The Struggle to Maintain Purity
Our society is saturated with sexuality. Sexuality is constantly forced upon people. It comes via commercials for soap, sun glasses, clothing, and even men’s razors. Everywhere people turn, they are being saturated with sexuality. Companies use sexuality to lure the consumer to their products. Movies with sexuality always make higher profits. The sitcoms of today make television shows of twenty years ago seem mild by comparison. In my life time, we have gone from “Three’s Company” where a man pretended to be homosexual so that the land lord would allow him to live in a platonic relationship with two girls to “Modern Family” where homosexuality is no longer a pretense, but is an openly advocated practice. Movies have also succeeded in pushing the borders and barriers of sexuality and immorality. Often times, people herald these movies as great and a must see, although “you have to be willing to overlook certain parts,” they say. Consider the following quote in opposition to a particular movie. “There was much love-making, hugging, kissing and fondling. One woman hugged and kissed repeatedly three men. She had not yet married any of them. One was a married man, and she was engaged to the other two successively. To view such love-making on the part of young people, without restraint, without conventional safeguards, without chaperonage, is deadly dangerous. Long scenes, minute after minute, portraying love-making, kissing, hugging and fondling are certain to arouse youngsters who see them.” (What is Wrong with the Movies?, John R. Rice D.D. Zondervan Publishing House) Now, take a guess as to when the aforementioned quote was written as well as which movie the author found so offensive? The movie in question was called “A Guy Named Joe,” staring Spencer Tracy. The movie was released in 1943. The above excerpt comes from the introduction to the fourteenth printing of the book, What is Wrong with the Movies. Yes, even in 1943, the borders of decency were being expanded by Hollywood. I recognize that our current culture would find “A Guy Named Joe” to be inoffensive and easy on one’s moral constitution. However, Mr. Rice, the author of the book, was absolutely right in his point. Look where we are today! Had enough people taken a stand for morality in the early days, then our world might not be saturated with sexuality and immorality!
Many people may say that just because the world swims in sexuality, it does not mean that Christians have to follow suit. While that concept is true and something expected of all Christians, reality teaches us that many, many, many Christians have and are falling into the pattern of the world. Let us not close our eyes to the reality that exists around us, even within many churches of Christ. There are parents within the body of Christ who are losing the battle of trying to keep their children both morally and sexually pure. Our young people are being pressured from every direction to compromise and swim in the saturation of sexuality. All parents were once teenagers and faced the same pressures and temptations. While the levels of saturation may have increased, the temptations and allurements of sexuality have always existed.
Christians Must Think Differently!
Christianity was brought into a world just as saturated with sexual immorality as is our world today! There were godly parents during the first century who had to put their foot down and tell their teenagers, “No, you cannot go to the temple of Diana. The other young boys may be worshiping her with sexual practices, but you will not.” According to historians, sexual practices were common place in the temples of idols during the first century. Instead of going to the local store and buying a pornographic magazine, a young man could go to the temple and witness the behavior first hand. Yes, Christianity was brought into a world and society much like our own.
One of the very basic foundations of a Christian’s life is repentance. Peter told the Jews to “repent and be converted.” (Acts 3:19) To repent is to turn away from your previous path, turning to another path. The repentance which God requires before one can be saved must originate within the heart and mind. There were rulers who believed in Jesus but who were unwilling to change their direction because of the influence of the Pharisees. (John 12:42) Repentance makes one’s transformation into a child of God possible. In Romans 12:1-2, the apostle Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2) The Greek word translated as “be transformed” is metamorphoo and means to change into another form. In Romans 12:2 we see two different forms. One form bears the appearance and behavior pattern of the world. The other form, the godly form, begins with one changing his mind; that is renewing his mind to think and behave after the manner of God.