Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dealing with Sexual Failure

Verwer’s burden in that conference was the tragic number of young people (like many of you) who at one point in their lives dreamed of radical obedience to Jesus and were joyfully willing to lay down their lives and sacrifice anything to make Jesus known among the nations, but then faded away into useless, American prosperity because of a gnawing sense of unworthiness and guilt over sexual failure that gradually gave way to spiritual powerlessness and the dead-end dream of the middle class security and comfort.

In other words, what seemed so tragic to George Verwer—as it does to me—is that so many young people were being lost in the cause of Christ’s mission because they were not taught how to deal with the guilt of sexual failure. [John Piper]

For the amount of effort John Piper has put into fighting for Christian Hedonism, it is surprising that the most popular resource on his website right now is a message from Passion07 entitled "How to Deal with the Guilt of Sexual Failure for the Glory of Christ and His Global Cause." As you can see from the quote above, his focus is on restoring those whose lives and potential ministries have been destroyed by guilt over sexual sin.

Is this something you're familiar with?

Although I may have been able to guess the gist of his message theologically, Piper's wisdom and insight to even address this issue is fathoms beyond me. While so many of us are focusing on teaching purity and resisting sin (excellent things!), Piper knows the heart of those called to ministry and shines a bright light onto the hidden weight that hinders of so many young ministers.

Piper sets the foundation of his encouragement upon our forgiveness that was secured by Christ's death on the cross. He then pauses to address what some may see as a license to sin (Romans 6:1-2). Perhaps the most illuminating statement I found in this message is Piper's remarks on true, saving faith:
The mark of faith is not that I never sin sexually. The mark of faith is that I fight. I fight anything that dims my sight of Jesus as my glorious Savior. I fight anything that diminishes the fullness of the lordship of Jesus in my life. I fight anything that threatens to replace Jesus as the supreme Treasure of my life.[emphasis added]

Have you ever fought sin (in whatever form it may be) for so long that you wondered if you really were a Believer? Piper's words here are the most wonderful encouragement for my soul. He would argue that the simple fact that one is fighting sin shows that one has faith in Christ.

I hate to admit it publicly, but I needed to hear that.

The rest of the article is a great read. Be sure to check it out.

Do you struggle with guilt? How do you handle sin in your life?


Jim Vander Spek, CPA said... I have not been pleased with John Piper's article. See my comments above.