We were visiting Amsterdam, exploring shops and the canals. At one shop on the canal there were the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen. It was a wonderful day. Everything was perfect. We were walking hand-in-hand enjoying Amsterdam. Kinda like two kids at a zoo. Excitement. Fun. Happiness.
The next thing I know, Karyn says, "don't look right." So, I put my right hand up to block my view. Then she said, "don't look left." So, I put up my left hand to block my view. So, now, I am walking down this street on this beautiful day looking like a horse with blinders. I said, "what's going on?" Karyn said, "we've stumbled into the Red Light District." I dropped my hands and looked around and yep, she was right. There were some windows with scantily clad women beckoning us to come in. We promptly turned around and left that street.
You ask, "how in the world didn't you know that you were entering the most famous Red Light District in the world?" Well, it was still bright out, even though we didn't realize the sun was starting to descend. If it had been dark, we would have seen the red lights warning us that we had wandered into "adult" territory.
So, what does this story tell us about temptation?
Well, I was certainly glad that I had my wife with me. She saw things up ahead that I hadn't noticed. She loves me and wants to protect our marriage. So, if you are doing something new, something you have never done before, it would be good to not be alone. Because you never know what is on that street.
The person you take with you needs to be committed to holiness and purity. S/he needs to be able to stop you when you start to go somewhere you shouldn't be going. Because you never know what is on that street.
Temptation sneaks up on you when you least suspect. We were having a great time. Exploring Amsterdam, enjoying the sunshine and building memories. Then, boom! There it is. Right in front of you. Sometimes, we are lulled into complacency or feeling really good and then we are blindsided. Temptation can come from anywhere. You know why?
Because you never know what is on that street.
BE A MAN.
For those who have been entrenched in pornography, how do we reverse these mind-warping effects? How do we renew our minds (Rom. 12:1-2)? During anti-porn week,
we identified from secular research what viewing porn does to a person.
This week presents practical advice of how to stay away from the influence of porn.
The Bible does not describe us merely as wayward, broken, and needing a “moral boost” but as those who are dead
in sin (Eph. 2:1). Dead men and women do not need reform: they need resurrection.
For the follower of Christ, the ultimate goal is not merely “quitting pornography,” but is something far richer and more comprehensive. If merely modifying behavior was the most important thing, there are any number of psychological tips and tricks one can use. But for the Christian, as it should be for all people, the goal is not merely recovering
from pornography, but being remade
by God Himself into the image of the perfect Man, Jesus Christ.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Just as sure as pornography stirs up lustful cravings in us, the Holy Spirit is a source of new, holy cravings. Romans 8 tells us all true Christians have the Spirit of Christ within them (v.9). Galatians 5 says we are given the “desires of the Spirit” (v.17), and when we keep in step with these desires (v.16) the lusts of the flesh (leading to sexual immorality, impurity, and sensuality) will not have their way in us.
This is what the old Scottish minister Thomas Chalmers called “the expulsive power of a new affection.” Laws, rules, and regulations can only tell us what
is bad and why
it is bad, but they do not change our desire
for sinful things. These sinful longings can only be conquered by implanting new “affections,” new cravings, that counter our sinful cravings. This is what the Spirit does in us: He shares His own desires with us, changing us from the inside out.
Paul tells us we must “keep in step” with the desires of the Spirit with us (Galatians 5:16).
How do we do this? Come back tomorrow for hope.
This post is taken from the booklet, YOUR BRAIN ON PORN
by Luke Gilkerson. The booklet can be found at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/brain-ebook/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
I was a camp counselor and we were having a great worship time with our preteen campers. However, up front, two backup singers were helping the worship leader by moving in time with the music (some people would call it choreography, others would call it dancing). With their movement, certain body parts were also moving and it was very noticeable. Being a normal man, I was distracted from my worship by such movement. Afterwards, I overheard a couple of the preteens boys in a discussion about how these two women looked (they were camp counselors as well). It was obvious that I wasn't the only male that was stimulated...
Men whom I have counseled have told me similar stories. They become stimulated, and some even become triggered by such activity in the church. Their mind wanders away from worship and often this stimulation leads to acting out once they leave church. Not only do some become triggered by viewing worship leaders but sometimes they also become stimulated by the way that some women dress in the church. If they attend a church that "hugs," these men may also be triggered by such activity.
These men need the strength that comes with corporate worship but it often backfires for them.
How does a man who is addicted to sexual activity keep himself from becoming triggered when he goes to church? This is an extremely difficult thing for such men to work thru. There are no easy answers and it takes real work to follow thru with some of these ideas:
1 - Don't sit up front or where you can see the worship leaders
2 - Or sit close to the front behind a large person who will block your view (that way you won't see the women in the congregation nor the women up front)
3 - Close your eyes when you are singing
4 - Concentrate on the Creator rather than the creation
5 - Come late to the service so that you miss the worship time
6 - Consider going to a church that does not have such stimulating activity
7 - Sit with a male friend who knows of your struggles who will help you stay focused and not let you look around and who will pray for you while in church
8 - Talk to your pastor about your struggles and ask for assistance/ideas
9 - Join an accountability group and be honest about your thoughts during church and also pray about your mutual struggles.
These ideas are very hard to do and take much prayer, much mental discipline and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
The answer is not to just make sure that women dress correctly. In case you didn't know, in churches that have organs, many have a screen so that you cannot see the organist's feet. This is done because it used to be too sensual for men to see the organist's naked foot. So, policing what women in the church wear is not the answer.
If you are a pastor, worship leader, or someone in a position of authority in your church, I would encourage you to spend some time thinking and praying about your church and what kinds of messages your church may send to people who struggle with sexual sin. Ask God to give you wisdom so that your church is healthy and not a hindrance.BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
This honest two-part post is by an anonymous blogger:
“Guard you eyes”, my mother said. Seemed simple enough. How hard can it be, right? Or, so I thought until I stumbled across an advertisement featuring young woman with a nude upper body. I wasn’t looking through a pornographic magazine. It was some mundane publication that my parents had left in the bathroom. I was living in Europe at the time and the censorship laws there are much more lenient than in the United States, so an occasional sexually charged advertisement wasn’t entirely uncommon. I believe I was about seven years old at the time – a very young age to be exposed to porn. Of course, then there were several “friends” along the way who were eager to show me their porn collections, or that of their father's, or uncle's. I was quite taken by these images, though I didn’t fully understand sex. And why should I at that age?
I guess every tragedy has to start somehow, and mine started the day I randomly flipped through that magazine. Looking back, I suppose far worse things could have happened as a result of my poor choices. At the dawn of the internet, while I was still living with my parents, the fear of my parents finding out what I had could have been looking at on the computer kept from seeking out porn online. Fortunately, I wasn’t savvy enough to cover my tracks for quite some time. But, there were still those lenient censorship laws. I spent many a late night waiting for an erotic film to be shown. If nothing was broadcast to my liking I inevitably settled for the phone sex advertisements. I never called, but the girls were pretty - most of the time.
Unfortunately, this was the part of my life that I kept well hidden for many years. Apparently my parents were oblivious. I suppose it wouldn’t be entirely fair to blame them. They were raising a boy in a foreign culture and in a world in which parents weren’t very well educated in regards to the dangers of the internet. But, either way, the damage was done. Most people knew me as an introverted Christian kid from America. In many respects I appeared to be a good Christian boy to most folks. In high school I was very outspoken about my Christian beliefs, especially in the ethics classes I took, which provided plenty of opportunities for discussions about morality. Some of the guys called me the “Jesus Freak”. It wasn’t meant to be a compliment.
What is even more significant than the fact that my parents were oblivious to the secret part of myself that I kept tucked away, was that I was totally ignorant to the fact that I was setting myself up for a world of hurt. I had my first girlfriend when I was sixteen. We were both decent Christian kids, so we agreed that sex before marriage wasn’t an option. But, then there was the first kiss, the first French kiss, the first time making out. Soon enough I wasn’t particular interested in talking with her, I just wanted to experience the high I experienced from making out with her. And so the emotional intimacy quickly died, she lost interest, broke up with me, and that was that. I was devastated. I had been holding on to the idealistic notion that the first girl I dated would be the girl I married. As I reflect on that experience, I’m glad that she broke the relationship off. If she hadn’t I would have almost certainly pushed for intercourse eventually, regardless of how often I reassured myself that we wouldn’t cross that line. It was quite obvious that I had very little self-control.
Skip forward about 3 years. I now had my first great depression behind me. I had experienced severe emotional pain much of which was tied to being rejected and consequently feeling inadequate and insecure. There was much more to it than that, but that was a significant portion of my first emotional breakdown. I was now living with my parents in the United States. For some time I thought pornography was just a relic from my past. Unfortunately, that wasn‘t at all the case. As hard as I tried I eventually came back to it. After the fact I almost always said that it had been the last time. I even prayed that it would be. But, part of me still had my fingers crossed when I prayed that.
Then I met my future wife. I was honest with her about my past. At the time I thought it was in the past. She loved me anyway. Little did each of us know how much I would test her love. Physically we were both virgins when we got married, but mentally, and emotionally I was anything but pure. When we finally did get married, lo and behold, sex didn’t turn out to be like it was in the movies. As it turned out sex could sometimes be awkward, and take a lot of work and communication. My wife didn’t always know exactly what I wanted, when I wanted it, and neither was she always eager to give it to me. But, the women in the pictures and videos were. They say that anything worth having requires hard work to achieve. As it turns out the same thing is true of sexual intimacy. Sure, pornography always provided me with a quick and easy escape from my emotional pain, but afterwards it just irritated the gaping, festering wound in my heart.Tomorrow, we will see the second part of this very personal story.BE HOLY.BE A MAN
When it comes to porn, the question facing many men and women is simple: is it really wrong? Is it really that big of a deal? I mean, it’s just an image on a screen. It’s not someone I know, or someone I’m having an actual affair with, so I’m still faithful to my future (or current) wife. It’s just sexual release, like masturbation, and we all know that masturbation is not condemned in the Bible. It’s not even mentioned.
And isn’t sex a good thing, so what’s wrong in watching it happen? I’m just admiring beauty. And besides, I’m single, so what do you expect me to do with all this pent-up sexual energy? It seems like a safe release until I am
I’ve heard all of this, and more.
So is it really that big of a deal?
Yes, and here’s why:It is sexual sin
. Jesus made it clear that when we give in to lust, it is akin to the act itself. It makes no difference whether you know the person or not; lust is not tied to relationship.It is addictive
. The ubiquitous nature of porn is new to our culture, and to human sexuality, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is highly addictive in nature. As a result, it can not only begin to dominate a life, but can demand ever-increasing levels of exposure and ever-increasing degrees of experience to continue to stimulate.It is degrading to women
. In pornography, women are treated as objects. They are not fulfilling God’s dream for their life as His precious daughter, nor are they fulfilling His design for sexual expression and fulfillment. You are watching a woman who is being sinned against, treated in a way that is contemptible to her heavenly Father (whether she sees it or not – and the fact that many may not only adds to its tragic nature). And if you are a woman watching it for the men, it is equally degrading to them.It leads to other sins
. Studies are beginning to show that the effects of porn on men are more than temporary sexual stimulation: as they see women treated as objects, they begin to treat women that way. They become more sexually aggressive, leading to date rapes and expected “hook-ups.” It harms your relationship with your current, or future, spouse
. It is absolutely ridiculous to say that watching porn enhances a sexual life. Instead, it cheapens it. Those caught in its web testify to how porn quickly becomes a substitute for sexual intimacy with your spouse. It desensitizes your soul
. Sin of any kind desensitizes your spiritual life. Continued exposure to a sin such as pornography is like shooting novocaine into your soul. It deadens you and grieves the Holy Spirit in your life, forcing Him to withdraw His utmost filling in a way that diminishes His power and presence in your life.It distorts sex
. Nothing reduces sex to lust more than pornography. Yielding to such images is overwhelmingly addictive, like a narcotic that delivers a quick hit to the emotions or senses, but ravages you from within. It destroys real relationships, real intimacy, real sexuality.
I’m a pastor.
I talk with men who are dealing with the spiritual torment and guilt of engaging in pornography while trying to rationalize it away;
I talk with men who are having to fight it as an addiction;
I talk with men who are finding it is leading them to a warped view of women;
I talk with men who are experiencing its direct path to other sins;
I talk with men who are seeing its assault on their marriage;
I talk with men who are trying to awaken their souls from its deadening grip;
I talk with men who have distorted views of what sex is about.
I also talk to the wives of these men – I’ve seen the hurt, the betrayal, the wounding to intimacy, trust and self-esteem. And increasingly, I am having the same conversations with women who have become caught in its snare.
There is little doubt to those of us who work with people, and those who are themselves caught in its web, how pornography is destroying the sanctity of sex and the glory of marriage.
And we haven’t even broached what it is doing to the coming generation of men and women who have been exposed to it at the earliest of ages over multiple years.
So is pornography really wrong?
In every possible way.
This post is written by Rev. James Emery White. You can find the original post at this location: http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-james-emery-white/is-pornography-really-wrong.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Many agree that sexual perversion is rife across the world. Does that mean that all men are always looking at women like a piece of meat? Of course not. While every many has the visual hardwiring, not all men choose the path of lust every time they see an attractive woman. Perhaps they were protected from perverted, unhealthy views of sexuality while growing up and never began to objectify women as sex objects. Perhaps they've been delivered by God's grace.Pure men can notice a woman's beauty and still see her as a sister, moving from thinking SHE IS BEAUTIFUL! right back to their previous line of thought. But even for those men there are things happening inside them that they don't always consciously recognize, which explains why men appreciate beauty so intensely.This post is taken from Every Heart Restored (p 56).BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Impurity of the eyes and mind lives like a habit but fights like an addiction. Many habits are addictive. Smokers get the urge to smoke. Drug users "get a jones." Alcoholics get the shakes. For overcoming some addictions, the addictive source can be gradually reduced. For others, the best method is cold turkey. What works best with sexual impurity? Cold turkey. You cannot just taper down. Tapering down also brings with it the possibility of sexual binges that might go on for days. Binges crush your spirit.Cold turkey it must be. But how?By totally starving your eyes of all things sensual except for your wife. For singles, this means starving your eyes of all things sensual. This will help you overcome the desire for premarital sex with the women you date. If you starve your eyes just like the married guys, you'll see your date as a person and not an object.Taken from Every Man's Battle (pages 108-109).BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Sexual impurity has become rampant in the church because we've ignored the costly work of obedience to God's standards as individuals, asking too often, "How far can I go and still be called a Christian?" We've crafted an image and may even seem sexually pure while permitting our eyes to play freely when no one is around, avoiding the hard work of being sexually pure.A search for mere excellence is an inadequate approach to God, leaving us vulnerable to snare after snare. Our only hope is obedience.If we don't kill every hint of immorality, we'll be captured by our tendency as males to draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes. Be we can't deal with our maleness until we first reject our right to mix standards. As we ask, "How holy can I be?" we must pray and commit to a new relationship with God, fully aligned with His call to obedience.This material is taken from Every Man's Battle. BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
There have been a few times when I have been so angry, that I felt like slugging someone...
Let me set this up for you. The church that I attended would put on a terrific Easter Musical every year. It was a great production and much of the community would go. It was quite popular. I enjoyed being part of it.
I was at a fast food establishment and I overheard a conversation that I wish I had never heard. Two young men were talking about the Easter Musical. Since I was in the production, I listened intentionally. Then they started talking to each other about how to pick up girls. I heard the usual stupid man advice about showing off, flexing your muscles, driving a fast car, flattering, flirting, etc.
However, what I heard next was REALLY DISGUSTING.
I wish I hadn't been listening.
One young man said, "I take girls to that Easter Musical that's going on right now. I cry when Jesus is on the cross and they get all emotional. Then, when I get them home, they are like putty in my hands. I can do anything I want and they never say no." He continued, "If I can't get a girl to go with me, I will hang out afterwards and talk to the girls that have been crying. It's pretty easy to pick one up when they're like that." It made my blood boil. I wanted to slug the guy or say something but I was so angry and in such shock, I just sat there in disbelief.
Did you catch what was DISGUSTING about that conversation? God talks about this. He says, "They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin..."
Why is this disgusting?
Did you catch what this young man said? He took the most wonderful and supreme act of love and perverted it for his own selfish, sinful advantage. And not only that, he took others with him.
Do you find that disgusting?
I have talked about several disgusting things on this blog. What makes this the most disgusting thing I have ever heard?
Do you understand the gravity of this young man's statements?
It is downright disgusting to use something that is holy for sin. To defile God's holiness with sin is a major affront to God.
This conversation gave me a whole different perspective on God's Holiness and what it means to be a man.
A real man takes God's Holiness seriously. That doesn't mean that a real man can't have fun and can't make light of some things that happen, even in a church. But a real man knows better than to defile God with sin. God and sin can NEVER be connected, even the slightest connection is abhorrent to God.
Do you defile God's Holiness? Do you take Him seriously? God says we are to be holy in all we do.
Never connect God to sin.BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Has porn taken you down a path you can't talk about? What about lust, envy, pride? Do you find yourself wallowing in the mud?
You WERE a prodigal eating old cobs of leftovers in the pigsty. To restore your relationship with your Father, you had to get out of the mud and start walking home. You didn't have to clean yourself up first, but you did have to make that first step. On the road ahead, the Father would be waiting with a ring, a robe, shoes, and everything else an honored son is meant to have. But, FIRST, you had to come to your senses and take your first step toward home --toward purity--toward holiness--to being a REAL man--by making that covenant with your eyes.
"I made a covenant with myself to never undress a girl with my eyes" Job 31:1
Before long you may have felt a new light and lightness in your soul. Your sexual sin had brought a darkness so deep and smothering that when it vanished, the difference was so real you could practically touch it. You are loved and approved by God.
Along with inner peace comes an outer peace that affects your daily life. Now is the time, say a quick prayer asking for God's strength to leave your sin and your pigheadedness. BE HOLYBE A MANadapted from Every Man's Battle