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Desire is good. And desires can be distorted. But in naming and seeking to correct distortions, we must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The goal is redemption, not destruction.

For instance, most of us have been taught to avoid sexual lust. And this is generally well-meaning advice. But, without nuance, we’re often left with the impression that sexual attraction and desire are problematic themselves.

By itself, “lust” simply expresses desire. And this desire can then be rightly ordered, or disordered. A desire to meet a friend for lunch is good, while a desire to steal someone else’s job for ourselves is not.

And we must bring this same discernment when it comes to our sexual desires. On the one hand, finding others attractive, feeling a spark of sexual energy in their presence, and being inspired to rightly celebrate our gift of sexuality is a good thing. This desire and response is not inherently problematic. But it can become sinful when we start desiring something that’s not ours to have. It’s the heart behind the desire and not the desire itself that becomes the problem.

As such, distorted sexual desires cause us to use others as mere objects for our personal consumption. And this misses the mark at least on two points. It fails to keep the fullness of our humanity intact, while also blocking our ability to ponder the deeper wonder of our sexuality and discover God through this powerful gift.

To be sure, we want to avoid these distortions. But this doesn’t mean we give up the desire itself. We seek to redeem it – bringing it back to express God’s original goodness and glory.  And we risk simply trading one distortion for another when we don’t.

In the end, desires are prone to get distorted. But this doesn’t make desire itself bad. Let your desires be redeemed and learn to enjoy them to the full.

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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