The Third Week of Sex – Lust vs. Temptation

This is distinctively a “guy article.”  The vast majority of women will not understand . . . cannot understand the nature of temptations to which a man is subject.  They are wired with “pink sunglasses and hearing aids” while we guys are wired with “blue ones” per Eggerich’s book referred to last week.  Of course, there are degrees of this, some women experiencing the same level of temptation from the same sources, but we are mostly different; not better or worse; equal, but not the same.  Equal, not in the sense that four equals two plus two, but equal in the sense of chocolate or caramel; both delicious, but different.

Devil Made Me Do It.jpgThere are three sources of temptation and none “make you do it,” as the comedian used to say, “The devil made me do it.”  No, I am afraid we must face it that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:14)  However, the temptation may not originate with the self, as in Jesus’ case in Matthew 4 and Luke 4.  He was “led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)

In other cases, temptation may come from without, but not necessarily from the devil to whom we often give too much credit.
 “There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
1) haughty eyes, 2) a lying tongue, and 3) hands that shed innocent blood,
4) a heart that devises wicked plans, 5) feet that make haste to run to evil,
6) a false witness who breathes out lies, and 7) one who sows discord among brothers.”
(Proverbs 6:16-19)  There is no demon mentioned in this passage which is couched between Solomon’s warnings about adultery and fornication. (See Proverbs 5 to 7.)  Rather, these are temptations that come from other sources in the world.  Granted it is a world corrupted by the evil one, but every detail of corruption is not to his credit nor blame.  He is neither that smart nor attentive to trivia.

World, Flesh and DevilThus, our three sources of temptation are the world, the flesh and the devil.  However, the crux of it is our human nature makes temptation tantalizing.  It is our lack of self-sufficiency, our need for outer sustenance, or our desire for physical human comfort that appeals to us and makes us susceptible.

This was true even of the God-Man, Jesus, who was God in human form; the Eternal Son of God, coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit, eternally pre-existent before the creation of the world, and through whom the world was created (Colossians 1:15-19; Philippians 2:5-8; John 1:1-3)  We will not go into the nature of the trinity (see June 4, 2018), but just note that Jesus was fully God and yet, fully human.  And the human side of Him could get hungry, needed to sleep, would wake with a hard-on, had human longings, could bleed and feel pain.

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)  This verse reveals three important things to remember about temptation:
1.  We are not alone when facing temptation!
2.  Temptation is conquerable!
3.  Temptation is NOT sin!

Not only did Jesus face the same temptations, every man you know, every man you see, every man who has ever lived has faced the same temptations that you and I face (1 Corinthians 10:11-13).  Bottom line is: I am not that special!  And neither are you.  This is important to remember, especially in the context of sexual temptation, distinctively a “blue sunglasses” temptation.  Most guys feel special when a woman pays them attention.  Most women can be made to feel special by a guy’s attention, but a woman’s sexual temptation is different from a man’s.

However, it is only in the committed faithful relationship of a husband and wife that specialness is true.  It is when he said, “You are the only woman for me,” and when she responded, “You are the only man for me,” that each of them became truly special.  Any other “specialty” is a certain road to Sheol (Proverbs 5:5).

No matter what the source of temptation, internal or external, the battle is finally fought in one’s own heart and mind.  This puts it within the range of victory!  The truth is that it is up to me if I am willing to be suckered into believing a decoy for joy.  It is also up to me to reject the artificial for the real.

The hardest part for most men to discern is when temptation becomes sin.  The old adage is, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your tree, but you can stop it from building a nest!”  Most of us will feel guilt over the fact that we feel temptation, but this is a misplaced sense of fault.  Only you can tell when you have stepped across that invisible line into letting the bird start his nest, but there is no need to feel guilty about it flying overhead.

Temptation of JesusRemember even Jesus felt temptation!  He really was hungry when Lucifer invited Him to short-circuit His redemptive path and turn rocks into bread; haven’t you and I lusted after a donut or piece of pie that we thought would satisfy?  Jesus really wanted to show the world that He could do us all good; all He had to do was jump from the Temple’s top and everyone would believe in His miraculous power, right?  Jesus reeeeeally wanted to rule with justice, mercy and grace; and what a wonderful benevolent Master He would be!  All He had to do was worship the “prince of the power of the air.” (Ephesians 2:2)

But in each temptation there was a deception that Jesus called out.  And in every temptation we face there is a hidden lie that the world, our flesh or the devil will try to hide.  If we can identify the bald-faced lie this will remove the temptation’s power.  “That donut really will not add that many calories; that money will not be missed by a big corporation; that woman/man would be so nice to be close to; no one will know about this porn.”  But the temptation is NOT sin!  It is the yielding to it that is.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)  Mercy is not getting what we deserve; grace is getting what we do not deserve.

Mistaking that I could cover this topic in one blog, next week will be our fourth week of The Three Weeks of Sex.

Three Weeks of Sex

If you have come here hoping to find lurid script or lewd pictures, please do not leave frustrated.  Stick around and read the following blog about what marriage is supposed to be and you may find you did not come here by accident simply because of the title, but destined by a Divine appointment.  These are important ideas anyone considering marriage should know.  This is not comprehensive as there are many good books covering this material, but my 1000-word blog might get you started on a good path.  Next week I will discuss issues for satisfying sex and the third week will describe the difference between lust and temptation to lust.

Consider that most of what married couples do for each other can be hired out without serious consequences and without judgment from God.  I hire a young man to do my lawn mowing and paid someone to replace my gutters.  A couple could hire a maid to fix meals or a housekeeper to clean.  Professional ‘organizers’ can come to your home to do everything from sorting your library to setting your computer files in order.  Nannies can take over most, if not all, of the discipline and raising of children.  A man and woman not married to each other can take a necessary road trip and even sleep in the same hotel room without sinning.  Not that I am recommending any of these options!  Just laying them out there to show what makes a marriage relationship different from the one you have with your landscaper, nanny, or business associate.

There is only one function of a husband or wife that is not a payable one without incurring significant problems: sex.  The problems come even in so-called “open marriages,” where trust is defeated, security destroyed, and personalities are warped.  The Designer of marriage knew what He was doing.

Sex was not attached to Adam’s and Eve’s sin; it was not why they were expelled nor is it part of the punishment.  It was not even their idea!  The God Who Is There came up with the idea and gave the command and description of sexual union in marriage before the fall (Genesis 2:21-25).  The two dimensions of marriage were evident right then:
1. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother . . .” – social and legal dimensions.
2. . . . “and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” – personal and relational dimensions.

The social and legal implications are complex but can be summarized to say that every society has held certain regulations for marriage, whether it was as simple as Isaac bringing Rebekah into his mother’s tent (Genesis 24:67) or as complicated as the negotiations between European countries to marry their royals.  There is a social side which is to say that the couple is recognized as an exclusive relationship by the society in which they live.  This has usually been supported by legal constraints that rewarded marriage with special rights and privileges and penalized violations of whatever vows were promised in the ceremony.

The personal and relational implications begin with a husband and wife entering an exclusive physical relationship.  No society has endured more than a few years that allowed any man or woman to share any member of the opposite sex he or she wished.  The sex act has always been recognized as the epitome of the marriage relationship, i.e. what makes the marriage a marriage.

Adultery (sex with someone who is married to another) and fornication (sex with someone who is not married) are both condemned as abnormal behavior which the Designer did not plan.  Yet the drive for sexual satisfaction has been at the root of innumerable conflicts between husbands and wives as well as the cause of wars and plagues.

The Bible is very clear that sexual immorality should not have any part of the life of a Christ-follower (Proverbs 6:20-35; Romans 13:13; Colossians 3:5).  At the same time, it elevates the sexual act to more than just a physical experience (1 Corinthians 6:16-20; Ephesians 5:31-32).  The Holy Spirit is somehow present in the physical union of two people even if they do not want Him to be.  The result of immorality is to twist something that is supposed to be a human representation of spiritual realities into a defiled temple.  There is no case for having sex and not having consequences, even if no child results from the union, even if they do not know each other’s names and never see each other again!  The damage to God’s temple is done in a way that no other sin effects!

James brings an equality to sins that we have a difficult time understanding.  He says “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:10-11).  The focus of James is on Who the offended party is when we sin, as we tend to rank sins by offensiveness to our senses.  But there is definitely a difference in the characteristics of sins and their consequences (See John 19:11 and Mark 3:29).  Sexual immorality is thus condemned by the Bible and immoral practitioners are in serious danger of missing eternal life (Revelation 22:15).

Sexual union is recognized in the Bible as the plan for married couples whether procreation is part of the package or not (Proverbs 18:22; Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5:25-33).  The Ephesians passage is the basis of Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ excellent book, Love and Respect, to which I will refer more fully next week.  The essence of it is that a husband is to unconditionally love his wife and a wife is to unconditionally respect her husband.

Part of the Good News is the redemption of marriages that changes them into models of Christ and His Church, just as much as it is about His redemption of all the evil we do before we become Christ-followers.  Many believers have noted, after deciding to follow Jesus, how events of their past without Christ were woven into their lives so that the very sins that the devil wanted to use to destroy them became the leverage to turn them to the Lord.  He can redeem your marriage as well and bring you to a place of peace and satisfaction that you have not known before.

Next week, in our Second Week of Sex we will discuss Love and Respect in more detail from Dr. Eggerichs’ book.

Just A Weaver
by Benjamin Malacia Franklin

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;

And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent

And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful

In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.