What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36
Ok, we all agree that sin exists and that we engage in it way too frequently. So, if it exists, and we want to decrease our engagement (or exterminate it completely) in it, then why do we continue? We can say, “Because of the flesh and the fall” and other all-encompassing words, but let’s get to the root. Sin works for a reason.
I am going to focus on pornography in this discussion. I know not everyone deals with this directly, but trust me, we all are involved. Whether you participate directly or know someone that does, we all feel the impact. Why is it so pervasive? Why does it have the hold that it does? Because it hides a truth.
God created our sexuality as a blessing of intimacy to be shared with a spouse alone. This intimacy is more than the physical act, I think we can all agree on that. So, if it’s more, then what is it? Neil Anderson states in Victory Over the Darkness that our spouse is our most well informed critic. We can’t escape their knowledge of us. That knowledge actually forms the intimacy. When engaged in that intimacy, your spouse knows your hurts, your fears, and your passions. You share that same level of knowledge about them. The vulnerability and passion for each other takes that knowledge and expresses it in so much more than the physical act. In fact, it insures that the physical act is AWESOME!
That’s the truth that Satan hides in pornography. When looking at images (video or photographs), we don’t have the intimacy. If we did, we wouldn’t get the thrill. If we knew that the girl in the video was abused as a child, if we knew that the person we are watching is so strung out on drugs that porn is the only way to feed their addiction, if we knew that through sex trafficking the person is forced to act in deviant ways, there is no way we can “enjoy” the stuff we are watching. The same goes for “gentleman’s clubs.” If we knew that the girl dancing on the stage has so little self-image that she sells herself in a desperate attempt at acceptance, we would (and should) feel ashamed for helping her continue that thought process. The hidden truth is that we can’t have the intimacy with the “image,” because we don’t see it.
I will confess that I didn’t come up with this next truth. I would love to give credit to the person who did, but I don’t know who it was. The next truth is that the difference between Satan’s temptation and God’s blessing is this: the cost vs. the result.
Satan always promises the result up front – the “pleasure.” He will never tell you the cost. In sales, they call this the bait and switch. Imagine someone offering you the car of your dreams. We all have one; mine is a 1967 Corvette Stingray. Satan has it right there for me: “Hey Kyle, here are the keys. No money down, you can take it right now.” I take the keys, and I am off. A week later the engine fails. I find out there are over $100,000 dollars of unpaid tickets, taxes and loans that I am now responsible for. I find out it was a 6-month lease, and I still have to pay the full price. Talk about being stuck. You can easily see that sin is exactly like that. Porn, booze, drugs., lying, stealing, the list goes on. The promise of pleasure is up front, but the ultimate cost is hidden.
Our Father tells us the cost up front. Sure you can have a car. It may not be your “dream car,” but it will never fail you. The upkeep costs are fairly low. There are no monthly payments, and there are no outstanding costs or liens on it. It will cost you a week’s wages, and the promise is that it will not be a disappointment. I would take that deal in a minute. See God tells you the cost up front, and when the blessing comes, it far outweighs the cost.
Sin works because the cost is hidden, and the promise of pleasure seems too much to resist. If we look for the truth, the cost is unavoidable. This seems like a simple problem and solution: a simple yes, easy no. God didn’t promise us easy, but He promises truth, consistency, and eternity. Again, wouldn’t you take that deal every time?