Ephesians 5:3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
The problem of lust, impurity and immorality is a major issue with both genders today. Our society is plagued with sexual immorality and the church is no less affected.
The Internet has been unique in both its blessing, and its curse. Immorality in every form imaginable is at your fingertips via the Internet. Because of this fact, I have investigated, tested and used many programs for monitoring and accountability for computers and the Internet. The two best that I have found are “Covenant Eyes” and “I Am Big Brother”.
- “Covenant Eyes” monitors your Internet activity and reports it to accountability partners of your choice. Find out more by clicking here (http://www.seriousfaith.com/accountability.asp).
- “I Am Big Brother” allows you to monitor all activity on any given computer including instant messaging, email, etc. Find out more here (http://www.seriousfaith.com/accountability.asp).
I keep repeating this opening with each lesson so that the foundational idea remains clear. From our main Bible verse (Ephesians 5.3), notice the breakdown of the words in Greek:
- “immorality” (porneia) – illicit sex, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, all forms of deviant sexual activity, sex with a divorced man or woman
- “any” (pas) – all things, every, whosoever, everyone, whole, all manner of, every thing, whatsoever, always
- “impurity” (akatharsia) – uncleanness; lustful, luxurious, profligate living; impure motives
- “named” (onomazo) – call, to utter, to make mention of
Studying the original meaning helps us to understand how deep and encompassing this imperative from Paul is. He is saying, “let NO form of sexual impurity or lust or uncleanness be mentioned, uttered or named about any person who calls themselves ‘Christian'”.
At this point in our series, we have learned (view the all series here) that:
- The command for sexual purity is clear and all encompassing (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28; Acts 15:29; Romans 13:13-14; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Jude 7; Romans 12:1)
- Sexual sin does not just happen “by accident”; it is a series of steps that lead us closer and closer to edge of the “cliff” where a stumble or gust of wind can blow us off into tragedy.
- We are to flee sexual immorality; run from it; get as far away as possible rather than stand and put up a “fight” (1Cor 6.18)
- We cannot have a “two second mentality” about moral purity; “2 seconds” is a great rule for safe driving, but it is suicidal when it comes to sexual immorality. We should not simply be better than the world (a safe distance behind), we should know what God’s standard is, and adhere to it.
- Sexual immorality is always STUPID. It is never right, never healthy, never good and will never be without consequences (Gal 6.7); conversely, moral purity is always smart and will always be honored, rewarded and blessed by God.
A significant part of battling sexual immorality is knowing specifically what, where, who and when your particular battles are. Taking a “shoot from the hip” or “I’ll deal with it when it pops up” attitude is typically disastrous. On the other hand, if you identify and prepare for the battle, you won’t be caught by surprise or with your guard down when temptation comes calling.
The best way to teach this is by giving examples. Let’s say you’re a guy struggling with lust and everyday on your way home you pass by a billboard with swimsuit clad beauty that you just cannot keep your eyes off of. You’ve developed a habit of fanatizing or lusting about this image for several minutes after driving by, maybe even taking this woman (via your imagination) into your bedroom at home. This routine has formed unconsciously in your mind. You didn’t set out to do it, it just sort of evolved over time.
Okay, what to do now? First, know your enemy. Recognize and admit that this has become a source of moral failure for you. Recognize and admit the power it has come to have in your life. Don’t rationalize that it’s “just a billboard; I won’t look”.
Are you serious about removing the “hint” of sexual immorality in your life? What is the obvious best plan? You may have to have multiple options starting with the best: don’t drive by the sign. But that may not always be possible, nor can you avoid every billboard. So your plan might contain two elements: what will you do if you see an immoral billboard and what Bible verses can be brought to mind to keep lust out? You might decide to literally say out loud authoritatively “I have a covenant with my eyes, I will not look on anything unGodly” (Job 31.1). Then have a verse memorized that speaks of holiness or purity.
The point is that you KNOW your weaknesses,
you KNOW your enemy, and you have PLANNED your battle strategy.
It’s easy to pick on guys when it comes to visual images, so what about you ladies? First, I’m not so sure anymore that visual lust is the “guys only” problem it is generally declared to be. It is my opinion that our younger generations of females are becoming every bit as sensual and lustful as the fellas have a reputation for.
Let’s take a female who struggles with immorality in the form of fantazing about life or sex with another man and it is manifested by what she does when her husband is not at home. Maybe she indulges herself via soap operas on TV, or chatting online with men over the Internet.
Beware… the Internet now allows electronic adultery
to march straight into our homes without ever ringing
the doorbell or sneaking in a window
So what can a woman do in this situation? The same as the guy – recognize the source of the problem and the opportunity for sin that it represents (know your enemy!) Then have a plan and Bible verses that will steer you away from sin and towards holiness. Make your situation known to a Godly woman who can hold you accountable. Ask a Godly mentor to feel free to drop by or call unexpectedly and ask how you’re doing in this area. Load software on your computer that will record what you are doing for someone else to help monitor. Turn the TV off. Make plans for Bible study or Christian service during the times when you would have been watching TV. Write Bible verses on index cards to pull out and quote when the temptation arises.
The point is, you must have a plan. You must be proactive and aggressive about moral purity in your life. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum or by accident. You have to want it, choose it and go after it.
2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (KJV)
The idea here of “giving all diligence” is that while God empowers us (and He is ultimately the only reason why we can succeed), we are to come along side of God and try with all our might. It’s like a father who is teaching his young son how to mow the grass. By himself, the boy is powerless to push or control the heavy lawnmower. So Dad puts his hands next to the boy’s and pushes/guides the mower while the little boy works as hard as he can to do it himself.
We are to do the same in our Christian walk. We are to try as hard as we possibly can, knowing and understanding that God is pushing and steering for us.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Think about your daily routine… is there something that you see daily that causes you to lust?
- Are there people, conversations, images or entertainment sources that lead you to sexually immoral thoughts?
- Do you have the habit of “checking out” certain people at your office, on TV or in magazines who are “pleasant to the eyes”?
- Do you seek out the sexually appealing portions of magazines, papers or the Internet?
- Do you consider some things “innocent” that in reality are causing you to lust or be tempted? (underwear catalogs, swimsuit issues, TV shows with immodestly dressed persons, health magazines)
- Are there places that you go that are sources of tempation? (the mall, the beach, certain restaurants, sporting events)
Sexual pleasure is a relentless temptation, and don’t think for a minute this just applies to viewing pornography or committing adultery. It is just as destructive in the form of lustful thoughts, emotional fantazing or casual sexual gratification (visual, emotional or physical).
When it comes to sexual purity, it IS a battle. It doesn’t happen by default or accident. You must know your enemy and fight hard to be pure and holy. God WILL give you the victory if you allow Him empower you (“push the mower”) but God expects us to be active and aggressive about purity.
Our Heavenly Father, Helps to know and recognize the areas of our life that lead us into sexual impurity. We prayer that You will empower us and guide us and we give our very best effort to be holy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Have you taken time to know your enemy? What areas, activities, places, people and things send you towards impurity? Do you have a plan on how to avoid or battle the enemy?
Application: We fool ourselves if we think we will be morally pure by default, by accident or without effort. We live in a world that relentlessly presents opportunities for sexual immorality and without a deliberate effort to be holy, we cannot help but be influenced by the world. Know your enemy; have a plan.
- If you are having trouble with immorality and the Internet, Covenant Eyes is my recommended service for helping you in this area. This service tracks your activity, and send a report or the accountability partner(s) you choose. Find out more here: http://www.seriousfaith.com/accountability.asp
- If you need to monitor and record the activity on a computer including email and instant messaging, my recommended program is “I Am Big Brother”. It cannot be uninstalled without security privileges and can run secretly in the background. Find out more here: http://www.seriousfaith.com/accountability.asp
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?