See if this sounds familiar.
You grew up in a Christian home, and though your parents weren’t perfect, they did their best to teach you right from wrong.
Not much was said when it came to sex. While your parents may have given you “the talk” or a few books, sex was mostly something you had to figure out on your own.
Looking back now at your early sexual experiences, there are many decisions you wish you could redo. In fact, you try not to think too much about your past because of the shame and guilt it stirs up. After all, you knew better, but still allowed yourself to be overcome time and again by your sexual desires.
As you continued to mature in your faith, things are different now. You no longer want to use your sexuality in sinful pursuits.
For all practical purposes, you are the good Christian boy again…you may even have filters on your devices and regularly check in with other guys about your ongoing struggles with lust.
You’ve been out there and know exactly how dangerous and unfulfilling sexuality can be when mishandled. Any risk of falling back into your old ways is not worth it. Somewhere in your heart you decided to play it safe with your sexuality from now on. And everything seems good.
When sexual desires stir you remind yourself there’s more important things to life, and redirect your energy into working out, building your career, or the like.
If married, sex with your wife is mostly routine, if present at all. When thoughts and fantasies from your past arise you quickly dismiss them, not wanting them to soil your wife or your marriage bed. You are very careful to keep the past in the past.
You’re not sure why your wife isn’t really into your lovemaking and why she complains about wanting more emotional connection. Many days it seems like you’re just roommates, good friends and even co-parents, but not lovers.
In your more honest moments, it may even seem like much of your life is simply going through the motions – working, paying bills, raising kids, helping out at the church, and the occasional vacation, but certainly nothing that would be considered epic.
Does any of this seem like your story?
Without realizing it, many men in their honorable efforts not to return to the “prodigal” lifestyle of their youth have become the “unfaithful servant” (Matthew 25:24-25) by now playing it safe with their sexuality.
Certainly, this makes sense given the shame of our past and the fear of doing something we will again regret. However, as men and the true sons of God it is our duty to grow our sexuality into its full potential. We are not being faithful to God when we hold back and hide what he has given us to manage.
Playing it safe robs us of fulfilling relationships and a meaningful life. It affects how we feel about ourselves as men, our work and friendships, our marriage and even the way we parent our children. And maybe more importantly, it diminishes our reflection of God’s image in the world.
God created us as sexual beings to help reveal the mystery of his divine nature. When we fail to do our part, the world misses something of God’s image it desperately needs.
Remember, past sins do not negate today’s responsibilities. It’s time to stop playing it safe and faithfully become the men God has entrusted to bear his image as sexual beings.
Have the regrets of your sexual past caused you to play it safe today? Have you moved from being the Prodigal Son to being the Unfaithful Servant? What holds you back today from coming fully alive as a sexual man? Are you ready to face the unknown in order to represent God well in the world?