How many young (or old) people have been robbed of radical dreaming by the guilt that comes from sexual failure? I’m sure the number isn’t small. Sometimes that guilt leads to a paralysis of passion and promise. We might refuse to say “Here am I, send me!” out of shame or fear of discovery or something else. The church, particularly in today’s over-sexualized culture, is fighting a losing battle with entertainment. We are, as Neil Postman wrote, “amusing ourselves to death.” In fact, fighting is too strong a word. We have passed from resistance to accommodation and collaboration. Okay, now I’ve gone to meddling, as my grandfather used to say in the pulpit. Back to the reason for this post: “How do we deal with sexual failure in such a way that God gets glory both in us and in the world?”
I suggest you drop what you’re doing and watch John Piper at Passion ’07 (which was in Atlanta last week). His message? “How to Deal with the Guilt of Sexual Failure for the Glory of Christ and His Global Cause.” The transcript is available at DesiringGod.org (of course), but a few excerpts are in order.
“The great tragedy is not mainly masturbation or fornication or acting like a peeping Tom (or curious Cathy) on the Internet. The tragedy is that Satan uses the guilt of these failures to strip you of every radical dream you ever had, or might have, and in its place give you a happy, safe, secure, American life of superficial pleasures until you die in your lakeside rocking chair, wrinkled and useless, leaving a big fat inheritance to your middle-aged children to confirm them in their worldliness. That’s the main tragedy.”
“A deep and growing biblical knowledge of God and Christ and the cross and salvation and faith and how God does it all for the glory of Christ can give such ballast to the boat of your life that the wind of temptation will not be able to tip it over so easily. The reason this is not a popular remedy for temptation today is because it is not a quick fix. It’s the work of a lifetime.”
Hopefully that will whet your appetite for what Piper has to say, which is as always meaty and important. That also means it’s not so easy to digest; it takes a bit of mental, spiritual, maybe even physical work.
Incidentally, all the Passion main session videos are viewable at this site all week long. Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, not to mention the worship music at each main session.