After nearly three decades of helping individuals and couples, and based on a continual study of the Bible, I’ve reached this conclusion: To be spiritually mature, you must be sexually mature; to be sexually mature, you must be spiritually mature. That in brief is the message of my new book Undefiled and the essence of sexual redemption.
Sexual redemption involves more than resolution of sexual problems and challenges. For example, most Christian couples know that God designed fulfilling sex for marriage but many fail to experience it. Trying “seven tips to enhance your love life” may bring some excitement but there’s more to sexuality than romantic techniques. Sexual redemption is larger than a fulfilling sex life in marriage.
And how might sexual redemption relate to childhood sexual abuse? I started my counseling career working with incestuous families and since then have counseled hundreds of men and women sexually abused as children. The violation of another person sexually is very harmful. Forgiving your abuser is an important first step, but there is more to understanding our fragile sexuality than that. Sexual redemption takes us beyond the healing of past wounds and calls us to glorify God spiritually and sexually.
Sexual redemption also addresses any clinging shame related to premarital sex. Of the three thousand people of counseled through our intensive counseling program, 40 percent were in full time Christian work. Yet I estimate conservatively that less than 20 percent were virgins when they married.
Remaining a virgin until marriage, a practice all but lost within the church, is still God’s standard. But being a virgin or a “technical virgin” on your wedding night isn’t all that God intends. Sexual redemption is living spiritually and sexually for a purpose other than a self-seeking agenda.
The way we handle our sexuality and spirituality is meant to show the supremacy of Christ. We know—or we should know—that this is true, but do we really understand it and own it in our hearts? Every person is a sexual being, created in the image of God. Now that sounds inviting, but the truth is we also are all fallen sinners. If we separate our sexuality and spirituality into different compartments, we not only diminish our sexual beauty, our sexual purity, and our sexual meaning but also our very soul. Our soul and our sexuality are profoundly connected, and yet we have lost this correlation between knowing Christ and sexual wholeness.
Knowing Christ is to govern all of our sexuality and all of our spirituality in a way that expresses the image of God and demonstrates that we are walking worthy of our calling. The loss of holy spirituality and holy sexuality brings into question our sexual redemption and whether we know God as we should.
Undefiled is about a full sexuality and a full spirituality that can only be found by finding satisfaction in God and God alone. This book is also about dedicating your sexuality, your spirituality, your life—all for His highest. Sexual redemption begins at the cross, is rooted in a change of heart, and is lived out in a relationship before and after two sinners say “I do.”
There’s no shortcut through the process of acknowledging sin and experiencing redemption. But there’s also no need to think that the process will take years before true change begins! No follower of Christ ever has to say about any problem, “I guess I will always be an addict or trapped in bondage to sin.” No, no, no, no! That is not the message of the gospel.
Let God work. Regardless of how you got to where you are, don’t limit God now because of your fears. Your marriage may be hanging by a thread. I know you may be thinking, We’ve tried everything and nothing has worked. Why should this be any different? Nothing is going to change!
All I ask is that you not limit God. He cares and I can tell you that I have seen incredibly real, lasting change in many, many couples.
So boldly ask the question: “What sexual redemption would I like to see in my life and marriage?”
The above article is an excerpt from Undefiled: Redemption From Sexual Sin, Restoration for Broken Relationships (Moody Publishers, 2009).
Undefiled by Harry Schaumburg
Sexual Redemption: Life Changing Spirituality & Sexuality
by Harry Schaumburg
This is an all new 15 week personal study for individuals and couples based on Undefiled. It is available exclusive at www.restoringsexualpurity.org for download.