How do you think God might want to give you more faith in the area of your sexuality?
This thoughtful question was posed a few years ago by Alice Fryling in the InterVarsity article, Scripture and Waiting.
Gosh! It’s so rare to hear someone connecting faith to sexuality. All around us it seems that sexuality is about our needs, our desires, our bodies, our passions, or even just simply our own unique expression—but rarely does it seem to be about faith.
However, if we call ourselves Christians—followers of Jesus—and we say that Jesus is Lord over everything in our lives, then that should include our sexuality, even if it may appear that we seem out of step with the world around us.
Jesus’ call to the original disciples was much more than just believing a set of tenets; in following Jesus, they left everything behind. This is not the normal way of the world. The apostle Paul exhorts believers to live a sacrificial life:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1,2).
Think with me for a moment about the following scenarios. What might it look like to live out the Christian faith and not conform to the standard behavior of this world?
It seems everyone around you is hooking up. Even when you’re walking to class, you always see people holding hands or making out—coupled! You wonder, what is wrong with me?
You know that you had too much to drink at the party, but did that give him the right to keep going when you said “No”?
You have felt same-sex attraction for as long as you can remember, but now that you’re at college and away from home, you wonder if you should act on it.
Alone again in an empty dorm room on a Saturday night, but you are only a screen and a strong wireless signal away from free porn.
You’ve been dating your girlfriend for three months and although you’ve kept pure, it is getting much more difficult to keep a boundary that few seem to hold any longer. What’s the harm of having sex, anyway?
Your new romantic interest wants you to post a pic of your bare body part to Snapchat.In these situations, how do you think God might want to give you more faith in the area of your sexuality?
Frederick Buechnerwrites, “Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away” (Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons).
It is precisely in these desires, in these agonizingly lonely places, where God waits for us, offering himself to us and longing for us to turn to him. And in turning toward God, our faith increases and our capacity expands to believe that God may meet us in this need.
It was in the devastatingly lonely garden of Gethsemane—the place where olives were crushed—that Jesus relinquished his desires to those of the Father when he said, “Not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
Sexuality is an area where we all need help. All. Of. Us. No one is spared.
This is why InterVarsity’s Discipleship Steering Committee has compiled a Sexuality and Relational Health Toolkit with more than 100 resources to equip you for vibrant Christian ministry in the sexualized culture of the 21st century.
Covering broad topics, these resources offer help for porn addiction, the gifts and challenges of singleness, how to build relationships in the LGBTQ community, sexual assault, how to grow in intimacy, and so much more. We will continue to update and add resources to this collection.
Browse the Toolkit now and become familiar with the wide variety of materials at the beginning of the school year.
It is our hope that this Sexuality and Relational Health Toolkit will help you gain more faith in the area of your sexuality as you journey with God.
Carolyn M. Carney is Assistant Regional Director for Spiritual Formation & Prayer in NY/NJ Region. Carolyn has worked with InterVarsity for over 30 years, including two years in South Africa. She serves locally and nationally, influencing the work in Spiritual Formation, Prayer and Discipleship. Nationally, she serves on the Discipleship Steering Committee where she provides leadership for the development of resources in the area of Sexuality and Relational Health. She lives in Jersey City with her husband, David.
The blog is an avenue for staff and student leaders to hear from the visionary leaders of Collegiate Ministries about theological formation, discipleship, chapter planting, chapter growth, and other key ministry themes for campus work.