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Subject – The Christian Church – Let’s Talk About Sex – Understanding the Entrapment of Emotional and Sexual Entanglement: Process of Immorality – It’s not Just One Night Stand – Mind Your Own Business – Mere Thoughts- Part 7 of 15
Watch this 9 minutes video on Why You keep Falling into sexual sin and six steps to avoid Why You Keep Falling into Sexual Sin // Six Steps to Defeating Sexual Sin
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Sunday, 6th of October 2019
Blog link: https://www.otakada.org/process-of-immorality
Nuggets of Wisdom –
“Christian man after involvement with counselee: “There was a process in the involvement. It was easy in the early stages to couch my interest in her in a spiritual wrapper because I was her pastor. She was attractive, but not at the top of my list. But she bad some sense about her that exuded some sort of feeling of sexuality and sexual interest. It is very hard for me to remember exactly how
the physical attraction actually started.
“It wasn’t purely a physical thing in the early stages. The physical attraction happened as a result of other things. In fact, when you read in books about the development of an ideal relationship, you read about getting to know someone on a spiritual level, then intellectual, then
emotional, and finally sexual. That is really the order in which the relationship developed. The process took over four years. It would be nice if married couples would take”
“Married Christian man after involvement with single woman at work: “In the office there is a lot of contact between the men and women. For the most part it is professional, but, as in any other situation, one encounters a lot of daily frustrations, and you deal with the problems at work, but personal problems also come into play. There’s a particular point where you start talking to people, which begins as a harmless friendship. Then you cross over another line and become more dependent upon one another. You start talking about personal things in your life, and that dependency, unless it’s checked and kept in its proper
perspective, will continue to grow Pretty soon, the result is an emotional attachment. That attachment can become preoccupying and lead people to do strange things ”
“Married Christian man after emotional involvement with single
woman at work. “There’s a tendency with an emotional attachment to start rationalizing your behavior. You rationalize and deny that anything is wrong. You think that you are in total control of your actions. In reality you are totally out of control ” Emotional adultery is as damaging as physical adultery People aren’t expecting to get involved emotionally. It starts out in a very subtle way. An affair isn’t likely to start just out of physical lust. I think emotional attachment is a very frequent occurrence—and a very dangerous one “
“Christian pastor whose relationship with married woman went from professional to emotional: “Here was a woman who had needs, and I had a need to meet her needs. So, she began to share with me difficulties she was having in her own marriage I felt very compassionate I saw a number of qualities in her that 1 began to admire. Over a period of time, 1 began to think her husband was a jerk because he wasn’t appreciating those things. She was an intellectual stimulation to me in return. So our relationship developed over a period of time from pastor to friend,
and finally we both knew it was more than that.
You know, there are all these coy little games that one can play by sending all these nonverbal messages. We got more and more involved in doing that sort of thing. Nothing was overt enough to be noticed by anyone else.”
“Professional Christian woman: “1 became very attached to my boss. He was married and a committed Christian. We never had an affair, but my own emotional attachment to him caused me a lot of pain. I thought about him all the time, hated weekends when I was alone and be was with his family, and finally realized that I was living in a painful cross between fantasy and reality Circumstances caused me to leave that job for another. It still took a long time to break the emotional dependency I had.”
Key verses for Today:
Genesis 39:6-7 The Message (MSG)
2-6 As it turned out, God was with Joseph and things went very well with him. He ended up living in the home of his Egyptian master. His master recognized that God was with him, saw that God was working for good in everything he did. He became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. From that moment on, God blessed the home of the Egyptian—all because of Joseph. The blessing of God spread over everything he owned, at home and in the fields, and all Potiphar had to concern himself with was eating three meals a day.
6-7 Joseph was a strikingly handsome man. As time went on, his master’s wife became infatuated with Joseph and one day said, “Sleep with me.”
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 The Message (MSG)
11-12 These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.
13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 Living Bible (TLB)
33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things. If you listen to them you will start acting like them. 34 Get some sense and quit your sinning. For to your shame I say it; some of you are not even Christians at all and have never really known God
Exodus 20:14 –17
14 No adultery.
15 No stealing.
16 No lies about your neighbor.
17 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.
Matthew 5:27-32 Message
Adultery and Divorce
27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.
29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.
31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.
Introduction of the process to immorality
It’s not just a One-Night Stand
The road to immorality involves a process.
People don’t just fall into immorality instantly, especially not committed Christians. Remember, we are talking about committed followers of Jesus Christ. We are talking about leaders, church members, godly men and women—you and me.
The road to immorality involves a process, but the reality of this process is clouded because of two false assumptions about Christians and this particular sin: (1) that people in the pastorate or leadership or counseling positions are immune to succumbing to the temptation of immorality; and (2) that because I am a committed Christian, I will never fall into immorality.
Scripture warns us, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). If you aren’t careful, you will fall before you even realize that you have been caught in the insidious web of temptation.
The Christian community is shocked when a leader is caught in immorality because we forget that absolutely anyone can fall, and that that’ person can do it while having a successful preaching, teaching, or writing ministry. Leaders may go unnoticed or unchallenged longer because of the assumption that they couldn’t possibly be involved in an immoral sin.
When we do see leaders fall, we realize the harsh reality that this sin can, and does, happen to all types of people. It is no respecter of persons.
And we shouldn’t push the issue of immorality aside because we seem to be okay, because wre feel secure in the center of an evangeli
cal church, have daily devotions, and memorize Scripture. These things are helpful and can help add to prevention, but they are externals. The example of the broken homes of Christian leadership indicates that we can have all these right “practices,” and more, yet still fall.
Immorality is a process.
Even the proverbial “one night stand” didn’t just happen in a chance meeting. A whole series of events caused that evening of sin. Without a doubt, the people involved become aware at some point along the way that they are being disobedient and that they are beginning to reach the point of no return. Perhaps they even try to break the bonds that grow tighter and tighter with each encounter. And all the while, one or both of them may continue to have a fruitful ministry.
People don ’t lead moral lives one day and have an affair the next. It may appear that way, but it is a process. The process is often overlooked because some stages are not obvious to us, the viewer, and thus they are difficult to detect. That’s why it seems to happen overnight.
Any of us could be in the process right now. None of us are immune. The earlier the danger signals can be detected and responded to, the easier it is to change direction. If you love potato chips and know that you can’t stop eating them until the bag is empty, you are better off to never take the first bite. Some steps on the road to immorality are not wrong in and of themselves, yet those very steps may be the first potato chip for some people.
The seriousness of immorality
Any sin infringes on the relationship of the believer and the Lord. Any sin damages the quality of life that gives abundance and fulfillment. No other sin, however, so destroys the very foundation of the Christian marriage as sexual immorality. And no other so devastates the fiber of a person’s worth. Adultery nullifies trust and destroys respect and integrity. Fornication defrauds and reduces people to objects of use, not love.
Therefore, it is essential that we be especially aware of the growing phenomenon of immorality prevalent today in the Christian community’. There is absolutely no legitimate justification for immorality, yet all sons of reasons are being given as more and more Christians indulge in this sin.
Divorce, death, and no marriage at all have swelled the ranks of singles to an extremely high percentage. Singles often meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. While reading through the next stories, which describe in detail the process that leads to immorality, look not only at your own situation, but at those around you. Is there a woman in the office who seems especially fond of your husband? Do you have a lonely friend who is tempted to satisfy his longings in the wrong way? You may be able to help them escape from a potentially dangerous situation. And you may be able to escape from one yourself.
We all need to determine where we are in the process that leads to immorality. We have to be “gut level” honest with ourselves and with the Lord. Let’s start by looking at the first step that begins the journey away from God and into sin: the thought life.
Real Life Stories – Mind your own business
A day at the movies
Marilyn slumped comfortably in her seat at the movie theater. “Another Friday night, and here I sit alone—but at least not at home alone,” she thought as she ate another handful of buttered popcorn. “It could be worse. I could be out on another blind date … or at a bridal shower for some sweet young thing at the office.” She wasn’t feeling particularly uptight or frustrated or bitter. She was resigned to her single lifestlye. And she was just passing time in a harmless way.
The lights dimmed and the main feature began. Set in a big city, the plot revolved around the male lead’s climb up the corporate ladder of success. Marilyn spotted her heroine in the opening scene. She was the administrative assistant to the aspiring executive. Single, in her thirties, beautiful, sharp—a prototype that Marilyn identified with. The young executive was, of course, married, extremely hand some, success bound, and mildly dissatisfied with his wife.
Marilyn mentally slipped into the role of the administrative assistant. In the next two hours the plot took this sharp young woman from her desk to “his” bed, much to the pleasure of the audience because, after all, the wife was a real shrew. He had made a terrible mistake in marrying her and now needed the support, love, and comfort that this new “she” could provide.
There are no openly offensive bedroom scenes. This is a PG movie. The closing credits roll down the screen as “he” and “she” walk blissfully along a deserted beach, happy in their justified affair and destined to a happy, successful life together. The wife? She was written out of the script after the first hour when she packed her bags and moved home to mother.
Marilyn left the theater and reentered the real world. “It was an okay movie,” Marilyn thought, as she was driving home. “The guy sure was cute.” She flipped on the radio and listened to a love ballad: “Slow dancing. Can I remember that? Soft music playing in the background while being with someone who thinks I’m fabulous. Can I remember that? Candlelight dinner, roses, romance. Can I remember that?”
Because there was no man in her life now, Marilyn allowed her mind to slip into a little fantasy’ of cherished scenes from the past when she did feel loved. In her fantasy, she substituted the movie hero for her ex love. As the song ended, Marilyn was surprised to realize that she had switched the mental image from the movie star to her ex-love to her present boss.
She laughed and dropped the reverie. She had much to do this weekend: the usual chores and errands, then church on Sunday morning and Bible study Sunday evening.
Monday morning at the office was typical. The phone started ringing, a mound of mail needed to be opened and processed, and two important clients were scheduled to see John, her boss, who would not be in until 10 a m. Marilyn worked hard to get everything organized before John arrived.
He arrived promptly at ten o’clock. “Hi, Marilyn. Have a good weekend?”
Marilyn looked up from her typewriter and felt a warm blush creep up her neck and face. “Hi, John. It was okay. The usual.” He walked past and into his office. Marilyn laughed at herself again because of her inner response to her very-married boss.
Driving home that night Marilyn reviewed the day. She remembered her warm glow when John first came in. She thought about him. “Wonder what he really thinks of me? Wonder if he’s really happy with his wife? Wonder what it would be like to be with him?” Wonder, wonder, wonder.
Those “innocent” magazine ads
Patty sat down for an uninterrupted cup of coffee now that the kids were off to school. She picked up a magazine to look for new recipes. Finding a tantalizing picture of frosted marble cake, Patty jotted down the ingredients to pick up at the store later that day.
She turned the page and saw a full-page ad for men’s underwear— not a very provocative item for a housewife who has to wash these same items for her husband every week. Her eyes lingered for a moment. The man in the ad was muscular and extremely handsome. He was leaning over an equally attractive woman, who was reclining on a sofa. Though the ad was for underwear, the picture suggested much more. Putting down the magazine, Patty went upstairs to get dressed for the errand-filled day ahead.
Her husband, Scott, had been out of town for three days. He would return tomorrow. Patty was accustomed to his frequent business trips. He worked for a Christian organization, and a necessary drawback of his position was extensive travel. Their marriage of eleven years was good and solid, what you’d expect of a godly couple.
As Patty was leaving, the carpenter arrived. “Hi, Mrs. Anderson. I’ll just let myself in and get to work.” He was remodeling the den.
“Okay, Todd. I’ll be back soon,” Patty replied.
“He really has a good build,” she thought as she drove away. “Kind of looks like the guy in the underwear ad.”
Two hours later, Patty returned with a load of groceries. Todd came out to help her. They had a pleasant, but superficial conversation; then he returned to his work in the den.
That afternoon while waiting at school for the children, Patty pictured Todd carrying the groceries. The muscles in his back rippled. “Good grief,” she thought, “What am I doing? Todd is a kid compared to me. Scott looked that good when he was younger. Wonder if Todd has a girlfriend? Wonder what she looks like? Wonder what he thinks of me?” Wonder, wonder, wonder.
If we are really honest, most of us would have to admit that we do run such scenes through our mental video—and many others that would be far more embarrassing if revealed. Though often harmless, such thinking could lead to a wrong outcome if the right opportunity were to coincide with strong, previously conceived desires.
Those dangerous mental images
Potiphar’s wife probably had fantasized about Joseph many times before she invited him to bed. The story in Genesis says, “Now Joseph was well built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ ” (Genesis 39:6-7). It’s doubtful that she noticed him one minute and invited him to bed the next. Her thinking and noticing and wondering was all part of a process that occurred over a period of time. Because she wasn’t a committed believer, she had no qualms about pursuing her fantasy. But as believers, what do we do with our fantasies?
What about thoughts that do reoccur? Sometimes they make us uncomfortable because of the desires they awaken in us. And, some times, they lead to action that is harmful to ourselves and others. In this chapter, we aren’t going to discuss actions. Here we are concerned with the first part of the process that can lead to immorality. Each one of us must sincerely ask the question, “What goes on in my mind?”
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It’s getting tougher and tougher to have a Romans 12 mind-set when we live in a Romans 1 world: “God . . . gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity” (1:28-29).
Ads have changed from fully-clothed, rugged cowboys riding across the range to the undressed, sensual young man lying practically on top of the young woman on the sofa. The cowboy used to advertise cigarettes on TV, but those kinds of ads have been banned from TV because of the harmful effects of smoking. The other young man, with very little pressure from the censors, advertises underwear and is highly suggestive of a lifestyle that is much more harmful than smoking!
In the past, movies and ads would have given a more ideal view of marriage, family, and morality. The heroes of yesteryear were honorable. Advertisements were aimed at the married couple living in suburbia. Wholesome music was the background for people falling in love and getting married. Remember the old song lyrics, “Love and marriage … go together like a horse and carriage”?
One day i was singing the words to a new, catchy song I had heard. I was singing, “dancing in the streets.” One of my daughters informed me that I obviously did not know the real words to the song. Surprised, I asked her to please enlighten me. “Mom,” she emphatically replied, “The words are, dancing in the sheets'” I couldn’t believe it at first, but she was right.
The norm today is that people are allowed to do what they want to do. As Christians, we can’t avoid being continually exposed to these new trends. They’re all around us. There is no way to avoid suggestions of illicit sex.
Renewing the mind
To begin renewing your mind, you need to know your weakest spots. Where are you most tempted? Because you will inevitably be exposed to suggestive material, you need to know what causes you to think in ways you shouldn’t.
We all fantasize, some more than others. We all daydream. Instead of trying to suppress this, try to keep your daydreams godly. Suppress the temptation to fantasize about having an affair. Don’t fantasize about being married to a man who is already married.
A better description of proper fantasizing is positive dreaming. There is nothing wrong with mentally picturing yourself in a situation that you would like to see happen. But instead of imagining someone you shouldn’t think about, imagine yourself in a godly situation.
When you do positive dreaming, be sure that you don’t start to live the dream and miss reality. That is one way affairs begin. One person starts fantasizing about being with another, which leads to the action itself, just to see if the fantasy can come true. We live much of our lives in our minds. As a James Bond theme once said, “You only live twice, or so it seems . . . one time in your life and once in your dreams.”
Make sure your dreams are godly. If you are married, put your spouse in your dreams. If you can’t do that, don’t dream about someone else. A person just might come along or become available, and then you may be in trouble.
Believers also need models.
As Christians, we are to be salt and light. We are to live-in the world, but not be of the world. This is difficult, for our world has become so base that infidelity and fornication look pretty mild when compared to homosexuality, incest, and other sexual perversions. Therefore, to live as salt and light in a hardened and dark world, we can’t take our models from the world. In many cases, we can’t even find believers as examples. So tee have to be salt and light to believers, as well as to unbelievers.
Your mind is your business. No one else really knows your thoughts but you and God. If you don’t make the necessary changes to think properly with His help, no one will. In today’s society, the battle for the mind rages fiercely every day. Our entire generation seems to be geared toward the stimulation of sexual lust. There is little hope of avoiding this stimulation totally. It’s there when we drive down the street, buy groceries, go to work, go to the beach, and even in church.
We must become experts in self-knowledge. This is where the gut-level honesty begins. After looking squarely into your mind, become your own filter. Once you have discovered your area of weakness—and you know what it is—avoid it at all costs.
If a certain person arouses feelings in you that are ungodly—and he’s married or unavailable, or maybe you are married—don’t feed those thoughts by manipulating ways to be around him. If it is someone you can’t help being around, such as a coworker, don’t feed your weakness by becoming intimate friends with him.
If you can’t control your thoughts about someone, put physical distance between yourself and that person. A drastic step would be a job change. But if you can’t control your thoughts, you may have to face far more serious consequences than changing jobs.
What happens in the mind is the first part of the process that can ead to immorality. We often feel that “just thinking” is fairly harmless. It isn’t harmless. It can lead to damaging action. It is in the thinking stage where we can most easily make positive changes, yet during that stage we are most likely to resist doing it. We still feel “safe” if we are only considering doing something. But if we continue to have improper thoughts, it is only a matter of time before we will take action. Even the next action may start with something that doesn’t appear sinful, but the next and the next actions could lead to entanglements that will be difficult to reverse.
It could lead to the next step in the process toward immorality: emotional involvement.
Lord, as we are willing, help us to stay the straight and narrow path in Jesus name, Amen.
Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe
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