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The Display of Sexual Immorality

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The Display of Immorality

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” (Ephesians 5:1–12 ESV)

I can remember watching the movie “Far and Away” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Great movie. It is set in the late 1890’s in America. Nicole and Tom are Irish immigrants come to find a new life in the new world. They find it difficult to survive, so Tom takes to fighting for money, Nicole to dancing in a saloon in a kind of burlesque show. I can still remember when Tom finds Nicole dancing on stage. He was shocked and stunned that Nicole would lift her full length skirt revealing her full length leg coverings!!! Oh my!! Tom rushes the stage and pulls Nicole down. I can remember thinking, “What is Tom all upset about? She really wasn’t showing anything, not even a bit of skin.” But my reaction reveals just how far we have fallen in our convictions on sexual purity.

A definition: Porno - graphy.

According to the Greek dictionary, pornography is easy to define. It comes from the combination of two Greek words porneia and grapho. Porneia means sexual immorality. Grapho, means “to write, inscribe, record or paint.” So pornography is the display of sexual immorality. Porneia appears twice in the above quotation of Ephesians 5. Biblically, sexual immorality is any behavior that is not consistent with God’s design and intention for the expression of human sexuality. Sexual immorality is using God’s gift of sexuality in a way that is not pleasing to Him. Of course there have been those who have attempted to reinterpret the Biblical standards to justify their behavior, but such cultural, linguistic, and hermeneutical gymnastics never hold water. So, now many churches have simply stopped trying to do so, they either chain the Bible’s teaching to first century culture, or distort the clarity of the Bible using the lens of love.

Culturally, sexual immorality is much more difficult to define. Historically in western culture, we have watched the line blur, then move, then leap from what were largely agreed upon sexual standards, informed by the Bible, to total confusion, to near complete freedom of expression. For example, the recent escapade by Miley Cyrus on the MTV video music awards drew criticism from parents, but accolades from those who embrace her lyrics, “...it’s my mouth I can say what I want to, it’s my body I can love who I want to.” 50 years ago what young Cyrus did in public would have been unthinkable, it would have been labeled pornographic. But let’s not forget, 50 years ago, our culture embraced her lyrics as a private, personal motto. Ideas, once embraced, will find expression, first in private, then eventually in public.

And even prior to our dismal days, private pornography was on the rise. Of course, sexual sins like prostitution, fornication and adultery have been a horrible reality since sin entered the world. But it was hidden, shameful, wrong. In earlier generations, men had discreet ways of looking at scantily clad women, small decks of playing cards, tiny tubes with a lens on one end and a picture on the other. Today, what was once hidden, shameful and considered pornographic is displayed for public consumption in the grocery store for all to see!

Perhaps we are now coming full circle, from total freedom, to limiting some access. Recently, the European Parliament has considered banning internet pornography because of the obvious negative affect it has on the culture, not to mention its complete degradation of women! Pornography is a massive topic. It is epidemic, not only in the culture but in the church. In future posts I will discuss not only what is wrong with pornography, but I will offer help and hope to those who are consumed by the darkness. The quotation above points the way. God’s loving sacrifice of His Son, given to liberate us from darkness and to enable us to walk in love and walk in the light.

Grace,

David

1 Comment

it is when we imagine hvinag sex with that person that it becomes lust. Admiration and sexual attraction, on my view, are not lust. They can lead to lust, but they are not lust. Just like walking into a jewelry store can lead to jewelry lust, but that doesn't mean we have to run away from jewelry stores. We learn to know what is ours and what isn't but we can still admire and marvel at the beauty God makes.Even before we are with a partner, we have sexual desires for that person. That's how we even begin to go on dates. The sexual attraction is there prior to being in a commitment with them. And it's usually the sexual attraction that makes us feel so low when we're rejected by someone that we found attractive. Sexual attraction aids us in love but is not the same as love.I think when we ask ourselves why lust hurts us we have to step back and examine why. On my view, all sin is a twisting of what is good. Stealing is a twisting of private property. Lying is a twisting of truth. Dishonoring parents is a twisting of family. Adultery is a twisting of marriage. So we have to ask ourselves what lust is twisting and how it damages us. We've already established, as you said, that it interrupts our relationship with God. I think it would do you well to continue to press into the question of how lust is damaging you what it does to your soul how it makes you smaller.Have you read the Red Lizard scene in C. S. Lewis' The Great Divorce? If you find a copy of that book, thumb through it and find the Red Lizard scene. I think you'll find it inspiring and helpful.As you develop these ideas, they will trickle down into your soul and your behavior will change. You will find yourself not merely resisting lust as a temptation but actually finding the temptation unattractive because you will see the twisting right way. You'll see how it twists your view of the opposite sex, how it makes you objectify others, how it makes you feel out of control, how it ultimately doesn't satisfy. You'll see that in temptation and it won't be appealing to you anymore. That's the work of God as you work with him.I don't think Satan's temptations are strongest when we are strong. It's the other way around. But he is very good at making us think we are strong, that we can stand up alone on our own legs for with that kind of pride comes a fall. To walk humbly knowing that in any moment I could fall to a wide variety of evils is to walk most strongly. For we walk in the strength of God.If you want to develop a more Christian view of sex, which I recommend as you piece together your struggle, is Lewis Smedes, Sex for Christians. It's a smart book, but one of the best on Christian sexuality.Every Man's Battle (and Every Young Man's Battle and Every Woman's Battle, etc.) are also worth looking at. I'm not fans of a lot of things in those books as I feel a certain secret disdain for us as sexual creatures and our ability to be attractive to one another with objectifying one another. However, some of the tips they offer in not dwelling on temptation and learning to bounce the eyes are good starters to begin your journey. You may also want to consider xxxchurch.com for more helpful tips. Again, I don't endorse all the philosophy, but there are some helpful tips.If you feel like you struggle all the time with this issue, I suggest finding a good Christian therapist/counselor to help you. Counselors are part of the church to help us get healthy. I've gone to two regularly in the past. Super helpful. They aren't just for crazy people! You can bare your soul to him/her and they will help you ask the right questions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. You may find that what drives you to lust is not sexual desire as much as things from your past, your parents, hurts from others, etc. We often go to our additions to drown our hurts. When we identify those hurts, we start to find freedom for there is nothing left to drown.Those are some ideas if you want help finding a counselor in your area, let me know. Some will say just talk it over with someone else (like you're doing here). Sometimes that helps. Sometimes it doesn't. Not everyone has the right and healthy perspective on sexuality and can leave you more confused than when you began. However, depending on how you struggle with lust, telling someone and talking about it with them may help. I still highly recommend a counselor.FWIW, I'm not big on accountability partners, as we usually change our behavior when others are always asking us about our behavior. But we change it out of fear and not love. And we usually don't get to the core issues. We want to change the root, not just the fruit.Those are some more thoughts to chew on.

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