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Heart-to-Heart Talk With Men and Teen Boys

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Many of you men are clean in conduct and pure in heart. But virtually every man is tempted sexually. We sometimes win and sometimes lose the spiritual battles with "the lust of the flesh [and] the lust of the eyes" (1 John 2:16 1 John 2:16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
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).

For clear explanations of these male temptations and how to do battle with them, I highly recommend the books by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, Every Man's Battle and Every Young Man's Battle. I also recommend a book by Joshua Harris, Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is).

We can only be saved by God's grace (Ephesians 2:8 Ephesians 2:8For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
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). But we must continue to put all leaven of sin out of our lives. Even one sin infects and leads to other—usually bigger—sins.

"But among you [believers] there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed... Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or course joking" (Ephesians 5:3-4 Ephesians 5:3-4 [3] But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints; [4] Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
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, NIV, emphasis added throughout).

Brazen misuse of sex saturates our society, as Robert Bork describes in his book, Slouching Toward Gomorrah . But Paul urges us to be shining lights in the dark: "Therefore, having these promises [eternal life in the Kingdom of God!], let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh [our actions] and spirit [our thoughts], perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1 2 Corinthians 7:1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
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).

Don't confuse temptation with sin. Even Jesus Christ "was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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). But if you hang around temptations, you will eventually sin because "the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41 Matthew 26:41Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
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). We must "flee sexual immorality" and "flee ... youthful lusts" (1 Corinthians 6:18 1 Corinthians 6:18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.
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; 2 Timothy 2:22 2 Timothy 2:22Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
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).

Nip temptation in the bud, before it turns into sin. Our calling is to bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5 2 Corinthians 10:5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
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). Though we will never be perfect at this in this life, rely on God and continually work toward that goal.

Needed: Holy Men of God

True gentlemen are taught from the earliest age not to hit girls—physically, verbally or emotionally. Men of honor are chivalrous—respectful and protective of women.

Unfortunately, men often are more predators than protectors. Women more often than not are the stronger ones in setting and defending moral boundaries. Often men try to go as far they can toward intimacy and intercourse. How shameful this is!

To make matters worse, women have increasingly become sexually aggressive. It is all the more necessary for men to have clear spiritual principles and strong moral boundaries. "Run from her! Don't go near her house!" (Proverbs 5:8 Proverbs 5:8Remove your way far from her, and come not near the door of her house:
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, Living Bible). Note how Joseph is a great role model for all of us (Genesis 39:6-12 Genesis 39:6-12 [6] And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored. [7] And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. [8] But he refused, and said to his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand; [9] There is none greater in this house than I; neither has he kept back any thing from me but you, because you are his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? [10] And it came to pass, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he listened not to her, to lie by her, or to be with her. [11] And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. [12] And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
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).

Don't be confident about your strength to resist temptations. "Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12 1 Corinthians 10:12Why let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
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). For men with a normal supply of male hormones, sex is a powerful drive. Almost every book in the New Testament—addressed in most cases to Church members—contains needful teachings and warnings about sexual temptations.

Sexual Sins Bring Terrible Consequences

Satan hates God and is jealous of humanity. Satan's short-range goal is to tempt us with the "forbidden fruit" of sinful sex. But Satan's long-range purpose in this is to destroy physical health (such as with sexually transmitted diseases), mental and emotional health and relationships so that people end up with no sex, even in marriage. The only "safe sex" is monogamous sex within marriage. Save your sex for marriage. The potential for great sex in marriage is well worth waiting for!

People become jaded, desensitized and bored with sex that is disconnected from marital love. Romans 1:20-32 Romans 1:20-32 [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. [24] Why God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. [26] For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: [27] And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. [28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; [29] Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, [30] Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, [31] Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: [32] Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
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describes how those who turn from God to anything immoral are often drawn into more and worse sins as they desperately try to recapture excitement. For example, indulging in soft-core pornography often leads men to hard-core pornography and then addiction. There is less and less real satisfaction, and more and more guilt and depression.

Proverbs is a book of wisdom. It teaches us that sins bring terrible consequences, and this is especially true of sexual sins, as we read in Proverbs 2:10-20 Proverbs 2:10-20 [10] When wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul; [11] Discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you: [12] To deliver you from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaks fraudulent things; [13] Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; [14] Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; [15] Whose ways are crooked, and they fraudulent in their paths: [16] To deliver you from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flatters with her words; [17] Which forsakes the guide of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God. [18] For her house inclines to death, and her paths to the dead. [19] None that go to her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. [20] That you may walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
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; 5:1-23; 6:23-35; 7:1-27; and 9:13-18! Even mighty King David suffered many bad consequences for his adultery with Bathsheba.

God's laws are absolute, and we always suffer penalties for our sins sooner or later. "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife [or someone's future wife]; whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:27-29 Proverbs 6:27-29 [27] Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? [28] Can one go on hot coals, and his feet not be burned? [29] So he that goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
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).

Sins of immorality are especially self-destructive. "He who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself" (verse 32, Living Bible; compare 1 Corinthians 6:13-20 1 Corinthians 6:13-20 [13] Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. [14] And God has both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. [15] Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. [16] What? know you not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, said he, shall be one flesh. [17] But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. [18] Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. [19] What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? [20] For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
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).

Love Versus Lust

Women often suffer more penalties than men when they engage in non-marital sex. The point is that men ought to be terribly ashamed for doing harm to women! Men should treat "older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity" (1 Timothy 5:2 1 Timothy 5:2The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
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). Treat women as you would want someone to treat your mother, sister or daughter.

If you are married, you must be absolutely loyal to your wife. If you are single, you should be absolutely loyal to your future wife. You should want any woman you are dating to be loyal to her future husband.

Don't think, "It's my body. I can do with it what I want." Our bodies and minds are not our own for two reasons. God created us plus "you were bought at a price" by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 [19] What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? [20] For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
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). The only sexual activity that God permits with His property is within marriage.

You are not even second in authority over your body. Your wife or future wife is (1 Corinthians 7:3-4 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 [3] Let the husband render to the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife to the husband. [4] The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband has not power of his own body, but the wife.
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). In part this means you should think of your sexual organs as belonging to your wife (or future wife once you are married). And you are not to touch a woman where only her husband should ever touch her.

Guard Your Eyes, Ears, Mind and Heart

Likewise, God has authority over what we see, hear and think, and He judges us accordingly. Jesus said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28 Matthew 5:28But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
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).

Women can lust, too, so God expects men to be modest in dress and actions as well. But as you know, God made men to be more visually oriented so they are immediately tempted to lust by what they see. Women generally are more slow to react, responding more to romance, relationships and touch.

Jesus went on to explain that we must do whatever it takes to keep from sinning in our minds! (Matthew 5:29-30 Matthew 5:29-30 [29] And if your right eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. [30] And if your right hand offend you, cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.
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). In this immodest and sexualized society, that means we very often must look the other way. Instead of our eyes locking on to a woman (or to parts of her body or her underwear, etc.) like radar, we must learn to quickly avert our eyes.

This doesn't mean that we men can't enjoy the God-given attractiveness of women. But when a woman is dressed immodestly or is exposed in some way, like when she leans over and you can see down her blouse, look the other way. Don't ogle her. We must not let a glance turn into a gaze or gape, or let a look turn into lust.

Many men have not grown spiritually enough to recognize these sins as sin, as Paul explains in Romans 7. Others just minimize or excuse this lusting. We men have reasoned, "I'm only looking at the menu—I'm not ordering." Or, "I'm only window shopping—I'm not buying or touching." Or, "A guy is a guy and this is a guy thing—can't we just enjoy a little eye candy?" But God doesn't accept these excuses.

The Every Man series of books explains very well how men must immediately "bounce" their eyes away from any provocative or erotic images, whether they are women or pictures of women—in TV, movies, the Internet, magazines, advertising or wherever. Ask yourself, "Does God want me to see this?"

Let's follow the example of Job, who said, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl" (Job 31:1 Job 31:1I made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I think on a maid?
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, NIV, see also verses 9-10). As you learn to rule over your eyes, you can better rule over your thoughts.

But what if a woman is deliberately being immodest and flaunting her assets? In that case, a man is not being a voyeur or acting against the woman's wishes, is he?

No, but what is God's will? And we must assume that someday that woman is going to be ashamed of her past immodesty and exposure to men. So out of respect for her and her husband or future husband, we must not steal views that God does not intend for us to have (compare Genesis 9:20-23 Genesis 9:20-23 [20] And Noah began to be an farmer, and he planted a vineyard: [21] And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. [22] And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers without. [23] And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
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). Another reason is to avoid filling your mind with images and memories that will tarnish your marriage or future marriage.

God's people should have the purest standards of what we allow our eyes to see, so avoid many movies, TV shows, Internet sites and magazines, and all lingerie and swimsuit catalogs. David wrote, "I will set nothing wicked before my eyes" (Psalms 101:3 Psalms 101:3I will set no wicked thing before my eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not stick to me.
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), and "Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way" (Psalms 119:37 Psalms 119:37Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken you me in your way.
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).

We must also control our imaginations and fantasies. It is much easier to control thoughts if our memories are not filled with erotic images, so don't continue to pollute your mind. And since many times masturbation is done while viewing pornography or while fantasizing, ruling over one's eyes and thoughts can eliminate much of the temptation of masturbation. Masturbation can cause serious problems. Guilt complexes, self-centeredness and even the habit itself often continue into marriage.

But how do we purge wrong thoughts from our minds? By filling our minds with "whatever things are noble... pure," etc. (Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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). "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word" (Psalms 119:9 Psalms 119:9Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to your word.
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).

We in God's Church must immerse ourselves in Bible study and seek "the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26 Ephesians 5:26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
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). Keep praying for God's power to overcome bad habits and to grow spiritually.

Will You Choose God's Standards?

During the coming Millennium, probably the only nude woman's body that a man will ever see will be that of his wife after they are married. Because a woman's body is so different from a man's, a married man will be highly attracted and excited by his wife's body. He will not be jaded and bored because of having seen thousands of partly and mostly naked women. He will have no other image with which to compare his wife's body. This will greatly contribute to contented husbands!

Our primary role model should be Jesus Christ. He revolutionized the world in teaching the equal worth of and respect for women. Jesus was friendly to everyone and had women friends, but He never sinned. That means He never improperly touched, ogled or lusted for a woman.

Let us regularly ask, what did and would Jesus do? What would He look at? What would He think? Let us do likewise.

Prepare to give to your wife a healthy body, clean mind and pure heart. That way, you can "live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your... life" (Ecclesiastes 9:9 Ecclesiastes 9:9Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of the life of your vanity, which he has given you under the sun, all the days of your vanity: for that is your portion in this life, and in your labor which you take under the sun.
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). More importantly, be a spotless member of the Bride of Christ, and look forward to a joyous eternity with Jesus Christ and His entire family!

We strongly recommend that all of our members read our booklet, Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension

The next article in this series will be a heart-to-heart talk with women and girls. After that, we plan to have an article for parents on teaching your children about sex and modesty.

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