Why Do Sexual Desires Exist?
We’ve got an issue here. And it’s not that sexual desires exist. If you are a human being, you have innate sexual desires. And I want to first normalize them for you. They are God-given and natural; they are not shameful. God created sexual desires and anything God created is good. However, Satan has warped this good gift and deceived us. He keeps deceiving us. He longs to take what is meant for worship to God and massively twist it.
The issue is that as singles, we’ve been taught to respond in primarily two ways: suppress these desires or indulge them.
As we discussed last week, our goal in singleness and marriage is holiness. And sanctification happens when we are governed by holiness, not legalism and not lust. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God." 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
As Christians, we have typically been taught the former: suppress sexual desires at all costs. However, that charge does not get to the core of why we have them in the first place.
Sexual desires bring us face to face with our fundamental need for connection. God enables us to reflect his Triune nature in our relational patterns: to be uniquely us while deeply interconnected with others. Our natural desires for sex are really natural desires for a deeper knowledge of God (Pleasure is absolutely part of our desires; but at the core, our desires call out for connection).
God has created us to be deeply intertwined with him and others, and has given us the desire to press into that need. In singleness, we can recognize that our sexual desires are meant to drive us to intimate relationships with God and the body. When we become aware of this purpose, we can begin to redirect our desires towards friendship, worship, and other activities that steer those desires into healthy patterns of communion. In doing so, we gain a greater understanding of the Trinity, while reflecting his Triune nature through connection. This choice requires self-discipline, accountability, and a continually growing relationship with God and others. Like 1 Thessalonians shares, at the core of holiness is knowing God. Resisting sexual temptation happens first in deeply knowing God, then in committing to the process of sanctification through accountability. Relationship lies at the core of freedom.
Next week we will look at practical ways to deal with our sexual desires.