Summary: When I think right sexually, I will act right sexually.
Relationships in the Kingdom – Part 2
April 29, 2001
On Sunday nights, Kim and I have a ritual. My day usually comes to an end around 8:30 p.m. getting me home in time to watch our one regular TV program, the law drama known as “The Practice,” which comes on at 9:00. I settle into my chair with feet propped up on the ottoman. Kim takes her place on the sofa - an hour of wind down time is ready to begin. We’ve come to really enjoy this evening together. Invariably a commercial break roughly halfway into the program hails the latest product from a regular advertiser. The screen pans the curves of a shapely woman’s body, and the familiar seductive voice bears these glad tidings… “Victoria’s Secret presents a new line of lingerie for the spring season…”
Kim turns her head from the television and says, “OK. You need to look at ME now. So how was small group tonight? What do you have going on in the morning?” I must be more of a multi-tasker than I think, because I’m listening to Kim but still hearing the words from the TV, “indulge yourself in satiny smooth fabrics designed to give you maximum cleavage, while bringing unsurpassed comfort, on an on…”
All the while beautiful young models like Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Laetitia Casta are parading around in nothing but their skivvies. We love this underwear! We feel so free! So natural! So rich because of what we get paid!
Why, I ask you, instead of looking at Kim and listening to what she has to say, am I still fighting the urge to glance at the television? Why, if she were to look away, would I immediately have the desire to see the rest of the commercial?
To get a good gift idea for Kim’s birthday? To learn more about effective communication strategies that hold people’s attention?
No, it’s because of an issue that goes much deeper. Because of something we all struggle with – and something we need to deal with.
You know, it’s difficult for Christians to admit they struggle with lust. Often we think we’re alone, and no one would understand.
I think one preacher hit it on the head when he said, “It’s surprising to find that most of us are like the rest of us.”
Charles Mylander writes: “Am I the only one who failed miserably in combating lust while seeming to succeed in most of my Christian life? Don’t others struggle too?” (From Mike Breaux message on Lust, 1993 Natl. Youth Leaders Convention)
The answer is, yes, we do.
Let’s read the words of Jesus from Matthew 5:27-28…
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
It’s pretty plain from these words, God doesn’t approve of our lustful thoughts. And even though Jesus says lust is sinful, I believe today lust isn’t so much viewed a sin as much as it is perhaps the national pastime.
ILLUS - I remember relating to a gym full of high school students how Jesus asks us to stay sexually pure - a group of boys had recently started attending our weekly youth event, sitting in the back – judging by their reaction when they learned what the Bible had to say about engaging in sex before marriage – you’d have thought they’d never heard anything so ridiculous. I’ve often wondered what they would have thought if the message that night was on what Jesus said simply about having lustful thoughts. Either way, the concept to them was totally foreign.
ILLUS - Philip Yancey relates how a professor Virginia Stem Owens assigned the Sermon on the Mount to her composition class at Texas A&M University. She asked her students to write a short essay on this passage of Scripture. Here is what one student wrote: “The things asked in this sermon are absurd. To look at a woman is adultery. That is the most extreme, stupid, unhuman statement that I have ever heard.” (The Jesus I Never Knew, p. 130).
Professor Owens reflected: “There is something exquisitely innocent about not realizing you shouldn’t call Jesus stupid…I find it strangely heartening that the Bible remains offensive to honest, ignorant ears, just as it was in the first century.” (Ibid.)
It’s still shocking today. Shocking to many that God places limits on acceptable sexual behavior. Shocking, and perhaps unfathomable, to many more that God actually places limits on acceptable sexual thoughts.
ILLUS - In the recent book, Speechless, Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and his pastor, Scotty Smith, say this: “In the Gospel we discover we are far worse off than we thought and far more loved than we ever dreamed.” (As heard in the intro of tape #206 from Preaching Today)