While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. -II Peter 2:19
When something immoral starts running your life, then you’re kissing Hitler. That’s why running to lust for comfort is like running to prison for a good night’s sleep. You’ll get a roof and a bed, then wake up realizing you’re behind bars.
Peter referred to this in the verse above, when he compared the promise of unclean behavior to what it delivers, somewhat like that cliché about the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
I’ve never fully agreed with that definition, but I’ll grant that it’s at least stupid, and possibly lethal, to repeat a counter-productive behavior, ignoring your own experience which is trying to tell you that counter-productive act will come back to bite you.
So it is with lust, the overpoweringly pleasurable experience which morphs into a sexy dictator, demanding more of you and diminishing more of your life in the process. Plenty of people, you perhaps being one of them, are repeating a pattern they really wish they could quit craving. (Or they wish they could be stronger when the craving kicks in.) Either way, they’ve started a habit of porn, or an illicit relationship, or some other erotic pleasure, without intending to serve the idol they initially wanted to just visit.
And what a miserable life of service that can become! When I was a kid I saw the stage musical Promises Promises in which a married character mourns about his bondage to pursuing one affair after another:
Tell me how long must I keep wanting things
Needing things, when I have so much?
There are many men who have much less than me
Day by day, they make their way
And they find more in life than I can see
Tell me when will I learn to resist wanting things
Touching things that say, “Do, do not touch”
People that I meet seem to think I am strong
They don’t see inside of me so they don’t know I’m weak and often wrong.
Sad dude, terrible situation. If you have something in common with him, please tell yourself these three points:
1. It’s not only wrong, it’s also not working.
2. It’s not only ‘not working’; it’s also damaging me and everything I really want.
3. It’s not only damaging me and everything I really want, it’s also taking over.
The Marlboro Man Lied
When I was twelve, I was unusually stupid, even for a twelve year old. I took up smoking. It felt cool, became a source of comfort, and delivered a unique impact. But though I decided to smoke, I never decided to get hooked.
That came as a simple by product of me repeating a behavior which delivered impact, realizing too late that the nicotine buzz was no longer something I summoned when I wanted it. It began summoning me, sometimes in the middle of the night, and I feel pathetic remembering the number of 2 am trips I made hunting down an all night store selling my drug.
Quitting smoking was one of my toughest challenges, and I sure didn’t do it just because I realized it was morally wrong to pollute my body. I also realized when I turned 27 that everything I really wanted, right down to my health and wind power, was being chipped away by my habit.
Let’s all learn from that, OK? If something you enjoy is also something interfering with what you ultimately want, then you have the ability to make a decision,
Make it now. Then follow that decision up with the support you’ll need to keep it, the guidance you’ll need to navigate your withdrawal from the tyrant you’ve ousted, and ongoing inspiration to stay the course. You’ll get that through prayer, the Word, good fellowship, and a stronger sense of your calling.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s simple truth being proven, though ignored, by the countless numbers of Believers who’ve incorporated unclean acts into their routine and are now suffering because of it.
We’re all suffering because of it too, since the Body of Christ is made up of members who affect each other, whether they want to or not.
So as the rather irritating ad for testosterone boosters says, “Come on. Your life is waiting for you.”
You really do, you know. The sooner you see the sexy dictator for the tyrannical parasite he really is, the sooner you’ll shed him once and for all, and the better off you, and the rest of us, will be.