Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Boundaries - Part 2

When it comes to sexual boundaries, there is no effort too drastic and no endeavor too absurd for those of us seeking to live a life of holiness. There just isn't. When I used to work construction, I was fed this line almost daily, "You can window shop, just don't buy anything." That's the biggest load I've ever heard. Because it always begins with a look. Sometimes innocently enough. But it always begins there. So, no length is too great to go to live a life of holiness and purity before God.

Even as I write this, I'm sure I'll be bombarded by the enemy in this very area later this week, maybe even later today. It never fails. When I'm challenging others or challenging myself in a particular area, the enemy usually hits hardest in that area just a short while later. Just to see if I'm truly living what I preach. That's scary. But that's okay. I'd rather live scared to death knowing that one unholy mistake could ruin my testimony, my family, and everything I stand for, than to think that I've got it together and then fall in that very area. When Tasha and I lived in Greenville, SC, my pastor told us one time about a friend of his who had experienced moral failure in ministry. The man told my pastor these profound words:

"It only takes one step to cross the line, but it takes a lifetime to get back across."
That coming from a man who destroyed everything he had worked his entire life to build in a few moments of insanity.

But here's the tendency: We think that because we haven't physically drank from another well, that our water is clean and uncontaminated. But the opposite is just as true. That's why Jesus explained to the Pharisees that adultery of the heart is just as heinous. Because it starts in the heart. That's why guarding our hearts is so important. Which brings me to the third boundary.

3. Avoid Even the Smallest Compromise

Romans 13:14 says,

"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires."

"Make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires." Wow! See, when it comes right down to it, we make plans. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we make plans to enter into sexual sin. We often say that we didn't plan to sin, but in reality we did plan it. Through the small things that we let creep into our lives. By not flipping the channel when the Victoria's Secret commercial comes on. By not refusing to open the e-mail that is so obviously suspect because of it's subject title. It's these small compromises that become the plans to satisfying the fleshly desires.

Men, this is why it is vitally important to give our wives full-access into our hearts and minds. They need to be able to ask us straight up if we've had any struggles lately. We need to let our wives look through our Guitar Center and ESPN magazines before we get to them to tear out the half-naked ladies. And we need to have real accountability in our lives. We need to have men in our lives asking us the tough questions. Not just skimming the surface, but asking the questions that clean out the real dirt from under our fingernails. Finding out what time of the day, and what places during the day present the greatest struggle, and then removing ourselves from those times and places.

And here's the key to this verse in Romans: "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ." If we are wearing Christ, we make it that much harder to plan out our sin. It's hard to make plans for sin when we are wearing the bearer of our sin. It's hard to bring Jesus into our little cohort of sin planning. And it's harder to draw up sin maps when we are conscious that Jesus is there the whole time. So, men, (and women too) let's wear Christ. Let's put on Christ and avoid even the smallest compromise.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Josh,
Thank you so much for this amazing post. I am not married but this was such an amazing blessing. I know what it is like to cross a line that I have felt I am spending a lifetime trying to come back across. God has been very good to me and has been very forgiving and gracious and merciful. His love has carried me through many things. This post is very comforting to see that there still are men who care about the sanctity of marriage and want to stand and lead a family with God at the head. Thank you again for this blessing.

Josh Via said...

Anonymous,
Thanks so much for the comment and for the encouragement. And let me just encourage you in the same manner. My youth pastor used to sign all of his letters, "keep pressin' on." That's my encouragement to you. There is healing for our mistakes. God knows that I've had my share. But He is faithful and patient. He is forgiving and kind. And that makes pursuing purity even that much more exciting! Thanks so much and blessings.

Dan said...

Josh,

You did a great job addressing a very tough subject. Thanks for having the courage to bring this out into the open and for your great advice.

Dan