We ended our “dis/connected” series this past week at CPC Students group with a final message on the dangers that technology such as the internet, cell phones, smart phones & media has served in our teens’ lives in the area of lust and sexual sin. We split up the guys and girls for this topic for guys and girls struggle in this area in different ways and made sure that it was age appropriate with middle schoolers compared to high schoolers. Below are some general thoughts on the subject but know that much of this was also a discussion (especially with the ladies and my wife) where we won’t be able to provide all material that was brought up from our students. Also i will be posting what was generally said to high schoolers so know that some that may be too much for middle schoolers wasn’t mentioned in group.
Differences Between Guys & Girls in Lust
Isn’t it wonderful how God has made men and women to interact with each other? He made men visually oriented, then made women beautiful. He made men initiators, and then designed women to enjoy being pursued. In the heart of each man is an innate desire to romance and win the affection of a woman. God plants a longing in a girl’s heart from a young age to make herself attractive. All this is part of God’s wonderful design. Understanding God’s plan helps us to see where lustful desires will seek to sabotage the original purpose. Lust always starts with something good—like a mirror at a carnival, it takes God’s design and then distorts it.
Josh Harris, author of “I kissed dating goodbye” says this about these 2 God given desires that get distorted in a section titled “Pleasure and Power” (pp. 85–87) in his book “sex is not the problem, lust is”.. “Lust blurs and bends true masculinity and femininity in harmful ways. It makes a man’s good desire to pursue all about “capturing” and “using,” and a woman’s good desire to be beautiful all about “seduction” and “manipulation.” In general it seems that men and women are tempted by lust in two unique ways: men are tempted by the pleasure lust offers, while women are tempted by the power lust promises. . . .
Lust offers men the pleasure of sex devoid of the hard work of intimacy. Lust offers women the power to get what they want relationally if they use their sexuality to seduce.
Dr. Al Mohler once made a shocking yet accurate statement: “Men are tempted to give themselves to pornography–women are tempted to commit pornography.” If you’re a woman, you don’t have to pose for a picture or star in a pornographic movie to commit pornography. When you dress and behave in a way that is designed primarily to arouse sexual desire in men, you’re committing pornography with your life. So Josh suggests five general ways that guys and girls “wired” differently sexually with the result that their sexual temptations are fundamentally different”
1. sexual desire often more physical sexual desire more often more emotional
2. generally wired to be the sexual initiator generally wired to be the sexual responder
3. generally stimulated visually generally stimulated by touch
4. created to pursue created to want to be pursued
5. finds even the pursuit stimulating finds even being pursued stimulating
6. generally tempted by the pleasure lust offers generally tempted by the power lust promises
God & Porneia
In the New Testament we get the greek word “porneia” which is the root word for pornography. Its definition is sexual immorality that covers all type of sexual sins. We have to recognize as men that all sexual acts outside of marriage are sin. This ranges from doing the dirty deed to thinking about the dirty deed with people who we are not married to. Some guys try to justify their acts as not sin just because they aren’t having sex with a girl. This is because God in his wisdom knew that we would try to make some type of excuse to find this false pleasure outside of marriage and try to justify it as anything but sin but it’s covered in this word. As i mentioned this also covers what we think in our hearts which Jesus had much to say about in Matthew 5.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. -Matthew 5:27-30
1. Lust through Technology(Matthew 5:27-30)
Lust is a sexual sin that every guy has and needs to have control over. Joshua Harris, famed author of “I kissed dating goodbye” later followed up that book with one called “Sex is not the problem, LUST is.” This sin is where most men’s sexual sins come from. Lust is a strong sexual desire that starts in the heart but is encouraged from the world. A lot of times we blame the culture we live in but don’t recognize that we created the culture we live in out of the overflow of our perverted hearts. Lust is a sin that every guy deals with and the culture throws gasoline on this fire through these different things.
Everyone struggles with LUST.
Media: Whether it be the shows we watch, movies we see, music we listen to, or websites we visit. Lust will always be encouraged through the different media outlets around us who are trying to make some money off of the one thing that every guy craves & every girl will feel tempted to use. Sex sells. It also steals your soul as it doesn’t warn you of the consequences in its bargaining. We need to be careful with what we watch, listen to, and partake in for we can fall very easily in the area of lust. Based on our convictions (Romans 14) we need to be able to give up some things, watch out in other things, and keep each other accountable in all things media wise. To stay holy in this area and to live out the extreme example Jesus uses in Matthew 5, it would be wise for us to stay away from all things with nudity in it and anything that entertains thoughts of sexual desires for others outside of our future spouses. There have been seasons in my life where I had to give up certain media to not be fooled in how seductive sexual sin is and other times where I could study it, hate it, discern from it and teach from it to speak in a teenagers’ life. Most teenagers need to stay away from as much sexual sinful media as possible but not become legalistic in this where they will judge people who don’t know Jesus to act like they don’t know Jesus in this area and to not know a general idea of the culture that they are trying to reach who will always have some type of sexual message mixed in with it.
Pornography (*Mostly discussed with the guys): This multi billion empire makes more money then country music, rock music, jazz music, classical music, Broadway plays, and ballet combined. As teenagers become more computer suave and parents have become less it has become more and more of a problem each year. Unlike media, viewing Pornography is a sin in which we are always guilty before God in. With media you can have control in which you can watch a movie, listen to a song with accountability and discernment. Pornography is a selfish act where you are looking at some dad’s daughter created in the image of God being used like a rag doll for your sinful pleasure. Teenagers in particular have struggled even harder with this sin as amateur porn and teenage porn has become increasingly popular and puts the teenage guy who views this smut in this fantasy world where they put them selves in the position of that guy they are watching shoes (or lack of).
They soon fantasize these things with the girls at their school and at their church causing them to lust even more for the girls they actually interact with. It’s an addictive sin that ruins marriages before they even start as they begin to envision love making as a controlling, disrespectful, selfish act in which the woman is their sexual slave or that they are to be just as horny as the girl they watch on their computer. Pornography kills souls and turn men into sexual slaves where they lose their will to fight the sin of lust.
Tim Chester gives these 12 reasons to give up porn…
- Porn wrecks your view of sex.
- Porn wrecks your view of women.
- Porn wrecks women’s view of themselves.
- The porn industry abuses women.
- Porn is a sin against your wife. . . . If you’re not yet married, porn is a sin against your future wife.
- Porn wrecks families.
- Porn is enslaving.
- Porn erodes your character.
- Porn wastes your time, energy, and money.
- Porn weakens your relationship with God.
- Porn weakens your service.
- God’s wrath is against people who use porn.
Sexting & Exhibitionism (*Mostly discussed with the girls):
The percent of teenagers who have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves:
20% of teenagers overall
22% of teen girls
18% of teen boys
11% of young teen girls ages 13-16
The percent of teenagers sending or posting sexually suggestive messages:
39% of all teenagers
37% of teen girls
40% of teen boys
15 Percent of teenagers who have sent or posted nude or seminude images of themselves say they have done so to someone they only knew online.
48 Percent of teenagers say they have received such messages
71 Percent of teen girls and 67% of teen guys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content say they have sent or posted this content to a boyfriend or girlfriend.
21 Percent of teenage girls and 39% of teen boys say they have sent such content to someone they wanted to date or hook up with.
44 Percent of both teen girls and teen boys say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.
36 Percent of teen girls and 39 % of teen boys say it is common for nude or semi-nude photos to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.
51 Percent of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images; only 18 % of teen boys cited pressure from female counterparts as a reason.
66 Percent of teen girls and 60% of teen boys say they did so to be “fun or flirtatious”; their most common reason for sending sexy content.
52 Percent of teenage girls used sexting as a “sexy present” for their boyfriend.
44 Percent of both teen girls and teen boys say they sent sexually suggestive messages or images in response to such content they received.
40 Percent of teenage girls said they sent sexually suggestive messages or images as “a joke.”
34 Percent of teen girls say they sent or posted sexually suggestive content to “feel sexy.”
12 Percent of teen girls felt “pressured” to send sexually suggestive messages or images.
Whether it’s nude pics that you think will be erased in snapchat, or a bikini photo on facebook with hopes that your crush will linger at your page looking at it or even some suggestive flirting via text messages. These type of actions are considered sinful and have lasting consequences. They are all included in that greek word Pornea which is found in our concluding passage of scripture which warns us of sin’s consequences and who we are harming when we allow satan to win in these areas of our life.
2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. – 1 Thessalonians 4:2-8
To conclude here are a few pointers to help teenagers deal with lust, sexual sin and how easily we can be tempted and struggle with this area because of technology…
- Hate these sins and develop a desire to fight it and kill it. This should be our desire for any sin but this one seems to be more prevalent in our culture with more lasting consequences and Jesus himself gave extreme examples on how hard we need to fight them (matt. 5)
- Guys, bounce your eyes. That 1st look may not be sin but unless you develop a habit of not taking that 2nd look then you will continue to allow satan to have a foothold with you in this area.
- Girls, help guys not have to bounce their eyes. I’m not saying you shouldn’t dress nice, put on make up and look beautiful. I’m saying dress modest and be beautiful in more then just the physical aspect. It’s really a shame that i have to look at the ceiling while talking to some girls in church. Please take away that awkwardness for me and many other guys trying to men of integrity. As my wife mentioned, we are responsible for our own sin no matter what you wear or do but you will also be held accountable for how you can help us in this area as well.
- Find accountability partners that will ask about this area in your life. It can be the person discipling you, a parent, another christian friend. Just find someone that you can allow to ask the tough questions and will give you an honest answer when you’re doing the same.
- Get an online filter to monitor or block websites that you visit (especially for guys). Here are a few examples of what’s out there…
- Allow your accountability partner to have open access to your phone. Personal cell phones and smart phones has made this specific sin and temptation into a bloody war zone with satan racking up victims. Porn, suggestive sexual flirting and temptation is a text message, phone call and touch screen click away at all times. The worst part is that the online filters above don’t have as much to offer although some do. I recommend that you make agreements with your accountability partner to view your browsing history, texts if they ask to see them, etc without erasing them. You can tell when you erase something and you should assume the worst if they do so.
Parenting Questions: Not sure if this is a dinner table discussion but make time to get some alone time with your teenager and see how they’re doing in this area. You read the statistics above so you know it’s important, even if it seems awkward. If you don’t speak to them about what God says about these things, then the world will tell them what they think and persuade them their way.
1. (If you don’t know this) Are there specific areas that you feel like you struggle with in this area?
2. Do you have someone keeping you accountable in this area?