The reason I come with this article is the question I have been asked by a reader of the portal Moldova Creștină. At first, I wanted to give a personal response to the author of the message, but I realize that there are many teenagers, young men and mature men bothered by this problem, and I have decided to give the answer on this portal in this article. I cite below the received message:
I am from Chisinau and I am a young Christian man. I have a question that bothers me for a longer time and I haven’t yet had the courage to put it to someone. Reading your articles on Moldova Creștină frequently, I thought that you could help in this problem of mine. Every morning, when I go to the faculty, I usually go by trolleybus. And, usually, it is very crowded in the trolleybus and it is cram. It happens for many times that a girl stands in front of me. Then there come different thoughts to me that arouse my sexual desires. I try to avoid these temptations for many times, but many times I fall and I am led by these thoughts and temptations. I think that this thing I have been doing, being led by these temptations and passions is sin. I pray often and I promise to myself that that is, I will never do this again! Because after I have done this, I feel very bad, spiritually, as a Christian. And then, when the temptation comes again, sometimes I withstand, sometimes I fall… I want very much, if you can, help me, give me some advice how to get rid of this vice, if I can name it this way, beacuse it has already become like a vice for me… because I want to do in my life only what God likes, only His will and this problem may disappear, because it hinders me to have a life of victory with God.
Adultery is performed in the mind. Maybe one, after reading this message, can say that there is nothing bad with what happens to this guy that has asked me the question written above. Here is how the Lord Jesus defines adultey:
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 lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (The Gospel of Matthew 5:27–28)(NASB)
According to his passage, adultery is not only when the sexual act itself is commited, but also when the man looks at a woman with lust, in other words, he contemplates in his thoughts as he would have a sexual relation with that woman. Maybe it is more difficult for women to understand this thing, but every man will quickly understand what Jesus Christ refers to when He says the phrase: “looks at a woman with lust”. Adultery commited at the level of the mind is equivalent to the physical adultery and it brings the same consequences.
Adultery has eternal consequences. Jesus Christ has used a hyperbole, that is an intentioned exaggeration of the things, to make the listeners of the sermon on the mountain realize how grave the consequnces of the adultery are and to highlight the main truth. Immediately after he said the verses from above, He added:
If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. (The Gospel of Matthew 5:29–30)(NASB)
To renounce an eye or a hand is a tragedy difficult to imagine for everyone. This will not solve the problem of adultery, because it is related to the man’s heart and no one can pull out his heart and throw it away. Using this hyperbole, Jesus Christ wants to draw our attention that adultery, either physical or those performed at the level of the mind will affect the eternal destiny of a man. That’s why the young man who wrote the message was so concerned. He is aware, that looking at a woman with lust is an act that brings within it an eternal separation from God. That’s why, whoever practices this sin, has to realize how serious it is and stop until is not late. And then, no one must think that the consequences are only for eternity. Very soon they will show up on this earth.
Adultery destroys the family. In the continuation of the sermon on the mountain, when He was talking on the subject of adultery, the Lord Jesus said:
It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (The Gospel of Matthew 5:31–32)(NASB)
The most frequent, known by people reason of divorce is, that one of the spouse commited physical adultery. But, before this happened, the one who was unfaithful had contemplated on dissoluteness and in that way he commited the sin and led his family to destruction. There are many that come to divorce because they commit adultery in their mind. If you don’t stop now this way of adultery in your mind as the one described by this young man, you will face this problem in marriage too. I want to say that, when you are married and get into the trolleybus, instead of remembering the way you made love with your wife last night with delight and to make a romantic plan to give your love to her when you are back at home, well, instead of this, you are stollen by the exterior of the women from the trolleybus, or on the street, or at work, etc. How will you, then, be able to build a relation with your wife? Don’t you understand that coming at home, you will not think about your wife, but at the women you have seen during the day and that you took the liberty to commit adultery with them in your mind?
Sexual desires of a righeous man are directed only towards his wife. When Apostle Paul let the criterion a man must meet in order to be elected as a leader of the church, he wrote:
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach… (1 Epistle to Timothy 3:2)(NASB)
God created the things so, that only the men and the women that know to preserve their sexual desires only for their partner of marriage, have the real delight of the physical relation. But firstly, you must learn to control and to subdue your sexual desires, so that they may be directed only towards one person. How?
Learn to control your eyes.
The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (The Gospel of Matthew 6:22–23)(NASB)
The things that we see and the way we look at them influence and affect our way of thinking and especially our desires very much. The bad eye is the one that accepts to look at bad things, such as pornography, but also that eye that looks at the good things, but having bad intentions, as is the case of the one who “looks at a woman with lust”. Here is the decision that Job took in regards to his eyes. The Bible tells us about him that he was a righteous man, as no one in his times was.
I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? (Job 31:1)(NASB)
When he refers to a “virgin” it is clear that Job means the young woman, that is attractive from the sexual point of view. Job decided not to gaze his eyes at the women that attract him sexually, because since he continue to look, he looks with evil eyes at her, with lust and so, he commits adultery with her in his heart. It is wise for every righteous man to act in this way, when he realizes that is sexually attracted by a woman that is not his wife. In this way you have to act in trolleybus, at scholl, other public places, etc. I remember how, being a student at the seminary, we went together with my friend to get ready for an exam in Cishmigiu Park from Bucuresti, since it was very hot in the room, but it was cool and nice in the park. We sat on a bench and we were studying. There came some girls who sat on the same bench, and one of them was dressed in such a way that some parts of her body were seen and they were to arouse the sexual desires of each men. My mate, who was near her, proposed me to go to another place in the park and then he told me that he decided to change our place after he had realized that he had been looking at the attractive parts of the exposed body of that girl for some times. We didn’t made great fuss about this, we didn’t tell anything to that girl or to anyone else, but we simply took a wise decision not “to gaze at her” “with lust”. Job added that “his heart hasn’t followed his eyes” and “his heart hasn’t been enticed by a woman”.
People who didn’t learn to control their sexual desires are tortured by the pressure of these desires. Very many teenagers have never learnt how to control their sexual desires at the level of their mind, and others even after that have heard the right teaching, are not strong in applying it. These teenagers and young men, that are in a time when “the hormones boil up in them”, are under a very great and permanent pressure of the sexual desires. Poor of them, sometimes they come to very penible situations. One said that he was tortured the whole day by an erection and when he went in front of the class, he had to keep his hands into his pockets to hide its manifestations, and when the teacher, who was a woman, asked him to get his hands of his pockets, he didn’t even know how to act. If the teacher was a man, he would probably understand quicklier this thing. If you don’t want to be found in such a situation and not to be under the pressure of the sexual desires, you have to learn to control your mind. People that don’t have the Holy Spirit can not understand how to do this, but we have the Holy Spirit with His power in us and so, we can control the thoughts that inspire us. Here is what the Scirptures says about the control over your thinking.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Epistle to Corinthians 10:3–5)(NASB)
According to the cited biblical passage, we, the children of God, those who have received the Holy Spirit, we have been equipped, therefore, with powerful weapons to destroy every fortress, that are every speculations and every loft thing raised up against the knowledge of God. Sexual thoughts that appear to you in the trolleybus in regards to other women, are “every speculations raised against the knowledge of God” and if they are not destroyed and broken off, they will strengthen up and will become lofty things of the enemy, that are hardly destroyed, in other words, they will become a habit difficult to get rid of it.
If you are not the child of God, you don’t have the Holy Spirit and if you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you can’t be a winner in this hard spiritual battle. Firstly, you need to believe in Jesus Christ from your heart, to repent, to be born again and to enter the covenant with Him to become God’s child. This is a crucial decision for inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Since you become or you have become the child of God, make a covenant with you eyes and don’t gaze up your eyes on a woman with lust, don’t let your heart follow your eyes. Learn to control your thoughts always, so that you will be the “husband of one wife“ for the rest of your life, that is to be faithfull to your wife and your sexual passions and desires may be directed only towards her. Only in this way you can be a blessed man, because you will live nicely on the earth, you will offer joy to your wife, you will experience the true delight of the physical union with her, you will reflect the character of God and you will rejoice for an eternity of the citizenship from the Kingdom of Heaven.
Translated by Djugostran Felicia