Lust, Men, and Jesus

I have to admit that I’ve been avoiding this topic for as long as I’ve been blogging. It’s one of those no-win topics that is very difficult to navigate. However, I’ve been reading a number of other Christian blogs and it seems as if everyone is addressing it in light of the sexual harassment issues at Fox News. So, I’m going to take a crack at it, God literally help me!

Jesus absolutely rocked the men of His time and ours when He told us that if we even look at a woman lustfully we’ve committed adultery with her in our heart (Matthew 5:28). Until that statement, the rules were if you didn’t actually do anything you were righteous. When Jesus threw down the gauntlet He was basically saying He knew that EVERY man has leered at a woman and that we are all guilty, which is why we need a savior. In other words, we all need a savior so stop pretending your righteous because you’re not.

I believe that for men in general sexual temptation is our most difficult issue. How do I know that? Well, for starters pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. Somebody is viewing and paying for all that stuff! Then there is the advertising industry. As they say, sex sells. But have you ever noticed that the sex they are selling is 99 percent scantily clad women selling a product to men? We also can look at Jesus’ words – if a man looks at a woman lustfully. He didn’t say if a woman looks at a man lustfully. It is men with the problem.

I think there are two ways you can look at this. From a scriptural perspective, we are all fallen so all of the appropriate behavior, thoughts, and desires we have are perverted. God made men to be visual creatures – we like the female form. In and of itself, that is not a bad thing. However, in our fallen state our desire becomes lust for every female form we like not appropriate desire for the woman God has made our spouse.

The second way to look at this is biological. According to science, men really are not made to be monogamous. To ensure the survival of the race, biologically men innately seek multiple partners.

Either way men are toast. We all struggle with our attraction to women. I think this is why you will see so much written in scripture about how men must control themselves. God knows that in our fallen flesh we have huge temptation and that we need the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to overcome that temptation.

So far so good, right? Here’s where it gets tricky. Do women have a role to play in helping men overcome this temptation? Scripturally, yes. Socially, no.

Scripture is clear that women are to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9). What does that mean? Well, I suspect everyone has their own definition of modest. But basically, modest would mean be thoughtful about how much skin you show, especially cleavage, how form-fitting your clothes are, and if in your movements your clothes can reveal too much. Here’s something most women don’t realize – when you bend over to get a file or pick something up, a looser fitting shirt can be open enough to see your chest.

Society wise, what I just wrote is anathema! How dare a man tell a woman what to wear and try to control her. He needs to be completely responsible for his own lusts, you pig! Today’s woman wear some of the most revealing clothes ever. Yoga pants are the latest craze, while others wear under garments as outerwear! I think this all started with the sports bra…a bra meant to help women in sporting events that became a fashion statement as outerwear. Then there are the celebrities that wear see-through clothing and put tape over their breast as “covering.”

I was reading a Christian blog this morning and the writer did a poll to see what his readers thought about modesty. Interestingly, a number of women conceded that the reason women dress in a less modest manner is, indeed, to draw attention to themselves physically. However, they do not mean to draw attention to themselves sexually necessarily.

And this is where the rubber meets the road! While women are seeking emotional affirmation through their immodest dress, men are attracted sexually to that immodest dress. It’s one of those Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus things. We just are very different in our emotions, desires, and perceptions.

This is why men – even Christian men – can be accused of sexual harassment and be completely clueless about it. For them, they are just acting naturally. However, for the women who are being leered at sexually, it crosses the line. It’s one thing to be emotionally affirmed so you feel good about yourself, it’s quite another to be made a sex object.

So let’s go back to Jesus. His point is we all need a savior. To the men I would say, work your butts off not to ogle women. It is difficult but make a covenant with your eyes not to look at what you desire and instead turn away. Run as far away from sexual sin as you can. Pray to Jesus and the Holy Spirit for strength. Scripture tells us that there is no sin for which there is not an escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Women, we’re not trying to control you. We are asking for your help in our walk. You are fallen in many ways just as we are. And we as men try very hard to walk with you in those things. So please, help a brother out! Consider dressing modestly not because you have to but because you respect Jesus and your fellow brothers in Christ enough not to be a stumbling block to them.

Okay, I’ve done it. My prayer is that I’ve not offended anyone by these comments and perhaps provided some insight as to why lust is such a big deal for men and how badly we want to overcome it through Jesus and the help of our Christian sisters.

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