Pure Sex (part 3)

In this last post, we are going to lay out five steps to sexual freedom that should not be obeyed and followed as a checklist, rather, you should begin to let this change your whole worldview and way of life. Remember, we are not about changing behavior, we need to be changed at the very core of who we are before our behavior will permanently change:

Practical Applications:

Point # 1: You can’t fight sexual sin with religion.
It’s really interesting, that when Jesus was on the earth and He was teaching, He spoke to a religious culture that had a very technical view of what sexual sin was and they had created some categories that basically were loopholes so that they could be sexually immoral, much like us. So Jesus took it right to the mind (or the core of who you are; the seat of your emotions) and said, “I tell you, if anyone looks upon a woman with lustful intent” or “with the desire to lust”, “he’s already committed adultery.”

Sex isn’t just about genitalia and orgasms. It’s not just about being physical with someone else or yourself. It’s about your heart and God’s purposes.So, if in your battle against sexual sin, the passion that you have for Jesus doesn’t become greater than the passion you have to have sex or fulfill your selfish sexual desires, then you’ll always be fighting and never experience victory. Have you ever had a moment like these two men below, when upon encountering the beauty and worth and greatness of who God is, you radically change your surroundings to obtain more of God Himself?

Matthew 13:44-46: 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

You must encounter God in all His might and beauty and grace and splendor. God’s kingdom is the expulsive power over sin because it is a greater affection.

So here’s a typical scenario within the church. A believer comes to me and is broken and hates his sin and says: “I messed up man. I slept with somebody I shouldn’t have,” or “I fell again. I totally looked at porn on the internet and masturbated and I feel sick and guilty about it.” Then they’ll go straight to religion: “So here’s what I’m gonna do: I’m gonna read the Bible ten times a day, and I’m gonna go to every church service I can find in town. I’m gonna put an internet filter on, and I’m gonna not ever look at another woman the rest of my life. I’m gonna make a covenant with my eyes like Job did,” and on and on goes the lists of what they are gonna do (or at least try)!

Now I do agree that those are helpful things, but apart from Jesus, they really won’t make a difference. So when men tell me stories like these, I basically have to say:
“Let’s go ahead and set up the next appointment, because I’m gonna give you three days and then you’re gonna be right back here crying.” … If you struggle with porn and sexual addiction, who hasn’t been that guy?

Point # 2: Sin grows in the dark.
These suicidal and self-destructive tendencies we have to rebel against God and not worship Him, have a habit of growing like fungus when kept in the dark. So just bringing your sin to the light, and by that I mean sharing your sin with the people you need to and confessing your sin to the Lord and being transparent is vitally important.

1 John 1:5-7: 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Confess your sin, repent and turn to Jesus. Get bros to walk with you. Come clean with your pastor, your wife, your friends, and whoever else needs to know. Stop managing your behavior and get your junk out into the light and let Jesus begin to work on your heart. This leads us to the third point.

Point # 3: At the core of sexual sin is a heart that doesn’t trust God.
Sexual sin basically says, “I can’t trust you God to meet my needs. I can’t trust you to provide these needs in the way that you choose, therefore, I’m gonna go outside of your will and provision. You’re just not big enough or good enough to satisfy this part of me. You’re not true to your word God. I can’t trust you to be good. I have these desires and urges in the moment, and I need to go take care of them because I can’t trust you to.”
At the core, this is what a heart that doesn’t trust God says and believes. Instead of worshipping the God who is trustworthy, who knows our every need, you worship sex and the feeling of gratification one gets from it. This is idolatry. You are saying, “I need to worship sex instead of you, God, so that I can fulfill this deep longing in me.”

Point # 4: A heart that doesn’t trust God has an idolatry problem.
Idolatry is the sin behind the sin. For example, you can get someone to stop eating and they’ll start drinking, or they’ll stop drinking and start smoking, or stop smoking, eating, and drinking, and start being proud of their morality and their idol is their obedience.
You can stop looking at porn then lust like crazy over women and treat them in a sinful way. Or you can stop looking at porn and then control relationships in some other self-righteous way in the name of Jesus.

So here’s some helpful insight for you: Good things that get turned into ultimate things are idols. What we don’t want is for you to stop looking at porn because you found another way to satisfy your deep longing. Only God Himself can satisfy the longings of our hearts, even the sexual ones (Psalm 17:15; 63:1-8).

Find out where your insecurity or deep longing comes from and begin giving that to Jesus. For example: You run to porn because you have attachment issues and are afraid to truly be known. So porn is safe to you. You worship porn because it satisfies that deep longing of being accepted without having to expose yourself. At the root of idolatry is a worship problem.

Remember in Genesis where we learned that we were made in the image and likeness of God. This means that in part we were made to worship; and so we ceaselessly pour ourselves out. We give ourselves away – our heart, our mind, our money, our devotion goes somewhere, to someone, to something. Everyone is a worshiper; a slave.

This is the way that God made us and it was a good thing, but we must remember that we were made to pursue God. But because of the fall of man, because of our sin, our worship is now directed toward things or people other than God. The result being that we continue to worship, but we worship wrongly. This means we worshipped our way into sexual sin. If we worshipped our way into sexual sin, then we must worship our way out. Here’s how we can begin to worship our way out.

Point # 5: The good news is, Jesus changes hearts.
If you are able to begin to see that these issues are really heart issues, worship issues, and then understand that the only way to change your heart is only and definitely through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit through the truth and belief of the gospel, then you are on the road to recovery.

Most guys and Christian counselors go straight to behavior modification, and it doesn’t help in the long run. Changing behaviors may work in this world, but they will not stand in eternity. What’s difficult about sexual sin is that it has a unique shame factor to it. It’s just a downward spiral. What happens when you commit sexual sin is you typically withdraw from the things you need the most, namely Jesus, His Word and His people.

Our sin at its core is always an issue of the heart, and the good news is Jesus changes hearts. You can get from one idol to another, but you can’t get from idolatry to freedom unless you meet up with Jesus and begin to worship Him (the pearl of great price). Sexual gratification has your affections and you have to find a greater affection that is more powerful than sex. This is why only Jesus and the power of the indwelling Spirit of God can free you from sexual sin. The only way out of your sex worship is Jesus worship.

We must know and believe the gospel at its core if we are gonna be able to let Jesus free us from our idolatry. God became a man, Jesus. He substituted Himself with you because He is the King and you are not. Jesus died in your place for your sins, and because of His resurrection, He conquers your enemy: Satan, sin, and death. He gives you a reconciled relationship with God so that you will again participate in the love and the joy and the praise and the adoration that the Trinitarian God has within Himself.

To the degree that you believe this and your heart is broken because of what Jesus has done for you, will be the degree by which you have victory over your idols and imprisonment of sexual sin.

What will begin to happen, is you will understand that you are radically accepted by God to the point that when you fall into sin, you won’t punish yourself for days before you run to Jesus and His word. You will get that you don’t have to add to your punishment by not feeling worthy to come to Jesus. Jesus paid it ALL!

Can you add to the atoning sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross for your sin? The answer is an implied and emphatic NO! Then why do you make yourself suffer and punish yourself when you fall. It’s because you either don’t get the gospel or you don’t believe it. Jesus took it & freed you from having to punish yourself. Jesus paid it ALL!

Now if you get this, you will begin to fall on your face and repent to Jesus before you even choose to sin. This is how we battle sin and walk in victory. Treasure Jesus and the infinitely beautiful and the only worthy King! He is enough!

Closing:
Men, wage war against your sin/idolatry day after day after day. What in your life do you have to keep working on daily or else you’ll lose it (remember, we are not talking about salvation, but freedom): Marriage, jobs, houses, cars, grades, relationships, sports, etc… What are you laboring over more than your relationship and love for God and His word?

You must labor over this and kill the sin by running to Jesus day after day after day and living a life of transparency and repentance. If you stop looking at porn and you don’t treasure Jesus above all else, you will treasure something else above Him and you will still have a really big problem in your life; or worse yet, you might not even truly know the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the answer. No other! He is the pearl of great price. He is the treasure in the field that you must sell everything for. May we not take the words of Jesus lightly when He says this: “ 34 If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:34-35

Remember, there is a universe of difference between “knowing of God” and “knowing God”. Labor to know God the way you labor to look at porn. Seek His kingdom with the tenacity you seek your own gratification. Then victory will come!

Our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered Satan, sin, and death. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:12-15

Let’s Pray!

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Pure Sex (part 2)

Yesterday, I left you contemplating some questions. Today, I want draw your attention to God’s Word and paint for you an original picture of God’s intention for marriage and “pure sex”:

The Bible: Here’s the strange thing, the Bible, the book that guides you (hopefully), is usually regarded as anti-sex and anti-sexual pleasure (or at least barely tolerant of it). But the Bible actually supports this sex and pleasure within the proper structure. The problem is, our view of sexual intimacy has been so jarred by our culture, that we have a hard time seeing any of that in the Bible, and think that our only outlet of “good” and “exciting” sexual pleasures are only found when it’s done in a “sinful” manner. “It’s exciting to look at porn…it’s a rush…it satisfies us!” Let’s take a minute to unpack what the Bible says about sexual pleasure and then we’ll hit five points of application that I think will help you in your battle with sexual sin.

Where did sex originate and what is its purpose?: Sex originated in Genesis so let’s look there to layout a proper biblical view of sex, marriage and relationships, then we’ll tap into what’s holding us back:

1:27: So God created man (generic) in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female (specific) he created them.

The Hebrew words for male and female are better translated as “the piercer” and “the pierced”; I’ll let you decide which one means male and female! These words are definite references to the human sex organs. The very next command, God says this:

1:28a: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…”

So procreation is a major purpose of sex and we read in verse 31, that it was very good! Now if you notice at the end of verse 25, all of creation up until that point God said was “good”; but after God made male and female, He stepped back, looked at what He had created and ordained, and said, “Behold, it was “very good”.

Chapter 2 is not another creation account, rather it is a detailed description of the creation of man and woman as it occurred on the 6th day of creation. In Gen. 1:27, marriage was in the presence of God between Adam and Eve. In Genesis 2:24-25, the author describes the process of the couple becoming one and how that happens.

Genesis 2:18-25: 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Let’s make some basic observations from these texts:
1. All this was created before the entrance of sin, so sex is a very good thing between a man and a woman whom God has made one (in a covenantal relationship); it’s not sinful.

2. God made a woman to be a helper for the man (not, daddy’s little helper, and not someone to help you get an orgasm) but rather in the same fashion as Psalm 54:4: Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.

3. God made one woman for Adam, He didn’t create 30 women and run them by Him like He did the animals and have him pick the one he liked the most. God intends for a man and a woman to have one partner in their life; not multiple. This is why porn is destructive. A man can have thousands of partners who have his heart and now his wife is sharing her husband with many women. No wonder marriages suck!

4. This leads us to our fourth point, God intended that man’s standard of beauty be the woman that he marries. Before you get married, you need to pray about who it is that God wants you to marry and it better not be only based on how she looks, because if it is, she will change after children and age and you will want to find someone else who looks like the woman you married earlier.

So the man’s standard of physical beauty was meant to be his wife and change as his wife changes. If your wife is short, you like short. If your wife is large, that means you like large. You may say, “what if she used to be skinny?” “then you don’t like skinny right now!” Got it!! Be content with what you have. Godliness plus contentment equals great gain Paul says. Do you have entitlement issues? Do you think you deserve certain things in life? Check your heart on this one.

5. God created a man and a woman. Two different genders with two separate parts. God has always intended for marriage to be between a man and a woman. God did not create another man for Adam and then a woman and give Adam the choice. If that was the way God intended things to be, then it was no fair for Adam. But that’s not how it was intended to be. Any kind of sexual relations outside of a covenantal marriage between a man and a woman is destructive and wicked.

6. Finally, a man was meant to leave his mother and his father and become one with his wife and hold fast to her. That means he moves out of his parents home and stops being a mama’s boy. He grows up. He acts like a man and leads, loves and protects her; and the woman expects him to. The two become one and share life together unlike any other relationship in their lives. Are you sharing life with your wife, or are you hiding things in your life with her? Are you holding fast to her, or your own selfish sexual desires?

We observed all that to convince you that God created sex and meant for it for good, very good! He wants you to enjoy your wife, deeply and intimately, and her you. He wants you make each other feel secure with sex. He wants to take away other temptations with sex with your spouse. He wants sex with your spouse to be a reflection of His great beauty and enjoyment.

But any sexual pleasure outside of the covenantal context of marriage between a man and a woman is working towards destruction and will never give you the desired result you are looking for in your sin and lack of self control and fear of God. God created sex. Play by His rules or you will pay. You will be held accountable and you’ll never find what you want.

Jeremiah 2:13: “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the
fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that
can hold no water.”

Sexual sin is drinking water from another well that you dug yourself instead of drinking water from the source of purified water; if you do that you’ll get sick because the water is not clean. Some of you will say, so, but it’s still water, what’s the difference. Well, you tell me, is there ever a problem with getting something that you like from a different source. Say, peanuts, I love peanuts, but I would never eat peanuts from a turd when I could just go to the store and get them in a nice, clean, new bag, or even in a Snickers. Peanuts were not meant to be eaten from turds. They were meant to be eaten only once. You tracking with me?

Tomorrow we will unpack five practical ways that you can break the stronghold of sexual immorality in your life.

Pure Sex (part 1)

I am going to be posting sermon notes from a break out session I preached at a men’s retreat this past weekend. They will be broken up into three posts and I will post one a day for the next three days. Here is the intro, observations, and a few questions to stir your heart and to get you to begin thinking about what you desire from sex (or the viewing of sexual images):

Intro: Pornography. Sexual Sin. This is a universal struggle, and it’s OK to be open about it. It’s OK not to be OK. So, as I get into this message, my prayer is that all of you would have an honest assessment of what kind of man you are. We don’t need pretenders here. We can’t afford that. We can’t afford that because we read this about sexual sin in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8:

1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Paul says in this passage at the end, that to disregard being pure with your body (not desiring “pure sex” the way God intended it) is not to disregard man, but God Himself, who is an “avenger in all these things”. This is a solemn (or serious) warning from God Himself. We cannot afford to be pretenders!

We need real men who are honest with who they are in action, in thoughts, and in word. So be real with yourself. Take an honest inventory of the kind of man that you are when you’re alone and you know no one is watching. That’s who you really are. That’s your current character. You will never experience victory as long as you keep flattering yourself about how good you are or that behind all the mess you are really ok…. so be real with the kind of man that you are. OK? OK!

Observation: It seems as if, because of the amount of sexual sin among believers and non-believers alike, we believe that our lives would be better because of sex, or some form of it.

Questions for you to take some time to answer for yourself:
1. Is life simply a case of accumulating orgasms, or partners, or feelings of belonging or acceptance through sexual gratification?
2. What do we really want from sex/porn?
3. Could it be that the answer is nudity?
4. Is it possible that what we really want is a relationship, not simply of physical nakedness and pleasure, but of deep personal nakedness as well?
5. Is it that we want someone who will accept us and love us and desire us as we are?
6. Do we want a relationship of honesty & love, where satisfying sex springs not only from a deep acceptance of each other, but an ongoing desire to please one another?
7. Are we running to illicit sex because we ourselves are so unhealthy and don’t believe the gospel of Jesus? Or we don’t get the gospel? Or are we too lazy?
8. Aren’t we completely accepted by the God who created the heavens and earth?Aren’t we completely exposed by God? So why are we afraid to give what it takes to experience “pure sex”, the way God intended it to be?

Those who don’t desire this: If you don’t want this kind of sex, and enjoy your cheap thrills with no attachment, no mental engagement, no relational cost to you; I want to ask you, where is the fear of the Lord in your life? You reverence yourself and your pleasure and you mock God and His mighty power and authority!

If this is you, confess your God neglect to the Lord and then tell your pastor so he can protect you and others in the church from you as you grow in the fear of the Lord. Then have him help you get some biblical counseling to help figure out your deep rooted attachment/bonding issues.

Also, we must know this: There is a universe of difference between “knowing of God” and “knowing God”. If you are living in sin and do not see a problem with it, do not assume you are right with God. “4 I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke 12:4-5.

Those who do desire this: For everyone else, if what I mentioned above describes what you’re longing for, you will not find it in disobedience to God.You will not find it in trying to be free with your sexuality. You will not find it on the internet, the store, or the mechanics bathroom. You will only find this kind of sex in the Bible, as you fear God.

In the next post, we will dive in to God’s Word and unpack His original plan for sex only within marriage, from the beginning.

Single Older Women by Dena Dallenbach

This is a post that Dena (a member of Kineo) posted the other day and thought this would be a good platform to re-post it. I believe that we are in desperate need not of just just single older women, but of older men and women (married or unmarried) to rise up and be willing to finish well and pour in to the next generation. We have a few older men and women at Kineo who are finishing well and we continue to pray for more. Enough of me, here’s Dena’s heart:
Amongst the many things I have shared with some of you (at Kineo) I am particularly keen on the issue of the older women in the church, especially the single older women. Too often we see our singleness almost as a curse, when in fact it is a blessing. And I will go out on a limb here, it is one of the highest blessings. I say this in light of this scripture: “And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit.” (1 Corinthians 7:34). It is a part of the verse, not the whole verse. But it is significant. He says the same thing of the men who are single as well. But I speak to the women here. And I am not suggesting that a married woman is less blessed or special. That place is sacred and holy as well. Raising godly children, running a household, loving your husband and supporting, encouraging, assisting him in his endeavors and callings, holding him up in prayer, is all necessary and needed. Without you the rest of us are left swimming upstream against strong currents that might sweep us away.
But, what of the women who have become single or never married? Through choice, widowhood, divorce and whatever circumstances have set you in singleness? Be assured our Lord loves us and calls us. One of the directives to the older women is this: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:3-5).
We are not cursed or less than because we are single. We are blessed. I would not, myself, involve myself in a singles ministry. If God so chooses to bless me with a godly husband I will be glad. But if He does not, then I have a freedom to devote myself to the Lord, to serve Him wholly. Of course, I still require a covering and that would be my church (pastor), and Jesus Himself. But I have a unique position in that I can serve without hesitation to whatever the Lord calls me to.

I have found great joy, fulfillment, and contentment in the women. I am free to answer a call for help, comfort, service, whatever need arises without question. It is wonderful, and I am not lonely. I am alone much of the time, but I am not lonely. I also feel that my position helps the men of the church. When I am able to assist their wives I am assisting them (the men).

It is hard to live a godly life single and older in the world today. We need each other. Walk with me. Dena

Why Amy and I took a break in 1997?

Recently, Amy and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Shortly before our anniversary Amy found some old notes/lists that we made when we were dating and when we were newly married. I want to share one particular list (that I had completely forgotten about) that reminded me of the intention we had in our relationship even before we knew we were going to get married.

I want to share this because in our society, we often lose sight of intentional dating, and whether we are the young daters, or the older parents letting our kids date, we must be intentional (and teach kids to be intentional) with the time we spend with the opposite sex, especially the opposite sex that is called boy or girl friend. Too easily can passion and lust arouse couples with “good” intentions and bring a lot of damage upon themselves, not to mention sin. Too often Christians are slothful and lazy in the way they date. So, the issue I want to press is for Christians to date intentionally with a purpose to make Jesus look beautiful by the way you go about dating and remaining pure through the process. Okay, no more chit chat, here’s the list:

Why we’re taking a break from dating and our prayer during this time (1997):

1) humbling

2) dig into the Word

3) learn to take our thoughts captive

4) act of obedience

5) to truly seek out God’s will for the future

6) build our character in the Lord

7) test our faith

8) understand, grasp, and be thankful for FREEDOM IN CHRIST

9) stretching our hearts so that we desire His desires

10) prayer life

11) build our friendship

12) to see the work of the Holy Spirit w/out human infuence

13) be thankful for this lesson

14) building spiritual warriors

15) examine our hearts

For Moms, Former Moms, and Wannabe Moms by Wendy Alsup

Mother’s Day is a tricky holiday. Like any holiday, it is sweet for some and bitter for others. For some, it’s both. I remember feeling on the outside looking in on Mother’s Day, first as a single woman and then after I miscarried our first. Our church had an entrance near the nursery called the Family Entrance. Could I use it? Were we a family? I finally just used it regardless, almost as an act of defiance. Now as the mother of a 4- and 6-year-old, I can deeply appreciate someone setting aside parking near an entrance that kept me from having to walk my toddlers across a busy intersection. But at the time I was dealing with emotions that weren’t swayed by practical realities. I just wanted to be a mom. And that sign at the church entrance reminded me I wasn’t.

It is an age-old conundrum in humanity in general and Christianity in particular. How do you honor someone who has something good that you want too? How do you applaud the sacrifices of one without minimizing the suffering of the other? I don’t know exactly, but I do think there is an overarching principle that is helpful.

Motherhood is not the greatest good for the Christian woman. Whether you are a mom or not, don’t get caught up in sentimentalism that sets it up as some saintly role. The greatest good is being conformed to the image of Christ. Now, motherhood is certainly one of God’s primary tools in his arsenal for this purpose for women. But it is not the end itself. Being a mom doesn’t make you saintly. Believe me. Being a mom exposes all the ways you are a sinner, not a saint. Not being a mom and wanting to be one does too. We may long to get pregnant, looking at motherhood from afar. God sanctifies us through that longing. We may lose a pregnancy or a child, and mourn the loss of our motherhood. God conforms us to Christ through that as well. We may have a brood of children of various ages, and heaven knows God roots sin out of our hearts that way. It’s all about THE greatest good, being conformed to the image of Christ—reclaiming the image of God that he created us to bear through gospel grace. And God uses both the presence and the absence of children in the lives of his daughters as a primary tool of conforming us to Christ.

Single woman watching your biological clock tick away, I encourage you to look today at your longings through the lens of the gospel. You don’t have to deny your longing or talk yourself into a happy attitude for all the good things you can do without kids. It’s OK to mourn the loss. God said children are a blessing. But after the fall, we do not all get to experience that blessing. The gospel makes up the difference. While you are disappointed in deep ways and that disappointment is real, you will one day sit with Jesus in heaven profoundly content with his work in you through this disappointment. In heaven, you will have no longing for something you missed. You will not be disappointed. May confidence in that hope sustain you.

Married woman experiencing infertility, I encourage you with similar words. People can be callous with their words, especially in the church. But believe in confidence that God in this very moment loves you with a deep love. You may feel estranged from him, knowing that he has the power to give you that sweet infant that he has given so many around you. It seems like he is dangling a desire in front of you, teasing you with it. But understand that unfulfilled desire is a tool he uses to give you even better things—things of himself that you cannot know in easy ways. Believe in confidence that this time of waiting is not just a holding pattern with no discernible value, but it too is a blessing, albeit in disguise, as it increases your strength to run and not grow weary and to walk and not to faint. Wait on the Lord, dear sister, in confidence.

And mom who fails her children regularly (because that’s everyone else), preach the gospel to yourself this day. If you have any grasp on your reality, you are likely painfully aware of every failure you’ve made with your children. And maybe you are fatigued by the fears of future failure as well. It’s okay that your children expose your own sin. In fact, it’s the mom who doesn’t seem daily aware of her failures that most concerns me. Christ has made the way for you to be at peace. If you sinned against your kids, ask their forgiveness. If you are kicking yourself for your failures, preach God’s grace to yourself. Don’t learn to live with your sin—don’t embrace it with the attitude “that’s just how I am.” But don’t deny it either. Be honest about it. You sinned. You confess. God forgives. You get up and walk forward in confidence. It’s called gospel grace, and THAT is the legacy to leave your children.

To read this article from the Gospel Coalition website, click here.