There is a story of a woman who had tried everything to lose weight—diet, exercise, appetite-suppressing pills Finally she found something that worked. She attaches a 12” x 16” picture of a beautiful, this, shapely woman, dressed in a bikini, on her refrigerator door. Every time she was tempted to snack, the picture of what she might become was a powerful deterrent. During the first month she lost ten pounds—but her husband gained twenty!
Advertising We all know the slogan, “sex sells”. But did you know that along with sex, the most prominent imagery is eating and drinking?
Lust is “the craving for salt of a person who is dying of thirst.” Intensive sexual desire or appetite, a passionate desire or craving (doesn’t have to apply just to sex. It’s the uncontrolled, excessive desire.)
Gluttony, a twin to lust, is the mad pursuit of the bodily pleasures that is never completely satisfied. (We usually connect this with food, but it also can be with drinking and smoking, even work, soap operas, exercise, video games, gambling, and computers, and even sex.)
People turn to both lust and gluttony out of boredom. I probably don’t need to ask how many people have wandered to the refrigerator at some time or another out of boredom. For the same reason people may turn to an affair: life isn’t exciting anymore. With lust there is this lure, this thrill of the challenge. There is immediate satisfaction with no thought of consequence.
“Boredom is epidemic but we will not live with our boredom long enough to experience our emptiness and begin to discover meaning.” -Sam Keen “Inward Bound” We fill our lives with food, entertainment, sex, or whatever gives immediate gratification, instead of feeding the deeper spiritual longings. Our scripture says “the body … is made for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” We were made for God and made to be one with God and as long as we fill that longing with anything else we will not find satisfaction. We will not enjoy abundant life. (See The Beatitudes of Promise: The Promise of Righteousness for more on hungering for spiritual things and finding satisfaction.)
The source of both lust and gluttony can be self-indulgence. The gratifying of self. It is proven that with the self-indulgence of food, alcohol, and tobacco, a chemical imbalance is created that turns us in addicts.
When I was a teenager we used to talk about going off our sugar addiction after Christmas. Cookies and candies became a staple, and there was craving that far outlasted that final cookie.
13.8 million Americans have a problem with alcohol. Far more with food.
On the other hand, pornography is $12 billion business in the US ($57 billion worldwide).
Stand against Temptation
It is said of sexual pornography, that the senses become numbed and more and more bizarre experiences are sought for satisfaction.
James warns us of giving into temptation, for temptation leads to sin and sin to death – a spiritual death. It will kill your relationship with God. The dangerous progression will lead to the loss of one’s salvation. Temptation in itself is not a sin. But do not give in to the temptation.
This is similar to Jesus statement, that one who even looks at a another with lust has commited adultery in their heart. Jesus is saying don’t even look. Don’t give in to the temptation.
We deceive ourselves thinking that some basic stuff is harmless; that we can handle it. God knows otherwise and so he gives us boundaries for our own protection.
Distortion of the Good
1 Corinthians 8.8 "But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do."
Food is not bad. Sex is not bad. But the unhealthy, sinful cravings are the distortion. Specifically of sexual lust, lust is born out of our deepest need and desire, love. It is a distortion of love. Our text says, “All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” Sexual sin goes to the core.
16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." 17But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Paul is making a comparison between the connection between the union of a person and God and the sexual union. You cannot separate the mechanics of sex from the deeper union that occurs. There is a oneness that happens. A giving of self that you can’t just take back.
The Hebrew word Yada means “to know deeply,” to love, to commit – a commitment that calls for marriage, to care for. To know someone intimately is to know them on every level.
Lust: treats people as things.
Love: treats people as persons.
Our text says, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit … honor God with your body.”
Balance steers us from preoccupation.
Victorian age: bodies were evil.
Today: body image is exalted.
Today: health isn’t the chief motivator of our eating habits, body image is. I remember the first time I discovered a person could be both thin and unhealthy. Being thin is not a sign that one takes care of the body. We especially know that with the illnesses of Bulimia and Anorexia. Furthermore, being fat or thin is not a sign of whether one struggles with gluttony. One can be obsessed with exercise, overly excessive into health foods – this can be gluttony. Also, bodily inbalances and medicines can cause fluctuations in weight.
Jesus fasted and feasted. It is not a sin to feast – it is a joining of food and fellowship that uplifts community. Where gluttony deadens our spiritual hunger, fasting awakens our spiritual hunger. Fasting leads us to the food that satisfies; it is feasting on “The Bread of Life.” (John 6)
With lust, again in the Victorian age, you didn’t talk about sex. Sex was a necessary evil. Then, we come to our modern era and we have gone the complete opposite of anything goes. This does not uphold the sacredness of the gift. UMC believes in “fidelity in marriage, celibacy in singleness.” Save the gift for the one you will share your life with. Save the gift for the one who will know you deeply; with whom you will share every intimate part of your life, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Guard yourself and your children:
www.pureonline.com (has links to the others)
www.protectkids.com (has Rules ‘n Tools)
Filtering service: integrity.com
Google.com (search engine in preferences allows you to set up filtering)
1. Solid determination to be free
2. Healthy holy perspective about our bodies
3. Sex is sacred; God’s gift to us.
(Food is a gift! It is not our enemy.)
Find an accountability partner.
John 8.1-11 – the woman caught in the act of adultery
“Neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
“Grace excepts us where we are; but it does not leave us we are.” (Dunam and Dunam-Reisman)
Jesus came not to condemn, but to offer forgiveness. And he does not
expect us to stay the same. With his forgiveness, comes tranformation.
We become new people. We are not controlled by sin, but our lives
belong to Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ “will change our weak mortal bodies and make them like his own glorious body, using that power by which he is able to bring all things under his rule.”
Philippians 3.21 TEV