Lust and the City: a post for believers

Lust and the City: a post for believers

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Why are scores of born-again teens and twenty-something year olds struggling with sexual sin? Does it strike you as something queer that the Body of Christ has a huge majority of its young population stuck in this quagmire? You may say they’re young and hot-blooded just like everyone else. That’s true. However there’s something deeper. There’s a spiritual problem concerning it. If you’ve been once caught in the web of lust and overcame it, you know that there are certain symptoms that make sense only after you get your victory. Here are some and many struggling can identify.

      Irritability to the Word of God
      Desire to just give in and give up
      Overwhelming desire to watch movies and media
      Avoidance of the Church and fellowship groups

The last two blogs on Pen Strokes elicited a lot of emotion from young believers. My email was flooded with responses of thank-you and please-pray-for-me from strangers, acquaintances and friends in the body of Christ. I was grateful that the spirit of God was working. However, a third kind of response came through; one that I didn’t anticipate. It was the cry for help. Several men wrote to me saying that the fight was hard! One had just run away from a woman who had tried seducing him. Several ladies wrote to speak with my wife of mistakes they had made that they felt had no redemptive chance. It’s difficult to share principles with someone who hasn’t received the gospel. So, our first question was thus: Have you given your life to Christ? The answer from all of them was a definite sure “yes.”

There had to be more. I took time to pray and an important Biblical fact came to heart. It’s this:

The Christian relationship between a man and a woman is by far the most vivid sign of the relationship and love Jesus has with humanity.

Don't forget that. We'll come to it

In Francine River’s classic novel, Atonement Child, the spiritual condition of sexual sin is portrayed very well. Dynah Carey is a believer. She has been faithful to wait until marriage. One night after work she is attacked and raped by a stranger. She is scarred when her fiancé breaks their engagement to save his reputation and blames her for not fighting the rapist. She finds out she is pregnant from the assault and is afraid to tell her parents. She is expelled from the Christian College she attends because the deans don’t want the moral record of their alma mater ruined by a pregnant unmarried girl.  She is confused when her best friend tells her to abort the child and she is angry when Joe, a believer, tells her that abortion is sinful. She blames God at some point and is at a crossroads as to where her life should lead. She later discovers that her rape and pregnancy isn’t an ordinary crime. There’s a spiritual history behind it. Make a point to own a copy. I can be a good reviewer, can’t I? Dynah’s demise wasn’t as a result of a discipline problem. It was a spiritual condition.

I don’t believe this spirit stuff

The spirit world is real. It's been there even before you and I existed. There are many believers who refuse to accept that there are spiritual forces at work in the world we live in and that they have supernatural abilities to brew evil. On the other hand, there are the extreme believers who blame the devil for every mishap. If their coffee poured, they’d scream “Shindwe pepo nyeusi!” (Kiswahili for ‘Be defeated black demon!’) There are Christian folk who underestimate the power of the occult and there are equally those who overestimate them. The first is naïve, the second is paranoid.  There is a biblical stand on evil forces.

The Bible is very clear in Ephesians 6:12 about the active role of demonic powers.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

People living in the city and urban areas can get so self-absorbed in their education and social class that it blinds the power of God. They can attribute psychological and scientific reasons for certain social, political and economic problems. They may not state it but inwardly they feel that the college degree they attained from four years of learning is wiser that the very creator of the galaxies and the universe. I say to you if you belong there; don’t be naïve. The devil is equally pleased with believers in both extremes concerning spiritual warfare. If you just shrug it off and claim that it doesn’t exist, he can work with his evil forces peaceably on account of your ignorance and pride. If you are overtly conscious that there’s a demon in your refrigerator causing the food not to thaw, he can also work very peaceably by instilling fear in you every time your day is ruined. There is a biblical approach to spiritual warfare and we will enlighten you.

If there is a God, be sure that there is a devil (and a powerful one too). The Bible doesn't call them pests. It calls them principalities. The devil and the Lord have two separate agendas. The former seeks to make a flawed human worse and suffer wrath. The latter seeks to make a flawed human saved from wrath. The devil isn’t trying to make good people bad for one reason; there is no such thing as a good person. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The word devil means liar. In Spanish it’s “Diablo” and it means the same. The root word for devil or Diablo is diablos, which means the same thing. Diablo/ Devil/ Liar. In Revelation 12:9, the definition of the devil is more accurate: one who leads the whole world astray. So he not only lies, he also leads astray. Satan uses the flaws in you to lead you astray through lies. One of those flaws is your lust.

Look at how the Bible shows that the devil can use flaw of a new believer.

1 Timothy 3:6 “An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.” (NLT)

Look at how it also teaches how the devil can take advantage of your anger.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” (NLT)

 If I could rewrite Ephesians 4:26-27 concerning lust, I would say this
And “don’t sin by letting lust control you.” Don’t get into a relationship, have Internet access, maintain a sinful relationship or watch television soaps and series while you are still lustful, for lust gives a foothold to the devil.
The spiritual battle of lust is real

Many believers scoff at this and only come to the realization of the truth after they’ve gone miles deep into regret. If you want to know that lust and carnal desires to gratify sexual needs are rooted in spiritual struggles, follow me through this.

The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 6:19 “ Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”

In this portion of scripture, Paul had been talking about sexual immorality in the Corinthian church. He finished it with three statements: 1) they were to honour God with their bodies sexually, 2) they were not their own and 3) they were to be cognizant of the fact that their bodies were temples of the Holy Spirit.

Temples all around the world have a common characteristic; they are meant to be clean and pure. The Holy Spirit reacts to a sexually unclean temple. You know it. You’ve probably felt his reaction when you were ogling sexual content you shouldn’t have been ogling. Or you felt his reaction when you watched that TV series that left you more lustful than hopeful. That reaction is in every believer. It’s called conviction. How does that prove that the sexual battle is spiritual? Like this. The Holy Spirit is a spirit. Your flesh is a body. Your body interacts with physical stimuli and it elicits physical responses. If an assailant scratched you with a sharp blade, you’d yelp in pain. The Holy Spirit reacts after interacting with spiritual stimuli similarly. When your spirit is scratched, the Holy Spirit in you will yelp. The Holy Spirit will not convict you to go for lunch break. That’s why you have a stomach. When the stomach is “scratched” by hunger pangs, it yelps through hunger growls. The Holy Spirit will convict matters concerning the eternal state of a man i.e. the soul and the spirit. When the eternal state of a man is “scratched” the Holy Spirit will “yelp” through a conviction. In fact, if an assailant approached you holding a blade in their hand, you’d step away from them before they even attempt to scratch you. If you get close enough, they might do more than scratching. They may kill you! Only a fool would hang around and find out if the assailant would murder him/her. Don’t be a fool! Sexual sin is the assailant and you’re still hanging around asking, “how far is too far?” You will die before you know the answer to that question. Thanks be to God because assailants creep on us but God’s Holy Spirit warns us. When assailants armed with blades that injure the spirit approach you, the Holy Spirit convicts you to get away. If you don’t get away, the consequences will be dreadful.  So why would the Holy Spirit react through a conviction when you’re about to steal kisses in the dark? Could it be that stealing kisses with your sweetheart in secret places and dark movie theatres is an assailant to your spirit? Could it be that watching Gossip Girl is more than just watching TV? We run from the assailant because the Bible tells us to flee from sexual sin. Anyone who doesn’t run only exposes himself or herself to real danger by self-harm. Read:

1 Corinthians 6:18 “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” (NLT)

Don’t dare think for a minute that your body is your flesh. Believe me, your body is just a host of the real you. Your hair, your eyes, your teeth are not you; they are a house for you. So who are you? You are a spirit. God made you that way. You are a spirit, you live in a body and you have a soul. If you live to please the body through sexual sin at the expense of the spirit, it will impoverish your soul. Your soul is you mind, your will and your emotions. However, if you please the spirit at the expense of the body, you will always have a rich soul. The effects of sexual sin are spiritual. There are spiritual scales that are tipped beloved.

When the human body is injured severally, the nerves in that part of the body die. No matter how much you injure it from then on, the person won’t feel a thing. It’s the same with our spirit. You keep exposing it with Lust and the City and you will feel no more conviction and believe me that is bad for you. The next step for a body that doesn’t feel is amputation. Amputation will cost you heartache. Your dating relationship may need amputating that girl that leads you astray. It means amputating that man that claims to love you but is still sleeping with the ex. It could also mean amputating your Internet time and TV time. It could mean amputating your selves as boyfriend and girlfriend because despite being faithful to one another, you’re unfaithful to your heavenly King each time you have sex and nobody knows. That’s why he (the Holy Spirit) will fight to keep the temple clean. And if he fights a mere kiss through a conviction, be assured that the “mere kiss” will cause amputation eventually if His voice is not heeded. The spiritual battle is real.

What if I don’t amputate, you ask? What happens when a believer is warned severally, doesn’t listen, becomes indifferent to the Word of God and continues in their rut of sexual sin? I’ll tell you what happens. If a dead arm is not amputated, it rots. And when flesh rots, it spreads to other areas. Even fresh flesh becomes cancerous and begins to die when amputation is not done. Very soon, you will have a rotten corpse because you didn’t amputate the sexual sin. It will affect other areas in your life. It will affect your family relationships. It will affect your studies and it will affect your relationship with God.  When your entire life rots, you are reduced to a corpse and corpses attract scavengers. A rotten spirit will attract demons. If you are not a believer, you can be easily possessed. If you’re a believer, it’s worse. You become oppressed heavily.

Years from now, this truth will be theoretical if the devil can help it. This is the truth:
The Christian relationship between a man and a woman is by far the most vivid sign of the relationship and love Jesus has with humanity.

That truth alone can cause the devil to fight the establishment of a Christian family. He’s into the foundation wrecking business, so that means your dating and singlehood need to be protected. We’ll learn how to protect that very soon. John 10:10 says that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy but Christ came to give life and life in abundance. Are you casual as a believer concerning your dating relationship? Do you think because you are single, you don’t need to filter what you watch on TV because it doesn’t affect anyone? You reap what you sow beloved. That’s a spiritual truth that is not about to change. Casual dating may breed a casual marriage and a casual marriage cannot show the extraordinary power of Christ. Mediocre singlehood will breed a mediocre relationship and…you get the trend. You cannot afford to let your guard down concerning sexual sin. Our testimony is killed each time we give in to our lust. We may not see how our testimony is killed now but our sin always finds us out. Sin is like a boomerang. It has to come back, so stop throwing.

Our opportunity to show the world the love Christ has for them is nullified with our pursuit of carnal pleasures. Every single and dating believer must fight the war with lust to protect the power of their future marriages whether they marry the person or not. If by some stroke of ill-luck you didn’t marry your current sweetheart, would their future spouse ever say to you years from now, “I’m glad you dated him/her?” or “I wish you two hadn’t met?” And as you read on past chapter 5 of Ephesians, you will discover that the relationship parents have with their children is very important to show the power of Christ. Yet this too is ruined in the dating period of believers’ lives. How? Look at the number of fatherless children, abortions and orphans born to believers in the church. Most grow up not knowing God’s design for a family. How did they get there? The single and the dating years. Yes, marriages too cause havoc from men and women who fail to keep their vows, but we’re not putting out fires here. We’re stopping them from starting in the first place. The dating and single years are the foundations of a Christian marriage. Is your dating pleasing to God? Is your singlehood pleasing to God?

People are depending on your fight against lust

Do you know that an unbeliever can come to Christ because of the loving relationship you have with your spouse and kids? It starts in your singlehood and dating life if you want that analogy of Christ and the Church exemplified. The Holy Spirit convicts and draws men to Christ through men and women who do his will and the family institution is one place to exercise that. Do you realize that if you are not vigilant in warding off lust right now in your singlehood or dating life, it may cost someone a chance of heaven? Granted, your sin may not have dire consequences as others’ but your relationships will lack the power Christ desires for unbelievers to see all because of a careless moment of carnality in the past. Do not take the fight against lust casually? The devil and the world are taking it very seriously if you haven’t noticed. You have the spirit of God in you, look around the city. You know what I’m saying is true. You have the power to save a generation if you fight. The battle is real.

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Grace and Peace


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