The road to sexual purity and sexual sobriety is a long road of obedience and accountability. There’s no way around it. This past weekend more than 100 men came to a men’s retreat at the Vineyard called "Warriors and Worshipers."
We wounded soldiers — all determined to stay in the fight — spent a lot of time talking about sexual purity, including the ubiquity of pornography on the internet. It is no surprise to you or me that large percentages of Christian men view pornography and act out with solo sex, many even after they are married. One young married man said to me, "I thought marriage would solve my problem, and it didn’t."
Most every Christian man I know struggles with objectifying women (objectifying — looking at a women with the intent of keeping your power — "Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you").
One man said that the way men are wired from their Creator, they do instantly notice women. Is that true? I suppose. But even if it is true, does that mean we are destined to instantly objectify them?
The answer, I hope, is a resounding "No." Largely, objectifying becomes a habit (Frankly, an habitual sin), due in large part to the pervasive sexual images found everywhere in our culture. Most insidious is how those images now dwell secretly on your computer and and even cell phone. Many then store those imagines in their minds for easy recall.
Men start objectifying women when they are very young and before long it becomes an habitual behavior that is continually reinforced right into adulthood and almost always right into their marriage. A man merely has to sit down at his computer or pop open his cell phone. Now, friends, how in heaven’s name are you supposed to break your habit if you allow those images constantly to be a your fingertips?
Here are some proposels I have heard: Hold to the two-second rule when looking at women. Sorry, I completely disagree. Two seconds is an eternity. Others say, "Men should pray for women they are tempted to objectify." Well, maybe, in the sense that the Apostle Paul encourages us to pray without ceasing. Still others say, "Men should look directly into a woman’s eyes instead of at her body and thus realize she’s a real person." Good grief, you don’t have to Look at her eyes to see she’s a human. How about averting your eyes?
I’m not high on any of those ideas, frankly. I do like the idea of quoting Bible verses (there’s a good argument for memorizing the Word) when tempted, and I like the idea of quoting some kind of personal mantra, such as: " This woman is not mine. I have a wife and children who love me, and I am committed to love and protect them. I am free in Christ to do the right thing. How dare I objectify this woman and disregard the powerful name of my Lord and master."
There will be no long-term sexual sobriety or purity without honesty with yourself and your wife (if you are married), accountability to other men and regular reading and meditating upon the Word of God. Mark my words. It will not happen. I’d love to hear about it if you think there’s another way. And I’d like to here about your victories.
Here are four outstanding (truly inspiring and very authentic) ministries geared to helping men: pureonline.com, blazinggrace.org/, purelifeministries.org/ and xxx.church.com. Check out the sites. Subscribe to the newsletters, and keep walking down the long road of obedience.