Every Monday we’ll post something to do with maintaining sexual purity. Hope it helps.
Keeping It Clean: Why Bother?
If you’re concerned about keeping it clean, my guess that you’re also concerned over your sexual behavior, or that you want to avoid ever having to be concerned about it.
Makes sense. By now, you’ve probably attained some important life goals, so I’ll also assume you’ve steered your life in a certain direction and, to some extent, you’ve succeeded.
You have expectations, too, especially of yourself. You expect to be a certain type of man – not perfect, but the kind you can respect; a guy who lives up to his beliefs, has a decent reputation, and is the sort of friend, father or husband who makes his loved ones feel safe and cared for. And if you do ever wind up having any deep, dark secrets, you figure they’ll be the sort that aren’t really that deep and dark.
Plans and expectations – since you’ve got both, the last thing you want is to see them derailed by a moral failure, so you want to make sure that never happens.
But then again, maybe it already has. The form “it” takes varies from man to man. For many, it’s a combination of pornography and sexual fantasies. Others find it in a prostitute’s embrace, or in strip clubs, the forbidden thrill of adulterous or pre-marital sex, anonymous encounters, phone sex, cyber-sex or chat rooms. But whatever its form, it may have become part of your life, despite your plans and expectations, because in its own strange way, it works.
When you discovered it, you probably found something that delivered both meaning and ecstasy. Now, meaning isn’t normally a word we associate with immorality, but think about it: there really can be profound meaning in actions that are completely wrong. Just because they’re meaningful, that doesn’t make them right. But just because they’re wrong, that doesn’t remove the sense of meaning that so often goes with them. In plain language, if sexual sin wasn’t deeply meaningful in some way, men wouldn’t indulge it.
Morally wrong? Sure. Addictive; even destructive? Absolutely, but powerful, nonetheless. And when a customer tries a product delivering both meaning and ecstasy, there’s a good chance he’ll go back for seconds.
But maybe it didn’t stop at “seconds.” Maybe it became a fairly regular part of your routine. Oh, there may have been times – months, even years – when you stopped. But then it kept returning or, I should say, you kept returning to it. It was reliable and ever present, like an old friend who never said “no.” And so it became not only a secret vice, but a secret device as well – a product you’ve relied on for comfort, connection and escape.
But knowing a behavior is wrong doesn’t necessarily stop you from repeating it. And repeating it may not, at least in the beginning, ruin your plans and expectations. While nursing your sin, you can also build up that family, career and life you’re aiming for. The sin may not keep it from happening. There’s a good chance, in fact, you’ve told yourself, “This is wrong, but it isn’t that wrong! If I’m careful and discreet, it won’t interfere with the rest of my life. I am, after all, a good man in general, and even good men can have a few bad habits.”
Then something happens. You get caught, perhaps, or at least have a close call. Maybe your situation is worse – an arrest, a sexually transmitted disease, professional or financial damage – and now your life’s been thrown into endless somersaults. Or maybe you’re just exhausted from the lying, double-mindedness and shame that comes from prolonged sexual sin. Whatever the case, a crises of truth has gotten your attention, slapping you in the face with a realization: This has to stop; I have to change.
Good, because you know better. You know God, you know something about His will for your life, and you know His will can’t include behavior the Bible so strongly and specifically condemns. In light of that, you know what you need to avoid doing. Or, if you’re already doing it, you know what you need to stop.
Virtually every man I’ve worked with has had this kind of crisis, whether in his conscience or his circumstance, that forced the problem into the light. And with that exposure came fear, anger, or deep dissatisfaction. These, in turn, became strong incentives for change. So by the time I’ve met these men, they’ve usually been highly motivated, humbled by their sin, teachable, and ready to work.
If these characteristics come close to describing you, then you’re in good company. And all of us who read and participate in this blog are blessed to be with you in the journey.