Monday, May 12, 2014

Fleeing vs. Giving In to Temptation


To flee or give in to temptation?  That is the question.

Pornography.  Masturbation.  How does it fit in to a believer's life?

Can we view porn sporadically and still consider ourselves a walking Christian?  What about masturbation?  Can we regularly or at least weekly engage in this and remain pure before God?

I think what we should be asking is this:  Is my sin (whether self-gratification or viewing pornographic material) prohibited for a follower of Christ?  Will my excuses for continually giving in - no matter how often - be understandable in God's eyes?  What does God think about these struggles?

Readers, I know how difficult it can be to overcome both of these addictions.  I also know how easy it is to use every excuse we can think of for not stopping such things completely.  We may say, "I'm single and have a strong sex drive and am lacking self-control" or "I don't think it matters to God if I fall periodically.  I mean really, I used to be in bondage to these sins and now I just give in every once in a while" or "My mind wanders and I have all of these images still stuck in my mind...masturbation and fantasy are simply a form of release for me since I know as a believer, I can't sleep around and am not yet married."

While I truly understand all of these excuses and have even used them myself, this does not dismiss the reality that God calls those who know Him to be distinctly different from those in the world who are without salvation.

Jesus said when referring to adultery in Matthew 5: 28, "but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

So according to Jesus, mere lust through allowing ourselves to view a woman (or man) with excitement is like committing adultery with her (or him).  When you think about it, this makes sense because when we recall all the times we have been caught up in fantasy (which either led to masturbation or viewing porn), it was our thoughts that became so real to us, that being caught up in the moment, our bodies responded by becoming aroused like we were "preparing" for sex and then we engaged in it in our minds.

As difficult as it is to wait until marriage for intimacy, it really is a cheap substitute to give ourselves pleasure through self-gratification or to settle for fantasy through devouring pornographic videos or images (which in reality, is fake and totally airbrushed).  As much as we don't want to realize it, the individuals we see in porn and how appealing they look is not how they actually look in real life.  Technology has an amazing way of making sex scenes in porn films or even R-rated movies sound perfect, look perfect, and as though achieving orgasm with whoever we want, without a genuine commitment strictly to one another in marriage, is perfectly fine or healthy.  Married couples devoted to one another in a Christ-centered relationship would agree that giving and receiving pleasure with their spouse in the context of marriage is so much greater than sex with random individuals.  There is something about actually having a relationship with your husband or wife where you communicate, spend quality time together, and go through the storms, trials, sorrows, and joys of life together on a regular basis that makes intimacy so much greater than having a fling or one-night stand with someone you barely know or are casually dating merely over the desire to get off.  (I remember hearing a youth Pastor say this years ago and it totally makes sense!)

Let us keep in mind that every choice we make matters.  Every thought we allow in our minds to run away with us will either propel us to further righteousness and a God honoring life or will lead us down the path of feeding our lust and then giving in once again to our beloved sins of choice.

Accountability works and is greatly profitable in overcoming our sin.  After all, it is much more difficult to indulge in our sins of choice (even sporadically!) when we are open with our trusted accountability partners about our temptations and if we have given in or what has caused us to feel overwhelmed and as though we needed them.

Check out this resource, these workshops, and this program for help with getting accountable and dealing with your struggles.

If you would like a list of other resources/articles/ministries that will be profitable to study and apply in your fight against sexual sin, send a note my way.  I will gladly seek to be of help as a fellow soldier of Christ and fighter against lust.  You may write at: (And please, pray for me over these struggles as well when you think of it!)


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