Saturday In The Proverbs—Don’t Judge By Outward Appearances (Proverbs 23)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

…they are deceptive food (Proverbs 23:3).

Jesus said, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24). That means we have to look beyond the surface; we have to see things as they really are, not as we want them to be. 

Things like…

…the outward appearances of wealth aren’t the same thing as true riches (vv. 1-3, 6, 8)

…overwork doesn’t mean it’s good work or a noble work ethic (vv. 4-5) 

…just because someone hears you doesn’t mean they are truly listening to you (v. 9)

…just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it (vv. 10-11)

…children may grumble in the moment of correction, but they will be truly thankful in the end (vv. 12-5, 22-25)

…sinners aren’t “getting away” with their sins (vv. 17-18)

…people who “party hardy” aren’t necessarily enjoying themselves (vv. 19-21, 29-35)

…pornography and other sexual sins aren’t victimless crimes or “no one is getting hurt” activities (vv. 26-28) 

As the Holy Spirit to show you the truth. Ask Him to show you the ultimate consequences of your activities. Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. 

Saturday In The Proverbs—A Powerful 1-2 Punch (Proverbs 5)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

My son, pay attention… (Proverbs 5:1).

Adultery can look exciting.

Pornography might seem harmless.

Sex outside of marriage may appear appealing…

…but only to the foolish! 

Solomon warns of the perils of any sexual activity outside of marriage, but he also tells of the joyous satisfaction of sex inside of marriage. 

His conclusion for us:

  1. DON’T even dabble in sexual immorality 
  2. DO invest in your marriage

This is a powerful 1-2 punch to both find satisfaction in your spouse, and avoid the heartache illicit sexual activity is guaranteed to bring. 

True Beauty vs. Pornography

God’s design for sex is truly the most beautiful thing that exists between two people. Its counterfeit is called pornography. Porn is simulated, imitated, and purchased; but no price tag can ever buy true beauty.

God demonstrates the purest love in Himself, when one part of the Godhead is the Lover and the other parts of the Godhead are the Beloved. The Lover is constantly discovering the beauty in the Beloved, and then praising that beauty. The Beloved then reciprocates back to the Lover. It’s a love dance! 

Humans are created in God’s image. We are first created to be God’s beloved. Then we are designed to be both lover and beloved in the bonds of marriage. True beauty—real, lasting beauty that pleases God—is discovered. It’s something that starts inside and radiates outside. A true lover takes the time to discover who the beloved truly is.

To see this in action, just look at some of the compliments between husband and wife in the Song of Songs—How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! … How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! … Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. … My lover is mine and I am his. … All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

True love that sees this kind of beauty cannot be imitated, purchased or simulated. If someone attempts to, it’s called pornography.

The dictionary gives this definition of pornography: sexually explicit materials whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal. In other words, porn tries to imitate and simulate true beauty at a purchase price.

Jesus identified this sell-out of true love with the Greek word porneia (see Mark 7:14-23). This word means any sexual involvement outside the marriage between a husband and wife. Porneia comes from words that fill out its definition: things like prostitution, idolatry, and slavery.

Your body was not made for porneia but for God (1 Corinthians 6:13). You were made in His image: to be His Beloved, and He your Lover, and then to have a marriage relationship with another image-bearer of God, where you are both lover and beloved, and where you focus on true beauty.

Anything else is imitated, purchased, and simulated. It’s pornography. It’s idolatry.

Christians are told to fight many temptations, but there are only two that we are told not to fight, but to flee: pornography (1 Corinthians 6:18) and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14). So our prayer for the purity and enjoyment of God’s true beauty should be: Turn my eyes away from worthless things (Psalm 119:37).

Don’t sell out to the fake beauty in pornography. Discover true beauty exclusively in your spouse!

We’ll be looking at more relationship builders and killers, and I’d love to have you along for this journey of discovery.

4 Quotes On The Destructive Nature Of Pornography

“Pornography is based on and fed by always needing to see something new. It works neurologically to create an obsessive demand for more of something you’ve never seen before. The promise of something new is what gets you excited and interested, which means, by definition, that you can never be fully satisfied. That’s the opposite of cherish. Pornography works off volume, not individuality; it works off the novel, not the known. Learning to cherish a solo picture of a unique mate shapes our hearts and minds to cherish a particular individual above all others.” —Gary Thomas, in Cherish

“Pornography, by its very nature, is an equal opportunity toxin. It damages the viewer, the performer, and the spouses and the children of the viewers and the performers. It is toxic mis-education about sex and relationships. It is more toxic the more you consume.” —Dr. Mary Anne Layden 

“We can’t fill up our eyes with our wives if our eyes have been previously filled with someone else. One of the many dangers of porn is that it neurologically trains us to find our wives less beautiful.” —Gary Thomas, in Cherish

“When it comes to porn, it turns an intimate relationship love-connection into a rehearsed performance that’s less about the emotional bonding that happens when people have sex. No emotional connection, no commitment, no kissing and cuddling, just performing and self-focusing. Porn fails to emphasize the most real parts in relationships. It doesn’t depict real people with real bodies with real (and beautiful) flaws. In fact, it tries to sell the complete opposite—a photoshop fantasy that reality should never have to compete with. So it only makes sense that those who are exposed to porn have their perceptions of sex twisted and warped. Soon, real people don’t measure up, and partners are considered less exciting when compared to an exaggerated production on a computer screen.” —Fight The New Drug

A Solution to the Porn Epidemic

This was originally posted by Murray Vassar. It is an outstanding post that I wanted to share with you…

computerFor ten years I have been studying at Christian universities and seminaries, and I have found that pornography is rampant among my peers. The problem is so bad that Christian leaders have begun advising young women not to break up with their boyfriends over porn addiction. The logic is tragically compelling: if Christian women insist on only dating porn-free men, the odds are they will never get married.  

We are repeatedly told that the solution to porn addiction is accountability groups. Accountability groups may be helpful for some, but they have clearly been unable to halt the epidemic. Often, such groups merely end up normalizing porn use. 

Before we can find a true solution, we must identify the reason for the epidemic. Availability is not the primary problem. The primary problem is that deep down inside, perhaps even subconsciously, we do not think porn is really that bad. (I know many will object, but hear me out.)

You can break your addiction to pornography in one day. It only takes two steps: (1) go to your cell phone company and trade in your smart-phone for a regular phone, and (2) call your internet provider and cancel your service (or have your wife set a password only she knows). We do not do this for the simple reason that we do not hate pornography enough. If we really thought that viewing pornography was like drinking poison, we would do whatever it took to cut off access. 

At this point someone may object that his work or studies require home internet. Perhaps this is true for a small segment of the population. The vast majority, however, have access to computer labs at public or university libraries. Living without home internet would be inconvenient, but not impossible. Furthermore, for those few who absolutely require home internet, my point remains. If you truly thought that viewing pornography was like drinking poison, you would take whatever steps necessary to cut off access – even if those steps involved moving or changing jobs. 

Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.” We are so quick to identify this saying as hyperbole that we ignore the point of the hyperbole. Jesus does not want you to literally cut out your eye, but that doesn’t mean you get to keep your smart-phone. 

So the problem is that we don’t hate porn enough. But why don’t we hate porn? What has happened? I think the answer is clear. I know few Christian men who would be comfortable saying it’s not a sin to go to a strip club. However, I know few Christian men who would be comfortable saying it is a sin to watch Deadpool, even though the film features a scene in a strip club. Through a series of infinite compromises over a span of decades, we have convinced ourselves that there is a fundamental difference between viewing a naked woman in person and viewing a video recording of that same naked woman. On-screen depictions of nudity and sexuality have become so trivial that we simply cannot muster up genuine hatred when we take that infinitesimally small step from Game of Thrones to ‘real pornography.’  

So what is the solution? We need to ask God to fill us with his hatred for an industry which degrades and destroys the most vulnerable members of our society. Then, in the power of the Spirit, we need to pluck out our modem and cast it from us.

Pornography: Let’s #Endit

Today is the day the End It Movement is shining a light on the dark slave trading and human trafficking practices around the globe. One of the biggest things fueling slavery is when people click on pornography.

NOT COOL!

ftnd-facts-on-trafficking“However harmless or private pornography may seem, it is not.

  • Pornography blinds us to God (Matthew 5:8). It blurs our eyes to his goodness, truth, and beauty.
  • Pornography trains us to treat women as objects, as less than human. It portrays them as possessions to be used and enjoyed, and then thrown away.
  • Pornography fuels sex slavery—real people held against their will and raped repeatedly—all over the world, even in the United States, even in your city or the major city near you.
  • Pornography belittles real beauty—like the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 31:30)—and replaces it with a cheap and fading imitation.
  • Pornography makes sex small and momentary, like a cigarette, instead of massive and lifelong, like it is in marriage.
  • Pornography robs us of some of the delight we might have had with our spouse. It keeps us from experiencing and enjoying them and their bodies without a fog of images from our past.
  • Pornography quickly bankrupts trust in a relationship. It encourages us to lie and hide from others, to walk in darkness and then build walls around ourselves in the darkness.
  • Pornography grossly stunts our maturity, the development of our mind and our gifts—our abilities to understand God and love others.
  • Pornography pursues an undergraduate degree in selfishness, training us over and over to focus on ourselves, prefer ourselves, and serve ourselves.
  • Pornography keeps us from all kinds of ministry, disqualifying many and demotivating even more.
  • Pornography is teaching many children an awful, evil distortion of love and sex even before their parents explain the truth to them.” —Marshall Segal

We can make a huge step toward helping to #ENDIT if we can convince others of the damage pornography is doing to themselves, as well as to countless sex slaves around the world.

In It To End It

download-end-it-logoSlavery is illegal in every single country of the world, and yet slavery still exists in 167 nations today! One-in-five of those in slavery is under the age of 18, and 55 percent of those trapped in slavery are women.

NOT COOL! 

One of the biggest industries fueling human trafficking and human slavery is the pornography industry. Every time you click on a porn link, you are helping to keep someone in bondage. Those clicks mean money in the pockets of those who peddle in human flesh, so they do whatever they can to keep you clicking and viewing.

Think about this—Your porn viewing is keeping someone’s daughter or son in slavery! 

Thursday, February 23, is the day the End It Movement wants us all to shine a bright light on the vile practices of those slave-holders who are keeping people in bondage all over the globe.

What can you do?

  1. FullSizeRender 2Wear your bright red X tomorrow, and share it for the world to see. Use hashtag #endit to let slave traders know you are on to them.
  2. Pray for those held in slavery and traffickedRemember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies (Hebrews 13:3).
  3. Support groups like The End It Movement or International Justice Mission who are working to free slaves around the globe.
  4. Stop viewing pornography!

I am in it to #endit in my generation! Will you join me?

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