ABCs Part I: Avert Your Senses!
Men receive a chemical high from sexual images because adrenaline is released and locks into memory whatever stimulus is present at the time of the emotional excitement. This is visual sex and it is highly addictive! Men are addicted after the first lingered look and feel like they cannot stop looking due to this chemical addiction!
I have used the example of sexual sin because so many men suffer (many in silence) with this malady; however, this teaching applies to all sin. The Bible clearly lays out the process that Satan uses to get us to choose to sin (James 1:14,15).
In order for Satan to tempt us, there must be a desire in our heart for what is being offered or there would be no temptation. This can be a desire for bad things or good things obtained the wrong way. For example, what is the number one good thing a husband desires from his wife? Physical intimacy or sex. (Contrast this with the number one good thing a wife desires from her husband – emotional intimacy or affection. We both want intimacy – a good thing between marriage partners – just expressed differently!).
Jesus had no desire for bad things (unfortunately we have to deal with this area due to our fallen nature) but was tempted with obtaining good things the wrong way. Remember, Jesus was offered the whole world (a good thing) if only He would obtain it by submitting to Satan (the wrong way) rather than buying back man via the cross (the right way) (Luke 4:3-12).
Satan hit Jesus with the same basic temptation areas, after He came out of the wilderness fast, that he hits us all with today (1 John 2:16):
- The desire of the flesh (turn stone into bread for your hungry flesh) (Luke 4:3,4)
- The desire of the eyes (bow down and you can have all the world that you see) (Luke 4:9-12)
- The desire to have something or someone to boast about in pride (jump off the temple and you can have the adoration of all those that see you rescued by the angels of God) (Luke 4:5-8)
Furthermore, Adam and Eve were tempted with being able to know good and evil rather than discern the difference between good and evil in hopes of being like God (a good thing) but to obtain it before they were mature enough for this knowledge by experiencing evil first hand via disobeying God (wrong way) (Genesis 3:1-6). The right way would have been learning to discern the difference between good and evil as they matured by exercising their senses in life’s journey with God including NOT disobeying God and NOT experiencing evil first hand (the right way) (Hebrews 5:14).
So, the temptation comes for something we desire but offered the wrong way (so far no sin), we yield to the thought and meditate on it until it becomes a desire of our hearts (now it is non-physical sin), then we do it (we have physically sinned). Again, the temptation is not a sin so do not believe the Devil when he tries to convince you to go ahead and do something that you only thought about. Likely, he fired that thought into your mind, too (Ephesians 6:16.2 Corinthians 10:4,5). Remember, Jesus was tempted in all ways but was still sin-free! (Hebrews 4:15)
It is when we meditate on the thought that it goes from a passing thought in our head to thought in our spiritual heart (1) (i.e., we learn it by heart) and then the intent of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Once an intent of the heart we will most likely commit the sin under the right circumstances. For example, you have been thinking about the attractive woman at work (1) until you have started thinking about what it would be like with her physically until it becomes something you would do under the right circumstances (i.e., it is now the intent of the heart). Then through some strange set of events (i.e., a satanic trap), you find yourself with this person all alone…
How can a man of God fall into the trap of adultery? One wrong baby step at a time! The following breaks down the steps that many take leading to marital unfaithfulness or adultery. Note that each one is simply a “baby step” that any of us could take without seeing where it could ultimately lead.
- Sharing Common Interests.
- Mentally comparing with my mate.
- Meeting emotional needs.
- Looking forward to being together.
- Tinges of dishonesty with my mate.
- Flirting and teasing.
- Talking about personal matters.
- Minor yet arousing touch, squeeze, or hug.
- Special notes or gifts.
- Inventing excuses to call or meet.
- Arranging secret meetings.
- Deceit and cover-ups.
- Kissing and embracing.
- Petting and high indiscretion.
- Sexual intercourse.
(From Anatomy of Adultery – 15 Steps of Unfaithfulness by Keith Drury)
Furthermore, non-physical and physical sins are both sins with the same spiritual consequences but typically not the same physical consequences. For example, lusting in his heart after another woman by a married man will give Satan a toehold in his life from which a stronghold can be established and it is sin (Matthew 5:28). However, it may remain a secret to his family and not directly affect them (nevertheless it will affect them eventually – even if it remains a secret). Juxtaposed this with doing the thoughts physically and getting caught will not only open the door to a satanic stronghold – it can cause immediate strife in the marriage, loss of reputation, loss of ministry, etc!
Common deceptions or lies Satan uses to help men rationalize sexual sin:
- Sexual sin is just part of being a man so there is nothing you can do about it.
- You do not have a sexual addiction.
- Partial obedience is good enough for God. Remember, God is good!
- Since my wife is unattractive or not sensitive to my needs; therefore, it is all right to have my sexual needs met somewhere else. After all, God wants me happy.
- You will only be happy with the woman who is your “soul mate”. Consequently, it is permissible for you to be on the lookout for the right woman – your “soul mate”.
- You married the wrong woman; therefore, it is all right to divorce her to marry the “right” woman because you were never really married in God’s eyes.
- You can conquer your sexual problem(s) without God.
- I was sexually abused; therefore, I cannot help myself.
- Since I yielded some already, I might as well go all the way!
- I sacrifice so much for the Kingdom of God that I deserve this indiscretion – God understands.
- No one faces the level of temptation that I face; therefore, God understands.
- My wife is not meeting my needs; therefore, it is my right to have them met elsewhere – God understands.
Strategies to stop the process of sin coming into our mind’s thoughts via our body’s senses:
Avert your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin from enticing people or things – immediately! (Job 31:1.1 Thessalonians 4:3-5.1 Corinthians 6:13-20. Galatians 5:19-21)
- Concentrate on the other side of the road when female joggers go by (and do not look in the rearview mirror at them either!)
- Change channels when sexual commercials are aired.
- Do not rent any movies that are unsuitable for children, etc.
- Install Web Blocking software.
- Unsubscribe from provocative cable/satellite channels.
- Block provocative channels that you cannot unsubscribe.
- Go on a water fast because the desire for food is stronger than the desire for sex (the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach). (Psalms 35:13)
- Flee – run away from the tempting person, places or things.
- Have a strategy to avoid areas of temptation planned in advance.
These strategies are completely effective against the visual sexual attraction to those you do not have to interact with like strangers. Realize:
- Using your senses lustfully is only a bad habit that you developed from a poor choice.
- You are fighting hormones and habits.
- Habits can be completely eliminated in six weeks.
For married men, if your wife is not meeting your desire (need) for physical intimacy it could be because you are not meeting her desire (need) for emotional intimacy. As the leader in the marriage, the man is the one to give first in order to stop this standoff. Realize the issue is more about forethought than foreplay with your wife. Here are some suggestions for turning this situation around:
- Take her hand as you walk together.
- Caress her face.
- Gently dry her tears when she is upset.
- Hug her for at least 15 seconds daily.
- Give her a back rub daily.
- Write her a love note daily before going to work.
- Pick or buy her flowers.
- Send her a “no occasion” gift.
- See her first when you get home from work (not the hobby, mail, refrigerator, or pet).
- Love her children.
- Tell her that you love her often!
- Cherish your wife (treat her with tenderness and hold her dear).
- Your wife will become the way you treat her for good or bad!
Now if you do these things to manipulate your wife then they will have limited success. However, if you do these things to express how you really feel about your wife – then you will enjoy reaping what you have sown! You meet her emotional intimacy needs and she desires to meet your physical intimacy needs causing you to really want to meet her emotional intimacy needs which causes her to really want to meet your physical intimacy needs! Yes, the closest thing to a perpetual motion on earth!
Now do the opposite for the female at work that is trying to steal, kill and destroy your marriage (Proverbs 9:13-18. Proverbs 30:20. Proverbs 2:10-19. Ecclesiastes 7:26. Proverbs 7:1-27. Proverbs 22:14. Proverbs 5:1-23. Proverbs 6:23-35. Malachi 2:13-16. Exodus 20:14,17. Matthew 5:27,28. Proverbs 31:3):
- Do not look at her (let her feel unattractive).
- Ignore her flattery and talk about your wife (let her feel undesirable).
- Use logic if she asks for help solving her problems (let her feel inferior).
- Do not be sensitive to her needs – play the geek (let her feel incapable).
- If asked, then be critical pointing out areas she needs to change (let her feel not needed).
- Spend no time alone with her – flee!
- Prepare an avoidance strategy in advance.
ABCs of Overcoming Temptation series:
- The ABCs of Sinless Christian Living
- ABCs Part I: Avert Your Senses!
- ABCs Part II: Battle Lustful Thoughts
- ABCs Part III: Cling to Christ
- ABCs Part IV: S.W.A.T
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 NET)
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Thanks for your thoughtful and useful post. I noticed that the final list of ways to drive away a seductress are often inadvertantly employed against our own wive's. Avoiding these pitfalls at home might go a long way towards getting your wife's attention back while intentionally employing them elsewhere as needed. This is difficult territory to walk alone. While the Spirit is with us as believers, we often need the input of others who are less emotionally entangled in the situation and can more clearly hear that still small voice as applied to our struggles. We must walk this walk in prayer and with partners.
I have been finding that my peripheral vision is far better than I realized before. Thanks for the encouragement.