I was over someone’s house and there was a show on that had a pretty promiscuous scene. As soon as I saw it my “spiritual radar” went off. But later that day as I entertained an impure thought, it was easier for me to accept, which should have not been so.
Matthew 5 says 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
It’s easy to think that purity is simply rules, most notably “don’t have sex before marriage”. Or “don’t watch this or that”. This is similar to thinking modesty only deals with we do or do not wear. But it’s much deeper than that. It’s a mindset and a heart condition. When you only think in rules, you’re stuck in an Old Testament attitude. The Law, based on rules, makes us aware of what sin is and reminds us that we all fall short. (Romans 7) Most of the 10 Commandments focus on actions like “do not steal” or “do not kill”
Galatians 5 says: 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh [g]sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you [h]please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [j]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
So our deeds and words are just an overflow of what reigns in our hearts: our flesh or the Spirit. Scripture tells that as we think in our hearts, so are we (Proverbs 23:7). The last verse above reminds us that we have to die to our fleshly desires. We serve a holy God who loves us so much He sent His only Son to die for us to save us from the consequences of sin. How it must break God’s heart for our culture to idolize the very things His Son died for us to be free from.
In the New Covenant, Jesus calls us to think beyond rules written on stone to having hearts that conform to His. When we think this way it’s not about “how far can I go and still be saved?” but “will God be glorified by my actions?” That’s real relationship.
We can try to avoid every sin glamorizing reality show and sitcom, but it’s hard to not hear or see people discussing them online or offline. Even if we never watched anything sinful, our flesh would still want what goes against God’s commands. So while we can’t escape them, perhaps there’s a way to work those discussions into sharing the Gospel. Recently I’ve started listening to podcasts like Finding Christ in Cinema that take popular movies and discuss them from a Christian perspective.
Here’s some tips to help our thought life (more tips here):
- Intentionally fight sinful thoughts. We are called to think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). If you are struggling in area, look up related scriptures concerning it, meditate on them, pray about them, and apply them to your life.
- Guard your heart. Are the shows you watch and the songs you listen to feeding your flesh or your spirit?
- Remember that God know your thoughts. (Psalm 139:2) It’s not just enough to not watch pornography, we must even entertain thoughts of it.
- Focus on the “why” not the “what”. Know that God’s commands are for our good, not simply to withhold things (that He created) from us. As Christians we have life more abundantly (John 10:10), we can enjoy the things God created to their fullest when they are within His boundaries. “If you do not know the purpose you are bound to pervert it” – Cornelius Lindsey.
- Remember your identify in Christ and who He called us to be. He calls us to be set apart, holy. (1 Peter 1:15)
- Don’t let others/social media/culture replace Christ as your standard. You might try to justify your sin after seeing someone do something “worse”, but sin is sin. At the end of your life you will stand before God and not them.
- Focus on other aspects of marriage than being physical, they will take up much more time. Think about what questions you would ask someone you are courting, and your own answers to those questions.