Staying Pure On A Sexually Polluted Planet
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife
took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused!
Go Deep: A while back a Newsweek article began with this attention-grabber: “In the [near future] you’re going to have better sex than you’ve ever had before…[not] a single sexual fantasy…will go unfulfilled.” Now that really grabbed my attention—not so much for my sake, but I knew you’d be interested!
All kidding aside, you and I would both agree that we live in a sex-obsessed culture. We are constantly bombarded with messages, images, and opportunities that urge us to gratify every sexual desire. On prime time TV in a given year, you’ll watch 20,000 sexually suggestive scenes—20,000!
As a result of this relentless sexual bombardment and a cultural philosophy of boundary-less sexual gratification, we now have more abortions (around fifty million since Roe v. Wade in 1973), illegitimate births, cohabitation of couples without marriage, adulterous affairs, addiction to pornography, sexually transmitted disease, sexual predators and sexual exploitation than ever before. Nine million Americans carry a venereal disease—that’s even more than those who battle alcoholism. It’s predicted that 100 million will die from HIV/AIDS in Africa alone in the next 20 years—100 million! At best, the world’s sexual philosophy doesn’t work—obviously! At worst, our so-called enlightened age, rather than giving us that sexual freedom it promised, has instead unleashed a tsunami of sexual degradation and destruction.
God has a better way—a higher sexual ethic to which he calls his children. I Thessalonians 4:3-4 says, “God wants you to be pure and to keep clear of all sexual sin. For God hasn’t called us to be dirty-minded and full of lust but to be holy and clean.”
Now God’s people haven’t always got this right, but there was one man who did—Joseph. Under the most intense pressure and rationale to compromise sexually, he didn’t. He remained pure in a polluted environment. Notice the rich theology in Joseph’s response:
“With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:8-9)
When you look at Joseph’s response to Potiphar’s wife, it is obvious that he had thought this through ahead of the temptation and had resolved long before the seduction to stay sexually pure. Here’s the thing: If you wait until the moment of intense passion to decide what your values and boundaries are going to be, you’ve waited too long. Authors Young and Adams write:
“Nothing interferes with logic and common sense more than the sex drive. For years we referred to this as the ‘brain relocation phenomenon,’ which occurs when you are passionate about someone and you start to get intimate. Here’s how it works. Once the hormones kick in, the brain dislodges from the skull and slowly moves down the body through the neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, and finally, below the waist. This process takes 10 to 20 minutes for women and about 3 seconds for men.”
And once that happens, you are thinking with your hormones, not your head! The truth is, you are a moral agent, created by God with a will. And you must resolve ahead of time to honor God with your sexuality, including not only sexual intercourse, but all the behaviors that contribute and lead to the point of no return. How can you do that?
First, resolve to make God’s standards your standards! Psalm 119:9 says, “How can one keep his way pure? By living according to your Word.”
Second, resolve to manage your mind, especially your media intake! Proverbs 15:14 says, “The fool feeds on trash.” What you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed your body. Every temptation starts in the mind. Proverbs 4:23 says “Be careful how you think, your life is shaped by your thoughts.” The battle for purity is won or lost in your brain.
Third, resolve to magnify the consequences of sin! Do a cost-benefit analysis of sexual sin! Proverbs 6:26 says, “Immorality may cost your life.” Proverbs 6:32 says, “Anyone who commits adultery doesn’t have any sense. He’s destroying himself.” Even if you don’t want to take God’s word for it, just look at the steady stream of recent studies on the results of the so-called sexual revolution. For instance, one study noted that when couples live together before marriage, there is an 80% higher likelihood of divorce than couples who don’t. Women in these relationships are twice as likely to be physically abused and four times more likely to experience depression than married women. And that is just one of many studies similarly confirming the unintended consequence of boundary-less sex. When you put the world’s sexual philosophy under the magnifying glass, who in their right mind would want that?
Perhaps by now you are saying, “Enough already, I’m convinced. God’s got a better way. But what do you do when you’ve already blown it sexually?” Well, here is what you need to know: There is grace and forgiveness and mercy and love to cover any sexual sin you have experienced. Have you ever noticed that some of the people most attracted to Jesus were those who had failed miserably in the sexual department: The woman who’d been married to five different husbands, and was currently living with a guy…a woman caught in adultery…prostitutes who’d sold their bodies for money.
And how would Jesus respond to them? He would look them right in the eye and just love them. And he will gladly forgive you where you have messed up and heal you where you have been damaged and give you strength where you want to resolve to live a new kind of life. That is just what Jesus does!
Just Saying… Francis Schaeffer said, “The Bible does not minimize sexual sin, but neither does it make it different from any other sin.” If you have messed up sexually, God has a great gift for you: Forgiveness.