• Higher Level, Bigger Devil

    I always recommend each person “play” at the lowest level at which they can receive maximum enjoyment. If you can be fully satisfied with just lingerie ads, there is no need to go any further. In fact it may be wise not to.

    There is a very good reason why I make this recommendation. The higher the level the bigger the devil you may encounter. A little bit of caution is merited and goes a long way. Stay at the level at which you have no guilt and for which you have the most grace.

    Ministry

    I discovered the truth of this maxim while I was in full time ministry. If you are serving God as a Sunday School teacher you will encounter more opposition from the enemy than if you are functioning as an usher. Not that one job is more important than another, but there are different levels of opposition. The enemy does not like it when people receive a warm welcome to a worship service. He likes it even less when precious children are taught the Word of God. The minister over the congregation who has a higher level of responsibility will receive more opposition, more temptation, and encounter more difficulty than the other two combined. Yes, all three are calls from God - but the higher the level, the bigger the devil. This does not mean you avoid greater levels of responsibility for fear of the enemy, but that you make sure you stay at the level for which God has given you grace.

    Enjoyment of Nudity and Erotica

    This saying is also true when it comes to the enjoyment of nudity and erotica. While these both can be a tremendous blessing in the life of the Christian who masturbates, any dangers that may exist are lower at a lower level of exposure and stimulation. Some just cannot handle how exposure to more explicit levels of erotica affects their emotions, their consecration to Christ and holy living, and their spiritual life. It opens something within them and has the potential for great damage. This damage can come in several ways.

    Lust

    One dear Brother in Christ told me that whenever he saw pictures of naked women, or women in erotic situation, he always wanted to have sex with them. Had he said they stirred his passions and he wanted to masturbate, or he was overwhelmed by their beauty, there would be no problem. Wanting to masturbate when you see an image or watch a video is not lust. It only means there were aspects of the woman’s figure that appealed to you, or that the actions on screen were arousing. But an active desire to have actual sex with these women is lust.

    The Demon of Addiction

    No matter what some may think of the issue of drinking alcohol, some of us can easily go to a party and sip a small glass of wine all evening long. For others it is “one drink, drunk.” They simply have to abstain because the demon of addiction is just too strong to resist.

    No matter how much we
    may want to deny ourselves
    our bodies are sexual and
    that sexuality will manifest.

    There are some foods that may be fine for most people, but as a dedicated “foodie”, I know to refrain from things like French Fries. Fatty foods do something to me and away I go, eating French Fries continually for six months. So I have to be very careful about what I let myself eat, especially at social events. I know I have a problem. I simply cannot give myself an exception. My exceptions take me down a long road to utter ruin. So I abstain from certain foods.

    Those individuals who battle with sexual addiction, whose compulsions carry them to unhealthy and self destructive and sinful places must be aware of what they are doing and strictly maintain proper limits.

    With alcohol and drugs the choice is clear. No one needs them to live so for those for whom they are a problem there is only one sensible choice. Abstain. But the solution is not so clear when the addiction involves food, or sex. We cannot live without food, so self-control must be developed. And no matter how much we may want to deny ourselves our bodies are sexual and that sexuality will manifest. It too needs the virtue of temperance.

    Legitimate Limits

    If exposure to nudity or erotica leads you into the degradation of pornography, stay away. If it leads you into the sin of lust, refrain. If they lead you into addictive behavior then avoid them at all costs. These are legitimate limits that need to be respected, not challenged. Arrogance says, “I am strong. I can handle anything.” Humility says “I am human. I need God’s guidance and His grace in all things, especially this.”

    If you are playing at one level and find that exposure to anything higher interferes with your peace and your walk with God, abide by those limits.

    Religious Rigidity

    The church need not take
    the absolutist position that
    if something is dangerous for a few
    it is dangerous for all.

    Some would like to make a blanket religious rule, “No Nudity, No Erotica” and apply it to everyone. They will tell you horror stories from the edges of human existence; of people whose lives were utterly ruined because an accidental exposure to a nude image thirty years ago led them to a life of utter degradation. They will use these examples from the extreme to outlaw even the most innocent image. They act like everyone everywhere all the time is a potential pervert and lust fiend, just waiting to be triggered. The slightest stimulus could awaken the deviant within them.

    But this is simply not true. Yes, some damaged individuals will need to be super careful. For some very little would be regarded as “safe.” But this only applies to some, not all. Not everyone exposed to nudity and erotica is a fiend in the making. The church need not take the absolutist position that if something is dangerous for a few it is dangerous for all.

    In some ways it is easier to live a super careful life, to live out of rigid rules rather than out of a relationship with God. But walking with him in the process of deciding what to allow and what to prohibit in our personal life is always best.

    Simply put . . . proceed with caution. Use wisdom. And enjoy.


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