Flirting with Jezebel :: by Howard Green

The Bible warns us about many sins to avoid and while they all have eternal consequences, there are some that are particularly ensnaring. Throughout the Scriptures we are warned to flee sexual immorality. Adultery, covetousness, lust, and envy are fruit of a person mired in this type of sin. While there are many sins contributing to immoral living, there is one that dominates the lives of many inside and outside of the church.

Pornography is the sin that’s devastating the lives of men, women, families, and fellowships. The worlds affair with pornography is well known. Unfortunately, the same thing can be said about many in the evangelical church who are flirting with Jezebel.

Just as Jezebel led her husband King Ahab and others to worship Baal, her name is synonymous with sexual immorality in the New Testament. Jesus mentions the woman Jezebel and her immoral ways to describe what the church at Thyatira was tolerating and engaging in.

The scourge of pornography on society along with it’s devastating effects on individuals is well documented. All sins have ramifications well beyond the individual committing the transgression but pornography by its very nature, is a particular sin that quickly devastates everyone involved.

It is a cancer that eats away at the heart, mind, conscience, and soul. It decimates marriages, families, churches, and if left unchecked, even souls. I understand pornography is a trap that a growing number of women are falling into as well, so even though I’m addressing men in particular, it’s my hope that women would be convicted and set free as well.

Let’s examine the root causes, effect, and freedom from pornography in the light of Scripture.

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.’ I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.” (Revelation 2:18-21)

If we’re not careful, we can begin to read the Bible and before too long, we feel like we are simply reading words on a page. Please let this be a wake-up call. Anytime you read the Bible, you are reading the very word of God. This is the case in Revelation 2:18 as the Lord Jesus Himself is warning the church at Thyatira and us about sexual sin.

The holy Son of God, “all the while tolerating Jezebel as some engage in sexual immorality. It’s true that Jesus mentions the church at Thyatira church and their works, love, faith, and service. He also warns them and us that if they don’t repent, He would cast the church onto a sickbed.

There is a lot of talk in churches, fellowships, and small groups about authenticity and accountability. Unfortunately most of it is exactly that, a lot of talk. Pastors, elders, leaders, you can have highly organized programs, meetings upon meetings, and talk about accountability, all the while leaving God out of the picture completely. God is a God of order, but working in our own flesh, we can organize the Holy Spirit right out of a church or fellowship.

Religious talk produces congregants, while living out the scriptures makes disciples. Many evangelical church’s small groups and Bible studies are no more than social clubs instead of Christian fellowship. That’s a shame because we have more important things to discuss than the next service project or Christmas extravaganza. Evangelism and discipleship are paramount. Discipleship would certainly include addressing sins and in this case, a pornography addiction.

I love fellowship so please understand, I’m not down on church or small groups because Christian fellowship is vitally important in order to stand and finish well. I’m simply jealous for the rightful place of ‘church’ and ‘fellowship’ in Christian life because many are becoming social hubs, not places of prayer, evangelism, and discipleship.

How does accountability look within the context of a church or small group? It looks like a group with number of believers gathering together and doing the following: praying and confessing.

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:15-20)

If we want genuine authenticity, openness, and accountability, we must obey the Bible and practice what it says. The time for trite religious sounding small talk is over. Churches and small groups are the place for believers to gather together to pray and confess sin. Can you imagine how revolutionary it would be if we got together for more than just spiritual sounding talk?

Am I advocating blurting out our sexual sins in front of the whole small group. No, because you or you and your wife may want to give a generalization of having marital problems in a small group setting as would be appropriate. That way the group could pray for the marriage. When it comes to confessing particular sexual sins such as pornography, it is wise to always have men confess and be accountable to other men and women to confess and be accountable to other women.

So what does this have to do with pornography? Everything, because instead of talking about going deep or being accountable, we are actually doing it! The apostle James breaks down Christian fellowship by telling us to confess sin and pray for one another. Prayer and confession of sins brings things like porn addiction and engaging in sexual immorality while professing Christianity to the surface. This is truly doing life together, accountability, and authenticity.  Love other believers enough to address real sin issues and refuse to go through the motions.

TThe apostle Paul warns the church in Corinth about many sins being committed within the fellowship, but highlights one that is especially dangerous. He told them all other sins are committed outside of the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. This is especially grievous because our bodies don’t belong to us, they belong to God.

Moreover, if you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives within you. If we engage in sexual immorality, we are joining our bodies which are members of Christ to a prostitute. That is  why Paul warned us to flee sexual immorality.

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for  you were bought with  a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:15-20)/span>

Before we continue, I want to give you a few statistics about pornography:

TThe Rand corporation reports that kids who viewed sexual images were twice as likely to engage in sexual activity within a year. Statistics show 89 percent of Web-based pornography originates from the U.S. In 2001, 18 million Americans visited pornographic websites annually. Just eight years later, 78 million Americans visited pornographic sites at least once a month. In 2006, the porn industry took in 13 billion dollars which was more than the combined revenues of CBS, NBC, and ABC.

A new pornographic video is created every 39 minutes on average. Everyday more than 68 million requests for porn are made on search engines which accounts for 25 percent of all internet searches which simply means, one out of four searches is someone looking for pornography. Over 100,000 websites offer illegal child pornography. Ultimately, pornography will destroy lives and souls. Pornography leads to other forms of sexual immorality including adultery. It leads to perversion including homosexuality and bestiality. It leads to violence against women including murder.o:p>

Ted Bundy confessed to murdering at least 30 women in the 1980s and in an interview he stated that pornography played a major role in his appetite for violence against them. Pornography can and often lead males to abuse women physically. A generation of young men is being brought up with the notion that it’s just boys being boys behavior when looking at sexual images. The world and media are dictating the standards on what is considered “entertainment” and moreover, what is deemed as socially acceptable behavior and that’s frightening enough.

What’s more alarming are the statistics from within the Church and self-professing Christians. At least 55 percent of Christian men surveyed admit to viewing pornographic material at least once per month. At least 35 percent of these Christian men admit to cheating on their spouses in an extra marital affair. Sexual immorality and pornography addiction is rampant among a growing number of men in the church. In 2016, a survey of 3,000 pastors found the following:

Among the pastors surveyed, 21 percent of youth pastors admit a struggle with porn while 14  percent of senior pastors admit issues with porn; 55 percent of these men live in constant fear of being discovered. Interestingly only 8 percent of pastors believe that pastors should have to resign their positions if they struggle with porn.

In contrast, over 41 percent of adult Christians believe a pastor should be forced to resign or be fired if found to be using pornography. We need to quit coddling sin within the church and care for these men enough to confront them. The Lord may use that to convict of sin. It may open up godly sorrow that leads to repentance.

It’s time for elders and leaders to quit circling the wagons and get these men in the church the help they need. That goes for lay people and leadership alike. Regarding sexual immorality and porn addiction among church leadership, the Bible is clear in Titus 1:5-9 that they are indeed disqualified from serving in pastoral leadership or as an elder.

This doesn’t negate the fact that all men who have been trapped in the sin of pornography can and should be restored to fellowship within the Church and lead godly lives as an example of God’s mercy and restoration, provided they have repented of the sin. (Statistics from Barna Group Research, Josh McDowell Ministries, and James MacDonald/Harvest Bible Chapel)

Pornography leads to all sorts of sexual sins including: masturbation, physical/mental abuse, abandonment, adultery, fornication, dominating behavior, isolation, anger, rape, pedophilia, exploitation of children-women, and even murder. Intimacy in marriage, protecting and shepherding our wives, and testimonies before our sons and daughters are ruined. Divorceand broken families are often the end result of pornography addiction.

Christian men, let’s not fool ourselves and assume with pride that we are above reproach. If   it weren’t for God’s grace, anyone of us including myself could be caught up in this sin of pornography and sexual immorality.

It hits closer to home when we quit playing games with God and call things for what they are. We can be self diluted to the point that we can rationalize and excuse behavior because we are under grace right? Yes we are under grace but that doesn’t give us a license to go on sinning.   As I mentioned before, sexual immorality is a sin against one’s own body and God. Just as devastating are the lusts of the eyes.

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:16-17)

Men, I’m writing to you as one who wants to build you up as a brother and exhort you in love. Let’s be truthful and acknowledge that there is an opportunity to fulfill the lust of the eyes almost everywhere we go. When we think of pornography, most of us think of the vile pictures and videos which expose the images of women that equivocate them as objects to be used or a means of self gratification. There is another type of pornography just as dangerous to your soul. It is found on billboards, magazines, windows of Victoria Secret and other mall stores, and all over television.

It is the dulling of men’s eyes, spirit, and conscience to look lustfully at women. I know it is impractical to walk around all day with a blind fold on, so here’s the deal. Make a covenant with your eyes not to look at a woman with lustful intentions. I mentioned this in a previous article but I will repeat the point that if the woman isn’t your wife, look away!

Sexual immorality is a sin that’s been practiced through the centuries. With the onset of modern media like computers, television, and print, sexual morality is rampant. Walking through the local shopping mall is even dangerous to the eyes. There are half nude life size posters of people in every other store window it seems. Grocery store checkout lines are no better. There are revealing images on magazines that shouldn’t be seen by anyone. You can call this soft porn or whatever you like, it is still garbage.

When my sons and I are watching a football game and there is a close-up of the cheerleaders or  a commercial with a woman with very little clothing on, I turn away or just get up. I explain to them that our eyes belong to our wife or future wife. As men, we are visual and I don’t want images of someone else to cloud my God given desire for one woman, in marriage, for life. I don’t think less of anyone who has cable but I pulled the plug a long time ago because you can’t control what is coming into your living room.

Let’s set a godly example for our sons, our daughters, and other men in our lives by not playing the world’s games. Our eyes belong to the Lord and our wife. It comes down to either committing  adultery with our eyes in our heart or not. I want my daughters to know, this is how a true Christian man should treat you. I want my wife to feel precious above all women. I want my wife to know she is my best friend and treasure, not just another female among the 4 billion others.

I want my boys to know that a real man has self control by the Holy Spirit’s enabling. I want our boys to know that women are special to the Lord. Boys and young men should know it’s not right to stare at a girl like she’s a sexual object. It’s up to Christian men to teach and lead by example. We need to tell out boys it’s ok to turn away from images their other guy friends high five over and gloat about.

I believe one of the reasons boys are becoming so desensitized to sexual images is because many “Christian” men allow this filth to flow into their homes and perhaps don’t even see a problem with it. If this is you, this is not the way to bond with your son. Drop the silly man cave shows and lead by example. If you sit there and watch the sleazy Super Bowl Half Time Show complete with wardrobe malfunctions, and dirty dancing—what kind of message will it send to others?

How can we expect boys to hunger and thirst after righteousness if we are watching Breaking Bad, Shameless, or Madmen? How can we expect boys to save his eyes and desire for his wife when we are staring at every woman we see? Don’t kid yourself; because if you are living this way, your kids will see you as a Christian in name only.

These young men need to know what the Bible says about sexual immorality and its ultimate road to death. Unfortunately, boys are finding porn in increasing numbers. We can and should highly filter our home Internet connections and protect the minds of our kids at all cost. With  this in mind, we also need to realize that we can’t be with them 24/7. That’s why teaching them what the Bible says about sexuality is paramount. That doesn’t mean having “the talk” with our son once when he turns twelve. We should show these values by word and deed throughout their time at home and beyond.

You can’t watch a weather channel, cooking show, or home renovation show without some of the most vile, seedy, sexually charged images flashing across the screen. It makes me uncomfortable and disgusted to see this filth portrayed as the new normal in front of my family. Men, images from sexually charged television shows and commercials can and will affect your conscience to the point that you won’t see anything wrong with what you are watching.

If the television is a stumbling block to your Christian walk, unplug it. If your computer screen is a portal to look at naked women and other pornographic material, take action. You can get accountability software, have the computer on only when your wife is in the same room, or if you can’t control your immorality, take a sledge hammer and destroy it.

If you have a lust problem and can’t keep your eyes off of the pretty lady at work or quit confiding in her because you are “just friends” after all, then you should quit your job. If you are in an adulterous relationship and your so-called lover lives in the same area,  move to a different town. Repent of your sin, tell your wife the truth, and get solid godly   counsel.

Isn’t it time to quit making excuses for sin and always labeling it a personal struggle. Here is a good indicator about media viewing, if I’m nervous or secretive about what I’m watching and would feel busted or caught if my wife knew about it, it’s a danger to my soul. If we are truly Christians as we say we are, we need to be truthful with the Lord and call it what it is, sin.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-29)

Young man, just because you aren’t married yet doesn’t give you the right to look at sexual images of women, or fornicate with your girlfriend in some secluded area. It doesn’t give you  the right to share the same home and bed with your girlfriend either. She doesn’t belong to you. Love your woman enough to respect her enough not gratify yourself. Don’t have sex with her until you are married and if you can’t wait, then love her enough to marry her.

Your high school or college girlfriend isn’t some cheap hand me down to be used, she is an individual with a soul. It’s time we start caring for and protecting women like sisters, because if you are a Christian, they are.

Young and mature men alike need to stop making excuses for sinful behavior and get help.  Be accountable to someone and get into a church or fellowship that actually practices godly accountability. There are churches and fellowships that will disciple you and show what a godly life looks like by example.

Friends, if you need help or prayer in this area, please write us here through our ministry contact us page. You don’t have to face this alone although Satan would have you believe that. There is no sin too large for God to forgive. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us. He loves both men and women caught in this sin.  Below the article you will find links to several ministries that will offer help for pornography addiction.

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:6)

If you happened to stumble upon this article and you don’t know where you will spend eternity   or if you will go to heaven when you die, please contact us or click on the Are You Saved? page. There is freedom from sin as you confess and repent, you can be alive to God in Jesus. He made a way so we no longer have to be slaves to sin, including the sin of sexual immorality and pornography. Jesus is coming soon, quit flirting with Jezebel.

All for Him,