I have been walking — and am being led through — an extended and heated season of awakening as a young Christian man. I have been paying attention to Boundless for about seven years, and you folks have helped me big time.
Here's the reason I'm writing: I am an introspective person and read a lot. There is one subject that I haven't found covered anywhere I've looked.
I'm concerned because I have become so comfortable in avoiding temptation, that intimacy, in all its ways, has almost become a foreign thing to me. Put another way, I'm concerned that if and when I find the "beauty," I will not have the desires that are naturally part of that relationship. I have looked forward to marriage for a long time and don't want to avoid it for cause of fear due unjustly because of my avoiding temptation. I know I sound a bit odd, but I'm being honest here.
Even now, I'm spending significant amounts of time with a particular sister, and I have grown concerned over the possibility that if a strong relationship develops between us, that I as a leader will not be ready for the battle.
I look forward to your response.
I have to guess a little bit here, but I think you're telling me that for the sake of purity you've so closed your emotions off when it comes to opposite-sex relationships that you wonder whether they will be stirred when the time is right. You are concerned both about emotional attraction and sexual desire, I think, although I'm not sure about “the battle” to which you are referring at the end of your note.
Based on the context, I assume “the battle” is one for desire rather than against sexual temptation, so I'll address your concerns from that perspective.
I'll start with an encouraging reminder: Your goal of marriage is God's way. You have the full force of God's plan and design for husband and wife on your side, and the power of God behind it. It isn't as if you're trying to create something new here. You are pursuing that which God has created, ordained and pronounced “good.” God is for you finding a wife and being stirred for her emotionally and sexually and in every good way.
Sometimes it's good to remember that we're not alone in fulfilling God's plan for our lives and that He works tirelessly to glorify himself and bring good to you as that plan comes together. You can rest assured that He will be with you, empowering you and giving you wisdom as you seek to glorify Him in marriage.
As I have thought and prayed about your situation, two things come to mind.
First, I think there is a good possibility that what you have experienced is in some ways a great measure of grace to walk in purity as a single person, at least in regard to sexual temptation. It has protected you from a host of problems and should be something for which we thank God and rejoice over rather than worry about.
I don't think it's entirely rare to see that kind of grace upon people. We all should experience some of that grace. While it's true that on this side of heaven we'll always battle sin, it's also true that God gives victory over sin, and certain sins can simply lose power over us, or we lose “taste” for it, whatever the case. Rather than think something might be wrong with us, we should thank God for victory!
If this is the case with you, then you need not worry about whether appropriate emotions and desires will grow at the right time. Song of Solomon cautions us to “not stir up or awaken love before it's time.” If that is what you've done, then your obedience in this area will be rewarded. God will bring things together in the right time.
Second, there is the possibility that you've buried your emotions in such a way that it's unhealthy. If that is the case, I think you'd notice it beyond intimacy issues with the opposite sex. If you feel like your heart is sort of dead to all emotions, especially toward God and family and friends, then yes, you need to explore that.
Having healthy intimacy with other people starts with intimacy with Christ in relationship with Him. If we don't have humility and vulnerability in our walk with God, then we'll always struggle with intimacy with others. I'd encourage you to check your spiritual pulse in the area of tenderness toward God to make sure you haven't buried something He wants to bring to life.
Bring these thoughts before God in prayer and see where it leads you. Through prayer and meditation on God's Word, pursue a healthy intimacy with God first, and He will bring health and life to all areas of intimacy in your life.
I should mention that if after some time you continue having difficulty finding your way through areas of intimacy in relationships, don't avoid seeking biblical counseling to help you. A trained counselor can be an incredible resource to help find healing when we can't seem to get there on our own. Focus on the Family counselors are available at 1-800-A-Family (232-6459).
Copyright 2011 John Thomas. All rights reserved.