It was afternoon New Year’s Day and I was sitting in my room, sad and alone. I had met another girl, and I could already tell that pursuing her would lead to another failed relationship. The more I thought about my history, my shame, my brokenness, the more miserable I became.
Then I remembered a familiar line, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” Even though I heard it time and time again, it’s meaning had never really been real to me. As the words of John Piper began to echo through the walls of my heart, I began to weep like I have never wept before. As tears of joy streamed down my face, I had truly tasted what it meant to be satisfied in Christ more than sex.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Growing up I was girl-crazy. While all my friends would run away from girls and their “cooties” on the playground, I would write love letters to girls and leave it on their desks. What was innocent at first, though, quickly became sin when I was introduced to pornography at a very young age. Those pictures and scenes stirred desires in me that caused me to pursue girls for the sake of lust, not love.
When I got to college I went through a cycle of failed relationship after failed relationship, as I would selfishly use young women as tools to meet my selfish needs. “I am young,” I would say to myself. “I am doing what is making me happy.” I had been raised in a culture that thought the chief end of man was to glorify self by enjoying sex and pleasure, so it would only make sense that I would spend years stuck in the cul-de-sac of romantic failure and promiscuity.
But in the back of my mind I always knew what I was doing was wrong. Even though I didn’t know who God was or what his word said about sex, I knew my decisions were ravaging my soul. It was as if I was dying without water in the Sahara Desert and drinking poison to try and satisfy my thirst. My pursuit of happiness was leading to my personal destruction.
Satisfying My Greatest Desires
God revealed to me that my major problem was that I was believing the lie which taught me that the journey to sexual happiness would be achieved through the route of self-gratification. I was viewing sex, relationships, even marriage as a way for someone to complete me, to satisfy me, to make me happy, and to make me whole. Though sex in marriage is a great gift from God to be experienced as a gift to a husband and wife to serve one another, I had only seen it as a means of experiencing my own selfish gain.
Whether it was seeking the fleeting pleasure of sexual sin, or the fleeting completeness in marriage idolatry, I would never be satisfied unless I was first satisfied in God himself. As the psalmists celebrates in Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” All of my greatest desires could only be satisfied in God himself, not people, and not sexual pleasure.
The Key to Happiness
Only by being fully satisfied in Jesus would I ever be able to experience life-giving relationships with the opposite sex. Only by experiencing the unconditional love of Jesus would I ever be able to love and serve my future wife. Only by trusting in God’s design for sex and marriage would I be able to experience a full and lasting sexual relationship. The reoccurring theme is that Jesus is always the key to true happiness, because eternal glory with him is the only experience that will truly satisfy my soul.
So what is the key to sexual happiness? It is learning that sex isn’t everything; God is. Marriage isn’t everything; God is. Though they are all good gifts in their rightful context, they fail in comparison to the eternal glory and awesome wonder of our God. True happiness always comes from trusting and enjoying God.
Hafeez Baoku is the founder of The Urban Gospel Mission and author of Sex, God, and the Single Life. He’s also written on sex and singleness at TGC and RAAN. You can send him an email at email@example.com.
Culled from Desiring God