Try it, you’ll like it. How many times have we heard this phrase used to lure an unsuspecting person into something that will forever change the course of their life? It’s common enough today to find ruined lives everywhere around us because someone tried it and liked it. Marriages and families are destroyed often because one or more is interested in pleasure for themselves, more than the good of the others.
Sin never begins big or ends small. Deception by nature is incremental; it grows. Anyone who has listened to the testimony of serial killer Ted Bundy – interviewed by Dr. James Dobson — realizes how this man became a monster incrementally. It all began with small areas of self-pleasure. It is fearful to think about where sin can take someone. In John chapter 10, verse 10, Jesus said, “Satan comes for no other reason but to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come to give you life and that abundantly”. The warning is given yet many do not heed the words of Jesus. If someone fails to live submitted to the Holy Spirit, feeding upon God’s Word fully, daily, and applying it to their life, they will be wrongfully influenced. Satan works with the natural man to accomplish his wicked deeds.
I grew up in the generation that became known as the “potheads”. As with habitual drug use, so habitual sexual sin becomes addictive and this generation is reaping the awful consequences of pornography use. The term “gateway drug” in the past, especially during the ’60s and ’70s, referred to marijuana. Finding a comfortable home within the hippie and free love culture, marijuana helped in removing inhibition; but was illegal to possess or grow, unlike today. Studies indicated that many people who used marijuana would eventually go on to use stronger drugs in order to maintain or increase the euphoric feeling pot produces. Pornography has the same escalating effect.
The generation we are living in now is facing an increase in addiction on every front. The gateway drug, marijuana, has become commonplace; the same is true of sexual sin. With the freedom and secrecy of the internet, sexual addiction has taken over as one of the killers today, and the church is not exempt.
The problem with pornography is that it perverts something God intends for good. The hormones God placed within us for pleasure becomes a snare when stimulated wrongly. It is true, everything good and pleasurable that God created for enjoyment within marriage Satan imitates and perverts. He wants to draw us away from our Creator and those around us – he successfully uses what God intended for bonding and pleasure in marriage to bring us into bondage unto him. In the end, addictions destroy people, families, and societies.
The on-line dictionary describes pleasure as “enjoyment or satisfaction derived from what is to one’s liking; gratification; delight”. We develop our pleasures with repeated choices. All of the hormones in our body were designed by God to give us everything we need for life. God placed “pleasure” hormones within us for good reason. He created us so intricately, that He truly is the only One who can figure us out and provide remedy for our needs. Because He alone is the author of our lives, man’s best attempts to solve problems related to addiction are temporary at best — and harmful! Artificially altering hormones through drugs can manipulate feelings, but will never solve the real problem.
Let’s just look at a few of these hormones. Oxytocin is the “bonding” hormone. During sexual relations, a husband and wife bond physically and emotionally aided by hormones in our brain. How cool! No wonder we are instructed to remain pure virgins until marriage. Why do you suppose Paul warns not to join oneself with a prostitute (I Cor. 6:16). Oxytocin bonds husband and wife to one another in a way that we may not understand, physically, spiritually, and hormonally. This hormone is also given by God to bind a mother to her newborn child during both the delivery and while nursing the baby. It’s referred to as the cuddling hormone for good reason. Men, and women as well cuddle with the wife/husband of your youth and no one else (Prov. 5:18)!
Shame and Guilt
Drugs may change with each generation, but the drug I want to focus upon today is as old as mankind. It is always available . . . and it hides well, for a while. But because habitual sin brings shame and guilt, it will eventually disconnect you from others — your parents, wife, children, family, and especially anyone who really cares about you and attempts to probe into your life to help you. Participating in this pleasure drug secretly will eventually draw you into a place of isolation. You will always want more, needing additional stimulation. It becomes a bondage that requires escalation. It’s a hard drug to get rid of: it is all centered in you… and escaping yourself is impossible.
So what is the “gateway drug” for sexual sin? Masturbation is the portal through which someone enters into a life of sexual self-pleasure and bondage. Since God created sexual pleasure and designed for this to bond a husband and wife together, He clearly gave instructions as to the boundaries for sexual pleasure and how sex works for our good. If done another way, the hormones would become a curse, and as in the Garden, the curse of sin brought only pain and misery to mankind. Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to give us good gifts. When we take what He has given for our good and decide we will do things our way, we sadly pay a great price for our choices.
Do you realize that we have a generation of impotent men? Not only do older men struggle with this, but the young as well. For years now therapists, doctors and counselors have encouraged self-pleasure through masturbation and a great price is being paid for poor counsel. Have you noticed the barrage of TV ads dealing with ED (Erectile Dysfunction)? Where do you suppose this growing pandemic came from? Viagra and related drugs are topping the list in the commercial line-up. There are many non-religious young men who, by an act of their will and retraining their brain, have determined to quit masturbating with pornography to deal with their sexual lust. Once they realized what was happening to them, they become desperate to be able to function sexually again. (Secular source/link: Does porn contribute to ED?)
The answer to resolving this gripping sin is the need to view life in is proper context. When we do this we can successfully learn how to put-off these destructive habits and put-on what God says is healthy and good.
God is the true LIFE-Giver
When Jesus said, “… I will give you life and that life abundantly” he was talking about “zoe” life — a divine life given to mankind. This verse tells us a lot about God’s intention for His creation. Let’s look at the word life in the New Testament, an explanation I have taken from the Bibles for America website.
In the Greek language, three different words—bios, psuche, and zoe—are translated as “life” in English, and each has a different meaning. Here are some examples of where each is used:
- Bios, in Luke 8:14: “…anxieties and riches and pleasure of this life.” This Greek word refers to the life of the physical body and is where we get the word biology.
- Psuche, in Matt. 16:25: “For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it.” The Greek word here refers to the psychological life of the human soul, that is, the mind, emotion, and will. It is where we get the word psychology.
- Zoe, in John 1:4: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Here the Greek word refers to the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God.
We can see that when God created mankind, He gave us aspects of our being that He has designed to fill in us so that we experience the fullness of life He intended. We have already looked at Bios; let us look at the other two words translated as life.
The mind, will, and emotions are rooted in the soul. This is where the drug of masturbation has its second great effect. Through habitual sinful behavior, the soul becomes polluted and we develop what I call a guilty soul. If not dealt with properly, over time it becomes a hardened heart, which is very dangerous. Apart from God’s grace through forgiveness, it is impossible to truly relieve a guilty soul. We will always grab some type of fig-leave to cover it. Guilt causes a mass of emotional confusion and turmoil; opposite of what God offers us. This is why counseling administered from a humanistic view will never successfully deal with guilt. The best offerings they have to buffer is provided through drugs, self-help thinking, or a substitute method of relieving guilt. These are temporary fixes. Only when sin is acknowledged as the root problem, and then confessed and repented of, can guilt be relieved.
Third, the spirit of man is where the Holy Spirit is able to come in and make a new man out of the old. What an awesome life that is! God is willing to impart His eternal, divine life into us. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” 2 Peter 1:4. A heavenly exchange occurs, bringing in light where there was darkness. God in His excellent mercy and love provides a remedy for destruction and sin. Satan hates Him for that! The longer Satan can keep someone living under the guilty load of sin, the more successful he is at destroying the person, and perhaps the entire family. If you are living with a guilty soul, free yourself by submitting to Christ and godly brothers and sisters. Invite the Holy Spirit into your life to change you and make you new. He will help you walk out of the darkness and continue to walk into the Light!
Is this Zoe Life in you?
In closing, let’s look at pleasure again. Here are a few synonyms for pleasure: contentment, delight, enjoyment, gladness, gratification, happiness. Now think of your Heavenly Father: are you able to associate these pleasurable thoughts with Him? If not, there are issues in your life that require attention so that you can begin to enjoy the abundant life Jesus offers you.
In contrast look at some antonyms of pleasure: misery, sadness, unhappiness, wretchedness; anguish, desolation, joylessness, sorrow, woe; dejection, depression, despondency, dispiritedness, gloom, melancholy; aggravation, annoyance, exasperation, irritation, vexation; anger, fury, rage; agitation, distress, disturbance, upset; discomfort, restlessness, uneasiness, discontentment, displeasure, dissatisfaction, unhappiness. Ouch! These words fit the life of someone bound by sin. Who wants to live there, when God offers us peace and pleasure in Him? If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek out a godly, Biblical counselor who uses the Word of God as their manual and textbook to offer you hope in the midst of your pain. God alone created you and He alone has the answers for your entire life.
A Word of Caution:
The Bible is replete with warnings concerning sin. Sexual sin, in particular, is highlighted as most destructive (I Cor 7:16-18), as it works within the person’s body to destroy them. The brain becomes rewired in a distorted way.
If you or someone you know is engaged in the early stages of sexual self-pleasure, perhaps you can warn them to repent, take proper steps to get help, and to remove themselves from the fowler’s snare. Read Proverbs Chapter 5 for more details. Satan is our enemy. He is out to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10). “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man (woman) sows, he (she) shall also reap” (Gal.6:7).
Romans Chapters 1 and 2, gives an outline of what sexual sin will do in a life. For some, time is running out. Paul tells us that at some point God will give them over to a reprobate mind, and they will be consumed with their sexual lust.
If you are living in sexual sin, I pray you will humble yourself and fear the Lord and turn from all that displeases Him. Remember, sin always begins small and grows big. But no matter how great the load of sin you carry is, God has an answer, a remedy for it. But you alone must choose to rid yourself of your guilty soul. Christ came to do that. There are people desiring to help you.
 For more info on the hormones effected by porn usage see the Covenant Eyes website for related articles: http://www.covenanteyes.com. Additional info on the effects of pornography: 30-minute video: Unfiltered
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