The following is a video post I recorded 2 years ago. While the video may be dated, the content is timeless. We are exhorted by God's Word to live without a "hint" of sexual immorality. The abundant life in Christ is only found in radical obedience to His Word.
The Holiness of God
by R.C. Sproul
Order on Amazon.com
Everybody loves a good story. The drama, the suspense, the unexpected twists and turns that draw us into the characters and the momentum of the plot. We like it when good triumphs over evil and when, in the end, the guy wins the girl. Even sad stories capture us as we feel the emotion of each character as they suffer or grieve.
What seems to be consistent in all good stories is a piece of reality to which we can connect it. We like to think that what compels us to become enthralled in a really good story could somehow happen, even in the smallest sense, in our own lives.
When I was a kid I watched Superman. What a great story! Baby gets jetted off a distant planet just before it gets destroyed and lands on earth. But he isn't like other babies. No, this kid has special "gifts." He was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (or something like that).
But his powers weren't what actually made the story great. It was his struggle with how to use his powers that drew me into the story. Would he hide his special abilities and just try to fit into this foreign culture of human beings? Or would he use his powers for selfish gain? (What guy hasn't wished for x-ray vision?) But he knows deep inside that such gifts are to be used for good, to save lives and resist evil. That makes the story great, and is why I would wear a cape, pretend I was flying and "become" Superman.
We don't just love good stories. We want to be part of a good story. We all want what the good stories offer: a spark that moves others to respond. We want our lives to compel someone to "put on a cape" and emulate the good we are striving for. But a problem arises when we engage this pursuit? We discover we can't achieve good or offer the "perfect story" for others to admire. And rather than continuing our search to be part of a great story, we give up, tuck our head, and resolve that Clark Kent is as close to the dream we can get. But I believe there is another way, a way you and I can be part of the best story.
Superman is cool and did some pretty wild stunts, like reversing the earth's rotation to "rewind" time. (if you're a physicist, please don't write me explaining how that could never accomplish this) But while Superman is cool, he's got nothing on Jesus. (also, Superman isn't real...) Jesus created the heavens and the earth, raised men from the dead, walked on water, fed thousands with a handful of fish and bread, and made a way for us to be part of His story -- forever.
Jesus' story is the most compelling of all, and it started a bit like Superman's story. Jesus left His place in heaven to be born as a baby on earth. He came on a mission to save human beings from the deadly effects of sin (separation from God). He was tempted to use His power for selfish gain and abandon His mission. But He chose to complete His mission and sacrifice Himself to pay the penalty that we all owed to God for our sin. Upon completing His mission He then offered to us the simplest way possible to cross from death (where sin leads) to life (what Jesus brought through the cross): faith. Everyone who believes in Jesus becomes part of a new story, one with a great ending.
But what about your story to this point? Does it matter? Is it worth telling? Absolutely! No matter what your story includes, it matters. It may not seem compelling to you, or interesting, or dramatic, or mysterious, or anything that resembles a blockbuster Hollywood hit. But you are precious to God, so much so that even before you took your first breath He was "reading" your story. With rapt attention, I might add. He loves you, total story included.
Here at Be Broken Ministries we value story. It matters immensely to us when a person takes that courageous step to spill their guts and share their story. A story of pain, secrets, sin, betrayal, lust, anger, shame, everything. Nervously, they dip their toes in the water, wondering if a shark is circling, just waiting to devour them once they jump in all the way.
But there is no shark, only regular people who desire healing for broken souls drowning in the dark. As more and more of their story bursts forth, the Light of Jesus cascades into hidden places in their soul and a new sense of hope and freedom and direction is realized. Could it be that the way out of their terrible bondage might come by way of telling their story? It seems too simple, so it must not be. How could sharing a story matter that much?
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Rom. 10:17)
No one comes to God without faith. And no one acquires faith without hearing God's story. What a picture. The God of all things telling us a story. A story that changes everything. But what moves me most about this picture is that after God tells His story, He sits quietly, patiently, and says to us, "Tell me your story."
For some of you, He is still waiting. And He is still interested...
Because your story matters...
Secrets: A true story of addiction, infidelity and second chances
by Jonathan Daugherty
Order at New Growth Press
The devil isn't creative, just persistent...
I have come into contact with thousands of sex addicts over the years. I myself was bound up in sexual addiction for 13 years. In all my interactions with the issue of sexual lust, I have come to realize one fundamental characteristic that is common to its nature: lies. There is never one moment in which lust tells you the truth. And it is this key insight that can actually help you break free from the chains of lust...for good.
In this brief article I want to share with you some of the primary lies that your lust will tell you. These probably won't shock you (especially if you've been believing them), but my hope is that by exposing them you will become more aware of the moments in which you are drifting toward their appeals and take the corrective action to flee to the shelter of truth.
Lie #1: Lust will bring contentment
The bedrock of the lies of lust rests on the idea that God, and whatever he can offer, just isn't enough. This is the lie that ultimately led to the original sin. When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, he planted the seed of doubt in her mind that God was not actually good and not all that she needed to be content. He enticed her mind to begin entertaining thoughts that God was withholding something from her that she needed. This seed of doubt traveled from her mind to her will, eventually appealing its case to her senses when she "saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye." This captures the moment when lust was born in the heart of mankind.
This lust has burned in our sin nature from the very beginning of the fall. And the enemy has used this greatly to his advantage when it comes to sexual lust. Our sexual lust is aroused whenever it reaches the line dividing what God has said is right and pure for our minds and bodies and what sin demands in opposition. We hear the whispers of the father of lies telling us that God is restrictive in his requirements regarding our sexuality, and that the fruit of our lust will complete us and make us whole, fulfilling our truest, deepest desires. When we begin to spin these lies in our mind, it isn't a far journey to looking and seeing that such forbidden fruit is "pleasing to the eye."
Lust, however, only produces more discontent. Lust is perpetually dissatisfied. That is the nature of lust, constantly demanding more, promising that what is just outside your reach is what will ultimately satisfy. But each time you believe the lie, you are left craving more because you came up terribly empty. Lust never satisfies...never.
Lie #2: Lust will not hurt anyone
This is what we are led to believe when we begin to listen to the lies of lust. Even as our discontent grows and the evidence mounts that lust can't give us what we need, we dive in deeper because we are certain that we aren't hurting anyone. After all, what you do in the dark when no one is looking can't possibly affect others, right? Wrong!
Pornography is the most common avenue by which this "lust-won't-hurt-anyone" thinking derives. Millions of men (and women) each week gaze lustfully at the nude images portrayed through porn and quietly tell themselves, "I'm not hurting anyone. These are just pictures. It's not like I'm actually having an affair or fornicating."
Have you ever stopped for just a brief moment and given a thought about the women (or men) in the porn? That is somebody's daughter or son. That is a REAL person being abused through the exploitation of the body God fashioned around their soul. They are made in the image of God and they are being hurt. Lust lies when it deceives you into thinking that it doesn't hurt anyone.
Lie #3: Lust will enhance your sexual relationship
Welcome to 21st century broadcast television and the dysfunctional world of Hollywood! The sexual message espoused by the media and our culture is this: monogamous sex in marriage isn't enough. And our flesh craves this lie of lust.
Countless couples, whether married or not, believe that bringing porn or some other sexually stimulating material into their bedroom will enhance their relationship. But the fundamentals of lust's deception don't change. Adding to God's design will never cause improvement. The design God established for sex (one man with one woman in covenant marriage) was designed perfectly. It cannot be enhanced, improved upon, or added to. Whenever we try to improve what God has already declared good, we most certainly have entered into the realm of deception and sin.
The sadness of this lie of lust is that it causes individuals to believe that sex is merely a physical act, devoid of true intimacy and attachment. But sex is more than a physical act. It is emotional, spiritual, and even a bit mysterious. God made it this way because sex was to be a picture of the depth of intimacy we could share in our relationship with him. It is deeply personal, uniquely vulnerable, and permanently bonding. To believe that sex is just bodies connecting is to miss the whole point. And that's exactly what lust desires.
God, however, desires that we live free from the suffocating chains of our lust. He also provides the means by which we can live such a life of freedom. Jesus promised that after his resurrection and ascension into heaven that he would send a helper, his Holy Spirit, and that he would lead us into all truth. As a believer in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit in us and therefore we have the power to live free from the lies of lust. We are even promised in Galatians 5:16 that as we "live by the Spirit... you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." As we grow in our dependence on God's Holy Spirit to life his life through us, we are promised that lust will not dominate us.
With such a great promise given to us, we would do well to focus our attention on what it means to "live by the Spirit." And thankfully, God doesn't make that complicated for us. To live by the Spirit is to know Truth (i.e. Jesus) and follow him (John 8). Knowing truth comes by knowing the Word of God, and interacting with him through prayer. Moment by moment we live connected to our Creator, through faith in Jesus, so that his life may live through us. This is living by the Spirit. And it is pure peace, comfort and joy!
The Lies We Believe
by Chris Thurman
Order on Amazon.com
My eyesight has never been that great. I could blame my mother and father, but then they would have to blame their parents and so on. Regardless of how my genetic makeup came to create my eyes as they are, the fact of the matter is that if I don't have contacts or glasses on I am virtually blind. This allows my wife to have some fun with me in the mornings and at night when my corrective lens aren't in place, as she might hold something up ten feet away from me and ask if I can tell what it is. I don't do well at this game...
Although my physical eyesight continues to deteriorate, my spiritual eyes are seeing more clearly than ever. While I look around at all that this world has to offer, its appeal wanes. I see the wealth, the fame, and all that seeks to draw me into a mindset that believes that somehow there could be true life and peace in these temporary trappings. But I am seeing those things for what they truly are, a horrible delusional distraction from the One who gives eternal life, true peace. All that attempts to draw me away from Jesus is not worth straining my eyes to see.
One of my long-time musical "heroes" is Rich Mullins. Although Rich isn't with us any longer, and I didn't know him personally, the impression he left on me has been lasting. I was in college in the early nineties and just fell in love with his song writing. I mean, who comes up with lines like, "There is fury in the pheasant's wings?" That's golden! But more than his writing and musical genius, it was his heart for Jesus that pierced me. Rich loved God, even in his imperfections and brokenness. He displayed for all to see what abandonment to God might just look like. And what it looked like was a man who embraced the unimaginable grace of God.
I have experienced such grace in my own life. And it is shaping how I see life and the world around me. Apart from grace I would be forced to see this world and the people in it through cynical, bitter eyes. I would see greed, lust, abuse, anger, and all else that sin has darkened as reason to cower in a lonely corner of the planet and simply wait for judgment to rain down. But grace has changed everything -- everything!
I don't see the people around me as pitiful excuses for humanity who God should have wiped out centuries ago. I see lost, dying, needy people whose eyes simply haven't been opened yet. I see people who can only see through the lens of their physical vision, who can only see the hurt, pain, and hopelessness of a world under the spell of sin. I see wonderful, beautiful, broken people for whom Christ willingly carried the cross and paid the final, total payment for their sins. I see lives of infinite possibilities just waiting to be unleashed the moment they encounter, and embrace, the grace of their Maker.
While I wouldn't ever desire to be blind, I wouldn't mind if my vision continues to worsen as I look at all that tries to appeal to my sin nature. Because I want to continue to sharpen my vision for truth, resting fully in the wonderful grace of Jesus. As I gaze into His beautiful face, His glory blinds me to all else. I can then see clearly that it is only by His grace that I stand, that I truly live, and that I can touch those around me with any impact. Grace blinds us to sin's appeal and to ourselves, thus allowing us to finally live as God intended: by faith.
Will you look today into the compassionate, inviting face of Jesus and be blinded by His grace? I pray you will, for when you do all else fades and life truly becomes worth living.