Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lust vs. Purity

Purity.  Godliness.  Transformation.  Sanctification.

...what God calls us to.

Lust.  Selfishness.  Lack of gratitude.  Depravity.

...what our sinful hearts are continually drawn to and would delight in if we did not keep our guard up (Proverbs 4: 23).

Every day we are faced with several opportunities to cater to the desires of our impure hearts or to starve our sin and pursue the paths of righteousness.

Here are a few examples of the many decisions we make daily:

  • Secular music OR worship music

  • YouTube parodies & music videos OR lectures, debates, sermons, and what is educational and edifying

  • Worldly philosophy through magazines, books, and articles OR Theology & the pursuit of spiritual growth

  • Skipping reading the Bible...again OR making the Bible a priority & choosing to read it before we start our day

  • Letting our thoughts run rampant with worry, anxiety, fear, and fantasy OR taking every thought captive (Second Corinthians 10: 5) & purposing to dwell on the truth of Philippians 4: 8

  • Living day after day with unfiltered internet OR using an accountability report & filtering service like Covenant Eyes on all our devices that will block filthy content from being easily accessible (side note: sign up here for the Covenant Eyes service using my affiliate code for the first month free)

  • Make no effort to control our wandering eyes OR bouncing our eyes away from alluring temptation (even though we desperately desire to give a second glance and behold what has caught our attention)

  • Giving ourselves the freedom to use the internet when we are H.A.L.T. (hungry/horny/hurt/humiliated/heartbroken/hateful/hated/haunted (by memories, guilt, childhood abuse, some traumatic experience...), angry/awkward/ashamed/antisocial/aggravated, lonely/lazy/lethargic/left out, tormented/troubled/tired/tried) OR storing our computer & smartphone at a friend or relative's house when we know we are prone to weakness and choosing to leave the office early instead of making excuses to stay all in the name of "work" (when you and I both know it's a breeding ground for satisfying your every sexual whim through porn)

You see, the choices we make today will have a direct impact on the choices we make tomorrow.  I can't tell you how many times I have been bored, curious, or just wanted to relax so I watch a few music videos I used to love as a teen or dabble in the endless supply of YouTube videos (where virtually anything is available to view and many topics are covered) and how looking back, it is clear the pattern this set to make the same choice the following day.  Before I knew it, several days had passed and I was spending time making decisions that were having a bad influence on my attractions, longings, thoughts, and actions (someone has noted if we do not take our thoughts captive within the first few seconds of having impure thoughts, masturbation is more than likely to follow - and typically with it, pornography or the intake of R-rated films or romance novels).  Keeping our guard up by not allowing compromise is crucial to our spiritual health and vitality!  Compromise begets more compromise.  Small sins become a habit and then become strongholds.  Sin blinds us to its damaging effects because we believe one time won't hurt or a few times of fantasy and masturbation won't lead us down the path of addiction again...yet how often do we end up exactly where we once were!

Do you understand the importance of making decisions that honor our commitment to the Lord and exalt His name while being an example of Him to others?  Can you see how much time is wasted and thoughts are spent (not to mention money) on short-lived pleasures that only end in feeling dirty, depressed, and shameful (or worse yet, a seared conscience and hardened heart with each new choice to indulge)?  For more on taking sin seriously, read this incredible article by Tim Challies.

Let's face it.  An orgasm lasts how long?  A night spent with an escort might end in disease or a breakup if your spouse discovers this secret.  The high you receive from porn and masturbation is so momentary yet addicting, sometimes to the degree that you end up hating the sin and only do so out of habit or because you've trained your body to crave its fleeting benefits.

When we consider the reality that sin consumes us and the pay off only lasts briefly, why do we feed the monster of our minds to the degree that we need release (despite the many consequences that follow)?

Fellow soldier in Christ, fight the good fight!  Don't lay down and die on the battlefield because you feel ill-equipped to face temptation.  Certainly, it isn't a sin to be tempted.  It's only a sin when we flirt with that temptation, dwell upon it, then devise a plan of action as to how we can go about reaping its momentary enjoyment.

"Whether you think it's a small sin or a large sin, it's all an open scandal in heaven." Mark Spence

"You need to get serious about your sin because your sin is serious about you." Mark Spence

"A lot of us will discipline ourselves physically, but we're not disciplining ourselves spiritually. We need to exercise ourselves for the purpose of godliness. We need to strive for the things of God and not just sit around..." Emeal Zwayne

"Every time we say 'yes' to temptation, we make it more difficult to say 'no' next time." Jerry Bridges

"It's easier to avoid temptation than to resist it." Bill Shannon

"It is a sign that sin has taken significant possession of your will when you argue against sin or fail to commit sin only because you fear punishment. In this case you do not delight to do God’s will, but only fear the consequences of disobedience. A true Christian battles sin out of a desire to please God and to find his delight in God." Tim Challies

Luther's 1st thesis: When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said repent, He willed that the entire life of believers be one of repentance.

"There is no shame in repentance because it simply proves that God was right all along." Rosaria Butterfield

"Porn is destructive because if sex is like money, then porn is a massive devaluation of the currency." Timothy Keller

"Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." Second Timothy 2: 22

"The repentance which has no tear in its eye, and no mourning for sin in its heart is a repentance which needs to be repented of."  Charles Spurgeon

"There's no repentance where a man can talk lightly of sin, much less where he speaks tenderly and lovingly of it." Charles Spurgeon

"Because we are fallen beings, we believe we will find joy and pleasure not in obedience to God but in sin." R. C. Sproul

"Wisdom is knowledge lived out in righteous choices that please God while foolish choices are often ruled by selfish desires lived out in rebellion to God." Mark E. Shaw

"Your victory over sin will be won or lost in the battle of your mind. Entertaining that first sinful thought that pops into your head is your first step in the wrong direction." Kristen Clark

Porn is a romance killer, an intimacy stealer, a money thief, a time waster, a mirage, and will turn its unsuspecting victims into monsters.

"There must be a true and actual abandonment of sin and a turning unto righteousness in real act and deed in everyday life. Repentance, to be sure, must be entire. How many will say, ‘Sir, I will renounce this sin and the other, but there are certain darling lusts which I must keep and hold?’ Oh, sirs, in God’s name let me tell you, it is not the giving up of one sin, nor 50 sins, which is true repentance. It is the solemn renunciation of every sin. If thou dost harbor one of those accursed vipers in thy heart, and dost give up every other, that one lust, like one leak in a ship, will sink thy soul. Think it not sufficient to give up thy outward vices, fancy it not enough to cut off the more corrupt sins of thy life. It is all or none which God demands."  Charles Spurgeon



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