Lusts of the Flesh and Normalizing Evil
Our God is jealous and He is Holy. The sins He hated in the Old Testament, He hates in the New Testament. What would offend someone who loved us so much that He wants us to be utterly loyal to Him? We become an enemy of God when we become friendly with the world. And what is friendship with the world again? As for the lusts of the flesh
- "Lust of flesh” is being tempted by our flesh to chase pleasures, this equals the cravings of the body. These are all of the sensual temptations. This is lust for another person. The desire to have and enjoy the body of an individual, either mentally or physically, even though such pleasure is illegal and/or immoral. We can feed these lusts by going to places where we see uncovered bodies, or watching TV and movies that have various states of immodesty, or by seeking out images in magazines and online that feed these evil desires.
But often we aren't aware that we are drifting into this dreadful place because we become friendly with the world gradually. We forget to ask ourselves questions like:
Am I emotionally attached to anything that God hates? Do I have affection for something that is utterly opposed to Him? Is the world of the Devil and all of its rebellion and lusts that is hostile towards God—looked upon with interest, for entertainment or even for pleasure? Are God's enemies my favored companions? Do I flee the lusts of the flesh or show interest and good will towards what God hates?
Now listen to the words of the Apostle of holy living, the most disciplined man of the First Century who wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else—as we turn to Ephesians 5.1-14.
- Ephesians 5:1-14 Follow God’s example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father. 2 Be full of love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, for Christ’s love for you was like sweet perfume to him. 3 Let there be no sex sin, impurity or greed among you. Let no one be able to accuse you of any such things. 4 Dirty stories, foul talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, remind each other of God’s goodness, and be thankful. 5 You can be sure of this: The Kingdom of Christ and of God will never belong to anyone who is impure or greedy, for a greedy person is really an idol worshiper—he loves and worships the good things of this life more than God. 6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible wrath of God is upon all those who do them. 7 Don’t even associate with such people. 8 For though once your heart was full of darkness, now it is full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! 9 Because of this light within you, you should do only what is good and right and true. 10 Learn as you go along what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead, rebuke and expose them. 12 It would be shameful even to mention here those pleasures of darkness that the ungodly do. 13 But when you expose them, the light shines in upon their sin and shows it up, and when they see how wrong they really are, some of them may even become children of light! 14 That is why God says in the Scriptures, “Awake, O sleeper, and rise up from the dead; and Christ shall give you light.” TLB
The NIV captures verse three so clearly, look at those words again—“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people."
Now where have we gotten to in our American Culture? Are we listening to Paul or is our life slowly being squeezed into the shape our lusts of the flesh driven world around us pressures us to be every day?
Remember Romans 12.1-2—I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. NKJV
Before we get to Samson and all his failures with the lusts of the flesh, let's look at where we have gotten to in our world today. This is a magazine article I read over two years ago. This is just the first page—it was very convicting and distressing. It is very blunt and I hope that it will be enough to offend everyone of us into re-examining our lives to be sure we are not getting slowly squeezed into a place that we will embrace the lusts of the flesh and have our life become an enemy to God!
Suppose I said, “There’s a great-looking girl down the street. Let’s go look through her window and watch her undress, then pose for us naked, from the waist up. Then this girl and her boyfriend will get in a car and have sex - let’s listen and watch the windows steam up!”
You’d be shocked. You’d think what a pervert!
But suppose instead I said, “Hey, come on over. Let’s watch Titanic.”
Christians recommend this movie, church youth groups view it together, and many have shown it in their homes. Yet the movie contains precisely the scenes I described.
So, as our young men lust after bare women on the screen, our young women are trained in how to get a man’s attention.
How does something shocking and shameful somehow become acceptable because we watch it through a television instead of a window?
In terms of the lasting effects on our minds and morals, what’s the difference?
Yet many think, Titanic? Wonderful! It wasn’t even rated R!
Every day Christians across the country, including many church leaders, watch people undress through the window of television. We peek on people committing fornication and adultery, which our God calls an abomination.
We’ve become voyeurs, Peeping Toms, entertained by sin.
The enemy’s strategy is to normalize evil. Consider young people struggling with homosexual temptation. How does it affect them when they watch popular television dramas where homosexual partners live together in apparent normality?
Parents who wouldn’t dream of letting a dirty-minded adult baby-sit their children do it every time they let their kids surf the channels. Not only we, but our children become desensitized to immorality. Why are we surprised when our son gets a girl pregnant if we’ve allowed him to watch hundreds of immoral acts and hear thousands of jokes with sexual innuendos?
But it’s just one little sex scene.
Suppose I offered you a cookie, saying, “A few mouse droppings fell in the batter, but for the most part it’s a great cookie –you won’t even notice.”
“To fear the LORD is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). When we’re being entertained by evil, how can we hate it? How can we be pure when we amuse ourselves with impurity?
God warns us not to talk about sex inappropriately:
- “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place” (Ephesians 5:3-4).
How do our favorite dramas and sitcoms stand up to these verses?
How about Seinfeld and other nightly reruns? Do they contain “even a hint of sexual immorality” or “coarse joking”?
If we can listen to late night comedians’ monologues riddled with immoral references, are we really fearing God and hating evil?
Because we are so loved, God wants us to repent of any friendship with the world—so He warns us by showing us what will happen to us if we persist in this friendliness to the world mode.
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