Teaching obedience to those struggling with their sexuality...

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I recently had a counseling appointment with a young inmate—a drug addict raised by drug addicts. His only sister is in jail. His nephew is dead. His mother is in jail, and his father died from a drug overdose. In jail, this story is not remarkable. The only thing that made this meeting somewhat unique was the timing. He had just been informed about his father's death. As he walked in the door, his eyes were still red from crying. The last relative he had "on the outside" was gone. 

There was no question in this young man's mind about where the path of his life was leading. He saw death and misery before him, and he hated it. However, two things still stood in his way of turning to Christ. First, he still wouldn't take responsibility for his sin, blaming others, blaming his situation, and ultimately blaming God. Second, he did not believe there was any hope for him to change...

As hard as it is for a drug addict to imagine his life being changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, at least society still sees getting off drugs as both good and possible, thereby pushing him to seek a way to fight his sin. How gracious God has been to give us the law to drive us to Christ. 

Those caught in sexual sin are not so fortunate. Society tells them that change is impossible, and that they should not attempt it. Rather, they should embrace their sin as their permanent identity. This makes the work of the church that much harder as we seek to call people to live holy lives by the power of the Spirit in the area of sexuality. 

Both with Christians and non-Christians, these two hurdles continue to present problems as we teach women to be women and men to be men. Until we own our sin as evil we love to commit that leads to death, we cannot place it at the foot of the cross, and there is no opportunity for justification. And until we leave that sin behind, putting it to death by the power of the Holy Spirit, there is no sanctification. This is just as true in the area of sexuality as it is in the area of drugs. I'm looking forward to applying this further as I discuss practical ways we can teach people to embrace biblical sexuality at next Thursday's conference, Not Ashamed: Ministry In A Post-Obergefell World. If you haven't registered yet, it's not too late. Come and join us.

Joseph and his wife, Heidi, have five children, Tate, Eliza Jane, Moses, Fiona and Annabel. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and Clearnote Pastors College. He is currently planting Christ Church in Cincinnati with several other families.