Adapted from Sexual Healing Reference Edition
All Scriptures are from the NIV, 84 unless otherwise noted.
The Ultimate Foundation Upon Which True Transformation Occurs
As you begin your quest for healing and transformation, it is important not to forget who does the healing (God does), and where the ability to achieve results comes from (it comes from God). Jesus could not have been more relevant to this issue when He said, “apart from Me you can do nothing!”
The principle of God’s prevenient grace (coupled with our helplessness) saturates the entire Bible. We learn from Jesus in John 6:44: “No one can come to (Christ) unless the Father draws him,” and in John 6:65: “no one can come to (Christ) unless it has been granted him from the Father” (NASB). Jesus taught that the fact that we believe in Him at all is “the work of God” (John 6:29), that we are, in essence, a gift from the Father to Christ (John 6:37, 39).
Although we understand that we are saved not by our works, but by faith, we often miss the point that even our faith has been given us by the Father. “It is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). “We are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB). “He called us according to His own purpose” (2 Timothy 1:9, NASB). “By His doing you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:30). “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, NASB). Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, for “God has allotted to each man a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3, NASB). It is “God who works all things in all persons” (1 Corinthians 12:6, NASB).
The apostle Paul made it clear that “by the grace of God I am what I am” and that it was “not I, but the grace of God with me” that labored (1 Corinthians 15:10, NASB). And again, in Hebrews 13:21, he said that it was Jesus Christ who equipped us to do His will and who “works in us that which is pleasing in His sight.”
It was according to the will and purposes of Christ that we were predestined to be adopted as sons (Ephesians 1:5, 11), and that it is Christ “who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11, NASB), so that we will “be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12).
From Start to Finish—Christ Alone
The point that I’m trying to make is that if God had not lifted the veil from our eyes and given us the faith to believe, we could never have come to salvation, and that the same principle—that God is the author, equipper and inspirer of all right action—applies to everything of value that we will ever do, every healing that we will ever obtain, and everything that we will ever become. It is for that reason that it can be rightly said that all glory and honor belongs to God and God alone. When we cast our crowns before Him in that final day, it will not merely be a gesture of honor; it will be the only right thing to do!
Therefore, it is incumbent upon us, as we pursue healing, to reject the tendency toward self-effort and self-striving, so that God can bring about permanent and effective change to our lives.
When we try to heal ourselves (even using God’s tools), or worse yet, when we try to create our own tools for healing (even those based on biblical models), we stand in the way of God’s healing. For if we succeed in some measure to heal ourselves, God cannot receive the glory. This is a critical point to understand because it is the very purpose of creation to bring glory to the One who died for us.
Additionally, any healing wrought in such a deficient fashion will, by virtue of the fact that the construction was done by us rather than God, will eventually collapse, if not sooner, certainly at the last day when God burns everything that has not been wrought by Him (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
If God alone is capable of doing these things, where does that leave us? Are we to simply do nothing and wait for Him to bring these things about? Of course not! We need to turn our attention to Him, actively recognizing that He is our source for every good thing. We must learn, habitually and with all dependence, to fix our gaze upon Him. As Westerners, it kind of rubs us the wrong way to submit to the concept of complete dependence on God, or on anyone for that matter. It is un-American. It is weak, and it conflicts with our strong independent spirits. It requires a level of humility that we never even dreamed existed, much less considered a virtue. In a society such as our own that is ruled by the philosophy of humanism (there is nothing greater than man), humility is indeed a weakness. However, once we have discovered that there is a Creator God Who is far greater than man, humility then becomes wisdom.
After turning a dependent heart toward the Lord, we must, with all diligence, ask Him to accomplish good things in us. Then we need to step out of the way to let Him do it.
It might be good to ask yourself, “Where am I stuck?” Perhaps you don’t even want to seek after God with all your heart. The Bible is very clear that it is those who diligently seek Him who receive a response from Him (Hebrews 11:6; Jeremiah 29:13). For you, I would recommend beginning where you are; ask God to give you the desire that you lack, knowing that it is God who works in us the desire to do His will (Philippians 2:12-13).
This is more important than we may realize because if we pray for things simply because we know that we are “supposed” to pray for them, but we don’t really want them deep down in our heart, or don’t really expect that God will give them to us, then we will never get anywhere.
For many of us, a simple prayer of “HELP!” is what is needed. Do it; it works!
All of us can benefit from a closer and more intimate relationship with the Lord. So, why not pray that God will begin to reveal those things about Himself that will uniquely inspire you to go further with Him. A prayer for more faith is never wrong, or one for God to pour into your heart the love that the Father has for the Son. That’s a firecracker prayer!
Be persistent! Don’t stop praying for these things until you get them! It is when you want things with all your heart that the Father is pleased to give them to you, especially the things of high virtue.
The “Pearls Before Swine” Principle
God’s actions are always purposeful. They expect a response. If you are not willing to comply with the requirements that accompany the help that you seek, don’t expect that God will answer your prayer. For example, don’t expect God to give you the supernatural grace to overcome a sinful compulsive behavior if, when He imparts the necessary grace, you are unwilling to stop pursuing that behavior.
I call this the “pearls before swine” principle. In Matthew 7:6, Jesus suggested that we not give what is precious to those who do not yet regard it as precious. God will not impart to us the power to be holy until we have come to appreciate the value of such a gift. His Son bled and died for the grace that we seek, and so the Father treats it as a pearl of great price and will not toss it to those who will only trample it underfoot. Instead, He waits until we have learned to value it enough to hold on to it and to permanently integrate it into our lives once it has been given.
You will always be left with the choice of whether to stop a sinful behavior or not, even after the grace has been given to stop. That is when you may discover that although you thought you were serious about wanting the purity of Christ in place of the sinful habit, you really didn’t want complete victory after all.
Until you are ready to respond in faith to God’s offer of aid, your fervent prayer should be for a greater revelation of Who Christ is and a more complete desire to be like Him. Then, the next time the grace is given, you will gladly cling to it as the precious treasure that it is.
Thus, it is in the context of seeking God and responding to Him with all your heart—by His empowerment—that the admonition to “let God do it” makes sense. Only in that atmosphere of hunger, dependency, and willingness to obey will God impart His holiness, reveal His perfect will, and entrust to you the power to overcome the evil one in your life. Then and only then can you be an effective channel of His blessing to others who are in the process of seeking to become more like Him, but who may be at a weak moment in their journey.
These are principles that undergird everything that is said in this excerpt from the Sexual Healing Reference Edition. They must be buried deep into your heart so that they become a natural part of you. Even that can only be achieved by God Himself, which brings us full circle to the fundamental principle for all Christian growth and healing—that we must fix our hope and our attention on God and, diligently and with all our heart, beseech Him to bring these things about in our lives.
The “Prime Directive”
In the “Star Trek” films and television series, the crew of the starship Enterprise along with the entire Federation of Planets was governed by what they called “The Prime Directive,” which was that they should not interfere with another civilization in such a way as to change its history.
God Almighty has an even greater “prime directive,” which is that the purpose of life, its fulfillment and joy, and the source of all desire and power to do the will of God can be found in one place alone—in an intimate love relationship with Him. In coming to know Him, we come to love Him, learn to trust Him, and are motivated to obey Him. The answer to every dilemma and every need of man is found in simple, childlike love and intimacy with God Himself. In His arms, all our doubts and fears, wants and needs, hopes and joys find their resolution and fulfillment.
Thus, unless we pursue this “prime directive” in our lives, nothing else that we seek, whether it is healing, deliverance, freedom, identity, or purpose, will be satisfied. Nowhere else will we find the passion and the power for life. In no one else will we find meaning and fulfillment.
Do you want to be set free from bondage? Diligently pursue intimacy with God Himself. He will show you the rest, and in partnership with your free will, He will transform you into the image of His beloved Son.
Let’s review ……..
1. We are incapable of doing anything of “eternal” value on our own, including having faith, getting saved, getting healed, gaining wisdom, obtaining righteousness, loving God or man, performing good works, helping others, etc.
2. Our self-sufficient attempts to do such things block God from being able to accomplish them in and through us.
3. We are wholly dependent on God to plant in us the desire, motivation and equipping to accomplish any good thing.
4. We need to ask for what we do not have and positively respond to the grace that God gives us.
5. Our goal is to live wholly for the glory of Jesus Christ.
6. The beginning and the end of everything that we need to do can be summed up as “the pursuit of a relationship with the God Who saved us, Who heals us and Who has a future for us.”
Sadly, if you are like most people, you will do anything to avoid developing an intimate relationship with God. You will follow 50 steps and 40 principles for 70 years, walk on glass—anything—to keep from doing the hard work of relationship. But if you skip this “prime directive,” if you choose to pretend that it is just spiritual talk that does not have any practical basis in life, then you will fail to realize freedom and transformation in the way and to the degree that God has designed you to have. And you will miss the very purpose of your life!
This is where secular therapy falls short. It teaches people how to maintain their “sobriety” but never connects them to the source whereby the desire and the power to stay free is replenished. There may be a tip of the hat to “God as you perceive Him,” but if that god isn’t the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), then it is no god, or worse yet, it is a demonic power. Therefore, failure is inevitable, whether it be a return to the bondage or a final, eternal separation from the one true God.
A truly healed person has been compelled by the love of God nurtured in his heart through an intimate relationship with the Lord and has been empowered to resist temptation by the Holy Spirit. The inner emotional source for the need to commit sin (and perhaps the demonic stronghold) has been supernaturally removed by God. As Jude 24 hints, he is “kept from falling” by God Himself.
Dr. David Kyle Foster (M-Div, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; D-Min, Trinity School for Ministry) is the author of Transformed Into His Image and Love Hunger and is the founder/director of Pure Passion Media (www.PurePassion.us). Read more of his take on sexual sin and brokenness in his newest book, The Sexual Healing Reference Edition.