Flee Youthful Lusts
“Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22); “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14); “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12); “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11); “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:14). In this lesson we want to deal with the subject of Pornography. To simply point out that it is sinful and will condemn our souls, should be obvious (Galatians 5:19-21), but rather, we will deal more with how do we protect our young boys from this temptation and how does one break the cycle of this particular sin?
First of all, we must start early; one study noted that the average age for first time contact with pornography is around 11 years old. We must be realistic; there is really no way that we can keep our boys from ever seeing such. We are surrounded by a corrupt society in which pornography is displayed within eyesight of our children at various convenience stores; someone brings it to school, and the even greater threat that it is prevalent on the Internet. I believe that telling young boys ahead of time that they will face this temptation is helpful, for it removes some of the mystery and secretive nature of this sin, compare what Solomon’s parents had told him (Proverbs 1:8-19; 5:1-10).
We need to do everything we can to help our young boys retain a sensitive and tender heart, that is, a conscience that is so tender that it cannot live with itself and engage in sin at the same time. Unfortunately, we are competing with a society that does not seem to have much of a problem with pornography. Most people tend to rationalize it and claim that it is harmless, preferable to having an affair, and something all men engage in when young. In contrast, we need to remind our boys that such is sinful, will send them into an eternal hell of torment with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Galatians 5:19-21). That pornography is extremely selfish and immature, will destroy their self-respect, and will keep them from truly enjoying not only heaven, but this life as well. Note James 4:2-3 “You lust and do not have…You ask and do not receive”. Lust will prevent us from receiving God’s true blessings. Many a man, who thought that pornography was the answer to instant pleasure, has learned that pornography has only prevented him from truly enjoying a good marriage.
Our young boys need to remember that God is always watching them (2 Corinthians 5:10), and that we cannot keep our sins hidden forever, but they do have a way of coming back to haunt us (Numbers 32:23 “and be sure your sin will find you out”).
“For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all his paths” (Proverbs 5:21). The Lord ponders all of man’s paths—to the video store, the magazine rack, near a sexually provocative woman, and so on. When he is using the computer home alone. God also watches his thumb on the remote control.
Do not allow boys to have unlimited computer time by themselves. Have the computer in an area of the house that is often occupied, no computers in their bedroom. Monitor everything! Monitor everything in their room. Monitor radio stations. If it is in your house it is your business. Eternity on this matter is far more important than privacy. No late night computer use, this is a warning sign. Keep them busy with school, church and other activities. Watch the television, no late night viewing of cable TV. Give them plenty of emotional intimacy; teach them the value of real friendships. Men who get involved in pornography are often looking for a cheap way of finding intimacy.
“Many men like to flatter themselves, thinking that the ease with which they might be seduced is somehow a masculine trait. In reality it is quite the reverse. At the heart of masculinity is the possession of authority taking of initiative; by creation design a man is intended by God to be a head, a head willing to sacrifice himself. But part of our word seduction comes from the Latin word duco, which means ‘I lead’. This original meaning carries over in our use of the word seduction. When a man is seduced he is being led, and when a woman seduces she is leading. So when a man is seduced (whether by a living woman or a pornographic woman is immaterial) he is relinquishing and abdicating his assigned role. The Bible uses strong phrases to illustrate the point. The mother of King Lemuel warns him bluntly about it. She says, ‘Give not thy strength unto women’ (Proverbs 31:3). A king might think himself quite a man because he has physical access to so many women. In reality, far from exhibiting the strength of a king, he is wasting away that strength. Within marriage, biblical sexual behavior strengthens a man in his masculinity. Promiscuity and pornography drain it away” (Fidelity. What it Means To Be a One-Woman Man, Douglas Wilson, pp. 22-23).
This means that pornography will stunt and drain you of your manhood. The end of a man who gives way to the immoral woman is that of a weakling. He goes with her as “an ox goes to the slaughter” (Proverbs 7:22). He may feel like quite a man but in reality he is at the end of some woman’s rope. He is not leading, he is not exercising dominion, he is not pursuing God, and he is being led. This is why one writer called such lust “effeminate slackness”. In the context of marital faithfulness verses adultery, Solomon noted, “Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets?” (Proverbs 5:16).
Wilson notes that God will not only judge men for sexual immorality. He will also judge men for believing the lies about sexual impossibilities. True men learn to be content at home with their own wife (5:19). True men also learn that pornography pictures an unreal world. Notice what the Hebrew writer said “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). But notice the next verse, “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (13:5). Keeping the marriage bed undefiled involves being “content with what you have”. Wilson noted that your wife may not look like Miss February. So? God will judge! Let me repeat the above statement. Pornography is an unreal world, it is acting, and God will condemn men for believing and embracing the lies found in pornography! Men need to remember that pornography is false teaching, and the bait that false teaching often uses is “fleshly desires” (2 Peter 2:18). I thought Wilson made a great comment when he noted that the women in pornography get paid for not acting like women!
The world is filled with men who glorify the benefits of pornography and all the other “adult” businesses. “Promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19). If you work with men who are vocal about this lifestyle, take a close look at their lives and you will typically find men who are single, who spend many nights alone, who have wrecked their own marriages, who are deep in debt, and who end up paying for some kind of cheap physical intimacy. You will find the type of man that Solomon describes, “lacking sense” (Proverbs 7:7); men who have been reduced to a “piece of bread” (6:26); and men who are wasting the best years of their life on a life that is going nowhere (5:9 “Give your vigor to others”).
This is an addiction just as powerful as drug or alcohol addiction. “Here is the problem: Lust demands from a finite thing (sexual pleasure) what only the Infinite can provide. “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20). When men are in the grip of prolonged lust they are soon dissatisfied with normal sexual pleasure and begin looking around for other perversions (Romans 1:24,26-27). Instead of a release from frustration, those who get involved in this will find themselves surrounded by frustrations, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have…so you fight and quarrel” (James 4:1-2). All that pornography offers is a quick thrill and then a life of anger, frustration, self-hate, secrecy, lack of intimacy, and enslavement.
80% of all sexual addicts thought marriage was the answer to their addiction, but marriage will not solve this problem. Wilson notes, “Getting married is not automatic solution to the problem of lust. A man who thinks that marriage simply means free physical intimacy and he now gets it whenever he wants it has not learned what God wants him to learn. Note what the Holy Spirit said, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). When a man approaches his wife in the “passionate lust” of the Gentiles (that is, viewing this wife as simply an object to please his every whim or desire), he soon discovers that the marriage bed is not enough for him. “Passionate lust” includes the attitude that I do want to be bothered by communication, emotional intimacy, and so on. That is, this is the person who basically does not want to be bothered by somebody else.
Redrawing the Line
“But I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Someone noted that sinful men are apt to “study arguments” in order to get away from the teaching of Scripture on divorce. It is the same with all other immoral practices. When we do not draw the line where God draws it men can draw the line in all kinds of unbiblical places after they are already in the grip of lust. Solomon was very practical, “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her catch you with her eyelids” (Proverbs 6:25). Remember the line that Jesus drew for us (Matthew 5:28).
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/503-644-9017