In today’s technological age we are bombarded with all kinds of ways to cause us to stumble, especially in the area of sexual immorality. Everywhere you turn we are faced with the temptation of lust or sexual immorality! In his book Eyes of Integrity, Craig Gross contends that our battle with sexual immorality (and other sins) often begins in the mind. He went on to share the following personal story about identifying the battle for our mind:
“It was spring break in New Orleans, the streets were packed with college-age partiers, and the debauchery had reached an all-time high. My friend Donald and I ... had no idea we were going to be stepping into a raucous street party. A few minutes of the madness swirling around us, and both of us knew we needed to get out. Quick. The smell of beer infused the air, and high above the street level, lined along the apartment balconies, women revelers danced, flashing the crowd. Spontaneous applause and cheers erupted in every direction every few seconds. Waiting for a cab, I was torn as thoughts of these women flooded my mind. I was thinking about who they were. I thought of my own little girl at home and wondered if any dads knew their little girls were here, dancing. But while one side of me wanted to pray for the lost little girls, I felt the other side being drawn in, tempted to stop and stare. I was engulfed in a war of conscience and conviction, between my commitment to guard my mind and a strong call to take mental snapshots…….” As the Apostle said "Take every thought captive" Why? He knew the mind is the root issue, the systematic cause of all moral failures.
Craig went on to say “The mind begins the process of every action we take, and I had to ask myself: Am I willing to arrest these thoughts that are producing an insane magnetism towards unhealthy action? When I sat in the taxicab with my mind on erotic autopilot, I had to make a decision …. [Thankfully], God was faithful and really did provide a way out for me.”
Whether it’s through…..
- I phone
- I pad
- Lap top
- Desk top
- Bill board ads
- Check-out lines
- Walking down a busy city street
- Going to a baseball game! Yes, even going to a baseball game
Everywhere you look, men and women of all ages are faced with the temptation of the eyes. This is a battle field that many Christians are losing these days…..and it’s going to hurt if you fall to this form of behaviour. Porn is reported to be a 12 billion dollar industry in the U.S alone. 50 percent of men viewed pornography within one week of attending a Promise Keepers stadium event. In a 2003 Focus on the Family poll 47 percent of respondents said porn is a problem in their home.The use of pornographic material among Christians continues to rise, reaching near rampant proportions in the church. Shocking statistics released by Net Accountability reveal that 50 percent of evangelical pastors viewed pornography last year. Focus on the Family recently reported that one in seven calls to their pastoral care line concern Internet pornography. According to a study cited in the Washington Post, more than 11 million teenagers view Internet pornography on a regular basis. 30 percent of women are addicted to porn and it’s increasing daily. 67 percent of men say they look at it at least once a month.
These startling statistic is an indication at just how deeply the church has been affected by porn. No matter where a Christian is in their walk with Christ, these numbers reveal that he or she is still susceptible to these sins. Influential pastor Chuck Swindoll has called porn "the #1 secret problem in your church.” "It’s ruining marriages, destroying relationships, harming youth, and hurting the body of Christ," he has lamented. "Our churches are in trouble. This is no time to simply wait and pray." The problem lies here! When something is forbidden, or banned on grounds of morality, it becomes taboo. Nothing in the church is more taboo than sexual sins. Indeed, the hallmark of Christian virtue is sexual purity. The Bible repeatedly tells us to abstain from sexual immorality and pursue purity.
Proverbs 4:23 “We are to guard our hearts. It is the core of who we are. When you join together with another person sexually you become one. You can't separate from another without leaving part of yourself with them.”
Ephesians 5:3, 2 Timothy 2:22 “There is to be no hint of sexual immorality among us.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 “God's will for us is that we be sanctified and avoid sexual immorality and control our bodies in a way that is pleasing to God.”
So what are we to do? Set a high biblical standard of sexual purity and condemn sexual sins in our lives. But the church faces another problem! When we hammer away on the evils of sexual sins people decide not to talk about them at all. And since it’s not talked about, everyone assumes there is no problem. Or, if there is one, it’s with other people……. not you. We know there is tons of help aids out there for computer blockers [Covenant Eyes, Net Nanny, K9 Web protection, Get Cold turkey] to name a few. All these are excellent resources to get if you struggle in this area, but they doesn't protect you [us] from all other resources that tempt our hearts like TV, magazine racks, school campuses, the work place or people just walking around you in general. If you think this doesn't concern you! Think again……there is not one man or woman exempt from this problem. They just come in different packages…….SEE!
- Men tend to be aroused visually, women through touch and hearing.
- Men give love to get sex, women give sex to get love.
- Men usually initiate and women respond; men are excited by pursuit, women by being pursued.
- Men are tempted by the pleasure of lust, women by the power of lust.
- Men are often motivated by physical desires, women by emotional and relational longings.
A prime example can be found in the fall of David, Samson! But what we should remember is the example of Joseph when he was faced with the temptation of lust! “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Gen 39:9. See Joseph was a man who I want to follow after, with my eyes, body and heart daily. A man who desired to please God over himself and his lustful passions. But there is another example of a man who felt the same as Joseph? His name is Job and its found in the 31st chapter of Job in versus one.
See, Job makes a covenant promise with his eyes under God’s grace in his life.What Job is really saying is….. He would not allow His eyes or thoughts to endanger him by improperly contemplating a woman. Basically! I want to serve God with all my actions and aspersions. I want to look upon women as God’s daughters and not as things or objects that fulfill my obsessions. I want to treat women as God treats them…..with high honor and not as second class people. This is a covenant that not only men young or old should apply, but women as well.
A covenant by definition is…….a contract or agreement between two or more parties. Job makes this covenant with God because he wants to honor God with his life. As Jesus said “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” Job wants to see God and we should have that same passion and goal as well. HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL THINGS WE [YOU] CAN APPLY TO YOUR LIFE ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD!
1. DON’T THINK YOU’RE IMMUNE FROM SEXUAL TEMPTATION.
1Cor 10:12 “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” Establish wise boundaries: for example, don’t talk with a man out of eyesight or earshot of others, avoid personal online communication with men or women…..and steer clear of private places with your boyfriend or girlfriend or someone of the opposite sex.
2. CUT THE TEMPTATION OUT OF YOUR LIFE.
Matt 5:27-30 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” If you love certain music, romantic movies or novels are encouraging you to be dissatisfied with your singleness or unhappy with your husband or wife, perhaps it’s time to give them up. It’s time to do some spring cleaning in your life. If something causes you to stumble then it has to go; because it’s far better to obey God, then your lustful passions.
3. FILL YOUR MIND WITH GOD’S WORD AND THE THINGS OF GOD.
Ps 119:9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” When impure thoughts enter your head, repeat a Bible passage so there’s no room for sin. If you’re married, get to know the Song of Solomon and bring it to mind when you’re feeling unenthusiastic or your thoughts stray during relations with your spouse. If your single or thinking of dating….stay pure and honor God with your life until the appropriate time [Marriage] As the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is to be honored by all people. The marriage bed is to be kept pure. God will judge the sexually immoral and the adulterer.”
4. USE YOUR BODY TO SERVE THE LORD AND KEEP YOUR BODY CLEAN AND PURE AS A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
1Cor 6:13 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” Though God made an appetite for food, and provided food for that appetite, yet he has not made the body for any uncleanness, nor indulgence in sensuality; but he has made it for Christ and His glory. Use your body to serve your marriage and your purity before God as Job did with his covenant.
5. Hate evil and put to death earthly desires at work in me for sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil passions and greed.
Ps 97:10 “O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” As Paul said in Col 3:5 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Run, sprint, speed walk for all I care, but flee from all forms of sexual immortality. If that means you can’t go to certain places like: Malls, Department stores, events, and so on. If that means your wife needs to put on passwords that she only knows on the TV, computer, even your cell phone it’s all worth it. Flee from the council of the ungodly and hate the sin which held you captive for so many years. And always remember your victory lies in the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. John MacArthur said “A believer’s struggle with sin is like getting rid of weeds from a garden. If you keep cutting the weeds off at the ground level, they will keep growing and coming back. If you want to remove the weeds permanently, you must kill them below the surface of the ground—at the root level. That is how it works with sin. You must see your sinful tendencies as dead remnants of your past life that must be rooted out, as Colossians 3:5 teaches: “Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” If you try to stop sinning merely in an external way—not dealing with the root problem at the heart level—you will not develop long-term holiness. As the great Puritan preacher John Owens wrote, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
Job intended to live a chaste life! Shouldn't this be the pattern of our lives? Whether your male or female, young or old this should be our covenant, our children’s covenant and grandchildren’s covenant. Why? It brings glory to God and a joy and peace in your heart. Joseph said “how could I do this evil, wickedness and sin against God” Let it not be true of us! But always remember this problem of sexual immorality isn’t going away anytime soon. At least not until Christ comes back and judges this earth of its wickedness and depravity! But until that day comes….He has given us His Spirit to direct, convict and keep us alert in His righteousness. Remember “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” 1 Thess 4:7. Use your body, your marriage, your singleness for His glory and the gospel, not for sexual immorality.