The Allure of Sexual Sin

This is a topic I hear very little about these days.  Sexual Sin has become a right of passage, and generally accepted in much of Christian Culture.  From the affairs of super-star preachers, to the private struggles of a young man or woman coming into their own; there seems to be an indifference (at best) or a general acceptance that to be human is to give way to sexual sin.  “After-all, we are just human.”

Some of the heroes of our culture who have been exalted to “god-like” status.  We have hailed the like of Hugh Hefner, and called him a liberator.  Our sports heroes literally have intimate relations with 100’s-1000’s of women, and we follow them closer than we study the life of the Apostle Paul.  Then we have the grotesque activity of Harvey Weinstein which needs little more commentary after the coverage he has received.

However, pointing the finger at well-known names is not helpful.  We allow pornography into our homes through shows like “Game of Thrones” and think nothing of it.  I can’t begin to tell you how many self-proclaimed Christian who enjoyed the entertainment of “Fifty Shade of Grey” and can’t understand why anyone would disapprove of a harmless novel.  Where has the sense of decency and holiness gone from the CHURCH!?!   Yes the Church!

Why has the Allure of Sexual Sin, dragged us into its clutches like a Star Trek tractor-beam.  It has locked onto us!  There are 2-words that described its grip on our souls:

  1. POWER:  When I use the word power, I do not necessarily suggest the concept of dominance.  However, a good synonym would be “control.”  To quote Larry Crabb in his life changing book, Connectinghe wrote of the idolatry that fills our hearts as the “passionate pursuit of predictable pleasure.”  The allure to have our sexual desires/passions met when we desire, and not have to have those legitimate desires met in the confines of a committed relationship means we strive for the power to control our life.  Often times if we cannot satisfy our passions in a committed relationship, we move to a uncommitted relationship, and if not there, then to a relationship based on fantasy (primarily online).  We want to have power over our lives, and not relinquish control.  Both are a facade!
  2. ESCAPE:  In some regards, “power” goes hand in hand with our desire to escape.  Sexual expression in its variety of forms (Biblical and sinful), provides a feeling of escape and relief from the stresses of life.  The endorphin released during sexual activity, oxytocin (the love-hormone) engages the pleasure portion of the brain causing a euphoric (intensely happy or confident) feeling.  Therefore, during times of stress, conflict, hurt, loneliness, anxiety, and in general emotional pain, there can be a desire to “escape” these feelings and cover them with a manufactured “euphoric” state of feeling.  To state it simply, we escape the painful reality, for a more pleasant/pleasurable fantasy.  

The problem with using sexuality as a strategy for power/control and/or escape, is that neither are based in reality.  Both are a pseudo-fix, for a legitimate need.  Our needs of safety, security, peace, provision, connectedness, and even pleasure are legitimate, God-given needs.  These needs all provide an opportunity to find their fulfillment in both a relationship with our Creator, and through our relationships with one-another.

A Christ-centered, committed relationship is God’s answer for your needs.  Any other other attempt is temporal and short-lasting leaving us frustrated and searching for more.  While the allure may be strong at times, remember: Sin always over-promises, and it always under-delivers.  You deserve better, reach for the real-thing!

I Want More!

It was the middle of my Sophomore year in college when I first met Rene’.  She was a transfer student from California and it seemed like our paths were randomly crossing on a more consistent basis.  Our college was taking a group trip down to Philadelphia for the day, so I invited her to come with.  Even before we left the campus, we ended up in different vehicles and we were separated until dinner that night on South Street.

Fortunately, on the ride home, we boarded the 15-passenger school van and talked all the way home.  We talked about our families, interests and anything else that filled the quickly-fleeting ride home.  When we said good night, I returned to my dorm wishing the trip was longer.  I hoped that I would see her the next day.  I was left WANTING MORE!  The big question for me, did she want more?

I share the beginning of our 24+ years together to illustrate a point.  When you find something or someone “good” you want more.  You want more time, more experiences, more memories, and you are willing to do what you have to, in order to get more.  There becomes a driving force within But I have discovered something even better than my wife, and it happened at a much earlier age.  At the age of 5, I experienced Psalms 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  Then in my elementary years I experienced what Jesus explained about the Holy Spirit who would be poured out… “38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7). 

Every experience and encounter with the Lord has left me wanting more.  Being God means that He is an inexhaustible source.  Unlike earthly relationships, we only have so much to give to one another.  Not so with God.  He is unlimited.  And with each encounter, our capacity to receive from him is increased.

So, this week make it your prayer and pursuit as you call out to God, “I WANT MORE!”  He has what you need.

5 Strategies for a Spiritually Strong Summer

We all know that our Summer schedules are a bit crazy and not our normal life-style of living. From trips to the beach, family visits, yard projects, and everything else that we try to to squeeze into these few Summer months, often times our Spiritual Life takes a back seat. However, this does not have to be you.

So with all the chaos, family commitments, and schedules to manage, what are some practical ways to stay spiritually strong during the Summer months, and not nudge God out of our Summer plans.

  1. INVEST RELATIONALLY:  Relational investements are more than just hanging out, the are purpose times with key relationships that will strength either your spiritual walk, or someone else’s spiritual walk.  For instance, invite a group of people over at least 1x per month over the Summer, and look for ways to encourage them, or even pray with them if the opportunities present.
  2. ONLINE CHURCH:  While it is optimal if you are with your spiritual family as much as possible during the Summer months, but the times when you can’t, many churches now have their services streaming online (we use Facebook live), or you can binge-watch a sermon series your pastor is preaching.  You can check ours out HERE.
  3. CONNECT AS A FAMILY:  As our older 2 are peaking the teenage years, this has been more challenging.  However, be sure to make memories both with your kids (i.e., mini-golf, frisbee, croquet in the backyard, water-baloons, etc…).  Also, if you are married, don’t be afraid to make some memories with just your spouse.  After all, someday those cute kids will leave you, and you’ll be stuck with each other.  Make sure you invest in my marriage as well.
  4. KEEP GIVING:  If you are a part of a church, be sure you continue to remain faithful to your giving at the church.  You can often times do so with online-giving options, or even set-up recurring gifts to your church.  Remember, they don’t shut down during the Summer.
  5. SLOW DOWN:  Hopefully your schedule is more flexible where you can simply slow down.  Spend some time reading or listening to your Bible, praying, and of course… DRINKING COFFEE (or lemonade).  Be sure you are refreshed as the Fall season will be upon us quickly.  Don’t miss your opportunity to read a book, sit on your porch during your devotions, or listen to some worship music before the kids get up.  You’ll start wondering why you don’t do it more often.

My prayer for you this Summer is that you will find yourself more spiritually strong and refreshed as the Summer comes to an end.  Enjoy your Summer by giving to what matters most!