Your comfort should not dictate your receptivity. Receive the truth, be a realist and appreciate it when it comes from love.
The White Elephant in the room is a figure of speech for something that is large, oversized, something that everybody sees but refuses to talk about. Lust is one of those things.
There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed, specifically in the African American context. Playing house is not always just playing house; incest is demonic, and playing games with it can plant seeds. But the more silent the church is on (sexual) issues, the more dangerous these issues are allowed to be. If we don’t talk about it, the devil will bring it up. We need to take control of the conversation so that it can’t be customized.
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; [d]neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [by perversion], nor [e]those who participate in homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers [whose words are used as weapons to abuse, insult, humiliate, intimidate, or slander], nor swindlers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you [before you believed]. But you were washed [by the atoning sacrifice of Christ], you were sanctified [set apart for God, and made holy], you were justified [declared free of guilt] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God [the source of the believer’s new life and changed behavior].
12 Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will do away with both of them. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body [to save, sanctify, and raise it again because of the sacrifice of the cross]. 14 And God has not only raised the Lord [to life], but will also raise us up by His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Am I therefore to take the members of Christ and make them part of a [f]prostitute? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall be one flesh.” 17 But the one who is united and joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Run away from sexual immorality [in any form, whether thought or behavior, whether visual or written]. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the one who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? 20 You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.
Paul addresses issues that directly affect your ability to enjoy the Kingdom. You can’t have these issues in your life unchecked if you have peace, if you have joy, if you have righteousness.
With lust comes deception, and the more you indulge in it, the worse the deception gets. Assuming you were raised in the church (and you’re sane), if you lose your virginity before marriage, it will bring a profound grief. But the more you do it, the more you’re around it, the more desensitized you become. The “loss” of grief over time is simply deception. But something can be common and still have consequences. Lust doesn’t have less of an effect because of it’s popularity.
Lust can seem innocent. Your mind’s telling you no, but your body’s telling you yes. You can always see the bondage of a generation by paying attention to the lyrics they celebrate. That’s what they’re aligned with. You know every word to the Ignition remix, but do you know the 23rd Psalm? Aligning yourself with these kinds of songs desensitizes you to the actions they describe. If your mind is telling you no, it shouldn’t matter what your body’s telling you. “You’re gonna looooove me-“ no I’m not! We’ve normalized lunacy through lyrics like these. We’ve been building momentum towards this sexual mess, which turned into a distraction that gave Planned Parenthood an opening to come in while we weren’t looking. They brought condoms to prevent children from having children, they brought the idea that “as long as if hasn’t been two weeks, it’s not a kid, it’s just a cell”, even though God says in Jeremiah 1 that before we were formed in the belly, He knew us.
Back to the passage. The only way to get out of sexual bondage is to recognize that it’s an issue of idolatry. Not of chemistry, of vibe, of desire; it’s about what you’re making the decision to worship. Pagan ritualism is all connected to some form of sexuality. Even in ancient Israel we have people looking for virgins in church, so of course our musicians, ushers, and even pastors are still going after the vulnerable. This isn’t a new issue.
v.9, there’s being effeminate by perversion, or bisexuality, not having a tendency towards either gender. There’s homosexuality. The church will come at you harder if you’re struggling with your sexuality than they will with someone stuck in heterosexual bondage. Consequently, a lot of the hymns we sing come from men that molested little boys. All forms of bondage need to be addressed, or the church will remain irrelevant.
v. 10, these things are a result of a person opening themselves to lust. It starts “small”, but like verse 10 says, it progresses and graduates into bigger things. Other addictions will manifest once you open the door to lust, and not just to drugs. But, for some realms of lust, you have to be inebriated to sin, because if you were sober, you’d be able to connect the consequences to your actions. There will be a link from the sinful things you indulge into your state of sobriety. Satan just uses lust as the initial door.
The rest of verse 10 emphasizes how lust is a form of fire that manifests in your tongue. You have to say lewd stuff for it to get in your soul, and once it’s there, it’ll express itself as it becomes abundant. The heart has depth, has the ability to carry a lot, so if something is put in there unchecked, it’s only a matter of time before it comes back out of your mouth. You can be a nice Christian girl, you can be a wholesome young man – when you’re in the Spirit. But your words should match up with the Word, even when you’re not in it. (There’s power in the tongue.) Get your heart checked out.
v.11, “such some of you WERE“. Not “such some of you are”. If this weren’t a big deal to God, He wouldn’t require us to be washed. What’s the point of washing something that’s already clean? There is a full spectrum of sexual sin, so don’t think this isn’t applicable to you. You can have sex in your head, and it’s just as much of a problem as the physical action. You have to be freed not only from the people you did it with, but from the people you wanted to do it with too. Why? Because lust is a seed, and it never shows up full blown. But when lust is conceived, it brings forth death. That’s why it appears in your life unrecognizable, small and insignificant, waiting to take root.
Beliefs about sex and sexuality are heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud, a publicized pedophile who teaches that we should be freely allowed to explore sexuality because we started as baboons, so we still have our animalistic natures. But if you listen to the Word, you have to understand that sex is the property of marriage. Unless you have the gift of Paul to be a eunuch, you have your own well. Your spouse does have water for you, but stolen water is still sweet. You still get that adrenaline rush, that temporary satisfaction, but permissible =/= beneficial, v. 12. There’s no balance in carnality, so don’t look for loopholes.
You can do whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean you should. You will daily have to decide between what you could do and what you should do when you’re walking out of lust. Don’t think you’re so grown that you can do it on your own, because the things that you’re trying to escape from have power to enslave you, to control you.
v.13, God has a plan for your body. You can’t live without food, but you can live without sex. You can. A lot of people think along the lines of “If I’m not having sex, what am I doing?”, but as food is to the stomach, so is the Lord to the body. That’s what He intended, and He’s ready to provide what we need. There’s only one thing you can’t live without, and it’s not sex. It’s His presence.
v. 15, in “Bible language”, prostitute is a partner you had to pay for. But honestly, everyone that was not your spouse, that you slept with, you paid for. Don’t let that “wya bighead” draw you back in. Realize that the price is too high to keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t take sex lightly. Why not?
v.16, when you’re joined with somebody in sex, you become one with them. That’s how it’s meant to be. That means you’ve become one with everyone you’ve done it with, and everyone you wanted to do it with, and it’s hard for the Lord to lead a mixed crowd. If it’s difficult enough to battle your own flesh, your own demons, why take on others’? You can’t love the Lord with all your heart if He has to play trick or treat to get to everyone in you.
Find an accountability partner that you trust, not one that will use your information as a basis of flirtation. People will move in on your weakness, they will use it against you. Make a list of your sexual partners; how many of them are still in your life? Cut off the people that have seen your birthmarks. Ain’t no “that’s my sis”, ain’t no “we’re just friends”. Again, that’s deception. If you can’t cut something or someone off without feeling bad, you haven’t been freed. If you feel bad, they still have a hold on you. They’re still there. Seeing somebody should not make you feel some type of way, sexually or negatively. It shouldn’t have control over you. Let the Sword of the Spirit cut those ties, permanently.
v.18, RUN away. Don’t jog, don’t back up slowly, don’t ask for a sign or a confirmation that it’s the will of the Lord. People are gonna feel like you’re acting different, but you have to run for your life. Not everyone will get it, so don’t waste time over-explaining. There’s a lot on the line, and not everybody will understand that, especially if they don’t know God. If God’s hand is on your life, He’ll come looking for you and end up messing with people’s lives because they’re intertwined with you. He will come after everything you put before Him; remove your distractions so He doesn’t have to. Stay focused.
Sexual sin is the only sin committed against oneself. If your vision is bad, you won’t realize just how bad it is until you get glasses, until it’s corrected. Lust gives you a certain lens, and you can’t understand how toxic it is until you change how you look at it. Let the Word define it.
Understand that the first thing that God called you to is holiness, not your hustle. God won’t bring prosperity to something that He’s not pleased with yet. He won’t bless a mess. But He has no problem showing us off once we’re clean, once we’re holy. Holiness comes before greatness.
2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
You can’t be in lust and be available for God’s use, because lust will preoccupy your life and prevent your availability to God. When it’s really deep, you won’t even realize how far you’ll go to protect it, to keep people from seeing it. Longstanding pornographic issues can create unhealthy affections, making people callous to real affection, to real love. In these situations, you’ve given your most vulnerable self to actors and actresses, so you start to objectify real people just to get what you want. There are things we shouldn’t be excited about; there has to be demonic involvement if something like gangbanging arouses you. Know that sex can get to a demonic level. There’s no “watching porn with your spouse for ideas”, don’t take sex tips from the devil because he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and his objectives are out of line. Only God can teach you how to take care of what He created.
All sex has creative power, and where there’s positive power, there’s negative power. The things you say during sex can be binding. “It’s yours”? “You can have me”? You just gave somebody the right to control you by making yourself their property. You can sense when the people you’ve been with want you again, think about it. That’s a soul tie.
((In a good church, you should be accepted without condition and without condemnation, but know that your issues will be addressed with the Truth.))
Would you take someone’s bag and give it to somebody else because you felt like it? That’s what it’s like when you take your body from God and give it to someone else. Paul says that your body isn’t yours, v.19. You shouldn’t give away something that isn’t yours, and you shouldn’t give away valuable information. As you give yourself away, you take from others, which makes it hard for the Lord to talk to you because He has to do a roll call to get through everything and everyone you’ve hidden yourself in. How would you be able to focus when your most personal space is crowded? Are you holding on to someone who isn’t yours? You need to know how to properly break up, how to properly break ties. You have to distance yourself enough to clear yourself out within them coming back in.
When the woman at the well came to Jesus, He identified the place of her weakness; lust. Understand that lust can be a way of you expressing that you feel empty. You’re looking for water that will never satisfy your thirst in new bodies, new cars, new houses, but it never lasts. You’ll realize that it’s not worth it, but it will be a hard cycle to break, especially at the beginning. Over time, it becomes habitual, but it helps to have someone hold you accountable, someone that won’t let you make excuses.
A lot of our stories start with lust. Why don’t you know who your real dad is? That’s often a result of lust, not just a family secret. Molestation is the devil’s version of impartation, the demonic version of discipleship. Someone’s opening you up to experiences you haven’t had, that you’re not ready for, because of their lust.
No matter what’s been in your life, remember that you’re not at your best self. If you’re crawling through your mess on your own, imagine how you’ll soar once God cleans you up. We need more people more willing to be open with their testimonies, more people willing to say “me too”. You become a liability when you get out of your mess, because you can tell on the devil. Telling is a form of accountability, so once you tell on yourself, he can’t hold anything against you. When you expose his schemes, you show others the way out. We need Christians that will minister and show people how to value purity, how to stop wrestling with sexuality, Christians that will use their experiences as proof of their deliverance.