I know a guy who cheats on his wife. He cheats on her every day. He cheats on her multiple times a day. He’s a husband and a father and a serial adulterer.
I shouldn’t know this fact about him, but it came up in conversation a few days ago. We were talking about the divorce rate; both of us gave our theories as to why the statistics are so high. I mentioned in my diagnosis a few studies that show pornography to be a root cause in over 50 percent of divorces annually.
He laughed. “People don’t get divorced over porn.” He went on to explain that porn isn’t a “big deal” to most people. It’s not “like it’s cheating or something.” He told me that he looks at it multiple times daily. His wife, he insisted, might be a little peeved if she knew the extent of it, but only because women overreact about “that kind of thing.”
What kind of thing? Their husbands spending all day obsessively plunging through the darkest regions of the internet for graphic sexual images of rape, abuse, perversion, exploitation and other forms of filthy depravity previously unknown to mankind?
Yeah. That kind of thing. No reason why any wife should be too upset about that, apparently.
Listen guys, I know this is an uncomfortable conversation. But it’s time we man up and get real about pornography. First things first: if you’re married and you look at porn, you are cheating. Period. From a Christian perspective, this can’t be debated. Christ laid it out very clearly: if you lust after another woman, you have committed adultery. When we look at porn we are choosing to succumb to that lust; we are indulging it, fertilizing it, giving it respite in our minds. We are diving into it headfirst and soaking in it like a sponge. We are lessening ourselves, betraying our wives and participating in the violent exploitation of women (and girls). Or minds and our bodies belong to the Lord and to our wives; pornography, therefore, intrudes on their domain. If we look at porn, we are adulterers. We are adulterers in all the worst ways.
We don’t even need to refer to Scripture to figure out the simple equation that porn equals adultery.
Why wouldn’t it?
Because you aren’t physically in contact with another woman?
So what? That’s merely a matter of semantics and circumstance. The absence of physical touch doesn’t automatically free you of the scarlet letter — if it did, ‘sexting’ with other women would be fair game, I suppose. How would you feel if you looked through your wife’s phone and found racy, sexually graphic text messages she’d sent to a man at her office? Would you be alright with it as long as she could prove she never had any physical contact with him? Or is that totally different because she knows the guy, whereas porn is anonymous and impersonal? See, we find ourselves constructing many arbitrary lines of distiniction when we are deteremined to rationalize behavior we instinctively know to be immoral and wrong.
But, OK, what if she didn’t know the guy? What if she was engaging in “fantasies” with men she never met? Imagine that, in your cyber travels, you stumbled upon a porn site featuring pictures and videos of a particularly alluring young female: your wife. How would that sit with you? Your wife selling digital sex all over the internet — how would you like that? It might cause a bit of a marital dispute, wouldn’t you say?
If you wouldn’t want your wife being a porn provider, you ought to understand why she wouldn’t want you to be a porn consumer. If you wouldn’t want her to invite and encourage other men to violate her in their minds, you ought to understand why she wouldn’t want you to accept the invitation to violate other women in your mind.
I don’t mean to concentrate only on married men. Porn is poison for everyone, married or not. And I’m not here to castigate you if you’ve stumbled. We live in a society that preys upon a man’s weaknesses, shoving sex into his face at hyper speed every day, all day, all of the time. This isn’t an excuse; just an attempt to put things into context. I won’t yell at a guy who fights a porn addiction anymore than I’d yell at a guy who fights a crack addiction. But at least the crack addict likely won’t encounter very many people (besides his dealer) who will tell him that it’s actually healthy to smoke crack. If he ventures outside of the abandoned shack where he scores his dope, he probably won’t find any respectable people who will say, “hey, crack isn’t a big deal — it’s totally natural to smoke crack, man!” In that way, the crack smoker has a leg up on the porn addict. The porn addict, by contrast, has to fight both the compulsion itself and the myriad of creeps who will try to convince him that it’s all just a bit of innocent fun.
That’s a lie, of course. It’s not innocent. It’s not fun.
I could cite for you the mounds of psychiatric research proving the detrimental effects of pornography on the brain. But you can do that research yourself.
I could tell you about sex slavery, human trafficking, drug abuse, and child molestation, and I could explain how the porn industry wouldn’t exist without these necessary ingredients. But these are conclusions you can draw on your own, if ever you take even a moment to think about it.
I could remind you that these women you find on your porn sites might not be women at all — they could be children — and there’s no way for you to know for sure. I could then point out that any avid porn customer has most likely at some point been a child porn customer, whether he knew it or not. But this is, indeed, an obvious and inescapable reality.
I could tell you that many children view graphic porn for the first time before the age of 12. I could tell you that we haven’t even begun to reap the atrocious fruits that will come from an entire generation raised on the heinous perversions of internet pornography. But it’s probably too late for these warnings.
So what is left? Perhaps nothing, really. Pornography is evil, empty, deadening, dirty — this is something we all know. That’s why, unless you are either psychotic or utterly despicable, you wouldn’t want your daughter to get into the porn business. That’s why most people hide their porn habits. That’s why it still isn’t considered acceptable to browse “adult” websites at your desk at work or at a table in Starbucks (although people still do, in both scenarios). That’s why you only find porn shops and strip clubs in the slummy, rundown parts of town. No matter how hedonistic and “open minded” we become, we still recognize porn as something that ought to be stowed away in the dank, dark corners of our lives. This is Natural Law, and we can’t escape it. We have an innate understanding of right and wrong, whether we want it or not.
Married men: I think we should be spending our free time with our families, or reading interesting books so that we can sharpen our minds, or building things, or exercising, or doing anything else that will make us better men. Porn will not make you a better man. It will make you smaller. It will make you a liar. It will kill that instinct inside you that calls you to protect and honor women. It will turn you into something you never wanted to be. It will turn you into a sneaky, shameful pervert. It will turn you into an adulterer.
Real men don’t look at pornography.This post was written by Matt Walsh. To find his original post with comments, go here: http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/11/25/married-men-your-porn-habit-is-an-adultery-habit/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
In the end, it doesn't matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished—a life without heart is not worth living. For out of this wellspring of our soul flow all true caring and all meaningful work, all real worship and all sacrifice. Our faith, hope, and love issue from this fount, as well. Because it is in our heart that we first hear the voice of God and it is in the heart that we come to know him and learn to live in his love.So you can see that to lose heart is to lose everything. And a "loss of heart" best describes most men and women in our day. It isn't just the addictions and affairs and depression and heartaches, though, God knows, there are enough of these to cause even the best of us to lose heart. But there is the busyness, the drivenness, the fact that most of us are living merely to survive. Beneath it we feel restless, weary, and vulnerable.
Indeed, the many forces driving modern life have not only assaulted the life of our heart, they have also dismantled the heart's habitat—that geography of mystery and transcendence we knew so well as children.
All of us have had that experience at one time or another, whether it be as we walked away from our teachers, our parents, a church service, or sexual intimacy; the sense that something important, perhaps the only thing important, had been explained away or tarnished and lost to us forever. Sometimes little by little, sometimes in large chunks, life has appropriated the terrain meant to sustain and nourish the wilder life of the heart, forcing it to retreat as an endangered species into smaller, more secluded, and often darker geographies for its survival. As this has happened, something has been lost, something vital.
This post is an excerpt from the book, Sacred Romance by John EldredgeBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
There's a sweaty hand handling his cocktail napkin
"Come on up and see me" is scribbled with a gold pen
"But you'd better ring twice"
Seven months after his little indiscretion
He sits with his wife at a therapy session
For a little advice
"If the healing happens as the time goes by
Tell me why I still can't look her in the eye"
"God I'm only human, got no other reason"
Sin for a season
There's a shaky hand shaking with the hand of her hostess
Drank a little much, but she'll drive herself home
If she can make it to her car
She never saw the sign or the boy with his daddy
Driving home late from their very first ballgame
And they don't get far
Now the years run together as her guilt goes wild
She still sees the body of an only child
"God I'm only human, got no other reason"
Sin for a season
Wealthy lips say "keep us from the Evil One"
While the praying hands prey with deliberate cunning
On the carcass of the cold
Gonna get the good Lord to forgive a little sin
Get the slate cleaned so he can dirty it again
And no one else will ever know
But he reaps his harvest as his heart grows hard
No man's gonna make a mockery of God
"I'm only human, got no other reason"
Sin for a season
This song was written and recorded by Steve Taylor. For the page about this song, go to: http://www.sockheaven.net/discography/taylor/meltdown/06.html
To hear the song, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHAnGG3rd10
Yesterday, we discussed how an affair progresses thru predictable stages. However, the consequences of such behavior are profound.
Dr. Dobson states, "the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence but it still has to be mowed." Once the excitement of the early stages of the affair wear off, the new couple is forced to live real life again, life in the common place. The man and woman suddenly have to face work thru personality adjustments. They discover spiritual, emotional and physical imperfections in each other they have never noticed before. Someone has to fix the cars, cook the meals, clean the house, run errands, mow the lawn, struggle with the finances.
There is also a layer of distrust in the new relationship. "If he cheated before, he can do it again..." The trail of pain eats away at the new relationship. Kids have been hurt. A wife and a husband have been abandoned. The complex and difficult relational network is hard to manage.
Like wide-eyed children we enter into extra-marital affair. Our eyes are wide open but for some reason we are blind to many of the realities that will become devastatingly apparent later when the glitter fades. It is OK to be childlike in some of the areas of our lives. But we have to live in the real world. Yes, we desperately want for the new relationship to work, to give us pleasure, the romance, the affirmation we felt was lacking in our former marriage. But we have bought the lie, the hype, the brightly lit illusion, the propaganda that says we can gave everything we want simply by changing partners mid-stream. It is very American to seek the quick fix; we are looking for the easy road to the real thing.
It is truly a tragedy. Men and women change partners again and again chasing the illusion. Many die lonely, empty people, lacking the love that they chased all their lives.
Tomorrow, we will look at how to fight the temptation to stray...
The information from this post is taken from TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE
BE A MAN.
There are twelve common steps that usually occur in sequence as a relationship moves toward an adulterous affair. These steps often occur over a long period of time, but a man and a woman can move thru these stages of an affair in a single evening. Becoming aware of the steps helps us to recognize what might be happening to us so we can stop the process before we are in over our heads.
Our two main enemies are rationalization and denial. We rationalize when we give acceptable reasons for unacceptable thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Denial is our often intense refusal to recognize the truth about our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Sin can harden our hearts and darken our understanding, turning us away from God. "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
For example, a woman rationalizes that God understood and accepted her numerous affairs because, after all, it was He who created within her this "need for other men." A man lives in denial about his affair, "it's OK, because each time we have sex we end by praying together."
I will briefly list the 12 steps here and in the subsequent post. For a more complete understanding, you will need to read the book, TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE, from which this information is taken.
1. Readiness - The first step is emotional readiness. Something is occurring in a man's life that has him leaning away from the marriage. This is a vulnerable time. He needs to learn to recognize this and turn his energy toward regaining the full health of his marital relationship.
2. Alertness - The second stage in the affair process is a growing awareness of a particular person in our web of relationships. He begins simply by thinking occasionally about the other person. The innocent thoughts turn to fantasy. As she becomes more present in his conscious thoughts, she may begin to appear in dreams and the dreams are often filled with sexual fantasy. Masturbating while fantasizing about her is common.
3. Innocent meeting - Truly innocent, chance meetings, often legitimate business contacts can potentially build the relationship. This is the stage where some flirtations can develop, prolonged eye contact, harmless sounding sexual innuendo, enticing body language, etc.
4. Intentional meeting - Meetings occur frequently which appear to be by chance when in reality one person has acted in such a way as to increase the likelihood of the meeting. He will hang out for extended periods of time hoping for the chance to "surprisingly" meet her. The excitement of sexual attraction overpowers his rational side. At this point, he has entered a real danger zone.
5. Public lingering - The man & the woman now spend time together while in group settings. They will tend to shut others out by turning away from the group and avoiding eye contact with others. Observers know something is happening. However, they would still deny any suggestion that this was more than normal adult relating. The public setting help them to rationalize: "It's fine to focus on her. Nothing can happen. We are with others."
6. Private lingering - Soon the man & the woman find that they are still together long after the others have left. Conversation shifts from ideas to feelings. Caring is shared. Conversation drifts into private and personal areas. They still feel fine about the relationship because the meetings begin in public.
7. Purposeful isolating - Now the man & the woman begin to plan times alone for "legitimate" purposes. They may request the other to work on special projects at work that require them being alone or work late together. He may ask her to help him sort out his marital problems. They still deny any suggestions that their relationship is not completely appropriate. At home, his wife notices a decrease in verbal & nonverbal communication. He seems suddenly detached, cool, almost formal in his relating. There may be uncompleted phone calls.
8. Pleasurable isolating - Now the man & the woman are planning times alone with each other for the sheer enjoyment of being together. The relationship takes on a youthful euphoria. There is a shared experience of excitement and adventure with more intimacy occurring. There is more touching. His spouse notices that there are long blocks of time that are unaccounted for. There is a noticeable decrease in pleasurable times in the marriage. The relationship is still rationalized: "It's OK to have good friends of the opposite sex, there is nothing wrong with being close friends. After all, she understands me better than my wife."
9. Affectionate embracing - There is embracing without letting go. There is increased touching and playful caressing. Childish games like tickling and wrestling are often played at this stage to increase physical contact. The rationalization is that there is nothing wrong with physically expressing support for one another. At the same time, affectionate embracing and physical contact decreases with his wife.
10. Passionate embracing - Affectionate touching and embracing lead to passionate interchanges. The couple will still rationalize and say that it is fine to get aroused because it is innocent and unplanned, "Besides, my wife no longer makes me feel this way."
11. Capitulation - The couple gives in to sexual intercourse. Denial is eliminated at this stage. There is no way to deny the reality of what they have done.
12. Acceptance - Here they finally admit to themselves that they are in the throes of an affair. If they continue, it is definitely a conscious choice. The emotional investment in the affair is at its peak and the emotional investment in the marriage is at its lowest. The man may find creative ways for his wife to discover the affair. The tension of living a double life is usually too much for someone to bear for very long.
Is this the end of the story? Do the man and woman live happily ever after? Nope. The story of an affair is not a comedy. It is a huge tragedy with unbelievable fallout and consequences.
Tomorrow, we will discuss some of these consequences.
Much of this information is taken from the book, TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE
BE A MAN.
I’ve known more than one pastor who was a sexual predator. And, if it makes the reader feel any better, every one of them is out of the ministry now.
My observation however is that no serial adulterer occupying the pastor’s office entered the ministry with such sordid intentions. He fell into sin and one thing led to another. (Sound familiar? It’s how life works.)
So, what follows is for young ministers in particular who have not been snared in the lust-trap and wish to make sure they don’t. (For your information, I invited my wife Margaret to add her observations.)
Here are 7 lines pastors do not want to cross.
1) Do not use cologne. Women are sensitive to fragrances, my wife says, which is why they wear them in the first place. When a man wears them, he sends out a subtle signal, the type no wise minister needs to be emitting.
2) Do not hug women. One pastor said he hugs no one between the ages of 6 and 66.
To the minister who argues that “Well, I am a toucher and people need to be hugged,” I reply: a) Granted, but let women hug women and men hug men, if necessary and appropriate. b) In most cases, your “touching” indicates some physical or emotional need in yourself, and is not what healthy ministers do.
Even if your intentions are pure, you make yourself vulnerable to charges of inappropriate touching. And–do not miss this–in the minds of many, to be charged is to be convicted. Best to guard against these dangers.
3) Do not be in your office with a woman alone.
A pastor of a large church told some of us why he does not counsel in his office. “All she has to do is run out of the office screaming and your ministry is over.” When someone catches him following a worship service with “Pastor, could I come by and talk with you about a problem?” he answers, “Let’s sit in a pew right over here and talk now!” Their visit is in public, but far enough removed from people so that no one hears their conversation.
4) Do not be in the church alone with a woman.
This is more difficult for small churches that have no one on staff but the pastor. In my first post-seminary church, the secretary worked half-days. Often she and I were in the building alone all morning. In those cases, you do the best you can at keeping your distance, making sure the doors are unlocked and drop-ins are welcome, and when possible, have others in the office too.
A pastor I used to serve with would sometimes ask me to remain after hours because he was counseling a woman, and wanted to make sure someone else was in the building.
5) Do not make pastoral visits alone. If you knock on a door and find that a woman is home alone, do not go inside but visit briefly at the door. Many pastors take a deacon or their wife with them on such calls.
6) Do not compliment a young woman on her appearance. My wife says with women middle-aged and older, you can say, “You’re looking nice today.” But do not compliment a woman on her dress, her figure, tell her that her diet’s really working, and such. You are stepping over an invisible line.
7) Do not fantasize about women. Most sins of a sexual nature had their beginnings long before as the individual imagined certain situations with some individual. Then, when the opportunity presented itself, he was ready since he had been over that ground a hundred times before.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto Thee, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
The “do nots” clearly have no end. But here are 7 “do’s” which a minister will want to observe to keep the enemy at bay….
1) When complimented inappropriately, laugh it off and change the subject.
“Oooh, pastor, you look so good today.” “Mmmm, preacher, I like the way that suit looks on you.” “Have you been working out, Brother Al? You’re looking good.”
The insecure pastor soaks this stuff up like a sponge. But you are not insecure. “You are complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:10).
Do not acknowledge the compliment. It will only encourage her. Laugh briefly, then ask about her family or something–anything!–to change the subject.
2) Anticipate situations that may arise during the day and plan appropriately. That is, if you know a woman is coming for counseling, make sure your secretary or another minister is just outside the door. Pray always the Lord will guard you and give you wisdom about these things.
3) When you are close to some woman other than your wife, and you begin to sense all the signs of attraction–your temperature rising, your blood pressure elevating–walk away quickly. Make up an excuse, even if it’s only that “I just remembered something; I’ll be right back.” Then, get to your office or pretend to make a phone call and talk to the Lord. Ask for His divine protection. Just because your chemistry with that person is strong does not make it right. As a mature follower of Jesus Christ, you are beyond running your life by your feelings. (You are, aren’t you?)
4) Center your love, your energies, your everything on the Lord and your wife. (The Lord does not mind being lumped together with her. He planned it that way. See Ephesians 5:25ff.)
The biggest safeguard against sexual transgressions in the lives of ministers is a good relationship with one’s spouse. After numerous cautions against sexual sin, the writer of Proverbs counseled his son, “Drink water from your own cistern, and fresh water from your own well” (Proverbs 5:15). In the margin of my Bible, I’ve written: “Focus on your wife, son!” Read on past verse 15 and he gets more explicit that that, with vs. 19 being one you probably won’t read in church, but it definitely communicates!
5) Have an accountability partner or a mentor. Or both.
If you are truly wise, you will have someone–usually an older, mature minister–to whom you can say anything. Such a veteran pastor has seen it all, has the scars to prove it, and has come up a winner. (The one thing you do not want in such a mentor is someone who has never suffered! Spurgeon said, “God gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”)
Once you find such a friend, you must meet with him frequently enough to be comfortable in speaking what’s on your mind. He must be a man of prayer who will pray with you and for you later. There is no way to over-emphasize this.
6) A healthy fear of the Lord is a good thing.
One pastor’s wife said of her husband, “I don’t have to worry about Frank straying. He’s too afraid of God.” He laughed and said, “You’ve got that right!”
Someone asked Andrew Murray the greatest thought that had ever occupied his mind. He answered, “My accountability to God.” Indeed. It’s enough to strike terror into our hearts and to drive us to repentance and submission. “Knowing the fear of the Lord,” Paul said, “we persuade men” (II Corinthians 5:11).
That said, we also rejoice that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Nevertheless, even the saved will give account for what they have done in this life. God help us to be found faithful.
7) Encourage younger ministers to be faithful.
If you’ve been in the Lord’s work as long as a decade, you are a veteran compared to those just leaving seminary. You have a lot to offer them. Reach out to the new ministers coming to churches in your area. Take them to lunch. Then, after the first session, both of you bring your wives. The ministry can be a lonely profession. No church member understands the stresses you and your family have to endure. That’s why no one ministers to pastors better than other ministers.
The goal is to be faithful. Do this and you will find a strength and courage beyond your own. “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (I John 3:21). Yes, and confidence before men, too.
Toward the end of His ministry, our Lord told the disciples, “The prince of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me” (John 14:30). I like that. Readers may recall I told recently of meeting an old couple in a rural Alabama cafe. The man was in his 90s and the woman wasn’t all that far behind. They had been married four years, I think, and were clearly still in love. With a twinkle in his eye, the old gentleman said, “I have iron in my blood and she has a magnetic personality.”
When the devil waves his magnet over us, let there be nothing inside us that responds to his enticements. May we say, “He has nothing in me.”
And nothing “on” me.
This post was written by Pastor Joe McKeever. For the original post, go to: http://joemckeever.com/wp/7-sexual-lines-pastor-cross/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
San Diego, California – A former staff member at a Christian college in California has filed a lawsuit against her employers for firing her for having sexual relations outside of marriage, stating that the college’s actions were “un-Christlike.”
Teri James, 29, worked as a financial aid specialist at San Diego Christian College in El Cajon until October of last year when she admitted to the school’s human resource director that she was pregnant. According to reports, rumors had been circulating on campus that the single woman might be with child, and therefore, she sought to put an end to the speculations.
However, upon being informed of the matter, the human resource director presented an ultimatum: resign or be fired. James was later given a termination notice that stated that she “engaged in activity outside the scope of the handbook and community covenant.”
San Diego Christian Christian College requires that all of its employees sign a lifestyle statement committing to live in a manner that is consistent with Biblical values, which includes abstaining from fornication. James admits to signing the statement, but still believes that her termination was unlawful. She hired renowned feminist attorney Gloria Allred to represent her in the courts.
“Teri engaged in activity outside the scope of the handbook and community covenant that does not build up the college’s mission,” Allred acknowledged. “The HR director indicated that she was not being fired because she was pregnant. Instead, she was being terminated because she had premarital sex.”
During a press conference this week, James broke down in tears over the matter, claiming that the school has caused her harm.
“I feel like what San Diego Christian College did to me was hurtful and un-Christlike,” she stated. “I was unmarried, pregnant and they took away my livelihood.”
“San Diego Christian College did not show any mercy or grace towards me, and acted completely un-Christlike,” James added. “They made more of a business decision than showing God’s love.”
Allred asserted that although the college is a Christian institution, it cannot terminate employees based on their private lives. She said that officials have no business in knowing what James is doing outside of the work environment.
“They can call themselves a Christian college, but they have to comply with the laws of the state of California, which prohibit discrimination on account of gender, marital status and pregnancy, and with the California constitution, which guarantees the right of privacy,” Allred told reporters.
Therefore, James is suing San Diego Christian College for wrongful termination and invasion of privacy.
College officials are not commenting on the matter at this time as per the advice of their attorney.
James has since married and is expecting a boy in June.
As previously reported, a number of women formerly employed at Christian colleges, universities and other schools across America sued their employers last year for discrimination after they were terminated following their admission of engaging in premarital sex.
The original article for this post can be found at: http://christiannews.net/2013/02/16/california-woman-sues-christian-college-after-being-fired-for-fornication/
What should you do when you find yourself attracted to another woman? Here are some helps: 1. Avoid being alone with her. Ensure that your spouse is with you whenever you must be with this person. If not, tell your spouse ahead of time and/or immediately afterward.
2. Stop fantasizing about being with her romantically and/or sexually.
3. Don't open Pandora's box by telling her that you are sexually attracted to her. It will only complicate matters more. She may turn around and accuse you of harassment.
4. Share your feelings of attraction with a close friend who can hold you accountable.
5. Take responsibility for all your actions. You are not to blame for your feelings but you are responsible for the actions that follow your feelings.
6. Try to look at the whole picture. A few moments of passion can lead to a lifetime of regret and hurt.
Taken from The Sexual Man: Masculinity without guilt
BE A MAN.
Early in our marriage, we would receive Victoria's Secret catalogs in the mail. Even back then, these catalogs were pornography. They've only gotten worse.
Nevertheless, I told Karyn about the draw those catalogs had for me and I asked her to not have those in the house, especially since we were raising boys.
By starving my eyes from those catalogs, they came to the point of having less attraction for me. Over time, by telling Karyn about the things that turned me on, she was able to help me. We would talk about those things that were tempting. It was liberating to tell her and she would continue to love me and shield me from those things that held my attraction.
After the boys were raised, I accompanied her to a Victoria's Secret store where she was trying on some clothes. Being the dutiful husband, I went with her. I thought, "I've gotten past that Victoria's Secret temptation. I can handle this now."
While I was sitting there, minding my own business and trying not to look at the images of scantily clad women on the walls, a very attractive young lady walked up to me and started talking to me. I was polite and talked with her. Then another attractive young lady and then another. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by three very attractive young ladies.
Well, my ego got the best of me. I started thinking, "these girls think I'm hot. They're talking to me because they really like me." I found myself paying more attention to them while they were flirting with me (or I thought they were flirting with me). Then it hit me. "What in the world am I doing? I'm almost old enough to be these young ladies' father!" Then Karyn came out of the dressing room and paid for some clothes she was buying.
When we got outside, I confessed to Karyn what had happened. She simply said, "of course those sales clerks were talking to you, you're safe. You're much older than them. The longer you stay in the store, the more likely I will buy something." Well, I'll tell you, my ego was instantly deflated. We continued our conversation and Karyn said that the clerks were occupying me so that she would spend more time shopping.
Why do I share this story with you?
Well I learned a few things about temptation:
- I said to myself before going into the store, "I can handle this." God says, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." Knowing this was a past temptation, it would have been wise to ask God for strength before entering. It might have been better to just not go into that store.
- I have a big ego and I need to keep it in check. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." If I stay humble, God will give me more grace.
- Temptation changes. I thought that I had the sin of lust conquered. However, this temptation played into something different. I was on my guard for lust but not on guard for my ego.
- My ego got in the way of my ability to think clearly. These young ladies were just doing what they had been taught. "Keep the hubby happy and his wife will buy more stuff." I was being played and never realized it.
So, my conclusion, my goal of this post is this:
Do you let your ego go unchecked?
Do you humble yourself so that God can give you more grace?
If you think that you have temptation conquered, get ready. You will find yourself tempted in ways that you haven't been considering.
BE A MAN.
He sat across the table from me, trying to convince me that his behavior wasn't hurting anybody. "I'm not having sex, I'm just having some fun!" He proceeded to tell me his story. It's one that I have heard many times. Unfortunately.
His behavior started fairly innocently. He was happily married but there were occasions that his wife would work late. During these times, on occasion, he would call a "chat line." The conversations started out innocent enough but he didn't realize that he was being fleeced. God speaks about this. He says,"with persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk."
The young lady on the other end of the phone started flirting with him and tapped into his ego. The next time he called her, she talked about how wonderful he was and how he helped her not to feel so lonely. A few calls later, the trap was sprung. He gave her his credit card number so that she would "tell him things that she knew he wanted to hear." His calls continued with greater frequency. He would get out of bed where his wife was sleeping to call this young lady. She was always available to him and would say things that his wife would never say.
He started to feel guilty and talked to the young lady about not calling her anymore. That is when she set the hook. She told him that she was a college student and that she needed the money to pay for school. She admitted that she did this with just a few men and that they "weren't doing anything wrong."
He looked at me and said, "but, I'm not cheating!!! I'm not having sex with her. We're just having a little fun . No one's getting hurt and I'm helping her pay for her education."
I cautioned him about his behavior. I explained to him what such behavior leads to. That's when he said, "funny you should say that...." He then proceeded with this all too familiar story:
This young lady suggested that they meet. It was a town that he visited on business often. She explained that she offered private services to help men feel more masculine and perform better in bed. She explained that he would enjoy it as "most men do."
He went to the house that she and several other young women (who were working their way thru college too) used to "help men." There was never any intercourse. He was "learning how to let a woman be in charge." He found these lessons exhilarating. He paused in his story, "but, I'm not cheating!!! We aren't having sex and I really like how she makes me feel." It's as if he was trying to convince himself more than he was trying to convince me.
I would love to be able to tell you that this man conquered this illicit behavior but I cannot. His life became a disaster.
One night when he was talking to this young woman on the phone, his wife happened to be listening on the extension. The next day, when he got home from work, he found his belongings on the yard, the locks changed and a court injunction prohibiting him from ever seeing his wife again. The divorce proceedings were quick and he soon found himself on the street with no home.
I haven't had any contact with him since. I don't know where he is and I don't know if he got help. I do pray for him, hoping that he has turned to God and is living a life that represents Christ well.
Why do I tell you this story? I guess you need to know that it is easy for men to rationalize their sinful behavior. Men have a tendency to compartmentalize their behavior and think that their lives cannot be affected.
God has something to say about this. "The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be."
So, what is in your heart?
Are you pretending?
Ask God to give you a new heart.BE HOLY.
BE A MAN.