Destroyed by Lust
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 1 Corinthians 5:1
When talking about my drug use to a group of addicts, those in the audience can all identify with me. When speaking to another group though – for instance, a men’s group at church – most of those listening haven’t personally experienced addiction, and so the struggle of which I speak is abstract, something that happens to other people. When however, I speak of lust and sexual temptation, those men all know what I’m talking about. Lust is a universal temptation with which all men can identify.
In my addiction, I thought I could carry on my life while compartmentalizing my drug use. If I could keep it a secret, I felt I could prevent it from spilling over into everything else. I believed I could continue my career, continue going to church, continue being a husband and father, all while indulging in this one little behavior.
Men often attempt to compartmentalize this way with lust and sex. We think that we can go on living our lives while indulging in this one self-destructive behavior that we believe is OK if we can keep it a secret. It may be an actual affair, but more often, it manifests as online pornography, which can be equally destructive to a marriage. We tell ourselves, I’m not really hurting anyone as long as no one finds out.
Lust is nothing new of course. In today’s passage, Paul chastised the Corinthian church for a man who’d been exposed for a sexual relationship with his stepmother. This was apparently an ongoing affair which was being tolerated even though it was considered scandalous, even by those outside the church. This man believed he could continue his normal life while indulging in the illicit relationship. Paul however, made it clear that this was not the case. Let him who has done this be removed from among you (1 Corinthians 5:2).
Many whom we would otherwise have considered good men, have been destroyed by their own lust. Not all men understand drug addiction, but every man understands the power and temptation that lies in his sexuality. Paul’s warning is clear. What we do with our sexuality matters. Even if we never have an actual affair, we can destroy ourselves and our families with our lust. If we want the life and marriage we were made for, we must daily do whatever it takes to give our sexuality up to God, making it obedient to his will, not our own.