Every Monday we’ll post something about maintaining your sexual integrity. Hope it helps.
Rebel Without a Clause
The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of Christians. - A.W. Tozer
Today I will, like you, be presented with countless opportunities to misuse my sexual self. There will be images I’ll pass on the street or the mall, unclean memories from past wrongdoings, fantasies that intrude like unwanted pop-ups on the computer. And every time I say no to these temptations, I’ll be a rebel.
Something about that appeals to me, and always has. I remain a huge fan of the James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause, having always related to the kid who couldn’t bring himself to go with the flow just because everyone else did. So I, like countless others of the 60’s generation, rebelled against the Establishment, the Man, the Status Quo. We hippies were, truth to tell, awfully full of ourselves, congratulating each other for having the courage to say no to everything society wanted us to consent to, and looking down our noses at those who got good grades, stayed off dope, pursued careers and raised traditional families.
Well, as hippies go, boy, am I a flop! I’m entrenched in a career, though I see it more as a ministry, I graduated with an MA, raised and am raising an almost laughably traditional family, and the occasional light beer is as daring as I get with chemicals. I look on my teen “drop out” years with nothing but regret, combined with a little amusement at how vain and truly stupid I was.
But while the taste for life a la Woodstock left me decades ago, the taste for rebellion never did. Even as a non-Christian I realized there was no virtue in going with the flow, and then, having been born again in my late teens, it became clear that some rebellion – rebellion against God, for example – was wrong to the point of evil (I Samuel 15:23) while some – chiefly rebellion against the world – was essential. (I John 2:15) Life in Christ, while abundant and fruitful, is also oppositional. “They are in the world but not of it”, Jesus said of His followers (John 17:14) and Peter reminds us that as believers we’re “strangers and pilgrims” in this place others call home. (I Peter 2:11) So if my life is Christ centered, my love for Him will show itself in an unwillingness to say yes to what others around me celebrate.
To be sure, that’s not always easy. But to this aging hippie, there’s something appealing about yet again thumbing my nose at the status quo. Because every time I say no to the lust so eagerly displayed and indulged all around me, I feel freer. Now in the days of psychadelics, freedom meant indulgence, which created dependency, which ended in slavery. But this time I’m not foolishly trading one bondage for another. Yes, the temptation is there, sometimes really there. The option of internet porn beckons, and my brain’s got a library full of sexual images I can choose to either check out and review or leave on the shelf. But to be free enough to say no is to rebel, in the truest and godliest sense, and there’s no clause in my covenant with Him giving me permission to indulge rather than resist just because the going gets hard, or the majority says yes. This is rebellion by decree, given by the One who’s always told His people “You’re Mine, so you’re different.” (Deuteronomy 14:2, Titus 2:14)
I truly hope it’s OK with Him that I kinda get off on that. Maybe my penchant for independence isn’t too spiritual, but it’s there, and when I yield to righteousness by resisting unrighteousness today, that hippie kid in this 58 year old body will grin as the flesh dies yet again, the spirit rules, and walking in the light is chosen, by God’s grace, over wading through the gutter.
So we who are, as Peter said, “kept by the power of God” (I Peter 1:5) can now enjoy another day of the liberty found in being truly peculiar, resisting the tide, and claiming allegiance to a higher, greater kingdom.
With a rebel yell.