You have gifts, good things you’ve been given that are valuable. How are you caring for – stewarding – those gifts? Some of those gifts include your mind, your body, your material resources, your time, your skills and experiences, and your relationships. Your sexuality is also a gift. How are you stewarding your sexuality?
Your response might be, I’m not married, so all I can do is suppress my sex drive. Or perhaps, My sex life with my spouse is sort of OK, though I do wish we did it more. Maybe it’s more like, I’ve messed up a lot; my sexuality is more of a danger, not a gift. Or even, I hate sex, so I wish you wouldn’t talk about it.
There’s a lot in Scripture about stewarding your sexuality, though that exact phrase isn’t used. Some in the church have made this all about do’s and don’ts, all about what sexual behaviors are sin or not sin. And behaviors do matter. Stewarding your sexuality includes behaviors.
But it’s also about a whole lot more than what you do or don’t do with your sex organs. As with everything, Jesus cares first and most about matters of the heart.
Something of Value
The idea of stewardship can sound mercurial. The yearly “stewardship sermon” usually focuses on encouraging you to give more money to the church. But the idea of stewardship is much deeper and broader than money. It’s primarily about caring for something of value.
In ancient times a steward was one who had charge over the household or affairs of a public official, business, or rich person. We still use this term occasionally today, such as to describe someone who looks after passengers on a ship or manages or cares for someone else’s property, or perhaps in reference to our calling to care for the natural world.
One critical thing all these ideas or meanings have in common is that a steward is entrusted with something valuable. If something is not valuable there’s no need to look after it with the kind of care a steward would provide. That’s why stewarding your time, your energy, your resources, or your thoughts matters; they’re important, valuable.
In that light, stewarding your sexuality does not mean squelching your sex drive, or trying harder to do or not do certain behaviors. But what would it look like?
Where is the Value in Sexuality?
Stewardship applies only when there’s something of value, so where’s the value in your sexuality? Some assume, or have been taught, that the value in your sexuality is that you have a “pure” body to present to your spouse on your wedding night. While that is a good thing, it doesn’t begin to describe the true value you bear as a sexual being made in the image of God.
The whole plan of redemption is a love story. God is relational in His very nature. He wanted a family; you! When He made you, He created you with the need, desire, and capacity for intimacy – with Himself, and with others. You were created for goodness, wholeness, shalom. And as Christopher West says, our bodies tell God’s story.
Your sexuality, your body as a man or woman, your inner drive to connect including connect physically, was created as an object lesson of who God is and what He desires for us as humans. For those who are married, that object lesson brings that intimacy into the physical realm through sexual connection and creativity. For those who are not married, that object lesson points to the ultimate intimacy we all crave and will experience in eternity that does not do away with but expands much beyond the physical realm. Regardless of your relationship status, you carry in your very body as well as in your soul the passion for intimacy of God Himself.
Your sexuality is valuable and worthy of stewarding because of what it says about God and ultimate reality.
How to Steward Your Sexuality
So now what? Since your sexuality says something about God, it’s not primarily for your personal self-gratification. The question is not, “What feels good?” The question is, “How does God want me to care for this valuable gift?”
Yes, stewarding your sexuality includes not engaging in behaviors that dishonor the message God is telling through your body. That means no porn, no sex outside covenant marriage, no other sexual gratification except with a spouse of the opposite sex. What you do with your body matters. That’s the point Paul is making in 1 Corinthians 6:13-20.
Stewarding your sexuality also includes the positive side, using your sexuality in positive ways. What unique benefits does your feminine or masculine self bring to the world? If you don’t fully understand God’s plan for sexuality, are you investing energy in learning about that? If married, are you investing in intimacy with your spouse – physically, emotionally, and spiritually? And if you’re not married, are you connecting with others in the body of Christ at a heart-to-heart level, and daily submitting your sexuality to Jesus? Do you need a different attitude about sexuality, intimacy, relationships?
You may have been sexually harmed, as most (if not all) people have been. Stewarding your sexuality also means you invest the time and energy to investigate your wounds and intentionally seek healing and wholeness. Like an antique car or classic painting, your sexuality might need some restoration; it’s worth it.
You also steward your sexuality by honoring other persons as sexual beings made in the image of God. If you’re married, you don’t look at your spouse as an object to take something – sex – from, but as someone to cherish in every way including sexually. You don’t consume porn, in part, because that cheapens and objectifies others made in God’s image. You treat every other man or woman as a whole human being, expressing something about God in their manhood or womanhood.
Worth Caring For
If you haven’t seen your sexuality as a valuable gift, it might be time to see it differently. This discussion is only a quick start to what stewarding your sexuality well might mean.
Don’t treat this valuable gift as less than the good thing God intended it to be.
Your Turn: Have you seen your sexuality as a valuable gift? How well have you been stewarding your sexuality? What would it look like to do this better? Leave a comment below.
Want more? This week on the podcast I talk with Lori Kuykendall about the “five-alarm fire” around sexuality and gender for young people, and what it looks like for us to help. You can listen or watch here.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- Only something valuable requires stewardship – being cared for. Your sexuality is a valuable gift that too many have treated as unimportant, dirty, or for your own gratification. What does it mean to steward your sexuality well? Tweet that.
Struggling with Sexual Issues?
Love it or hate it, sexual stuff is a big deal!
Your free download A 5-Part Prescription for Sexual Healing – God’s Way will show you how to:
- Get past your sexual issues regardless of relationship status
- Find freedom from compulsion, pain, and shame
- Discover God’s design for sex and intimacy
- Grow your capacity for true connection