Genesis 3:6: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
The truth is this struggle with sexual purity started long before our time in a garden with two loving human beings. Regardless of whose side you take – to blame Eve for being deceived, or to blame Adam for realizing what happened and plunging in too – the fact remains that these two individuals had ONE commandment to keep and failed. The Pandora’s Box story must have been based on this event because truly this was the start of all of mankind’s misery and the reason we all struggle with sexual purity.
The Bible identifies three ways the world works – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-16). Eve succumbed to all three at once but she did leave us some valuable lessons.
Lust in a general sense is any intense, untamed or disobedient human desire. So in terms of sexual desires, we can look at lust as a legitimate human desire hijacked by sinfulness. Although Adam and Eve gained the knowledge of good and evil, they forever lost control over their world and their flesh because in the day they disobeyed and ate of that fruit, their spirit severed every connection to God!
In the flesh we today face the same battles. Yet, there’s another side to the story now, because long before our time the struggle was ended, and the battles were won, when Jesus Christ died for us and rose again! To top it off, He’s so reasonable that He’s given just ONE commandment to keep when we partake in His death, burial and resurrection – to love the Lord our God with all our heart. We can then consider that maybe our biggest problem with sin and sexual purity as humans is found in the word “ALL”. It’s time to do some searching again – do you love the Lord with ALL your heart as the Lord commands?
Sexual impurity, whichever form it takes, starts with a failure to set your heart to love the Lord with your all. Today is another day of confession. Consider where you have failed Him in the past and tell Jesus about your current failures. Don’t worry about how to solve this problem today – all you need today is repentance.
Heavenly Father, you know all of my heart and there is nothing hid from your sight. Today, I bare it all before you so that you can cleanse me and do your will in me. Help me to love you with all my heart.
Titus 2:11 – 12: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Believe it or not, I used to think that I was pure. Yep, somewhere in my not-so-messed up teenage mind, I had the audacity to look up to heaven and think to God, “You see what a wonderful job I’m doing keeping myself right?” High school saw me graduate a virgin, having never had a girlfriend, and holding it – the Christian faith that is. I felt like I deserved a medal in sexual purity!
Well fast forward a couple years and a couple touches of the Holy Ghost, then the song Roll Back the Curtains of Memory became real to me when I really met Jesus. I started having flashbacks to all the mess, gunk and junk I had been entertaining over the years of my childhood into young adult years. You’d be surprised how much impurity can be found in your past if you let the Holy Ghost sift and search your heart.
Maybe you feel like you have already resolved the issues of your past. Or maybe you are at the point of ignorance not knowing how messed up your purity is. Maybe you have even tried and failed many times and this devotional caught you when you’re about ready to give up on yourself and give in to sin. Today, for you and especially you, I offer hope in Jesus Christ.
I started with a confession to you…can you also start the journey to sexual purity with a confession? Here’s your invitation to confess to Jesus all that has happened. Start anywhere… then keep going. You’ll be surprised how much there is to tell Him.
Lord I confess to you all the sins and guilt of my past. As you search my heart, Lord show me my weaknesses and your compassionate love..
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealousof good works.
It seems like so much of the world we live in resolves around that one word. Christians want to enjoy it as much as sinners. Old as well as young. Females as much as males.
And you know what, everyone feels like they have their own right to sex to do what they want and how they want. A day doesn’t pass without some news of infidelity between committed partners, LGBT advocating for same sex rights, child sexual abuse, or other ways that the sex craze has gone outside of Biblical principles.
So how did something that God created good become so bad for society? Amid all of this mayhem, how can Christians hold on to the true principles of the Word of God regarding sex? Can youths today think about sex safely without sin and lust taking over? These are all worthwhile questions for which the answers can be found in the Word of God.
God created humans as sexual beings – yes “male and female created he them.” In fact, one of the first commandments ever given to mankind was, Be fruitful and multiply. In other words, Go have a lot of sex and make babies to fill the planet! Ahh, let’s put some breaks on right there. There are conditions! Sex was not designed to be a free-for-all. From the beginning even as God set boundaries between land and sea, day and night, even so boundaries were set about an act so important to humanity as sexual intercourse.
This month we will explore God’s boundaries around sex and the idea of Sexual Purity as outlined in the scriptures. This series is for everyone since each of us at some point in our lives will think about sex. Even though you may be reading this for your own edification, consider how many are out there who have no knowledge of God’s truth and feel free to share anything that may help someone.
Now let’s journey on together into Sexual Purity!
Lord, I praise you that you created all things good. As I begin to read and medidate on your desires for purity in my life, help me Jesus to be more like you.
Connecting with someone before they get whisked into a meeting is less than ideal when they reveal something you had been blind to. She told me she was once as into ‘it’ as I am. That my expressions were once hers. Sadness played on her smile as she continued. Something pushed her away from it, from Him. It was a guilty pleasure, she said. She spoke with a conviction even I override now and then, “Presumptuous sinning is wrong, God charges you for it more than the ignorant, I can’t be in God’s face like that.” Yet here she was, not as ‘committed’ as I am. The thing is, I felt she was talking about me.
God and I disagree on what pleasures are acceptable, even if I don’t do the things myself. I ask things like, “What’s so wrong about having the last dumpling covered in curried chicken gravy even if I am full, or hitting the snooze button for the fourth time, or a glass of wine now and then, or masturbating, (that’s not technically fornication if it’s just one person), I add, or buying the 3rd outfit with no use for it, or binge watching a series that is ‘clean’ but says nothing about God or stalking celebrity pages that promote nothing I stand for or at worst, is fashionable pornography or watching an all-night funny cat video marathon? Come on! They are just cats!” If my conscience could be silent, I would get away without feeling guilty too. But there is something God wanted to teach me about the human desire.
“St. Thomas says [I-II, Q.34, a.4] that a man is good when his will takes joy in what is good, evil when his will takes joy in what is evil. He is virtuous when he finds happiness in a virtuous life, sinful when he takes pleasure in a sinful life. Hence the things that we love tell us what we are.”
Thomas Merton, Thoughts In Solitude, Pg. 11
I find pleasure in things that have nothing to do with God because they make me happy. I would go further to say, even more than the things that honor Him. But this is something I am far from comfortable with. Authors Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey shares about a pleasure/pain experiment:
“Then, somewhat characteristically, he recruited volunteers among the female students who agreed to let him stimulate the nerves of the clitoris electrically. To his surprise, he found no nerve ending that could be designated a “pleasure nerve.” In fact, the main feature of the erogenous landscape was an abundance of the free nerve endings normally associated with pain.
Weddell concluded that sexual pleasure, too, is more perception than sensation. Sensors of touch, temperature, and pain dutifully record the mechanical aspects of one body coming into con- tact with another. But pleasure involves an interpretation of those reports, a process heavily dependent on subjective factors such as anticipation, fear, memory, guilt, and love. Physiologically, sexual intercourse between two lovers and the ordeal of rape involves the same nerve endings—but one registers as beauty, the other as horror. Pleasure, even more than pain, emerges as a by-product of cooperation among many cells, mediated and interpreted by the higher brain. ”
Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants – Pg. 59-60
So, are they saying something I find pleasurable can turn into pain if I just changed my mind about it? Trust me, I’ve tried, don’t work. Or so I thought. I needed to see the end of my pleasures. Solomon ran ahead and did that. His conclusion was it was all meaningless, like chasing the wind. (Eccl. 2)
Real Pleasure Defined
How does prayer and study become more pleasurable and not painful or just mundane? Romans 12:1 shares the renewal that takes place. But how? Colossians 3:1 states it beautifully, it’s setting my heart/eyes/mind on things above so constant renewal can take place.
How then do I define these heavenward pleasures so I can submit to this process of renewal? The late Ravi Zacharias has defined this using these three biblical points:
Anything that refreshes you without distracting you from your final goal is legitimate. (What is the ultimate goal of your life?)
Any pleasure that jeopardizes the sacred right of another is an illicit pleasure
Any pleasure, however good, if not kept in balance will distort reality or destroy appetite
While sinful things feel good even fantastic at the moment, it is short-lived and harmful. Jesus said it best:
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Mark 4:18-19 KJV
Imagine the thing that should cleanse our ways barren and dried up. The results of that are uncontrollable lusts that lead to sin and ultimately death. Perhaps we need to see ‘innocent’ pleasures as leaven.
God of the Happy
Despite what others say or our own thoughts, God is interested in our happiness, in us finding pleasure. It’s the source that has always been the problem.
“Being happy in God and living righteously tastes far better for far longer than sin does. When my hunger and thirst for joy is satisfied by Christ, sin becomes unattractive. I say no to immorality not because I hate pleasure but because I want the enduring pleasure found in Christ.” ― Randy Alcorn, Happiness
I am happiest with Jesus; I smile more; I overthink less, my fears are subdued by His grace, I find meaning for my life, motivation for purpose, I am more productive, and have peace down to the depths of my soul. Anything else and I become overwhelmed, flustered and depressed.
What can we do starting today? Replace mindless scroll time to check up on a friend, or pray for them. Share meals at lunch to avoid overeating, give that money to somebody in need that you would have used to buy the extra outfit. Think about things that make you experience closeness to God. Do more of that. When you are overwhelmed and tempted to waste time on a series that adds no value to your life that you will end up regretting, find another one to watch! Just let it be God glorifying, I highly recommend The Chosen, they even have an app for better quality! And let’s not forget music, use the weapons of melody to redirect your thoughts.
Have extra time on your hands? Give yourself to volunteerism in the ministry and or shelters, hospitals, prisons, etc. It’s amazing how understanding someone else’s struggles reduces the delight in selfish pleasures. If you are tempted, at the moment, say it to a friend or leader, confession is POWERFUL. Ask them to pray for you. If you can change your environment do so. All of life’s war is choosing one thought over the other. Don’t let one sinful thought escape, they have a way of growing into monsters. Fight to the end. Remember, you are precious.