“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like?”
— Jesus Christ, Luke 7:31
There’s no doubt that different generations face different troubles. Some face material hardship, wars that drag on for decades, droughts that seemingly never end. Others face social hardships, like deadly racial and ethnic strife or plagues from which they seemingly cannot escape.
Then there is our generation. We modern Americans face no material hardships: even our poor live better than kings of two centuries ago. Our ethnic strife is carefully manufactured; 24-year-old millionaires kneel for the anthem to protest their oppression in a nation that showers them with praise for playing a game well.
But we do face a generational hardship that few of us recognize. And we don’t recognize it because rather than making us cold and hungry, it excites and pleasures us. America once took for its animating spirit Liberty; she was on our coins and even our wartime propaganda posters. But in this generation, it seems that hardly a day goes by when we read of some famous man – too often a pastor – caught in an affair. Our televisions and campuses celebrate depravity such that would make the ancient Sidonians blush.
If modern America has a spirit, it is Tlazolteotl, the Aztec goddess of lust and carnality. The patroness of adulterers is who our generation beckons our families to follow. It’s not necessary for the Christian to ascribe blame for the fact so much as it is to recognize the dangers and to escape it.
The dangers seem obvious – we all know of men who destroyed their material lives through an affair. We’ve seen the pain, the shame of betrayal revealed, and the kids who never recovered when Dad jettisoned the family for a few passionate afternoons with his secretary. We’ve all despised the hypocrite who mocks thots and yet is himself a rake.
But the real dangers for the Christian is spiritual. And sexual immorality is of such a nature that, while we are told to resist the devil (James 4:7), we are told to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). That sin which emanates from inside us is of a different nature, and has different power, than that which is external.
Paul illustrates the danger and the threat:
This is the will of God*, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
— 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
When you wallow in lust and immoral passion, you are disregarding God. When you transgress against your brother – i.e. when adultery passes from the mind to the sheets – God becomes your nemesis. Sexual immorality is not some harmless shenanigan; it results in the Creator of the universe taking vengeance on you personally.
Sexual immorality among those of us called to holiness also gives the enemies of God ammunition to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14). Ask King David, a man after God’s own heart, how that turns out (2 Samuel 12:1-19).
God made you to desire sex. God created sex as the fulfillment of that desire, but firmly within the bounds he designed. Get married, make babies. And if you cannot make babies, practice making babies:
Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Thy fountains shall be poured forth, as water-brooks in the broadways. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed; and have joy of the wife of thy youth. As a lovely hind and a graceful roe, let her breasts satisfy thee at all times: be thou ravished continually with her love.
— Proverbs 5:15-19
For those already caught in lust, and in immorality, and who are not married so as to have a holy outlet for that energy, God also gives a way of control:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
— Romans 6:12-13
… present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
— Romans 12:1-2
The transformation of the mind is the key to control of the body. And what you look at, what you read, what you say, to whom you give obedience, is going to transform your mind. Control the inputs to control the outputs.
Men, we will not have the power of God if we are not walking in obedience to Him. We cannot abide in the Vine while simultaneously disregarding Him. If God is your problem, none of your other problems really matter.
This is too easy to brush off as a little thing. But have an objective look around this country, this culture. Sexual liberation in the last generation has become chains of slavery on ours.
Yes, there is hope for the rainbow flaggers, the trannies, and all who are possessed by Tlazolteotl. But how much easier for us, and how much better for the Kingdom, if today in our own lives we get serious about what God is serious about?
* literally Deus Vult