Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The Air War of Sexual Purity
First let me explain the term I used in the title. "An Air War" is the opposite of "A Ground War", which is a practical day to day discipline and grind. So picture your day to day devotion with God, your daily bible readings, your daily prayer, all of those are aspects of a ground war being done. It is the war of pounding the feet and daily disciplines. So the "Air War" is the war that is above us, the thing that is motivating you to do those daily Bible readings and daily devotion; it's the daily grind work. It deals with the matters of the proclaimed word of God and the revelatory moments of His nature and character transforming us. Both are necessary. The Air War holds the hope, and it helps with being more strategic on the ground similar to the use of spy planes and etc, to give an illustration. To clear it up more, the Ground War is you getting to the gym and banging out the reps and cooking healthy meals, and the Air War would be the mental awareness of remembering the hope of a healthier life which gets you to show up to the gym. Got it? Now let's work.
As a growing male in our sexually driven culture, there are challenges that are present that are old in definition, but new in their presentation. Young boys used to have to very work hard to get access to pornography, and now it is easily accessible by a simple Google search. Marketing geniuses knows they can get us to buy anything if they slap a pretty woman somewhere near it. Quotes like "sex sales" drives the money businesses everywhere. Women are more insecure about their bodies and worth because of this, so we are being more exposed to the privacies of a woman without intention on a day to day basis. So even with parental controls, eye bouncing techniques, kissing dating goodbye, you'd nearly have to leave planet Earth to get away from the external temptation of sex. So as I have struggled over the years with my own sexual temptations, what I quickly began to notice was that, "this fight is not easy".
I did a bible study one year called "Every Mans Battle", and had a fantastic time with a group of guys who were passionate about Jesus but could not seem to win this battle of sexual purity. The book was offering great details and advice on how to fight this battle of the eyes as we were learning that many of our actions are habitual. One of the most enlightening things I learned from the book was that we have habitually learned that when you look at a woman you check her body out. Like, it's not even a thought anymore. It's just as natural as looking at your door handle as you reach for the door to open it. It's part of the process of how we interact with women.
And as painful as that might be for many of you to hear, it may even help you not take things so personally. Part of the sexual decay in men from this is that women have become so objectified that it's not even about the women, it's just the simple fact that you are a woman and therein lies a resource to our own satisfaction. And at that point, when the hormones are raging and the hunger is screaming for physical intimacy, your soul is not a concern. Which in lies the issue and my direction for you to consider the air war of sexual purity.
My dealings with the Gospel has opened my eyes to how silly humans are. We actually think that external things will make us holy. So many of us honestly believe that if I just put up the parental controls, then my lust will come to an end. I've heard preachers tell us to smash our laptops and destroy CDs that defile women, all can be replaced. OR we honestly believe that when I eventually get married, I'll be okay. I'm getting it on the regular, I shouldn't be in need of it right? Lol. Ask any married man about that one. OR we honestly believe, if I just stare at the ground, I won't look at every girl on campus, that works well until you run into someone. But hear me, all of these are part of the ground war and are good tactical things to fight this. But the truth is, since our very nature is sinful and wicked, we will find a way to get what our imperfect dying bodies are ultimately after---death. So without the air war, which is the internal re-engineering and the motivation to do the ground war, we will shrug off the ground war of sexual purity due to our desire for comfort, just like you would skip a week at the gym because we don't feel like going. And in my growth as a believer in Jesus and having this monkey on my back for so long, I remember my first encounter that this battle for sexual purity was an air war.
I did an internship at my church in the summer of 2009. I was the only guy mixed in with 9 girls, which turned out to be a very good thing for me. One morning at our 6 AM chapel, I was sitting in the front row of the church in prayer. And I felt God direct me to turn around and look at the 9 women in the room, in which some had their hands raised in worship, others were reading their bibles, while a few were crying as they wrote in their journals. And God continued His dialogue, "This is how I want all MY daughters to look."
It makes a difference when you know who claims them. And the fact a holy and majestic God claimed them, and that precious royal blood was shed for the ladies in the room, I was afraid to hug them after that. But the difference that made was remarkable because it wasn't anything practical, it was simply just the glory of God being revealed me that He claims them. Which means that the glory of God is this air war that I'm talking about.
So men, unfortunately, we are not going to be able to escape the visible and external temptation of sex in our culture. Women will continue to wear less and there's nothing we can do about it. However, God has called us to lead in all situations. Eve could have slapped Adam in the face with the forbidden fruit with her naked body exposed but he was still supposed to remain pure to the holy command of God that said do not eat it. Which means regardless of the culture, regardless of what women are doing, regardless of their lack of attention to modesty, God is calling for us to lead and love first and well. So even if women were to walk around naked, throwing themselves at us every 9.3 seconds, if we are winning our sexual purity battle in the air, we will be able to live lives of integrity to the covenant of Jesus. So let's chat about it.
1. Remember to fear God.
I think many churches are enabling us to not fear God, therein not take our sin seriously, because of their lack of desire to preach the full wrath of God. And I understand why. Many of them were raised in the time when "fire and brimestone" preaching was popular and it was turning people away from God because He sounded hateful, and these passionate preachers have discovered God's grace and loves it deeply---as they should--- and have set up camp to only preach the fullness of God's grace. But that is an over correction. Because it's not like the fire and brimestone preaching was completely false. Judgement is waiting for unrepentant sin, and we cannot give an accurate presentation of the Gospel without allowing the good news to invade the bad news. So a balance of the tension is in order. We can't define God's grace without establishing the bad news of His wrath. And I'll go so far as to say that we can't fully grasp the weight of His love and mercy without experiencing the weight of His wrath. And for the air war to be effective, some realities of God's nature and character has to be healthy within our hearts. We must be aware of God's omnipresence, that there are no private matters of the heart or our actions. So he sees that side glance. He sees that text message. He sees that phone call. He sees you in your room by yourself with your laptop. He sees it all. And I know many of us do not like to sit under that kind of tension, even as I wrote it I sped through it, but we must know that there's a fullness to be gained from fearing God. But sadly, many of us have a hard time understanding how to fear and love authority because we didn't have fathers who focused on creating the balance in the tension of the two. So we have a hard time understanding how fearing God by His commands is Him desiring to lead us in experiencing a greater joy---so imagine Him saying, "I created it all, so I kinda know how its suppose to work". Its the difference in teaching young men that premarital sex is a sin and it's wrong and we shouldn't do it because God hates it, versus discipling young men in that truth and helping them to grow in the fullness of God to understand that there is a beautiful joy and protection offered when sex is enjoyed in a marriage, a covenant between a man and woman, a beautiful bond shared between these two people who know each other deeply and live in the fear of God that seals the marriage. But until that maturity is gained, the "because God is offended by it" has to be sufficient.
2. Remember that a woman's ultimate purpose is not for your use.
Women, along with men, were primarily designed to bring God's glory. So our "needs" we claim we have to need sex whenever our body's scream for it, is a lie. She was not designed to complete you or fill that void. So when your body begins to long for physical intimacy and something to eat, you remember that she is not there to satisfy your hunger. So this motivates the ground war by keeping us off the XXX sites or sending that late night text, asking to come over.
3. Remember that women are blood bought.
God claims them as His own, because He paid a price for them. Royal blood was spilled for them, and I've read the Old Testament and because of point number 1 from earlier, I know that God takes very serious the people He's in covenant with. So stop messing over His daughters. They are His. And there's things we wouldn't say to a woman if her dad was sitting right next to her with a shotgun and a police record. Know who claims them. They are daughters of a holy God.
4. Remember you are blood bought too.
God claims us as well. My favorite story to help explain this is the story of the prodigal son. If you haven't read it, check out Luke 15:11-32. In the story, when the son sins against his father and God, he finds himself lost, broken, and without money. He then finds himself desiring the food that he was feeding some pigs of someone he worked for, and he remembered that in his father's house he was offered better. So he returns home, desiring to convince his father that he doesn't deserve to be called son, and so he will gratefully assume the role as a hired servant. But the father, so gracious and merciful, doesn't receive his plea, but instead calls him son and allows him back into the house. Now the prodigal son could have continued with his agreement of wanting to be a hired servant, or he could respond to the father calling him a son. Sons eat well. Sons are loved well. Sons rest and enjoy life next to the father. And this is the story of us, men, my brother. Sin is beneath us because God is offering us so much better in His house. My brothers, God is offering us the same invitation. We don't have to eat of sin's temporary, empty and vain promises. We don't have to eat of it's defilable, contaminated, and disgusting nature, but God has the best of the best, which is Himself, and better for us to eat from. Which means that this fight of sexual purity is us realizing that God has better intimacy awaiting us than a girl we don't know on our laptop screen. Which means he has better for us than the fleeting pleasure of a one night stands. He has in Him, a fullness and a joy that is inexplicably awesome awaiting when we worship Him through the beauty of how he has designed sex to be, a pleasure---yes a pleasure--- to be fully enjoyed between a man and a woman who is in love with Jesus and in love with each other.
And we will never reach that fullness of the air war without diving deeper in our relationship with Jesus. If you stay on the ground too long, you are missing out on enjoying the relational aspect of being reunited with the Savior of our souls and the truth that God is calling us sons--- in that, we are Kings----in that, a living King is living inside of us and guess what? You're better than sin because of that.
Let us live as such.