. Therefore there is need to share with your spouse anything that comes in as a wedge in your marriage relationship so that biblical change and healing can take place. This will affect sexual relations in the marriage positively.

The Issue of Masturbation:

Another question that comes up often in discussions of sexual difficulties is usually stated as such: Is masturbation sin? There does not seem to be any direct scriptures regarding this question, however we are not to be left in the dark because other passages give us a clear answer to this question. Many have tried to link Gen 38:9 to the sin of masturbation however the issue there is not the sin of masturbation but of not raising up children to the wife of the deceased brother according to the Leverite marriage law in Deut 25:5-6. There are other passages of scripture which clearly teach that masturbation is not to be done. We turn first to the passage of 1 Cor. 6:12 where Paul states he will not be mastered or controlled by anything.

.1Cor 6:12 “All things are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any.” In this passage Paul is stating that even if something is correct to do it is still not to master a person and hold them in bondage. We know that masturbation gets a grip or a hold on those who practice it. Young people are observed distancing themselves from family relations to perform masturbation. It causes disruptions in marriages both of a social and a sexual nature. I have personally known many couples not having a marital sexual relationship because one or both parties are controlled by masturbation. Masturbation is a controlling in the lives of those who practice it.

.In the course of befriending youth you will understand that this is a great issue in their lives. Many become trapped by it very quickly. The effects are numerous, the entrapment is unreal. Fantasies, guilt and shame are things that squelch the precious life from these young “socialites”. The entrapment can be so that the grip of masturbation causes many to perform the act many, and I do mean many, times a day. To be controlled by anything in this manner is wrong, therefore sin and dangerous to the person entrapped, their friends and family and their marriage.

.Secondly, masturbation and lust is inseparably linked together. The person or persons who practice masturbation lusts in his or her mind. It is not uncommon for the person to fantasize about the lady or gentleman next door, a best friends spouse, the ladies or men seen in magazines, etc. Our Lord said that to lust in the heart (mind) is to commit adultery. Matt 5:27-28 “Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Therefore according to Jesus and with the knowledge we have of this “beast” we must recognize this a sin. There is more adultery (and murder) committed in the heart (mind) there are ever actually physically committed. Like murder in the heart many of these adulteries take place because of the practice of masturbation.

.The Apostle Paul says that that if there is no sexual control then it is better to marry. 1Cor. 7:9 “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” Paul does not say that masturbation is proper sexual relief for the body, he does not say it is better to masturbate than to burn with sexual desire. What he does say is that it is better to marry than to burn. This is very clear. Self-sex or masturbation is not a solution to remain unmarried, even until you are educated and or set in your career. If there is no self-control then marriage is your answer, the alternative is clear, and lets step up that process and seek to covenant yourself with a godly mate.

.Masturbation is definitely wrong since it constitutes a perversion of the sexual act. Sexuality does not exist for me (1 Cor. 7:3-4). It does not exist for my own pleasure. God has provided sex for the partner He has or will gives us. This is fundamental - we are not given the rights of our own bodies. God in His infinite wisdom directs our bodies in how we are to work them and how we are to perform and function with our body parts both prior to marriage and after marriage. The body must be used prior to marriage in purity and in post marriage for the purposes laid down in scripture as stated above. You must also be aware of the sexual temperature of your bodies and direct yourself accordingly as a good steward of that which God has given to you. If you cannot control sexually then marriage rather than sin is the answer.

.Parents it is here that we need to realize that if our children are becoming sexually aware and there is difficulty of sexual control in them then God forbid we make them wait years down the road for marriage. We are to be teaching and leading them to have self control and to get on with marriage and family in obedience to God and His Word. In our society today adults, even Christians, push the sexual openness issue without even realizing it. We push for our precious Johnny and gorgeous Suzy to get through college and the masters programs for a great job and then establish a career before thinking of getting married. We get caught up in the “thing” society is doing as a norm and we seek to push back the real normal biblical sexual marital relationships till mid-late twenties or early thirties. Well, hormones are working, the body is getting older, and the young adults are doing what their body is calling them to do; which is to seek sexual relief either in masturbation or sexual relationships. If, and in most cases there are, sexual relations that will happen. It is then that Suzy gets pregnant and therefore the option for abortion comes to mind. You get the picture! In reality God’s call for Johnny and Suzy is to get married (1Cor 7) not commit fornication and then risk the chance of or the option to kill an innocent victim. We older adults have not trained our children in the area of “body works and its call for marriage”. We have trained them to “subdue body works” for the sake of education and career. “Marriage and sexuality must come later”, we say. God help us! As the body matures we need to prepare their minds for marriage in priority over “formal education and formal careers”. We need not put this type of sexual pressure upon our children. Masturbation, by the way, is one of many of the effects of the great sexual pressures that society today puts its young adults.

.Masturbation is nothing more than self-sex. Self-sex is not biblical. This entrapment can be overcome in Christ. You can be delivered. This is not a unique temptation and many other believers throughout history and the world have had to seek the scriptures in a practical manner to overcome their temptation. We have the Holy Spirit and his Word to give us direction and power. What then do we do to suppress this in our lives or in helping others to overcome this problem? The first thing is to realize as has been stated above that sex and sexual relations are not for self gratification but are for God ordained purposes. Therefore to have self-sex is sin. This basic recognition is important for the changing process in the life of a Christian who is mastered or controlled by this sin. You now need to begin to see the biblical sexual relations in the light of the Bible and in the way and purposes to which God has established them. You need to look at sex from God’s point of view. Next you will need to put into practice loving God and glorifying Him by keeping in step with the ways which He has established for his creation in all areas of life and especially in the area sex. In doing this you are truly repenting and turning to the Lord from this area of sin in your life. This biblical love for God will move you by his Word and Spirit not to practice masturbation. You may need to do some practical radical adjustments in your life to help you resist and restrain the temptation in order not to commit this sinful practice.

3.) Seek a Christian friend that will help you and hold you accountable for your actions. Seek guidance from the pastor or elders. Make sure they are mature enough to guide you biblically if you see yourself stumbling. It is important to use the Church both in fellowship and gifts to help move us to discipline and godliness.

.The Issue of Homosexuality:

.In our society the sin of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle is pushed upon each of us either to experiment wit or accept it as normal sexual practice. We are called on in the corporate world to accept diversity. Diversity is a term used excessively by the proponents of the gay rights movement to manipulate people to accept the homosexual lifestyle. Many Christians are accepting homosexuality as a genetic disorder and therefore many Christians are stating that homosexuality cannot be helped. It is seen by some that homosexuals are, “just different from us”, “they have just another life style”, “ that is just the way they do things”, “this is their way of practicing their sexuality”, or “they are intelligent and are just more open”, etc.

.The Bible calls homosexuality a sin. But it is not a sin that one has to live with. In 1 Cor. 6:11 Paul stated that some saints at Corinth had practiced homosexuality along with other sins but that in Christ they had been cleansed from these sins and had been sanctified. 1Cor 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” They were clean and separated from these sins and were in the kingdom of God and His righteousness. They now can inherit the kingdom of God. Notice they did do them and then did not at the time of Paul’s writings.

.What I have ran into lately is the teaching that there is to be a distinguishing factor between the homosexual act and the homosexual desire. Christians are calling the act itself a sin but not the desire. It goes something like this, “You are a sinner. Therefore repent of sin believe in Christ and do not practice the sin of homosexuality. I am sorry your desire will still be there but at least you will not be sinning.” Well this creates a problem if you follow this thought for you allow a person to burn in sexual lust always having a physical desire for sexual activity of the homosexual type. With this thinking the person will always be where God does not intend them to be and that is in a non-fulfilled relationship. This can never be for that person will probably fall back to that lifestyle for he has not really been “delivered” from the sin of it but just from the “act”. That person who lives in this manner never has the joy and peace from the Holy Spirit that comes from being in the kingdom of God. He or she will eventually go back to the homosexual community. We need to understand that Jesus taught that sin in the heart as he described with both adultery and murder is also there with homosexual desires. Not only is the act sin but so is the desire (Rom 1:27). So in the heart of the homosexual who is “just not practicing” still has sin in his heart. There is no deliverance in this at all. There is no “but such as were some of you” in this non-biblical teaching. The life they live will be one of sin of desire bringing constant pain and hurt and therefore no real deliverance. They would live with an “it could be better” mentality instead of “it is great to be clean and set apart from the sins of the past” which leads to rejoicing and great praise to the God of salvation. If there is no true deliverance from the practice and desire of homosexuality then the heart still has an idol – homosexuality. The person is still in their sin. But let me be clear we must not hold to this most disturbing thinking for real salvation and conversion destroys those idols and turns one to serve God in all areas of life, sexuality included.

.If both the act and the desire is sin then how can one overcome this great life controlling sin. First acknowledge that homosexuality is sin Rom 1:27 (see total context). Homosexuality is spoken of as being a degrading passion, an indecent act, and error, an activity of a depraved mind and it is declared an activity worthy of death. The person needs to understand that it is a horrible sin, and that it must be repented of. (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1; 1Cor. 6:11; 1 Tim 1:10). In every biblical passage homosexuality is considered sin. It is an unacceptable way of life. It is something to be repented of. It is in Christ by the Word and the Spirit that deliverance both in act and desire can be accomplished.

.We also need to understand that to the homosexual offender wse can hold out hope to them. Christ is the answer! 1Cor 6:11 Christ washes the person. This is the starting point. We need to call the person to a faith in Christ that brings complete washing and sanctification. This faith in Christ is: Christ as Lord of all of life even sexuality. This is true evangelization, God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing men’s sins against them, but imputing his righteousness to them and giving them the Holy Spirit, the word, the church, prayer and fellowship. It is in all of this that there is a work of God for change and continued help and growth in the grace of deliverance bestowed upon the believer. Christ delivers the sinner and sanctifies them setting them apart to Himself both in heart or mind and in a change of conduct or lifestyle practices. The gospel of grace to the one needing help is the starting point for the life changing grace of God. God’s grace changes the liar, the drunkard, the adulterer, the thief and the homosexual the same way: through conversion that comes through evangelization. This is the starting point of hope.

.Also the person that comes to Christ needs to know that they are not the only people in history that have had to deal with that particular sin but that many in history have. We have already mentioned that some in the Corinthian church had desired and practiced that sin prior to conversion. Also we can let them know that there is no temptation that is unique only to them but whatever that temptation is there is a promise of full deliverance. 1Cor 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear (it).” Even in the “worst temptation” you are not alone for Christ is with you and He will provide you with a way of escape. We have the promise of this. All sin can be restrained and resisted by the power of the Holy Spirit and the being obedient to the Word. God never leaves us alone. You are not by yourself and you are given biblical direction how to resist and restrain sin and its harmful consequences.

.Once someone comes to Christ they need to be taught in his Word. There needs to be teaching structured around them in discipleship so that they can learn to by the power of the Holy Spirit put away the old man and his habits and put on the new man and Christ’s holy habits. There needs to be teaching and discipleship concerning biblical sexuality, the need for separation from the world and its influences, and other things in the Bible which touch life that affects godly living.

.A few areas that they need to be taught for practical direction is :



a. Teach the need for breaking with past associations that would continue to feed temptations.

b. Teaching of the need for worship and church attendance
c. Teach Bible reading and study = so that you can learn of God and His ways in a systematic and orderly manner.
d. Teach family matters.
e. Instruct in what friendship is and the need to establish new friends
f. Instruct in the need to witness
g. You will want to establish new friends understanding biblical friendship.
h. Money matters will need to be taught
i. There needs to be instruction understanding that sin and sickness can be linked together
j. The instruction in rescheduling activities in order to go to places and do activities that are healthy and wholesome.
k. The need to learn to put no more emphasis upon sexual experiences than God puts upon them in the Bible.
m. Also instruction in the gift the covenant of marriage, sex, and family



Conclusion

.. There is hope and deliverance in Christ in all sexual sins. Sexual difficulties people face are really not that difficult. They do seem difficult if you are struggling with sexual sins. All sexual difficulties are relational. Heterosexual difficulties result in improper role functions and sinful habits and practices established in the marriage (relationship to God and to spouse is improper). Difficulties for the ones trapped in masturbation is a relational issue which is nonconforming to God’s ways therefore sex is directed to self (the relation to God and to self is improper). For the homosexual the relationships are improper with sex being turned to the same sex (relationship to God and to others of the same sex is improper). Finding out that these relationships are improper and seeking to establish proper relationships in Christ will resolve the sexual difficulties. Much more could be said about sexual difficulties. I do hope that this is enough to show that God and his word is powerful enough and sufficient to guide you into peace and comfort as you are fully delivered from sexual sins you may be struggling with. Let’s learn of Christ and His answers that we may be filled with all joy, peace and righteousness to His glory. May our relationships with God, our spouses, ourselves and others be proper so that we not sin against the God our Creator!

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