Guard Your Heart: Purity in a Sex-Crazed World

 

Late night internet addiction or working late

As we continue our journey through the Sermon on the Mount as a faith family, Jesus’ teaching about sexual purity ought to echo in our minds.We have a tendency to think of purity in terms of external actions, but Jesus will have none of that. Purity is not merely about our behavior but about what is going on within our own heart. Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:28 make this clear, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

In a culture like our own that celebrates sexuality as ultimate, we must be incredibly careful to guard our hearts. In reflecting on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:27-30, three areas deserve attention.

First, we must be careful about our looking. When we see something that would draw our hearts away from purity, we must look away fast! Whether in person or online, second looks compromise the purity of our hearts. In the face of temptation, we must run! Think Joseph, not David (Gen 39:7-12, 2 Samuel 11:1-4).

Second, we must be careful about our thinking. Jesus’ words remind us that lustful thinking itself is adulterous. In other words, even if the external action of adultery does not occur, if the heart is filled with lust, we are guilty of adulterous intent. We must be careful in what we think about (Phil 4:8).

Third, we must be careful about our responding to sexual sin and temptation. Jesus says that gouging out a right eye or a cutting off a right hand is preferred to sexual impurity. What He means is that we must respond to sin and temptation radically. We can’t play games with our sinful hearts. We must take whatever action is necessary to flee temptation and pursue purity.

We must recognize that knowing Jesus and being close to Him is better than any sinful counterfeit. We must remind ourselves that in God’s presence, “there is fulness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

What are some practical ways to guard our hearts?

  1. Develop a plan for purity (Job 31:1; When are you most tempted by sin? How can you make changes to lessen or eliminate temptation in those times? Are there places that you need to avoid to maintain a pure heart?, etc).
  2. Confess sexual sin to a mature believer of the same sex (James 5:16).
  3. Do whatever it takes to flee sexual temptation (1 Thess 4:3-4; Change to a flip phone, get rid of the internet, quit going to the gym or the pool, etc).
  4. If you are a believer, recognize that your body is God’s temple (1 Cor 6:19-20).
  5. Help other believers maintain purity (1 Thess 4:8; avoid edgy or questionable joking, immodesty, etc).
  6. If you’re married, maintain intimacy with your spouse (Prov 5:18-19, 1 Cor 7:3-5, Hebr 13:4).
  7. If you are a parent, be diligent in protecting your child’s heart by setting a good example in this area and by using internet filters, parental controls, etc (Prov 5, Eph 6:4).

Click here for information about tools to protect yourself and your family online.

The Frightening Implications of Fifty Shades’ Popularity

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This post contains mature themes and is intended for adults. Last weekend, the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, was released. This movie is based on the novel by E. L. James. Apparently, it was the largest release for an R-rated movie ever, playing in 3,646 theaters across the country. It was a smashing success, leading the Box Office with revenue of over $90 million.

Of course, I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, nor do I plan to do so. In fact, I hope that Christians will avoid this kind of depravity. I hope we’ll find our life and fulfillment in Jesus, and forsake the counterfeits that the world pursues.

The movie is the story of an average young woman, Anastasia, who is pursued by a powerful billionaire named Christian. He introduces her to sadomasochism. This deviant behavior mixes sexuality and physical or emotional pain.

It is unimaginable that a book and movie that elevates the abuse of women in the context of sexuality could be so popular. In fact, both the book and movie have been notoriously popular among women with 68% of the movie’s audience being female. Not only is this movie the mainstreaming of a more hardcore pornography, even more frightening, I fear that it points to a new reality in our culture. The modern sexual ethic, desperately seeking to abandon all of the so-called repressive rules of Christian sexual ethics, will not ultimately protect women.

While much of the culture despises biblical Christianity with its gender roles, its refusal to acknowledge countless genders, and its insistence on sexuality within a marriage of one man and one woman, women (and children of course) may be the biggest losers as society continues the sexual revolution that began in the 1960s.

In biblical Christianity, a husband is called to protect his wife and children, never to harm her or the kids. He is called to provide for his family. He is called to lead his family spiritually with sacrificial love. Indeed, he is called to love his wife as Christ loved the church.

As a culture, we’re breaking free from all of these supposedly repressive and patriarchal ideas. Where has this “freedom” taken us? You tell me when a movie that exalts sexual violence against women is thrilling to so many, particularly women. Ultimately, the more startling question is this: where will the wholesale rejection of the Christian sexual ethic ultimately lead? What will be the effects on women and on children? Though unpopular, let’s hold fast to the Word of God. When the Word is truly followed, women and children will most surely have the greatest opportunity to flourish.