Before I get into what the Bible specifically tells us about resisting sexual temptation, I want to tackle another aspect of this, because something just occurred to me. If a non-believer is reading this they’re probably asking a different question. As long as it doesn’t lead to something terrible like adultery and murder (like it did with King David), what’s the harm in looking at sexual stuff? Why does it even matter? Heck, I bet there are even some believers who ask that, who think it’s no big deal to look at the occasional “adult” website. The reality is, society is so inundated with sexuality that it no longer registers as odd or weird or wrong. Like I’ve already said, sexual images and suggestive content, they’re everywhere we look and everywhere we go. It seems like the most normal thing in the world to see a sex scene in our favorite TV show, or a celebrity wearing almost no clothes on the cover of a magazine. So I return to the questions at the first of this paragraph. What’s the harm in looking at sexual stuff? Why does it even matter? It matters because God has called us to be holy and pure.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
Here’s another great verse about it.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
And I know the other argument. Didn’t God create sex? And if so, why is it wrong for me to enjoy it? Yes, He did create it, and He also laid out specific guidelines for it. Sex was meant for a man and a woman in marriage.
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Then there’s this one.
1 Corinthians 7:1-3 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.
Now I’m not an expert on all things. I admit, there are a few things in the Old Testament related to multiple spouses and concubines that differ from the New Testament definitions of marriage. I’ve studied it, talked to some people I know about it, and I remain a little hazy on it. That’s just the truth. However, as I studied this subject, I found that the only times in the Bible that sex or sexual behaviors are mentioned favorably are when they’re mentioned within the confines of a marriage between a husband and a wife. Outside of that, sex and sexual behaviors are always presented as a sin. The Bible is clear on this, pointing out again and again the wrongness of sexual immorality and the serious place it holds alongside other sinful behaviors. The Bible even goes as far as to address the temptation unmarried people might have to engage in sex or sexual behaviors.
1 Corinthians 7:9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
I present all of that just to answer the question, why does it matter and what’s the harm. It matters because God says so, and as much as we all hated that reasoning when our parents used it on us growing up, it doesn’t change the fact that sometimes our parents know what’s best for us and we don’t. And on this matter, God says He knows best. He tells us not to engage in these behaviors, to keep ourselves pure from this stuff, even reminding us that Jesus bought us at a steep price, and so this body is His now. Our bodies are the temple in which the Holy Spirit resides, and we’re told to keep that temple pure of sexual immorality. That’s why it matters, because God says it matters. And the things that matter to Him should be the things that matter to us.
Before I end today’s post, I do want to address one thing. I believe in the Bible with my whole heart, so when it says something is wrong, then I too view that thing as wrong. Doing so does not make me a bigot. It does not make me a hater. I don’t hate anyone, and as a matter of fact, I do the opposite, I love everyone. Just because I may not agree with a lifestyle doesn’t mean I stand in hatred over that lifestyle. And if you think it does, then man, I love you, but you’re just wrong about me and my belief system, you just are. I can disagree with certain aspects of someone’s life and still love them with my whole heart. Acceptance and love are two different things that somewhere along the line got mixed up for being the same thing. Disagreement and hatred are two different things that somewhere along the line got mixed up for being the same thing. I wholeheartedly reject the idea that I can’t disagree with someone without hating them. I wholeheartedly reject the idea that I have to accept everything about someone in order to truly love them. I don’t have to accept behaviors they have that are harmful to their physical and spiritual health in order to really love them. In fact, if I accepted these behaviors, then would I really love the person? Love doesn’t stand by and watch a friend drown and do nothing to help. Love doesn’t stand by and see a friend engaging in destructive behaviors and do nothing to help. That’s not true love. That’s acceptance love. True love steps up and takes action, says the hard things, does the hard things. Now, you and I may disagree over what behaviors and lifestyles are harmful, and that’s completely fine. What we shouldn’t disagree over is the fact that we can love people no matter what. Because I try to love people like Jesus loved people and Jesus has never seen a person that He didn’t love. He never looked down His nose at people engaged in lifestyles He believed to be wrong and thought they were beneath Him. Jesus loved so much that as He hung on the cross he looked out at those who were actively murdering Him and said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, today I just want to continue to cry out to you for purity. We need your heart on purity, Lord, I ask that you give your people your heart on this matter. Sin is sin, the fact that we try to pick and choose which ones are acceptable and which aren’t is such an insult to you. Your word tells us, you tell us what is right and what is not. The way we celebrate sexual things, the way we’ve allowed it to overtake our culture, Lord, I just repent of that. I repent on behalf of this society that’s made it everyday and commonplace to look at sexual imagery. I ask that you reveal to us your heart, that you sweep through the culture with a fresh awakening. Let us return to your intentions Lord, bring us back to the intended meanings and purposes of sex. Build a fortress around your people, guard our eyes, protect our hearts, give us deep wisdom and strength so that we may flee from sexual temptation. I ask that you’d touch the hearts of those who profit from pornography, that they’d have a life changing encounter with the living God. Show them what I know, Lord, that you don’t hate them, you don’t condemn them for their past bad choices. Show them a better way, a way of truth and purity and goodness, and turn their lives into powerful testimonies that speak of the beauty of purity. Get our focus off the flesh and onto the spiritual. Let us worry more about the destination of the soul inside the body instead of the body itself. Grant us your heart, Lord, reveal your heart to us in your word. Instruct your people on the old ways, the true ways, your ways, Lord. Jesus, change us. Deliver us from the entrapment of sexual immorality. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, for the glory of God, amen.
Tomorrow is not only Wednesday, but it’s also my birthday. I’m very excited about it, as I’ve always loved birthdays. Even now that I’m in my 30’s I still feel a childlike excitement about my birthday. This year I still feel that way, and I want to capture that feeling and apply it to God, also. I want to stare up at the sky and marvel at His creativity, His majesty, I want to be filled with awe and wonder at every flash of lightning. God’s so incredible, just so indescribable, and my declaration over this coming year of my life is to never let God or the things of God become ordinary to me. I will celebrate them always, and will stare at them with wide eyes and an excited heart.
I love you guys so much. I’ve grown to love people to such a deep degree that it sometimes weirds me out. I’ll meet someone for the first time and want to hug them and encourage them and just love them. I think about that feeling I get, that surge of love, and I realize that it’s nothing compared to the love that God has for people. Mine is but a fragment of His. If you’re not feeling that love of God in your life, I want to ask something of you today. Take thirty seconds, close your eyes, and ask God a question. Ask Him this. Do you love me, God? You’re going to feel something in that moment that has the power to change the course of your life for eternity.