Our porn-saturated society continues to redefine what sex and intimacy look like. The traditional, biblical values of older generations are being thrown aside as culture embraces sexual freedom and an "anything goes" attitude. Today, as long as adults consent, it seems nothing is taboo.
For example, on March 25, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill that decriminalizes sodomy and adultery among consenting adults. Another bill that would repeal the crime of fornication (sex outside of marriage) awaits Governor Herbert's signature to become law.
Pastor and author Paul David Tripp said, "Few areas of the human struggle reveal more powerfully the sad sinfulness of sin than the sex evils that are done to people and through people hundreds of thousands of times a day."
But God has a different plan for His people: a plan based on mutual satisfaction, both physical and emotional connections, and respect and commitment to each other. And since He created sex and instituted marriage, maybe we should listen to what He says about them.
The Sacred Covenant of Marriage
God's plan is for one woman and one man to be sexually active only within the bounds of marriage. Today's culture keeps drifting farther from that view. But godly men stand firm to their marriage covenant.
In the Bible, Hosea demonstrated his commitment to his wife, Gomer, who was a prostitute before they married. They had a son, but soon after, Gomer returned to her old ways. They had two more children, but Hosea was uncertain if he was the father.
Eventually, Gomer's lovers decided to sell her as a slave. Despite all the heartache she had caused him, Hosea paid the redemption price to reclaim his wife. That's the type of personal sacrifice and total love that God has for us! He also calls us as men to live out that love in our marriages.
As Paul wrote, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it" (Eph. 5:25).
Lust Only Destroys
Jesus was very specific about lust: "You have heard that it was said by the ancients, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5:27-28).
Your sexual thoughts and desires should focus on one woman: your wife. God gave her to you to love and cherish forever. She is His gift to you. Don't let lust for other women on a computer screen enter and destroy your marriage.
Consider Jacob and Rachel in Genesis. Jacob loved Rachel so much that he was willing to work seven years as her father's servant to be able to marry her. He put aside his own desires and dreams and focused solely on Rachel.
Their marriage had its difficult times, but he stayed devoted to her. To endure that amount of hard work truly shows he was motivated by love, not merely lust.
Society will tell you that a woman is only for your pleasure and sexual needs. Recently, a Mississippi lawmaker was arrested for punching his wife in the face because she didn't undress quickly enough when he wanted to have sex.
God's plan for intimacy is based on love and respect, not pursuing your own selfish needs or desires.
Reality vs. Pornography and Fantasy
Pornography is based on fantasy. Real women cannot compete with your idealized mental images of the air-brushed porn women who are always available and willing.
Ordained pastor Carl Thomas said, "Fantasy can only deliver so much. Porn can't give you intimacy; it can't offer long-term satisfaction and it certainly can't deliver the fantasy it sells. When it comes to some things, fantasy is fine; however, when it comes to sex, best stick to reality."
Virtual Reality makes porn even more devastating to a marriage. Steven Clark of Above the Fray said, "Delivering porn by way of virtual reality will enable people to have entirely new experiences all within the confines of their mind."
He added, "Human contact will no longer be needed. The virtual porn experience will be able to meet all of an individual's sexual expectations ... With the proliferation of virtual reality porn, whatever remnant of the nuclear family remains will be finally destroyed."
Married men, build your marriage on the truth of God's Word and your relationship with the real, beautiful and amazing woman He has blessed you with. If you're single, spend time seeking God and His will for you when it comes to a relationship.
Family and Community vs. Loneliness
Genesis 2:18 says, "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.'"
A recent study revealed that three in four Americans struggle with loneliness. Loneliness is not only a trigger that drives people to pornography; it is also a result of being consumed by it. People who struggle with pornography feel a deep sense of shame and will tend to isolate.
God intends for you be a part of a family and community, not the Lone Ranger. Your wife and children need you to be present and engaged, not hiding off in a corner looking at porn. They need your love, leadership and attention, and you need theirs.
Paul David Tripp noted, "We weren't created to be independent, autonomous or self-sufficient. We were made to live in a humble, worshipful and loving dependency upon God and in a loving and humble interdependency with others. Our lives were designed to be community projects."
Intimacy can only be achieved by complete devotion and deep interaction with someone else. God intends for you to defeat your desire for isolation with porn and develop the strong bonds of intimacy with your wife.
This article originally appeared at conquerseries.com.
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