Sunday, April 19, 2009

Conviction, Sin, and a Tree full of tasty fruit

For the last few years I have had the interesting opportunity for hosting a guys accountability night. This is done to address the issue of guys falling prey to pornography. With this well in mind it always takes me by surprise that this is really a problem. I'm not sure why it takes me by so much surprise though as for the longest time I was in the same boat. How did this become such a huge issue?
In the letters to the Corinthians, Paul had to deal with a church that just came from the problem of sexual perversion. The city of Corinth was a mix of Las Vegas and Vatican City (if Catholics were about sex and not the Pope). So all the people in the church of Corinth were tempted by that world around them and what they all used to be doing. Religion to many of them just a few months before was sleeping with the temple prostitute. Now religion has some rules for them, and it is very hard to understand that these rules are meant to give them freedom. They kept doing things really to us that don't make sense. Paul hears about all of their highly in appropriate actions and writes them back a list of things that clearly this is what you can not do. He listed that you can not sleep with any of your relatives. That you aren't to join yourselves with prostitutes. That you can not sleep with animals. You can not sleep with people of the same sex. That if you can not quell your sexual urges that you need to get married to satisfy them. Then at the very end of the list he uses a greek word pornea. Pornea roughly translates to anything else you can think of. It is the junk drawer term for sexual deviancy. This is also where we get our word pornography from. Essentially pornography is whatever other sexual sin you can think of.
It seems so foolish that Paul had to write this church and tell them to cut it out. It seems so self evident what you should and should not do. Yet here is the thing that we as humans do. We look at what we know we can do and we think what can I do to get that. We have a bar set and we find what ever we can to get that bar to be lowered so that we can cross it. We impulsively feel the need to squirm under the thumb of rules as we feel they are so heavy, yet fail to realize that it is the thumb of sin that is actually pressed against us. This is how we were 2000 years ago thats how we are now. But we have now spent 2000 years lowering the bar. So much more is acceptable, and almost nothing is taboo. How long though before we have completely gotten rid of the bar and are allowed to go with every perversion that our heart desires. That there will be no difference between our practices and those of the animals. This is where we are at almost complete sexual depravity and we seem to be slowly becoming okay with it. Why are we okay with this?
There is a point where we are supposed to realize what we are doing and stop. That we turn away from our wickedness and do what we are supposed to do. Humanist believe that we just decide this in the face of injustice to turn around. Somehow a good deal of Christianity is expressing the same. Everything has become a one sided act that is all our doing and none of God's. We have tried to add righteousness to our control along with the sin that is already there. We could easily stop lowering the bar and live the life of freedom, if we would put God back in to the equation. You see God in our lives has the power to convict us, short of God the next best thing is guilt. Conviction is what it will take for us to live in purity, and conviction is from God. Despite having free and open access to listen to God we have denied ourselves his voice and move freely with our own desires. We have no care for what he has to say, mainly because we think he is just going to tell us no. We think God is out to ruin our fun. In our week and frail humanity we can not envision God telling us something that can be more enjoyable than the hedonistic world that we have made for ourselves. If we would be open to the conviction that God lovingly wants to bestow we would understand that he is not saying "no", but that he is saying "not now" or "not that". There is no bar in God's plan, there is only unity and peace, a new life. We need to listen for it though.
Way back at the beginning of time we were given one rule. Do not eat of this one tree, if we do that we die. This tree contained the knowledge of good and evil. All we had to do was stay away from the fruit of that tree. But we moved closer and closer and let the bar go lower. Until Eve stood under the tree with the fruit in her hand and Adam stood right next to her the same. The bar was now so low that they could just walk right over, and they did. These two walked with God and when they stopped for a second to listen to another voice, they lowered the bar and went with their own depravity. To them the fruit was pleasing, so is our fruit today. There is plenty that is great for sex, but there is a reason that we are told to wait to eat that fruit. If we eat we will die, but if we listen we will live. Let God convict you, and sin no more.

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