"Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit." - Matthew 26:41 AMP
Thoughts for Today
Jonathan Edwards, whose ministry led the way in a revival commonly known as the "Great Awakening," was a brilliant American theologian and philosopher who lived during the early 1700s. Edwards made the following statement: "We always choose what we believe is most beneficial." By this, he meant we are convinced it is better to sin and have present pleasure than to obey and endure the pain. This type of thinking process always leads to making wrong choices. These choices develop into patterns of behaviors that become part of our lifestyles—lifestyles that are not pleasing to God.
These principles apply to all areas of our lives, but this week we are going to focus on how they apply to sexual sin. You may wonder why we are addressing this issue in a Christian devotion read mostly by Christians. Here are just a few reasons:
- A 2009 study conducted by Benjamin Edelman of the Harvard Business School indicates that demographic areas espousing conservative, biblical worldviews have higher rates of online pornography usage than non-conservative, non-evangelical demographic areas (Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2009).
- In 2006, 53% of Promise Keeper men admitted to viewing pornography in the last week (www.toptenreviews.com, internet pornography statistics).
- In 2006, over 50% of CHRISTIAN men and 20% of CHRISTIAN women admitted to an addiction to pornography (www.Marketwire.com, 2006).
- In 2001, over half of evangelical pastors admitted viewing pornography in the previous year (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, 12/2001).
Consider this …
Even as Christians, we sometimes make wrong choices. We allow our old sinful nature to dominate our thinking. And then we sometimes choose temporary pleasure over what we know is right. We find a way to rationalize and convince ourselves that it's ok.
Today's scripture reminds us that when we focus on the Holy Spirit, our desire to please God will outweigh our desire to fantasize and act on sexual urges. Perhaps you or someone you know is struggling with sexual sin. Throughout this week, we will offer more help from God's Word.
Father, you know about this area in my life that I've tried to hide. I have allowed sinful thoughts and urges to lead me into wrong choices. Please forgive me and show me how to overcome. In Jesus' name …
1"Sexual Statistics: June 2009." JohnsonFerry.org. http://www.johnsonferry.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=QIECn%2F1DoQ0%3D&tabid=408&mid=1806. (Accessed July 13, 2010.)
These thoughts were drawn from …Crossroads: Choosing the Road to Sexual Purity by David E. Longacre. Crossroads deals with choosing the road to sexual purity and is suggested for use in support groups and Christian counseling.
- Describes the sexual addiction process
- Shows how the sin of proximity often precedes sexual sins
- Shows the way out of sexual addiction
- Presents biblical insights to help a person break free and stay free
- Gives practical actions for renewing the mind
- Serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by providing a way to minister to people's felt needs and then pointing them to Christ
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