"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look upon a girl" (Job 31:1 TLB); "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9 NIV).
"Set a strong guard about thy outward senses: these are Satan's landing places, especially the eye and the ear" (W. Gurnall).
We live in an age of uninhibited sex. It's everywhere, for the taking and the giving. Lest we don't already know, God is the One who issued sexual standards: "God wants his people to keep the sexual side of their nature untainted from sin..." (Anonymous). Sexual sin catches up with us in physical diseases and guilt. Unfortunately one of the side effects, venereal disease, afflicts babies, also. We owe it to the unborn to keep them unborn if we are going to invite sexually-transmitted diseases. And let's not blame it on society, either, if we wind up on a death bed because of something we could have prevented by saying an emphatic "No!"
I've noticed through the years that pornography has seeped into everything. The advertisements have been unclothing for years, under the guise of letting us know what the latest is in undies and fundies. We can make that covenant with our eyes, as did Job, but at some point we have to open our eyes to see where we're going, and there we are, the unveiling.
By the way, there is a progression: pornography to rape, anger to murder, etc. Ted Bundy discovered this. Only hours before he was executed convicted serial killer Ted Bundy gave an interview to Dr. James Dobson. Bundy indicated that violent movies on cable could affect others in the same way printed sexually violent material had affected him: "There is loose in their towns and their communities people like me today, whose dangerous impulses are being fueled day in and day out by violence in the media in its various forms, particularly sexual violence. Let's come into the present now, because what I'm talking about happening 20 to 30 years ago in my formative stages, and what scares and appalls me, Dr. Dobson, when I see what's on cable TV, some of the movies coming to homes today (and of course now we have any video you want that can be rented). The stuff they wouldn't show in X-rated adult theaters 30 years ago...it can get into the home to children who may be unattended or unaware that they may be a Ted Bundy who has that vulnerability, that predisposition to be influenced by that kind of behavior, that kind of motive, that kind of violence. There are kids sitting out there, switching the TV dial around and they come upon these movies late at night. I don't know when they are on but they're on, and any kid can watch them. It's scary, when I think what would have happened to me. I am scary enough." I had a dear friend who scorned what Bundy said and who thought I was incredibly naïve, but why would he lie at that point in his life?
It's a known fact that the promiscuous person winds up with diseases of both body and mind, that it is now literally a death sentence. It is not God who punishes us for our sins so much as it is our own willful sinning. God does not make our misery - we make it with our intentional disobedience. Our best strength and our most useful years are in our youth, so let's not waste them on sexual sin. What a tragedy is the shattered gift of life which often comes from fooling around. My dear young people, sowing wild oats reaps a terrible harvest!
Lest you think Granny Fogey is foisting her version of morality on the world, Jesus warned us in Matthew 5: "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (V.28). Jesus cautioned us many times to guard our minds, for it is here the consequences are determined. And we are the keepers of our own minds and hearts, not mother, father, peers or society. We will stand before God in the judgment by ourselves. Mom and Dad will not be able to come to the rescue.
Two important ways to guard against sexual immorality are self-control (one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22), and being faithful in marriage. Yes, I know, what antediluvian ideas!
C.S. Lewis made the observation: "They'll tell you sex has become a mess because it was hushed up. But for the last twenty years it has not been hushed up....Yet it is still in a mess. If hushing it up had been the cause of the trouble, ventilation would have set it right. But it hasn't" (Christian Behavior 1944). Perhaps we should return to the days of hush!
I realize this wonderful comment by Otway is outdated: "O woman, lovely woman! Nature made thee to temper man; we had been brutes without you. Angels are painted fair, to look like you; there is in you all that we believe of heaven--amazing brightness, purity, and truth, eternal joy, and everlasting love." Lovely: beautiful, graceful, refined, personable, undefaced, affectionate, tender, sympathetic, devoted, interesting, amiable. I will always believe that a young man is more attracted to Mr. Otway's woman. Surely this is the lady he will want to bear his children, if he cares about the future.
In his book, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, Charles R. Swindoll quotes Dr. Dobson: "First, men are primarily excited by visual stimulation. They are turned on by feminine nudity....Second (and much more important), men are not very discriminating in regard to the person living within an exciting body.... [The man] can become almost as excited over a photograph of an unknown nude model as he can in a face-to-face encounter with someone he loves....Women are much more discriminating in their sexual interests....She yields to the man who appeals to her emotionally as well as physically. Obviously, there are exceptions to these characteristic desires, but the fact remains: sex for men is a more physical thing; sex for women is a deeply emotional experience.” (From What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women.)
One of my favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 32:8 NIV: "The noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands". Pornography is not noble or profound. We seem to have lost our dignity and our shame. We can't even blush anymore! "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?" (Matthew 9:4). Can you imagine Jesus looking at pornography, whether magazines, TV or videos? If we can't have Jesus sitting beside us when we read or view anything, then we should not be viewing it!
"O Lord, how profound are your thoughts!" (Psalm 92:5). God wants us to have the mind of Christ, which is indeed profound; "Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart" (Deuteronomy 15:9); "Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths" (Isaiah 59:7); "They came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed..., sitting and clothed and in his right mind" (Mark 5:15) Notice the juxtaposition of clothed and in his right mind!