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Men and Sexual Temptation

Greetings All,

   This week's 'thought' comes to you from Jay Kesler's book, "Being Holy, Being Human: Dealing With the Incredible Expectations and Pressures of Ministry. The book is full of wise pastoral insights, and written in his typically transparent and down-to-earth style. Yet it's for more than just pastors or 'people in the ministry,' since in reality (at least biblically speaking) there's a sense in which all believers are called to be 'priests unto God'  or 'ministers'  -- I Peter 2:9-12.
     Over the weekend I spoke at our church's "Men's Advance" on the topic of "Men and Sexual Temptation" from Proverbs 1-7.  I had intended to read this excerpt at the end but I ran out of time just covering the material in Proverbs 5:1-20; 6:23-29 and 7:1-27.  Therefore, to those who attended I send this out as a way of tying together everything I said, and to those who weren't there, I send it out as a story worth reading, considering and being ready to repeat.  It's great stuff from a great book and a great man -- and yes, even if you're female I believe you can be edified and encouraged by it!  Enjoy.  
"The only way you can prey on people and turn them into some kind of objects, especially for lust, is to mentally get them out of context. Conversely, if you think of them in context, you're not nearly so tempted to lust. Thus, I find it a good practice in ministry to continually think of people in context. For example, suppose I'm driving down the street and see some beautiful teenager who's dressed in an attention-getting way. My automatic response now is to
contextualize her, to say to myself, “Hey, she's about the age of my daughter. I wonder who her parents are and how she gets along with them?” And suddenly the sexual part of it disappears. The girl hasn't changed, but my perception has. Instead of being an object of sexual thoughts, she's become someone's daughter, someone's little girl. The same thing
is true now that I find myself a college president on a campus that has its share of beautiful coeds. I can't say I haven't noticed them—I'm not blind—but I can honestly say that I don't think of them as a sexual turn-on. To me, they're all someone's daughters, someone's sisters, someone's granddaughters. After I realized how my mind's eye was seeing people in context, I also realized that this is a biblical principle. It's what Paul told Timothy to do in — relate to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters.
       I've also seen enough lives and ministries ruined by sexual sin that that's a deterrent for me. I've had frightening temptations in my own life that help deter me, too; just thinking about what might have happened if they'd gone another step in the wrong direction scares a lot of sense into me when I need it. We might call that putting yourself in context when you're tempted.
        One time when I was much younger, I was flying to Denver on business, and a young
woman in her twenties was sitting next to me. As we were flying, I noticed she was crying. I wondered if I should say anything or just respect her privacy. But after several minutes, I finally said, "Is there any way I can help you?” "I don't know," she said, then looked away. "Well, I'm involved in youth work, in Youth for Christ," I said. "And I'd be happy to just talk to you if that would help." She began to open up then. She said she had been engaged to a young man, and she'd just learned that he had run off to marry another woman. "The worst part of it is I'm still a virgin," she said. She went on to say that she had always believed that if you kept yourself pure, everything would turn out right. Now she had decided that since a "wild girl" had stolen her man, her remaining pure had been to no avail, and she was going to go to some ski lodge and make up for lost time. "Do you think it's worth giving up what you've always believed because of one painful experience?" I asked. "I don't know," she said, then sank into silence. Finally she continued, "Well, where are you staying tonight?" I told her, and she said she was staying there, too. Then she suggested that maybe after we arrived we could "have a couple of drinks together and see how the evening turns out."
       In effect, she was inviting me to help her initiate her new lifestyle. "I don't want you to be confused," I said. "Let me show you my  
pictures." I took out my wallet and showed her my family photos. Though I didn't realize it at the time, I was putting myself in context. Looking at your wife and children really cools a potentially hot situation. After I showed her  the photos, I

went on, "I sympathize with the pain you feel. If you need someone to tell you you're pretty, let me tell you that you're very pretty. If you need someone to tell you you're sexually attractive, let me tell you that you're very attractive and desirable. But if you want me to say I'm willing to act on that desire, no, I'm not going to do it. You're vulnerable right now; you're in a difficult situation. Further, I'm married. I'm also a Christian. And I'm not going to do it because it would mean taking advantage of you and violating my commitments and my faith." Then I explained a bit of how my faith commitment guides my life. She was silent for a few minutes, but then she said, "Well, if I thought that by waiting the rest of my life I could find another man who would turn down the offer I made to you tonight, I'd stay a virgin till I found him.” I replied, "There are more guys like me out there than you may think. I hope you don't go through with your plan."
        When we got to Denver , I put the young woman in touch with some female YFC staff, and she stayed the night with them. They spent a few days with her and then sent her back home. So far, thank God, I've never been given that kind of offer when I was vulnerable. But I have been tempted, and it's always helped me to put both the woman and myself in context...
               Sexual temptation is all around us these days, and if we're honest with ourselves, we know we're often vulnerable. In spite of all we do to avoid tempting situations, there will be times, such as my experience on the plane, when temptation will stare us right in the face.

Our job is to prepare ourselves and keep our marriages strong before we find ourselves in those situations so that when the temptations come, we'll be able to maintain our integrity—and our ministries.”

 What could one possibly add?  It speaks for itself.  In Christ's Service, Pastor Jeff