Oscar Wilde observed what he saw in the world, “Everything in the world is about sex, except sex. Sex is about Power.” I actually agree with that, as long as we are defining the word “World” in the biblical context. I tend to be a person that says there’s nothing new under the sun. There’s definitely more societal acceptance of what is biblically referred to as sexual immorality than in any other time in American history. This is viewed as progress to many and a travesty to others. Unfortunately, I think many Christians are more confused than they should be on what constitutes sexual immorality and what doesn’t. But more shockingly, Christians are nearing, flirting, and engaging in it more than ever before.
But don’t take my word for it. The Greek word used for immorality is porneia. (Yep, looks like porn.) It’s used in 25 verses in the New Testament. Here’s a highlight reel of its uses:
- Matt 5:32 Cheating on your spouse
- Mark 7:21 Starts with evil thoughts
- John 8:41 Sex before or outside of marriage
- Acts 15:20 Sexual practices in pagan religions
- Rom 1:29 Sex with the same gender as yourself
- 1Cor 5:1 Sex with your parent’s spouse (step-parent)
- 1Cor 6:18 Only sin committed against our own body
- 2Cor 12:21 Needs to be immediately repented of
- Eph 5:3 Should not be identified amongst Believers
- 1Thes 4:3 Abstaining is part of being sanctified – more like Christ
But honestly you didn’t have to read any of that. (I should have realized that before doing all the research and so you had to read some of it too.) Sexual Immorality is anything that goes against God’s plan for sex. God’s plan is not oppressive, it’s liberating. God’s plan for sex is for uniting, procreating, and enjoying. When we deviate from His plan, there are penalties. Not because God is punishing us necessarily, but because His plan was a good plan. To do something different means there’s now potential for division, consequences, and pain. We see this all the time with affairs, premarital sex, and other forms of non-committal sex. My question is, if we know this, how come so many Christians end up in affairs, having premarital sex, and the like? Are sexual desires too tough to avoid? Of course not. It’s because we allow improper thoughts to lead to improper actions, which end up in sexual immorality. There’s no doubt that we have nearly constant unfettered access to porneia. Regular Television, PG-13 movies, magazines in the grocery line, InstaFace, Facegram, and every other piece of technology has a constant barrage of sexual imagery. It’s easily explained why there are so many people who claim to be Believers that are giving into temptation since they have so many opportunities. It has led to the sexualization of our culture. We get way more personal sexually, way quicker because of the seeming anonymity and voyeurism that technology has brought. Both young men and women feel like they need to compete to stay up with the crowd. But how does sexual immorality specifically occur in the Christian community? There are at least 3 lies that both unmarried and married people fall for.
Unmarried Lie #1 – Wanting to Wait for Marriage Is Enough
Thinking that because you made some commitment in middle school that basically your work is done. You made that commitment and no misguided action can prevent it, right? Wrong. Being practically smart like sharing your beliefs with the person you are dating and making sure you are never alone together will help make that commitment a reality. But the more casual hook-up is more and more common these days. Making strong decisions about where and when you spend time with the person of the opposite gender will help tremendously. You will feel like the party-pooper, but don’t. The commitment to your future husband or wife is either worthwhile or worthless. Following God’s plan is either worthwhile or worthless. If you see the value in it, keep the commitment even when you feel awkward about what you do to help yourself keep it.
Unmarried Lie #2 – I can stop from going any further
Do you really think that your willpower is that strong? Do you think that you just have a greater force than everyone who came before you? We keep moving forward in intimacy for several reasons. 1) Heat of the moment (and once lines are crossed its difficult to take a step back) 2) Curiosity (along with an unclear understanding of sexual intimacy can lead to regrettable decisions) 3) Little to no boundaries (often times it’s the other person who is pushing forward in the physical department and you just didn’t stop them) 4) Gauging interest (often times we simply don’t have another good way of determining whether a person really likes us or not.) Any of these reasons (or others I didn’t think of) can cause us to keep crossing the lines we initially drew in the sand.
Unmarried Lie #3 – We’re going to get married anyway
This one is certainly common. I’ve heard it from someone as young as 14 (ironically they actually did get married, but that’s beside the point.) Couples are so sure they are going to get married (until they break-up.) When a couple reaches that point where they truly believe it’s only “a matter of time,” they need to get more accountability and establish clear boundaries. The bottom line is, you are not married yet. If you are willing to sleep together on a “technicality,” then why do you think you won’t cheat on your marriage later on because of a “technicality.” Technicalities are what cheating is built on. Technically it wasn’t sex. Technically we were in a different zip-code. Technically they cheated on me first. Technically it was just physical so it’s ok. Make a commitment to wait until you are technically married.
On to the Married Lies…
Married Lie #1 – Flirting is no big deal
Flirting is a big deal because it reveals insecurity. There is some sort of validation that you are not receiving from your spouse, and it’s your responsibility to communicate that to them. All such needs are to be sought after in that relationship only. Besides, flirting tells others (and yourself) that you are available under the right circumstances. Mono-gene! (The Greek word for May It Never Be!) Your coworkers, friends, and neighbors need to know that you won’t be “available” under any circumstances. You are married. And as far as they are concerned, that even includes the possibility of your spouse dying. Part of your mourning process (and love of science fiction) will probably lead to some weird Pet Sematary stuff (or maybe that’s just me.) But people need to know you are off the market, period.
Married Lie #2 – Emotional affairs aren’t that bad
This is similar to lie #1 but often times has a different starting point. Pouring-out all the emotionally charged crap that your spouse puts you through at times is necessary. But who you dump that on is vitally important. An improper relationship can creep up awful fast if you are not careful on who it is that you are relying on for emotional support. You could suddenly find yourself falling in love with someone who totally gets you. Sometimes that listening ear was a person who was covertly interested in you already and they are purposely driving a wedge between you and your spouse. Although a friend, counselor, parent, or pastor can handle short-term issues; anything long term must involve your spouse as part of the solution. Emotional affairs are often times self-fulfilling prophecies. The more you pull away emotionally, the more you feel they are pulling away emotionally and then everyone is justifying their actions on “technicalities.”
Married Lie #3 – It won’t happen to me
I have heard far too often people say that they didn’t think that they would ever have been involved in an affair. It’s honestly that sort of thinking that led to it. Not being careful of what you watch, who you spend time with, and what you were feeling may have all contributed to the eventual affair. Continual and consistent reminders to your spouse that you love them will cement that in both of your minds. Then pursue them like when you were dating (even if it’s way less frequent because let’s be honest, you are a billion times busier than when you were dating.)
Sexual Immorality is spoken of so often in scripture because God knows how divisive it is to us personally and how much it separates us from Him. It acts as an idol in our life. It demands our heart, soul, mind, & strength and only God deserves to be pursued like that. Christians need to run from Sexual Immorality as fast as you can. It has to be treated like the dead, rotting corpse that it is. It is a self-destroying plague that deserves the 25 verses of warnings we get.
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