Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
–Hebrews 13:4 (NLT)
“Chastity. Rarely use venery [indulgence in sexual pleasure] but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
The acerbic American humorist Mark Twain famously admitted, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I do understand.” Not only does much of the scriptures go against the grain of our culture, but it goes against the grain of what we naturally want or believe. When confronted with an uncomfortable Bible verse, one parishioner complained to his pastor: “Preacher, that rubs the cat the wrong way.” To which the pastor replied: “Then turn the cat around.”
Cravings of the flesh are powerful and as old as time. An old joke goes, “Each generation likes to think it discovered sex.” The desires have always been there, but the internet has made temptations more obtainable and widespread than ever, and at younger ages than ever before. In the spirit of “You don’t have to go looking for trouble, because trouble goes looking for you,” a person can innocently be minding one’s own business online when distracting ads, pop-ups, and posts come into view.
Referring to how the adult bookstores of yesteryear have been replaced by online porn, the late Charles Colson observed: “Pornography used to be downtown. Now it’s downstairs.” With our new dependence on cellphones, one might update the saying to, “Now it’s down in our pocket.”
The sexual drive is not sinful in itself. Speaking to the first couple Adam and Eve, God gave them one of the first commandments in the Bible: “Be fruitful and multiply.” (Gen. 1:28) However, like the rest of human nature and creation, what was intended to be a pure, healthy gift has been marred and distorted by our adversary.
Are you single? “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (I Cor. 6:18 ESV)
Are you married? Be faithful to your spouse.
Even if these commands “rub the cat the wrong way,” you don’t have to go against the tide in your own strength. The Bible promises, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (I Cor. 10:13 ESV)
This is Part 12 of a 13-Part series, based on 13 virtues that Benjamin Franklin sought to incorporate into his daily life, each of which has a scriptural basis. Franklin began this system in 1726, when he was incredibly only 20 years old. He realized that, since each year has 52 weeks, one can repeat this series four times annually. A chart like the one Franklin designed to help one mark one’s progress can be found here.