#2 in a series
IT’S JUST YOU and your buddy from school. The two of you are hanging out in his parent’s basement watching TV. He grabs the clicker and switches the TV to the internet and then searches for a certain website. It’s porn—and you start to object, but then he says, “Look, my folks will never know, and I’ll erase the online search history after it’s over…”
Or maybe it’s just you and your BFF. She invited you over to her house one evening for pizza and a movie. You were thinking perhaps the two of you were going to watch something sidesplitting, but she was thinking of something sensual instead.
I can hear what a few teenagers are thinking. “Wait..?!” “My FRIEND…?” “My friend, male or female, would never encourage me to do anything that leads me away from the Lord…”
We can agree that a true friend a) tells you what you need to hear (Prov. 27:6), b) offers his or her insight based upon experience and Scripture (v. 9), and c) brings out the best in you (v. 17). A true friend leads you towards Jesus.
But now let’s backup and alter the scenarios a bit. What if it’s just you—alone in your bedroom, or basement, etc. with your cell phone, laptop or TV and you’re feeling a little down? And what if you start thinking, “It’s just this once and God’s grace will cover my sin…” (cf. Rom. 6:1ff)? “It won’t hurt anybody…” “Nobody will know…” (cf. Gen. 39:7, 12).
Then you go where you shouldn’t, and you see what your eyes and heart should not survey, and you ponder and fill your mind with that which God explicitly forbids and condemns (cf. Psm. 1:1; 101:3; 1 John 2:15-17; Mat. 5:28).1 QUESTION: HOW did you get there—to looking and lusting and wanting what Jesus forbids (cf. Gen. 2:24)? ANSWER: There was still someone whispering in your ear, in a manner of speaking—although you could not see his personage or actually hear his voice. He was there—talking to you, influencing you, and leading you astray (2 Cor. 11:14; 4:4; Jas. 4:7; Eph. 4:27; 1 John 5:19; cf. Jas. 1:14).
He is—the devil. No, “Devil” is not his name. The appellation “devil” is diabolos in the Greek—from which we get the idea of a slanderer or liar (cf. John 8:44; Gen. 3; Titus 3:3; Heb. 3:13). Let that last word from the previous sentence soak deep into your soul—LIAR.
You see, Satan is NOT your friend; he’s your adversary (Greek—antidikos, from “anti”—against, and “dikos”—right, literally “against right”)—your mortal enemy! He’s a perennial deceiver, a fraud and a cheat (Gen. 3; Job 1-2; Mat. 4; 1 Cor. 7:5; 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:14; 12:7; 2 Thes. 2:9; 1 Tim. 5:15; Rev. 12:9). He roams about (Job 1:7) seeking whom he may ravage and devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He wants YOU to do the very opposite of what is right, and if he can influence you to fall once, he may actually get you into falling repetitively, even permanently.
But now, let’s tweak the aforementioned scenarios a bit more. Think with me for just a moment:
You’re alone—good sister, and you’re packing for vacation. It’s July and you and your family are headed to the white sands of the coast for some much-needed R&R. You know they’ll be plenty of people there—soaking up the sun, getting their tans and, yes—showing a “little” skin. You’re thinking to yourself, “Everybody else will be wearing essentially the same thing….” “It would look odd for me, and I’d feel awkward and out of place if I wasn’t in a bikini too—like the other women there…” “It’s just this one time during the year—while we’re on vacation…” “It’s just so hot and nobody else from church will be there…”
And you go, and you wear that revealing, tight-fitting suit, and you spend the days at the beach, perhaps a little uncomfortable at times at the attention and glances you receive, but you try to ignore them.
“Okay, Mike—where are you headed with these various storylines…?” As a fellow-brother in the Lord, hopefully a genuine friend, let me share some questions for us all to ponder in our hearts when it comes to lust as well as whom we listen to in this regard:
- What’s the practical difference between the guy who looks at an undressed woman online, and the guy who looks at a half-undressed sister at the beach? Is it wrong for a brother to lust alone while looking at his phone or home computer, but it’s okay for him to lust at/after a sister/woman on vacation?
- Why it is wrong for a guy to consume pornography (and it is—Psa. 101:3; 141:4; Job 31:1, 9), but it’s okay for a sister to consume a form of soft-core pornography that glorifies illicit sex and defames God’s idea of the martial bed (Heb. 13:4)? What’s the practical difference between lusting after nakedness and sinful sex online, and lusting after an illicit relationship on TV? What’s the practical difference between watching X-rated videos on a laptop, and watching movies that glorify immoral relationships (i.e., “Fifty Shades of Grey,” or “Sex and the City,” or “The Bachelorette,” etc.)? How is it that a sister can condemn the brother who watches porn, but she personally has no problem with fixing her own eyes and heart—on the TV show or movie which endorses, even encourages, some form of fornication?
- Why is it that the married brother who looks and lusts after woman is presumably guilty of adultery because he’s “already committed adultery in his heart” (cf. Mat. 5:28; 19:9), but the married sister who dresses (or undresses) in a way that entices a man to lust after her is not equally culpable (Mat. 18:6; Rom. 14:13ff; cf. 1 Pet. 3:4)?
- Why it is that brethren—male and female, might shun and run from anything that is overtly sinful, but then willfully embrace that which ultimately and incrementally encourages, and ultimately leads to, spiritual death (Jas. 1:12ff)?
- MOST OF ALL, WHY is it that we will listen to our arch enemy (somebody who KEEPS LYING to us) when it comes to the matter of sex and what leads to impure sex, but we’ll scoff at what our real friend, Jesus, tells us about what is good, and beautiful, and wholesome, and godly (John 15:14)?! A REAL FRIEND, A GODLY FRIEND, YOUR GOD-FRIEND—Jesus (John 15:14) wants His children to enjoy sex and sexuality (read the Song of Solomon), but only in the context of a lifelong, committed, marriage (1 Cor. 7:1ff).
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thes. 4:3).
1 Pornography statistics: conquerseries.com/15-mind-blowing-statistics-about-pornography-and-the-church
. There are approximately 42 million porn websites with a total of 370 million pages of pornography.
. Over 40 million Americans regularly visit on-line porn sites; the average visit lasts 6 minutes and 29 seconds.
. 47% of families in the US report that pornography is a problem in their home.
. The average child is first exposed to porn at age eleven; 94% of children will see porn by age fourteen.
. 56% of American divorces involve one party have an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.
. 70% of youth ministers report that they have had at least one teen come to them in dealing with porn in the past twelve months.
. 68% of church-going men view porn on a regular basis.
. Of young Christian adults ages 18-24, 76% actively search on-line for porn.
. 57% of preachers say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation; 69% say porn has adversely impacted their congregation.
. Only 7% of preachers say their congregation has a teaching program to help those who are struggling with porn.
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike