Beware, sensuality leaves a lasting legacy
I’ve been reading a book “Disciplines of a Godly man” by R Kent Hughes. If you are guy, you need to read this. If you are married to, or dating a guy, buy your man this book as a late Christmas present. There is so much hard hitting truth in this book, I read chapter 2 yesterday and was so convicted that I decided to write about it.
The chapter is about sexual purity and the statistics are alarming. According to a survey done by Christianity Today 25% of Christian men confessed to have committed adultery, 50% of Christian men surveyed confessed they had done something sexually inappropriate. The writer explains that this leads to an inescapable conclusion: “The contemporary evangelical church, broadly considered is Corinthian to the core. It is being stewed in the molten juices of its own sensuality”. OUCH!!!
The Corinthian church struggled with holiness in the midst of a pagan, sensually charged culture. The church today is not so different. Consider the shows we watch, the music we listen to, the jokes we make and you will quickly see how subtly Corinthian we still are. We have not separated ourselves from many Corinthian ties. There are at least 3 reasons for this lack of separation. The first 2 are “palatable” but the third one is frightening and requires much humility to accept.
- We live in a thoroughly Corinthian environment
Through the media (TV, Magazines, Music, Comedy) we are constantly exposed to sensuality. It has become normal to make sexual jokes, flirt around, use foul language, and get a little “tipsy” with friends. These cultural delights are laughed off and we use excuses to rationalize our lack of holiness – “It’s just innocent fun”. “I’m not hurting anyone”. “Surely God wants me to be happy”. “At least I go to church on Sunday”. We “rationalize” while a lot of this behaviour flies in the face of New Testament commands on holiness.
- We believe purity is old and Victorian
Christians do from time to time toss out holiness in an attempt to be with it. The idea of modesty, purity, and self-control has become synonymous with being out of touch, or Victorian. Maybe you tempted to think that now while reading this blog. “Here’s another one of those legalistic Christians”. “Here’s a guy taking the FUN out of Fundamentalism”. Please continue reading. Honestly, I wrestle with these issues too. I don’t want to be Victorian and out of it. I want to be cool and in. I want to contribute to conversations and have people like me. But at the same time I must fight to believe that God doesn’t want to deprive me of joy and fun, rather, God wants to give me authentic, lasting joy, even if it means not being culturally with it. Yet, like you, I too sometimes get this wrong and I need to repent for my lack of holiness and satisfaction in God.
- We suffer from forgetfulness
Like I said, this one takes humility to accept…are you ready? …When we ignore holiness, we forget God. Bonhoeffer observed that when lust takes control, “At this moment…God loses all reality…Satan does not fill us with hatred for God, but forgetfulness of God”. God disappears to lust-glazed eyes.
Whenever we succumb to sensuality, we forget the holiness of God. We forget about the consequences of sin. We forget about our witness to others. We forget about the commands of Scripture. Kent Hughes uses the fall of King David to drive this point home. Staring at a naked beauty from his rooftop, David lost all awareness of God. In that moment, David who was once called a man after God’s own heart became a dirty, leering old man. He could never have imagined the destruction that would follow this one act of indulgence. “David’s progressive desensitization, relaxation, fixation, and rationalization set him up for one of the greatest falls in history”.
He broke the 10th commandment in coveting his neighbour’s wife which led him to break the 7th commandment; committing adultery.
Then in order to steal his neighbour’s wife (breaking the 8th commandment) he committed murder and broke the 6th commandment.
He then broke the 9th commandment by bearing false witness against his brother.
This all brought dishonour to his parents, breaking the 5th commandment.
In violating these commands he transgressed the first 2 commandments; not honouring God and choosing to worship the idol of self.
David forgot His God and he fell…he fell hard. Sadly, his life went downhill from there:
His baby died. His daughter Tamar was raped by her half-brother Amnon. Amnon was murdered by Tamar’s full-brother Absalom. Absalom hated his father for his moral depravity and led a rebellion under the tutelage of Bathsheba’s resentful grandfather, Ahithophel. David’s reign lost the smile of God and his throne never really recovered.
Do you think David would have given Bathsheba a second look if he knew all this disaster would result from that one night of passion?
My intention for writing this is not to sound self-righteous. I struggle with sin as much as anyone else. But in reading this chapter I have been challenged to look at my life through a fresh set of lenses. In what ways am I entertaining impurity? In what ways are you entertaining impurity? Let’s be quick to repent and with God’s help, strain towards the holiness that we are called to.
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.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8