A few weeks ago, Betsy and I lead a two part ACE class about Living and Parenting in a Pornified Culture (1/8 and 1/15 ACE videos). If you are a parent, please listen to these seminars. Things are changing so fast that we need to stay up to date on what is going on in the culture. Many of you have commented to me on what a relevant and important topic this is, so Betsy and I wanted to follow up with a few more thoughts.
First, to set the stage. When it comes to sex, we do well to remember the words of Dorothy from the The Wizard of Oz, “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Yep. I can think of few areas of life and culture that have changed as much in the last 100 years as sex has. And I mean everything about sex. What we believe about it. What we think it means. How we talk about it. How we promote it. How we safeguard it. What we tell our kids. And of course, how we consume it.
Sexual sin has existed for as long as human beings have existed. A quick reading of Bible confirms that this area of life, created for the proliferation ofhumanity and our enjoyment in the confines of biblical marriage, has always been subject to distortion, abuse and rebellion.
What is different now is both the spread of sexual deviance as well as its availability. Its not just porn, though in many ways that’s the epicenter, the ground zero of sexual sin. It’s also in the TV shows we watch, the books we read, the pictures we see, and the language we use.
One of the big points that Betsy and I made in the first session is how everyone is being de-sensitized by these changes. That’s what we mean when we say that we are all living in a “pornified culture.” It’s like the toxins that were released into the Flint, Michigan water system over the last year. It’s affecting all of us. It’s getting in our blood. And the struggle is to not become calloused, de-sensitized or complicit about sexual sin, even when everybody around us is.
So what are we supposed to do? How can we be different? Let me offer two suggestions.
- Use the Bible as your Standard, Not the Culture: It’s very easy to think, “I’m doing better than everybody else around me. I’m not addicted. I’m not promiscuous.” But the Bible doesn’t tell us to use others as our measuring stick. Instead, it says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind ofimpurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people,” (Ephesians 5:3). Not even a hint. So we are called to be pure and generous (a topic for another day) and holy period by God’s standards. Peter states it as well, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” 1 Peter 1:15. We strive to be holy like God. That’s our standard. Not Bob or Linda or Michael or Emma or anybody else we may know. It’s humbling, for sure. But just because its hard doesn’t mean we lower the standard (would we do this in other areas of life?). Instead, we strive after holiness knowing that the Spirit empowers our efforts to be like Jesus.
- Do an Assessment of Your Life – How are you doing in this area? The only way to know is to consider your life. Be honest with yourself. Maybe it’s time to give up a TV Show, not because it isn’t an incredibly interesting show, with phenomenal writing and great acting, but because parts of it are actively working against your holiness. Maybe following certain people on Instagram isn’t good for you. I’m not the holiness police (though I am called to say uncomfortable things). That’s the job of the Holy Spirit. Are you giving Him the space to work in your life? If you do, He will lead you into holiness. The Spirit helps us “set our minds on the things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2).
Say a prayer right now. Ask God to make you pure. Ask him to protect you and your family from sexual sin. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thess. 5:24).
Josh Desch, Associate Pastor