Lies About Sex and Porn: Marriage Will Fix It

Ever had those moments in life where you say, “If I can just get to this point then my life will be easier.” If I just got this much of a raise then I would be comfortable. If I just had this nifty item then my life would get so much easier. We often look for a worldly solution to fix a spiritual issue. It is saddening to see this take place. The truth is we all do this in some way. I see an alarming consistency of young people who take this application to issues of lust and porn. They look at marriage as the solution.

Let’s be blunt and discuss how the line of thinking works. A young man struggles with having lustful thoughts. He finds himself unable to resist the temptation of pornography. He is also in a serious relationship with a young woman. If he can just get to marriage then all of his problems will be solved. He can use all of his built up sexual tension and just have sex with his new wife whenever he wants. This will negate the desire to ever look at porn. Even the temptation itself will be vanquished.

Now let us look at the realities we find in our world today. Countless Christian husbands addicted to pornography. Numerous Christian marriages struggling due to an affair. If marriage really solves the problem of lust and porn then why are there so many broken marriages? If Marriage removes any of those urges then why are their married men still giving into them?

our wife is not your Jesus. She cannot make you a new creation upon marriage. She cannot take away your evil desires. Sex with her cannot bring purity to your heart and mind. When we enter marriage with that mindset we are setting ourselves up for failure, disappointment, and heartache. It is a recipe for disaster. It is completely unfair to the spouse. It is full of sorrow.

There are a plethora of reasons for why this concept simply doesn’t work. For one, marriage is not a porn video. It is much more than that. It is far better than that. It is also far more surprising and requires far more effort and time. It is an emotional bond. You are not having sex t any given moment in marriage. You are giving everything of yourself in marriage. There will be times where there will be tension in your marriage. There will be fights. There will be hurts. What will you do in those moments when marriage is not the life of porn you expected? Wouldn’t you just be tempted to go back to what is familiar? Wouldn’t you be tempted to go back to the fake product that you have tricked yourself into believing satisfies you?

We set marriage on this incredibly high pedestal because we set sex on such a high pedestal. Such a huge pressure is placed on marriage. A burden has been set on it that it was never designed to carry. It is such a lie, and sadly there are huge chunks of the church that even endorse it. You better not think anything about sex, but once you are married go to town.

Here is the truth. Marriage can’t fix your lust and porn problems. It can’t fix your promiscuity problems. There is no magic in that ring you put on that keeps you from being unfaithful. The ring is just a symbol of your word. It only has as much power as your word does. The truth is that marriage is nothing like a porn video, and thank the Lord it is not.

There is much more truth as well. There is some happy truth to all of this. Marriage cannot fix your lust and porn issue, but it is immensely rewarding and glorious when you enter it after already dealing with those issues. Marriage done right helps you see even clearer how foolish all those issues of lust and porn were. It helps you see even better just how empty those sins are. A marriage done right helps you actually experience the fake from the real. Let us not play this silly game of marriage fixes everything though. It simply does not work.

I think there are a bunch of reasons for why the divorce rate is high, why so many Christian husbands are enraptured in porn, and why so many marriages seem to tread the valley of adultery. I’m not saying this lie is the main cause, but form what I have seen it is an incredibly dangerous factor.

Marriage was never designed to purify your sinful nature. it was never designed to be the vessel of your sanctification. That is Christ’s job. That is what a death on a cross was for. That is what a relationship in Christ brings. I beg you, for the sake of Christian marriages and for the hope of the family unit centered in Christ, do not buy into this lie. Your future marriage depends on it.

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More Than a Spectator

There is a good deal about the local church that the majority of Christians seem to miss out on. Many church attenders are spectators. We go to church, maybe have some casual conversation with people, sit in the same seats we sit in every week, read some songs off a PowerPoint or hymnal, listen to a sermon, maybe stick around for Sunday School, and then we are off to go about a weekly business.

The funny thing is I don’t think many of us would describe the church as that. We grasp that the church is supposed to be much more. The problem is that we often choose to opt out of all that. Church is our weekly spiritual fix. We go there for our kids to get some grounded lessons on how to live a moral life. Some of us take our kids expecting the church to fix all their problems after a few hours each week.

The church is required to fix everything wrong with our families, but it only has a few hours a week to do so. The church is required to keep us entertained. it is required to give us a reason to sit their and listen to those sermons. Since church is all about the sermon for us that pastor better keep things interesting. He better not get us to emotional. he better no get us thinking about needing to actually do more with our lives.

I believe we all have a part to play in the local church I am pro church membership when it is done properly. Church membership is not a club. it is an opportunity to join a team that is working towards common goal. That common goal should be to reach out to the community, and extend that reach to the end of the earth. We get involved in a local church to be under some solid leadership that can enact a plan to carry out that ultimate goal.

I think the average Christian would agree with all of this, but talk no action to carry it out. The church is filled with parents who ignore their responsibilities in training up their children in the way they should go. This is not to say that every parent with a troubled child has failed in their duties. Sadly some parents can do everything right, but a child’s heart will still remain rebellious. Where parents get foolish is when they expect the church to do al the work on “fixing” their children with such a short amount of time. The church isn’t just their to invest in your life. it is there to be a channel machine that allows you to invest in the lives of others.

Struggling with parenting? So is that woman who sits a few rows behind you. Maybe you could be taking that opportunity to minister to one another. The church is full of people with problems, but a healthy church knows how to help carry each others burdens. It saddens me how we miss out on this so much. It stems largely from the fact that Christians in our culture today are not nearly as outcast as they would like to believe they are.

We talk so much about the persecution we face today with God being taken out of the schools, government making things more and more difficult for churches. Threats of forcing clergy to marry anyone regardless of life choices. Threats of what preachers can and cannot say. I’m not saying the walls are not closing in. I’m not even saying that there will never come a day where the American local church will face real persecution (I in fact expect it), but we are not there yet. Do you want to know how I know this? Because the average local church is not yet forced to depend on the people inside of it. A truly persecuted church would see a skyrocketing increase in dependence. We would rely on one another more. We would depend on each other because we would literally have nowhere else to turn.

Here is the thing though, we don’t need persecution to start living like that. We don’t need persecution to recognize there are needs that have to be met within our own church walls. Paul often talks in Scripture about needing to help the needy, but he puts an extra emphasis on meeting the needs of the fellow saints. He actually puts a requirement to meet the needs of Christians first before others. Why is that? I think it is partly because believers only had the church to depend on. They were outcasts from their families and the rest of society, but I also think there is a deeper reason. How can we expect to meet the needs of the world when we will not even help those within our own church walls? If we are not meeting the needs of those in our local church it is because we have become spectator who expect the church leadership to fix all of our problems. A church spectator stands no chance of being a part of something bigger than themselves within their own church. How can they possible expect to be a part of something bigger than themselves that expands across the world?

Heavenly Blessings Vs. Worldy Blessings

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

You may be reading these verses today wondering why your life is the complete opposite of what they are saying. I’m sure David had those moments as well. Sometimes our circumstances do not line up with these verses because there is a major sin issue. David understood this concept as he had lied, committed, adultery, and murdered. Those sins produce a chain reaction of consequences that at times I’m sure made David feel as though mercy was not placed on his life. Mercy still had its place though. For all the consequences David faced, he deserved far more severe ones.

That is not the avenue I want to focus on for this post though. This sin post may be another post for another time. I think there is an equally common reason for feeling this verse is not an accurate description of our circumstances. We mistakenly translate this verse as a guarantee to worldly and physical comfort. We translate it to job security, relationships, finances, trials, health, etc. That’s not how this works though.

God blesses our lives, but he blesses them in the ways we need it most. Sometimes that means going through difficulties in order for our spiritual lives to be given the opportunity to expand and grow. The simple truth is that we to often expect worldly comfort promises out of verses that never promise anything of the sort. We take these verses and ignore other verses like Jesus saying the world will hate us for being His followers.

How can we live in a world where we are hated, but still be so abundantly blessed? It is because our definition of blessings should be inherently different form the worlds definition. A life of comfort without Christ is useless. It doesn’t get you anywhere. It has no meaning.

The blessings we receive are different form the worlds. We receive blessings of strength in the midst of struggle. We are given peace beyond understanding in circumstances that seem overwhelming for any mere mortal. We are given hope in the midst of poverty. Acceptance in the midst of rejection. Salvation in the face of wrath. We are given blessings that do not allow us to ignore the hardships of life thus rejecting us any hope of growth and change. We are given blessings that give us the endurance and ability to press on through life. Any reward in this life is just to help us get through. The real reward exists on the other side. That is a reward only we can receive.

I Am Loved

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

I think the next series of posts I do will have to be over something I actually enjoy learning personally. Learning these life lessons form this Psalm out of personal experience has been far from enjoyable. No one enjoys learning these lessons in the moment. You will feel miserable, tired, lonely, helpless, and at times a failure. That is what brings use into this next verse in Psalm 23. his verse is never one we wish to learn from personally experience. This verse is simply painful.

Now I should preface all this by saying that we often blowup a crisis we are in. My struggles are not what I would truly equate to a literal valley of the shadow of death. That could be a bit extreme. However, it is a struggle and it is painful within the moment. Last post I wrote on how our circumstances are not the conditions of how true this Psalm is. Today I would like to point out that our perception of our conditions just play a factor in how we can apply this Psalm to our lives.

Crisis being lived out is always awful. It is always painful. It is always worse than it actually is. It is constantly stressful. We wonder how we will ever get through it. This verse may seem simplistic, but in the pain and hardship of this verse we can find comfort.

David mentions that he walks through the valley of the shadow of death. He is not trapped there. He is not dying there. He is not enslaved there for eternity. There is a timetable on his crisis. His time in the valley is painful and dangerous, but he is working his way out the other end. We all will walk through some valleys in our lives. We will be required to push forward when we would rather sulk in misery.

David says he will not be fearful. Fear can be blinding. It can keep us from seeing things as they truly are. it can keep us from putting our focus on Christ. He does not need to live in fear because he is following the shepherd. God’s rod and staff are a comfort to him. Some people look at God’s rod as a tool of discipline. it also is a guide. It provides gentle proddings to lead us in the right direction. It is a tool to defend us from true harm.

The simple fact is fear keeps us from remembering that we are loved. It keeps us form remembering that there is a God in heaven. it keeps us form remembering that that God is good and powerful. It keeps us from remembering that He genuinely cares for us. It keeps us from remembering that he is there.

This post is short. There is really very little to say as this post is written just as much for me s it is anyone else. I may be walking through a valley, but I can confidently know that I am loved. The simple fact is that sometimes life won’t be great. Sometimes it will be pretty miserable. I would rather live some miserable days with Christ than all perfect days without Him though. He is the only thing that truly makes any day worth it.

This Psalm is Not Conditional on Our Circumstances

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:2-3)

It’s an ironic Psalm when you think about it. When you meditate on it’s words, and compare it to the full life of its author you begin to wonder and doubt the power it has. David lived huge chunks of his life where these words were about as far from a literal sense as you could get. He was on the run from Saul living in caves. His family legacy went towards the way of the sword with brother murdering brother. David himself lived by the way of the sword. His hands far to bloody to have any hope of being the one to build God’s temple. David was a man of war. He made his legacy and his failures out of war.

How could these words be true then? How could these words of peace and comfort have any power to them when this mans life seemed to end in such darkness and sadness? It makes you wonder at hat point did David write this Psalm? Was it early in his life when everything seemed to be going perfectly? Was it even before that when he was an eager and ignorant young man? Is it a Psalm with a drip of irony in it? How can David living in some of the circumstances he has actually believe what he wrote?

I think the truth starts by understanding that this is not a Psalm conditional on our circumstances. Sometimes we do not feel like we are laying down in green pastures. Often ties it feels more like we are sleeping in a hole in the ground during a warzone in the dead of winter. We often do not feel the calm of water in a beautiful scenery, but rather see a storm rolling over a sea destined to come crashing down on us. This is not a Psalm conditional on our circumstances.

Verse three sheds some sight on the situation. God restores David’s soul. The word “restore” in Hebrew is interesting to me. It brings up a lot of ideas of “bringing something back”. In other words, God is bringing back David’s soul. What is He bringing it back from? From destruction, despair, and death. He gives us the courage to move on when we are in the hole during winter. He leads us on the path of righteousness For His name’s sake. God is our Guide. he cares for us. he leads us o a path worthwhile. It is not about us though. God does this for His reputation. yes He loves us, but he wants his goodness and mercy towards us to be a testimony to the world.

Why the disconnect then? Why do we so often not feel we are in those green pastures or being calmed by those still waters? We let the circumstances be the condition of this truth. God is our green pasture. God is our still waters. God is our comfort and rest in the midst of winter and storms. This Psalm is not conditional on our circumstances. David knew this to well. David also knew mercy. When his sins were deserving of death he was spared by God. When the end of his life was deserving of a legacy never to be restored, God kept his lineage true leading down to the savior of the world.

I had a rough day yesterday. It’s hard to explain my reasoning for it, but suffice to say I was just having a hard time feeling like I was laying in green pastures. I had a hard time seeing those still waters. I felt I was being lead down more of a path of destruction and pain rather than righteousness. I was having an anxiety attack. I just kept reciting this Psalm to myself wondering how these words could be true in that exact moment of my life. That is when I reached this conclusion that this psalm is not conditional on my circumstances. God is my refuge. God is the one who gives me rest. God cares about His reputation. It’s not just about me. My circumstances are merely setting the stage for God to do something truly spectacular. Maybe not any kind of spectacular worthy of being written into an epic tale, but spectacular enough for someone in the world to take notice. Spectacular enough for someone to see a green pastures when all they should be seeing is explosions and blood staining snow.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Why in the world should this ever be conditional on our circumstances?

The Provider

Psalm 23 is well know amongst Christian circles. It is on plaques, shirts, wallpaper, toilet paper, etc. It is an incredibly well know Psalm. Our familiarity to something can often numb us of its impact. I wanted to spend a few posts going over this Psalm, and how my reading of it has reinvigorated my appreciation for the truth and comfort found inside of it.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” – Psalm 23:1. We have a good shepherd. God is one who actively cares about what is going on in our lives. He is our provider. We can depend on Him for all that we need. Sheep need a shepherd. They are hopeless without a guide and protector. We need to be cared for. We were creatures made to depend on our creator.

God is not just any ordinary shepherd. He was the best in the business. David tells us that the Lord is our shepherd. We shall not want. This phrase hit me so hard a few weeks ago. In God’s hands I shall not want. I have everything I need when I am dependent on God. God is bigger than any of our petty concerns. He grasps what we need, when we need it, and how we need it. He is everything. In this we can know that God will always be glorified. God loves us so much that he cares about our needs. he is powerful enough to meet those needs.

I’ve been hunting for work for a little while now. The stress could easily get to me at times if I let it. It’s intimidating needing to depend on God to the extent I do in these kinds of moments of life. There is also an immense sense of freedom in it. The other day I had an interview for a job. I knew the prayer I was supposed to have was, “Whatever is your will”. Naturally my pull was to pray for my definition of success in this moment. Success would mean getting the job.

I left that day with a vastly different prayer from either of those. As I was sitting in the waiting area for my interview to start I met a woman who was also interviewing for the position. She was a kind lady who had just graduated from the same school I did. She was married like me. She had been looking for work to meet the needs she had. She was a good person. I suspect she and her husband had been praying much like me and my wife had over this job interview. That’s when it hit me. Someone aiming for this job will get the answered prayer they hope for. Others will not. A yes to one person prayer often means a no to someone else.

However, David tells us that God is our shepherd and we shall not want. God is so big that he is capable of processing the prayers and genuine needs of others in order to know what will fit exactly right for each individual. You see, my struggle with prayer up to that point was born out of a selfish desire. I wanted God to meet my definition of success even if it was not the best fit for me. Even if He may have known that there was something better for me while this position was really better suited to meet the needs of another. I entered that interview with a drastically different prayer than any I had expected. I simply prayed that God would be glorified.

Why should I pray for that? I have been promised for my needs to be met. I have been told God loves and cares for me. I have been promised that He will see me through to the end. Why not then pray that no matter what God can use my life to show the world these truths? The Lord is my shepherd friends. I may be poor, but I shall not want. I may be tired, but I shall not want. I may be lost, but I shall not want. I may be fearful, but I shall not want. My shepherd is the one who provides.

My Beef With Christian Protests

My thoughts on this topic finally clicked today. I’ve had issues with Christian protests for a long time. The issues run deep. It’s taken me a goo deal of time to organize my thoughts and reasons over it. Perhaps my issues are just me. Perhaps the problem exists with me rather than this latest Christian craze. I personally believe it is more of an epidemic than anything else.

One thing that baffles me about so many Christian protests are the targets. The majority of Christian protests is protesting unsaved sinner for doing unsaved sinner things. It’s like when French citizens protest in their own country about us going to war. There is something strange about all of this. While many of us are busy protesting the war on gay marriage we completely ignore battles that are taking victim of our very own over things like pornography. I don’t see Christians fighting back on the painfully easy access to pornography for the average young teenager. We protest on things that deal mainly with sinners acting like sinners rather than on things that genuinely affect fellow believers.

This is not my biggest beef with Christian protesting though. My main issue is a bit more general. We protest for the wrong reasons. The majority of Christian protests are to make us draw a clear line. it is our way of screaming to the world while banging cymbals that this is the line in the sand and we are clearly on the far other side form the rest of you. We have this figured out. Get with the program or be forever lost.

We use protests as a way to tell other people what our standards are. I can’t help, but feel this is the best method. I’m not saying we shouldn’t stand up for our beliefs. I’m not saying we should remain silent on moral issues, but refusing to shop at a store and telling the whole world your fifty reasons for it doesn’t cut it. We want to shout out to the world with a megaphone what we are against. We want to constantly draw their attention to that line in the sand we have drawn. We want to forever make them aware of just how different they are from us.

There is a major flaw in this strategy. No one can relate to us. We have made ourselves so incredibly different form the world that we have refused them the opportunity to build relationship. The only chance they can have to interact with us is if they come over on our side of the line. That is all protesting does. If we need to shout to the world that we are different then we are living life wrong.

What if we stopped relying on the protests of sinners being sinners? What if we instead lived our lives in cohabitation with those sinners. What if we lived our lives a different way while being beside them? What if we were able to express our morals in a way that comes natural through relationship rather than by standing outside a store proclaiming its heathen ways?

There are some stores I do not shop in. I don’t make it public. If the subject ever comes up natural then I don’t shy away from it, but I don’t advertise my actions. I simply act. I don’t care about drawing a line in the sand to let everyone else know just how bad they are for being on the wrong side. All I do is focus on glorifying God. I don’t need protests to make that happen. I don’t need to make some noise getting the worlds attention to glorify God. I can glorify God by cultivating relationships with the people around me. Relationships where the only focus on a line in the sand is done based off of the way I simply live my life. The kind of focus that compels others to want to ask questions.

Where does the protesting get us? How well has it worked so far? We waste our protest energy on sinners being sinners while our own fall victim to other horrors in the world and the sinners continue to fear the line we have drawn in the sand. I’m done Shouting about the line. I’m ready to just live the line.