Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Devotion 11.12.15

The basis of this devotion is from Rick Warren's "Invisible War" (2014).  It is something men should talk seriously about from time to time.  Some of this is from the Men's Ministry and some is from Warren's study, but consider it seriously and prayerfully.

To see Venus de Milo is to see a work of art.  It is in marble, so to see her half-nude body is, even for a man, something we can possibly look at without becoming aroused to the point of lust.  Yet our flesh is weak and that lust is probably a man's biggest problem.

We may argue up front that it isn't a problem for "me," the individual, but statistically, we seem to not be truthful when it comes to the topic.  In doing simple searches on the internet for revenue related to pornography, we get an abundance of topics.  While the porn industry itself has revenue that is down, related to that are the percentages mentioned in several activities related to the discussion.  Movies picked while at hotel rooms as reported by large chain hotels, statistics given by search programs like Google and Bing that show the number of searches and hits to websites on pornography, and other such articles showing that a high percentage of people (presumably men) engaged in those kinds of activities.  That doesn't include the industries that sell based on nudity, semi-nude, or revealing clothing (the famous Sports' Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

As men, it is our vulnerability.  We are taken with beauty and cannot help ourselves.  Rick Warren has a study called "The Invisible War," written in 2014 and dedicated to temptation and over-coming it.  Humans have choice, yet with some choices, we are best to not involve ourselves in the choice to begin with.  Problems with lust for women?  There are probably some places we ought not go then, physically, in print, or electronically.  Lust for alcohol?  As Warren puts it, don't go to a bar to eat pretzels then. 

As Warren speaks, he notes that our needs are natural and many, and yet we can take those natural needs and turn them into sin quickly - food, shelter, money, love and attention - and a host of others, can become stumbling blocks as we give into temptation that comes from within, from the world, and from Satan himself.  As Warren notes, it is the oldest problem man deals with as we see in Genesis 3.  God can construct trials for us, as James notes in 1:2, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness," but in 1:13, - 15, James notes the source of temptation, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire, when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."

If you have desires, go to God in prayer.  Know that you have choice and that you can step away from the choice that can lead to sin.  If (really, when) we fall to temptation, turn back quickly, and if your temptation is recurring and yielded to, perhaps consider spiritual counseling.

Pray when tempted.  Pray not to be tempted.  Pray for those who are in sin because of temptations.  Pray that we encourage each other in love and hold one another accountable in that same love and mercy and grace that Christ gave us through his death and resurrection.

Hope Men's Ministry

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