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One of the powerful lies the enemy of your soul whispers in your ear is that “I have no choice. I just can’t help myself. I have to look, I have to lust, I have to masturbate! After all, I’m only human. God will understand.”
Those thoughts are lies directly from the pit of hell. Yes, you are only human, and yes, God understands, but you DO have a choice. You always have a choice, and you can help yourself (through Christ). You don’t have to lust, you don’t have to masturbate, you don’t have to sin.
Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. A weekly study filled to the brim with the all the tools from Scripture you will ever need to build a lasting life of Biblical purity. I’m your host Steve Etner, author, speaker, and purity coach for The Pure Man Ministry and this is Episode #99. In this episode we are going to continue a discussion we began last week about the choices we make and the consequences that follow. So, let’s dive right in!
As we begin this week’s episode, let’s take a moment here and begin with prayer.
“Father, as we come before you right now, we ask you “Make (us) to know your ways, O LORD; teach (us) your paths. Lead (us) in your truth and teach (us), for you are the God of (our) salvation.” (Psalm 25:4-5) Please “show (us) now your ways, that (we) may know you” (Exodus 33:13b), and would you please “Open (our) eyes, that (we) may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18) In Jesus precious name, Amen.”
In Genesis 4:7 God is talking with Cain just before he killed his brother Able, and here’s what God said, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7 NIV’84)
The first thing I want you to notice is that God begins the verse by saying “If.” “If you do what is right” and “If you do not do what is right.” That little word “if” indicates a conscious choice on your part with a guaranteed result based upon whichever choice you make. In other words, choose to do what is right and you will be accepted and blessed. Choose to do what is wrong and you will suffer the ramifications and penalty of your sinful, selfish choice.
In this text, God is telling Cain – and us – it’s entirely up to you. You can choose to do what is right OR you can choose to do what is wrong. So, when you are facing the temptation to lust, to look at porn, to fantasize sexually, to masturbate, I want this verse to remind you that you have a choice. You always have a choice. No one is forcing you to give in to the beast.
As I said in the opener – one of the powerful lies the enemy of your soul whispers in your ear is that “I have no choice. I just can’t help myself. I have to look, I have to lust, I have to masturbate! After all, I’m only human. God will understand.”
My friend, those thoughts are lies directly from the pit of hell. Jesus says of Satan, “there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) Yes, you are only human, and yes, God understands, but you DO have a choice. You always have a choice, and you can help yourself (through Christ). You don’t have to lust, you don’t have to masturbate, you don’t have to sin.
Please listen to me closely. Every time you think you have no choice, every time you feel you have to give in to your temptations or you will burst – I want you to quote Genesis 4:7 and remember, you can choose to do what is right, or you can choose to do what is wrong. The choice is yours.
We do what we do, because in our heart we want what we want. To change your outward behavior, you must first change your inner being – your heart.
A great question to ask yourself is this: “What is it I like so much or want so badly, that I am willing to sin to get it or to keep it?” Although you choose to lust, in part, because you like the “pop” and the “rush” that lust brings, there is also something deeper and more profound than that happening. There is something that you like or want so much that you are willing to sin (to turn your back on God and commit idolatry – the worship of a false god) to get it or keep it.
Why do you want what lust pretends to offer instead of what God promises to provide? To answer that, let’s look at the last part of our statement “You do what you do, because in your heart you want what you want.” In other words, you choose to lust because in your heart you believe that is what will bring you the things you think you want. You believe that which you desire so deeply is what is in your best interest, and you are convinced that lusting is the only (or easiest) way to get it.
Let’s add one more point to our statement to bring some clarification. “You do what you do, because in your heart you want what you want. You want what you want because you believe what you believe.” Let’s break this down.
Why Do I Lust? Ultimately you choose to lust because you believe that God cannot or will not meet your current “need” – at least not in a way that you feel will truly satisfy and fulfill you. So, you believe that lusting is the only way to get what you truly want. You are making a willful choice to lust because you want something that you believe only lust can provide.
Why Do I Look at Porn? You choose to look at porn because in your heart you want something that you think looking at porn will provide. Again, the choice is always yours. You do what you do, because in your heart you want what you want. You want what you want because you believe what you believe. So, you choose to look at porn because you want to “feel good” and you believe that looking at porn will relieve the stress. It will remove the boredom. It will make you feel significant and appreciated.
Ultimately, you choose to look at porn because you believe God cannot or will not meet your current “need”–at least not in a way that you feel will truly satisfy and fulfill you. So, you believe that looking at porn is the best way (easiest way) to get what you think you want.
Why Do I Masturbate? You choose to masturbate because in your heart you want something that you think masturbation will provide. The choice is yours. Either you choose to take matters into your own hand (literally), or you will choose to trust God to meet your needs. You cannot have it both ways.
You do what you do because in your heart you want what you want. You want what you want because you believe what you believe. So, you choose to masturbate because you believe that self-gratification is the only way to relieve the sexual tension and pressure that has been building up inside of you. Built up tension, by the way, that is there because you chose to lust, fantasize, and look at porn; tension you created in the first place.
You are choosing to masturbate because you think you need that “ahhhh” moment–that reward, that fleeting euphoric high–and you want that more than you want to glorify God. You want it because you believe that is the only way to be “normal” again.
At that moment, your desire to experience the relief is dominating your thoughts and driving you crazy. You believe you need “normalcy,” and you believe that masturbation is the best (and easiest) way to get that. You believe life will come to an end if you don’t give in. You are convinced that you need to experience that relief.
In each instance you believe that God cannot or will not meet your current “need” – at least not in a way that you feel will truly satisfy and fulfill you, so you choose to lust, look at porn, masturbate, and in some way sexually act out. There is something that you like so much or want so badly that you are willing to sin to get it or keep it.
So, I want to challenge you here: What is the “need” you have that you believe God cannot or will not adequately meet – yet you feel lust, porn, and masturbation can provide? Be sure to discuss this with your accountability partner as soon as possible.
OK. Consider for a moment the personal pronoun “I.” I want. I need. I desire. I long for. I deserve. I must have. I cannot live without. I, I, I. When King Me is sitting on the throne of your heart, all your thoughts, words and actions will be for the benefit of King Me. When you are thinking about how to satisfy King Me, you will eventually make sinful choices that are in favor of self and opposed to God. Why? Your King Me choices will always be focused on pleasing yourself instead of glorifying God. Glorifying God should always be your #1 goal, your driving purpose in life.
I want you to listen closely as I read to you three verses from Scripture: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
“So we make it our goal to please him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9 NIV’84)
Now here’s a couple of critical questions for you to consider. According to these verses, what percentage of your life is to glorify God? And – Up to this point in time, what percentage of your life has consistently glorified God?
What needs to change so that your answer to the above questions is 100% of my life? How do you plan on making this change? Again, I challenge you to talk with your accountability partner(s) about this ASAP.
Let me repeat one more time: you do what you do because in your heart you want what you want. You want what you want because you believe what you believe. Don’t lose sight of the fact that at the core of all you do is what you believe deep in your heart.
I want you to understand this one simple but powerful truth – the issue you are struggling with is NOT lust. It is NOT pornography. It is NOT masturbation, or any of a number of sinful activities you are choosing to engage in. Each of those is the by-product of the real issue.
The real issue you are battling with is a worship disorder. Who is sitting on the throne of your heart? Whom are you worshiping? King Me or Jesus? Your response to that question is the answer as to why you are struggling and cannot get free.
Take a moment here and consider once again Genesis 4:7. “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
To fully understand the “right thing to do,” it’s important that we keep Genesis 4:7 in its context. If we don’t, we may assume that the correct answer to the question I just asked is something like – “the right thing to do is quit looking at porn. The right thing to do is stop lusting and masturbating. The right thing to do is to be sexually pure.”
While you would be mostly correct (after all, it is right to stop lusting, stop looking at porn, stop masturbating and instead be sexually pure), you would also be somewhat incorrect as that is not what God is referring to here. It goes much, much deeper.
Here is the context. “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” (Genesis 4:3-5 NIV’84)
Now let’s compare that with these verses ...
“It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts.” (Hebrews 11:4 NLT)
“We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” (1 John 3:12)
In Genesis 4:7, God reminds Cain that if he would just choose to do what is right the result would be God’s acceptance and blessing. What did Cain do that was so wrong, so evil (before killing his brother)? I submit that the answer is simply this: he chose to worship himself instead of God. He chose to do things the way he wanted instead of the way God required. Abel offered “the firstborn of his flock” as an act of faith in God, whereas Cain just “brought some of the fruits of the soil.” (Genesis 4:3-4 NIV’84)
Able worshipped God – God’s way. Cain worshipped his own god his own way.
At the heart of Cain’s problem was a worship disorder. He chose not to worship God in a way acceptable to his Creator. Rather, he went through the empty motions of “worship” in a way of his own choosing. The result: he was worshiping a false god. He was guilty of idolatry.
Listen once again to what God says to Cain in Genesis 4:7. “If you do what is right (if you willingly choose to worship God – allowing God to reign on the throne of your heart) you will be accepted (you will be blessed, you will enjoy a right relationship with God). If you do not do what is right (if you choose to reject God and keep King Me on the throne of your heart), sin is crouching at your door (it’s watching you, waiting for you to open the door of opportunity just a crack) it desires to have you (it wants to devour you; it wants to consume every part of your life) but you must master it.”
You are doing what is right when you choose to remove King Me off the throne of your heart and make the willful choice daily to worship God instead of yourself. Oh, my friend, choose to do what is right – daily choose to worship God as Lord of every part and every aspect of your life. When you do, you will be accepted and blessed.
God goes on to tell Cain (and us), when you choose to do what is wrong (when you choose to worship King Me) sin will begin to consume every part of your life. Not just your sexual purity, but everything. It wants to gobble you up and spit you out.
As it relates to your personal battle for sexual purity, what is the wrong thing to do? In what ways have you seen sin consume your life as a result of choosing to worship self instead of God? What are you going to do from this point forward to change that?
“We have an obligation – but it is not to the (flesh), to live according to it. For if you live according to the (flesh), you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:23-24)
OK, we’re going to hit the pause button here until next week’s episode as we look forward to continuing this study. If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com
One of those resources I would like to highlight for you here is my book entitled “The Pure Man’s Devotional Guide: A Biblical Toolbox for Purity” available on Amazon.com. You see, building a life of purity doesn’t happen overnight, and like any building project it’s best done when you use the right tools for the task.
“The Pure Man’s Devotional Guide” is a toolbox, equipping you with everything you need to build a lasting life of biblical purity. “The Pure Man’s Devotional Guide” is a 5-week, seven day per week devotional written to help you see how the enemy attacks and, more importantly, how you can skillfully handle the Word of God as you learn to submit yourself to God, resisting the Devil, watching the enemy of your soul flee from you. (James 4:7)
With over 600 verses of Scripture within its pages, “The Pure Man’s Devotional Guide” is a Biblical resource to help you demolish the arguments that plague you, taking captive your sinful, sensual, selfish King-Me centered thoughts, not only making them obedient to Christ but enabling you to walk in freedom and live in victory.
So go to our website, ThePurityCoach.com, and check out our resources page, or go directly to Amazon.com and purchase your copy of “The Pure Man’s Devotional Guide: A Biblical Toolbox for Purity” today.
And if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.