I was shocked when they announced the title of the next book study that we would be doing. I was sitting in a room in my church next to Zack, surrounded by other small group leaders. “This is a conversation that we need to have more often in church,” my pastor said. “The world is talking about sex, but the church is often silent. We need to change that.”
He went on to share how struggles with porn addiction, adultery, sexual promiscuity, and uncontrolled lust were shattering church families and individuals within our own body. “That’s why it’s crucial for all of us, as leaders, to equip ourselves within the area of biblical sexuality so we can lean into the brokenness and pain all around us.”
He held up the book that would become our newest study. It was titled, Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace. I sat there amazed that a church pastor and leader was initiating a book study for all his church’s small group leaders on the topic of sexuality and purity. This wasn’t the norm in mainstream Christianity. Topics like porn, masturbation, and lust weren’t everyday conversations within the church.
My heart silently rejoiced.
“THIS WOULD BE A GAME-CHANGER AND MUCH-NEEDED SHIFT IN OUR CHURCH CULTURE AND I COULDN’T WAIT TO DIG IN.”
We would finally have open and honest conversations about one of the most crucial and personal areas of our lives.
As modern Christian women, I think many of us would be surprised if our pastor initiated a book study (for men and women) on the topic of sex, sexuality, and purity. Although these conversations are slowly becoming more common within Christian circles, they’ve been largely ignored by many churches for far too long. This silence has created a Church culture of embarrassment and shame when it comes to topics surrounding sexuality. This is tragic.
God and sexuality have become opposites rather than complementary companions.
And as a result, this is the one thing Christian girls don’t know about sexuality.
We forget that God is the author, designer, and creator of our sexuality. We forget that conversations about lust, secret sins, porn, masturbation, and erotica should be happening within the Church. We forget that we are spiritual beings as much as we are sexual beings. We forget that the Church should be the first place we broach these topics, not the last. We forget that our sexual struggles are something God wants us to bring to Him, not work through on our own. We forget that our sexuality is a beautiful part of God’s greater story.
One of the drivings forces behind my motivation in writing my new book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, was to help bring these conversations back into the church. Back into small groups. Back into Christian circles. Back into normal conversations.
When Jesus met the woman at the well in John 4, He wasn’t shy about her sexual struggles.
He wastes no time in getting to the heart of her sexual pain and brokenness. She tries to keep the conversation on the surface by talking about theology and religion, but Jesus takes a deeper dive. He goes for her heart. He asks her to call her husband, already knowing that she had been married five times and was currently living with a man who was not her husband (v. 16-18).
He sees straight into this woman’s inner longings and knows she has been trying to fill a spiritual need with temporal fixes. He offers her love, compassion, and calls her to embrace the Living Water that will never run dry. Amazed and astonished by His insight and willingness to meet her in her brokenness, she runs off into the city rejoicing in God and telling everyone about the Messiah.
“THAT SAME JESUS WHO LEANED INTO THAT WOMAN’S SEXUAL PAIN AND BROKENNESS IS THE SAME JESUS WE SERVE AND WORSHIP TODAY.”
He is not a God Who is shy or embarrassed by our sexuality, but a God Who created that aspect of our lives and wants to help us embrace it rightly. If Jesus Himself wasn’t shy about pursuing conversations about sexuality, then we, His Church, shouldn’t be either.
I want to encourage you with the same words I wrote in Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart:
“As you think back on your personal journey, what has shaped your beliefs about sex? Whether negative or positive, what has been most influential in your life? So much of the confusion surrounding our sexuality is a result of being discipled by the world. The only way to redeem our sexuality is to turn back to the One who created us. Instead of continuing to listen to the world, we need to be discipled by the One who designed us. The One who loves us and Created us. The One who understands our sexuality and has a good and beautiful plan for it.”
Conversations about sexuality belong in the Church and among God’s people
He holds the answers to life, health, and freedom in this area. I pray you will join me in leading the charge by starting these much-needed conversations within your own church. I pray that my book would also be a helpful tool and resource for you as you begin talking about sexual issues more amongst women.
God and sexuality go hand-in-hand. Let’s be intentional as Christian women to disciple one another in the area of sexuality as much as we do in everything else.
I’d love to hear from you!
— What is the climate of your church right now? Is sexuality a normal topic of conversation or is it taboo?
— What do you personally wish more Churches would talk about regarding sexuality?
— What can you do to lead in your church by bringing these conversations to the surface?