by Mike Ratliff
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 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. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 ESV)
When the Carrie Prejean, Miss California, controversy began several weeks ago with the outrage over her comment about marriage being between a man and a woman I really did not focus on her in this. Instead, I was intrigued with the reaction from the media, the libertine lobby, and the various powers that be with something to say about it. It was as if she had no right to state what she said. I had intended to pray, research, and write about that aspect of this, but that was about the same time that several crises arose in my family. Now it seems that the controversy has deepened tremendously with the exposure of Miss Prejean’s semi-nude pictures and breast augmentation surgery. When the push began to elevate Miss Prejean to that of a great example of godliness in the Church et cetera, I had a nagging doubt about that. It reminded me somewhat of the push to make George W. Bush into a godly near-saint during his first election run. Then articles started appearing from what many derisively refer to as ODMs. Their stance over this issue has solidified into an agreement that this whole thing is a fallacy.
I agree with Carrie Prejean’s statement about true marriage being between a man and a woman. However, the push to elevate this young lady into some sort of godly prophetess or whatever is extremely ill advised. I have been reading some of the email sent in to some ODMs from supposed Christian, family men who see no conflict with Carrie Prejean’s promotion as a gallant Christian defender of the faith and her fleshly lifestyle that included her semi-nude pictures and breast augmentation. One even stated that those pictures were not really ”Porn.” Then it hit me, and several other of my ODM friends. Could God be using this to reveal the filthy under layer of what calls itself Evangelical Christianity? Have the standards for morality been downgraded so far in it that it is perfectly acceptable for a spokesperson for the Gospel and Christianity to be involved in pornography and other forms of immorality?
While I am sure that her pictures would not be classified as “pornography” by the world, we must ask ourselves, ”what is the purpose of these sorts of pictures?” Why is pornography in all its forms so lucrative? This stuff sells and people buy it in order to feed their lusts to indulge their flesh. There is nothing edifying in this, even those “semi-nude” photos of Carrie Prejean. So, if we look at those and we find ourselves rationalizing that they are not so bad, et cetera, then we have a problem. Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that to even look upon a woman with lust makes us guilty of adultery.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28 ESV)
This puts it in proper perspective for us my brethren. We cannot walk the narrow path in repentance while looking at a woman, to whom we are not married, with lustful intent. This is sin! Therefore, if we are to be pure and holy then this sort of thing must be mortified along with all those other sins that so easily ensnare us, that clings so close. Examine yourselves my brethren. Are you still going to try to defend your exposure to titillating pictures or videos or magazines while proclaiming to the world that you are Christian? This is hypocrisy!
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:21-22 ESV)
I know very well that this topic is taboo in much of the post-modern, visible Church. Why? They are desperate to not “offend” sinners by teaching the truth from God’s Word that Christians are saved FROM their sins and that includes deliverance from those habitual sins that so easily ensnare or clings closely.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
Whatever sin with which you are struggling, the victory over it is available to all who run with endurance the race that is set before them. How? They do so with eyes looking firmly upon Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The way to kill or mortify sin begins with the believer drawing close to God and committing oneself to an obedient walk with the Lord. Time spent in prayer, Bible study, and devotion is time taken away from the flesh. If we devote our days to this pursuit of our Lord then we will find Him. He is not running from us, but is right there with us as we run this race, dealing with our circumstances, which is the race set before us. We are able to do this only as long as we abide in Christ (John 15) as spirit-filled (Ephesians 5), living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2). This time spent in the Word and listening to godly preaching and teaching is how God renews our minds. This spiritual growth transforms us into mature Christians who can deny self, take up our crosses, and follow the Lord daily.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26 ESV)
My brethren, we cannot grow into the mature Christians God desires for us to be unless we learn how to mortify the sin that our flesh loves. That includes pornography in all its forms. I do not know what plans God has for Miss Prejean, but I do believe that He is using this to expose those who profess to be Christians, but who also indulge their flesh with what is forbidden by our Lord. Examine yourselves my brethren and I pray that all reading this will do so honestly and prayerfully then repent of what God shows them.
Soli Deo Gloria!