Your Journey to Sexual Wholeness Will Be Opposed

I hear from people every day who are facing opposition on the journey to sexual wholeness. If all it took to become whole were a few good facts in your left brain and a few pleasing moments sensing God’s presence for your right brain, then maybe we wouldn’t have to address today’s topic. But if you haven’t sensed it already you soon will: your journey to sexual wholeness will be opposed.

Biblically, you can think of this opposition as the world, the flesh, and the devil. Though that specific phrase isn’t used in the New Testament the categories are certainly there.

When it comes to sex, many would agree that our sexualized culture – the world – doesn’t help. Your sexual story – and you certainly have one – fits into the category of the flesh, the whole reality of who you are as a human being. And then there’s the devil.

Don’t worry; we’re not going to get into weird theology. But if your goal is to move away from where you’ve been stuck and into a lifestyle of sexual wholeness, it’s only right to address the roadblocks you can anticipate along the way. And the way to make sense of what everyone experiences is to acknowledge how your journey to sexual wholeness will be opposed. By what? By a real and personal embodiment of evil which Scripture calls the devil, Satan, and his kingdom of darkness.

Thinking About Spiritual Warfare

We have all been born into a messed-up world. Our very DNA, so to speak, is messed up – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We grow up in messed-up environments. Our brains develop templates about relating to the world based on what we see and experience, and those templates are incomplete, broken, and sometimes downright toxic. Even if Satan himself were already eliminated you and I would still have our own issues – sexually and otherwise.

And, the devil hasn’t been eliminated – yet. As followers of Jesus, we know the end of the story: Jesus wins! But we still live in the middle of the mopping-up operation in the conflict between God’s kingdom of light and Satan’s kingdom of darkness. We get wounded in the crossfire, some more and some less, but we are each affected by the assault from the enemy of our souls. Our enemy knows very well how to exploit our genetic tendencies, faulty brain templates, and our history of trauma and pain in getting us increasingly hooked on bad stuff and mired in shame so we stop believing anything else is possible.

God designed a glorious life for you, a life of goodness and true intimacy. Evil came and messed everything up. Your sexuality is a big part of how you are made in the image of God, so of course that part of you will be especially assaulted. As Christopher West says, “If we want to know what’s most sacred in this world, all we need do is look for what is most violently profaned. The enemy is no dummy. He knows that the body and sex are meant to proclaim the divine mystery. And from his perspective, this proclamation must be stifled. Men and women must be kept from recognizing the mystery of God in their bodies.”

The Journey to Freedom

For almost everyone the answer is a combination of factors. Yes, your brain is faulty. Your neural networks got messed up a long time ago, long before you knew you were learning any of this stuff. You were harmed, sexually and otherwise. You responded badly, sometimes through inaction, sometimes through ignorance, sometimes through outright rebellion. And your enemy has been hard at work assaulting you right where he knows you’re vulnerable. So what you need is “all of the above:” brain training, forgiveness, healing, deliverance, and growing up. And most of all you need transformation. God weaves all these strands together in your own individual pathway to wholeness.

So, where have you experienced opposition to your sexual wholeness?

We’ve already alluded to it but to state it explicitly; there are at least three ways in which your journey will be opposed; “the world, the flesh, and the devil.” Some people focus their whole efforts on the world – advocacy to change our sexualized culture, accountability software on their devices (thank you, Covenant Eyes!), staying away from problematic media, movies, situations, etc. That’s super important! But that only addresses one aspect.

Then for what’s going on in your own brain, it’s critical to remain clean, connected, and consecrated. You absolutely cannot do this alone by “trying harder.” Instead of trying, you need to train – to put yourself in places where you become different from the inside out. That’s how you build and maintain the necessary new pathways in your brain.

And then there’s the opposition from the kingdom of darkness. What do you do about that?

Defeating the Opposition

Not everything is spiritual warfare, but to ignore this reality puts you in grave danger and sets you up for failure. The enemy is after your heart. He doesn’t fight fair, and he’s especially pleased when he can get us to internally or subtly “blame” God for our pain, seeing the only One who can bring us wholeness as distant or angry.

This is not about going out swashbuckling against the devil; Jesus already fought the devil and was victorious. Spoiler alert: Jesus wins! This is also not about cowering in fear. Yes, Jesus has won! And while we continue to live in this messed-up world we will always need His protection against the enemy of our souls.

In the fog of war it can be easy to forget the reality of who your enemy is, and the guaranteed outcome of this war. But Jesus has made His victory available to us today. When He was here on earth, whenever Jesus encountered evil, either Satan in person or embodied in a demonized human being, He did not respond with drama or anxiety but with simple authority. You and I can learn to do the same.

Our role is to stand firm under the Lordship of Jesus and under His protection. Claiming His protection daily is so very wise. I learned to do this through pleading the blood of Jesus over my life and specifically over whatever is troubling me. You can do the same.

Each of the categories mentioned here deserve more discussion. Check the links in this article. And for a more complete discussion check out my new book Sexpectations: Reframing Your Good and Not-So-Good Stories About God, Love, and Relationships.

More Where This Came From

Some of this article is adapted from a section in my new book Sexpectations: Reframing Your Good and Not-So-Good Stories About God, Love, and Relationships.

If your heart is struggling with anything around sex, love, and intimacy, you need this! This book will help you:

  • reinterpret your sexual story with honesty and compassion
  • find freedom from shame, compulsive behaviors, past harm, and hiding
  • redefine the way you look at God, sex, love, and relationships
  • orient your sexuality as God intended and embrace what He has for your future
  • experience Jesus coming right into the middle of your story to bring healing and wholeness

Check out our new Sexpectations website where you can find related resources. You can download a free chapter of the book, and order the book for yourself.


Your Turn: Where have you experienced opposition to sexual wholeness? What have you found helpful in addressing that opposition? Where do you still need help?  Leave a comment below.

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