There are some shocking statistics pertaining to the sensuality in our culture. I was blown away by the Christianity Today survey that returned results showing that 1 in 4 Christian men have had an affair and close to half have acted in sexually inappropriate ways. Satan has used sensuality to trap between 25% and 50% of Christian men and make them ineffective for Christ because they are giving in to temptation. That is startling. I praise God that the story doesn’t have to end there because Jesus paid the wages for that sin on the cross if we will surrender to Him! Here are the results on the church.
- No wonder the Church has lost its grip on holiness.
- This is why it is slow to discipline its members.
- And it is dismissed by the world as irrelevant.
- No wonder so many of its children reject it
The Story of David
Why are we addressing the discipline of purity first? “Sensuality is easily the biggest obstacle to godliness among men today and is wreaking havoc in the Church.” Men, do we love God more, or lust more? If Satan can attack and defeat men in this area, he can stop the forward movement of the church.
The story of David is a lesson and a warning to men about the path to impurity. We see David progressively desensitized to sin as his heart descended from holiness. He says, “Men, it is the ‘legal’ sensualities, the culturally acceptable indulgences, which will take us down.” Things like TV and the things we find it ok to talk and joke about put us on a path of desensitization.
The second flaw in David’s conduct was that he relaxed from a disciplined life and from his morals. We must be careful not to think we are above a certain sin and be vigilant to setup barriers to sin.
David’s third failure was that of fixation. When he saw Bathsheba, he kept looking . . . and looking. He should have turned away, but he forgot obedience to God and the very reality of God and His holiness. Lust will end up taking control. “At this moment God . . . loses all reality . . . Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.” The longer he looked, just like the longer we look, the more God is fading from view.
David Was a Depraved Man
What was the role of rationalization and degeneration in the path of David’s sin? After justifying his sin in his own mind and sleeping with her, he then attempted to cover it up through lies and ultimately, murder. It is easy to look down on David as a depraved man doing something we would never dream of doing. However, as we fight the battle of purity, we are only an undisciplined moment away from the same path. Beware of rationalization. Thoughts like “How can something that has brought such enjoyment be wrong?” or “God’s will for me is to be happy” will sink their long teeth into our hearts and drag us down. We then are tempted to go to great lengths to hide our sin and “protect ourselves.” Hidden sin will usually become repeated sin.
1 Thes 4:3-8 is a direct call to purity. This is our command.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
What Can we Do?
So, how can we pursue purity? How do we train ourselves to be godly? It is a vital pursuit as the “Church can have no power apart from purity.” That is so true! Not only can we individually have no spiritual victory in our lives without purity, but the Church is also affected by our “private” actions. What steps should we take?
– It is much more difficult to rationalize when we have true accountability with someone willing to be in touch with us.
– Spend time intentionally praying for your purity. Also, ask someone else to specifically pray for your purity.
– Guys, this one is powerful, but few are willing to do the work. It seems to me that our culture is losing the ability or discipline to memorize. Do you want victory in the discipline of purity? I challenge you to memorize the 1 Thes 4:3-8 passage listed above.
– What do we allow into our minds? “Men, it is impossible for you to maintain a pure mind if you are a television-watching “couch potato.” We need to get radically serious about guarding what goes into our mind. Let there be not a hint of sexual immorality among us including what we observe.
– PUT UP HEDGES OF PROTECTION. Men, we should never discuss items of a personal nature with a woman other than our wives. Don’t share troubles and don’t let her. Be overly careful with issues of touch. Some ladies complain that men give little side hugs rather than full on “hold me close” hugs. Let them complain. I’d rather stay faithful and honor my wife. Don’t allow yourself to be alone with another woman. Don’t flirt. These hedges are vital to our purity. Every man that has come to me after falling into sexual sin has been able to identify hedges that they failed to put up. Enough said.
– Every one of us can fall. Deal with this discipline seriously.
– Sexual sin is sin against God, not just some bodily function. May we walk with God.
Can I Ask you This?
I’d love to hear what you thought are. What does God’s holiness have to do with ours? How can we keep our thoughts and actions pure in the face of the sensuality of our society? What are your ideas for hedges and disciplines to uphold purity? Let’s work together to take the fight to Satan and live holy, pure, effective, spiritually powerful lives! What do you think?
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