by Jeff Shaw, Director of Out of Darkness
Last week we talked about men and the problem of broken sexuality. I closed that post by noting that it’s really a matter of intimacy.
I’m not a preacher, and I’m not a particularly good teacher either. So I’ll point you to the consuming desire articulated by a man after God’s own heart, King David.
“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to seek Him in His temple.”
– Psalm 27:4
Let’s break it down…
(1) That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
What David describes here is his desire to dwell in the presence of the Lord. But what does that mean for us, especially when we’re caught in the grips of sexual bondage? Let me humbly suggest that it doesn’t mean being in a perpetual state of repentance, as the self-loathing of sexual bondage often leads us to do. Scripture says that earthly sorrow (shame, self-condemnation, etc.) leads to death, but godly sorrow (conviction) leads to repentance. If you are in Christ, you are forgiven. Yes, confess. Repent. But that’s it. Don’t stay there, trying to mourn and grieve and condemn yourself into God’s favor. YOU ARE FORGIVEN! OWN IT! And then dwell in His house.
When I think of dwelling in the house of the Lord, lots of pictures come to mind. I wake up in the morning in His presence, thanking Him for a new day and new mercies. I work in His presence, ministering in the places He has called me. I ask for the indwelling of His Spirit, that I might obtain the revelation of the truth in His Word and bear fruit! I dine in His presence, telling him about my day and my frustrations and my failures and my joys and my victories. And at the end of the day, I lay down to rest in His presence. “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
(2) To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.
This one is fun. Really fun. Take time to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. This is not a passing glance, or even a lingering look. Gaze! Let the beauty of the Lord capture and captivate you. His beauty can be found in His creation – a sunrise or sunset, a star-studded sky, a snow-capped mountain, a lush green forest. His beauty can be found in others – the laughter and innocence of children, the loyalty of a friend, the love of family. His beauty can be found in the arts – serene music, a stunning painting, a detailed sculpture. His beauty can be found in His Church – feeding the hungry, correcting injustice, visiting the sick, caring for the orphan and widow. His beauty can be found in His Word – covenant promises, hope, salvation. These things are BEAUTIFUL!
But most of all, His beauty can be found in who He is. Our Jesus is love. He is our Savior. He is good. He is both humble servant and mighty conqueror! He is faithful to the faithless. He is the comforter to the mourning and the restorer of the broken-hearted. He is the Prince of Peace and Lord of lords. He is Creator. He is just and merciful. He is gracious and the giver of every good and perfect gift. He is the author of joy. He is the perfecter of our faith. He is the victor over sin and death! He is our heavenly Father! Take the time to get lost in the beauty of Jesus…
(3) Seek Him in His temple.
Some translations use the term “inquire” in place of “seek Him.” The idea here is a pursuit of God. Lord, what is Your will for my life? What is my purpose? How can I bring You glory? And I think it goes even further. When we suffer loss, or face discouragement, or see something we don’t understand, I believe the Lord invites us to come into His presence and ask as David did – How long, oh Lord? How long will injustice prevail? How long will my enemies triumph over me? Can you hear my cries? The Lord is inviting you into an honest relationship with Him. You aren’t expected just to “get it.” Inquire of the Lord in His temple! What an intimate relationship He offers us!
So that brings me to the end of today’s post. And I’d be willing to bet that even as you read through the various pieces of Psalm 27:4, you forgot this whole post was about porn and sexual impurity didn’t you! That’s what’s so cool about it! Dwelling in the Lord’s presence, gazing upon His beauty, and inquiring in His temple drives out everything else! And lest you think this is some 24-hour call to sit around praying and reading the Bible, it’s not. You can dwell in the Lord’s presence anywhere doing anything (anything that’s not displeasing to Him, that is). You can gaze upon His beauty on your way to work, or at a concert, or on the patio of your favorite restaurant. And you can inquire of Him while you’re in the shower, or on your lunch break, or when you’re lying in bed at night unable to sleep. But I promise you this, when you live in the relentless, consuming desire of Jesus, there is no room for the clamoring lies of sexual gratification.
Join me next week as we end with a powerful reflection of “Men – The Solution.” As always, I enjoy your comments and questions!