The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

Share this page with your friends

Bookmark and Share

Question

How can one change his attitude that sex is a kind of irritating? I am always thinking of sex and related things. I am not obsessed with it, but neither do I enjoy it. Is it sinful? How would a thought be sinful?


Answer

The desire for sex (arousal) is a part of all healthy males. It is no different than the fact that you get hungry at times and think of food. You produce semen and as the seminal vesicles get full, your physical sensitivity to sex and related issues rises. Eventually you ejaculate, such as in a wet dream, and the desire decreases for a while. Then the cycle repeats.

The problem is those thoughts about sex can be corrupted. Sex within a marriage is right and proper. Sex outside of marriage is sinful. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).

James details the process of sin in this fashion: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:14-15). The steps are:

  1. Desires: Each of us is born with a normal, natural set of desires. The physical desires are the consequence of the operation of our bodies. We also have spiritual desires, such as not wanting to be alone, wanting to be liked by others, or wanting something pretty.
  2. Temptation: Satan tries to place us in situations where it appears that the satisfaction of a desire will require the breaking of a law of God. Temptation is the forcing of a choice to be made: either to break a law of God and satisfy a desire or to forgo satisfaction in order to keep God's law.
  3. Lust (desire conceived): When a person mentally consents that breaking a law of God is worth satisfying the desire, then the person has moved into the realm of lust. This is when the person justifies to himself that breaking God's law can be excused, at least in some situations.
  4. Sin: This is when a person seizes an opportunity and actually breaks God's law.
  5. Licentiousness (sin full-grown): Sin is rarely done just once. The excuses to sin come fast, such as "I've done it once, doing it again isn't going to make much difference." Eventually the person becomes calloused to sin and no longer feels guilty about what he is doing. He doesn't care what other people think. He may even convince himself that he has the right to sin. (Licentiousness means thinking you have a license to sin.)
  6. Death: A person fully convinced that he ought to sin and doesn't care what even God thinks about his actions won't be persuaded out of his sin. Since he won't leave his sin, he will die in his sin.

As an example, hunger is a desire -- it is neither right nor wrong. Temptation is when you are in the convenience store and see a candy bar, but realize you don't have enough money to pay for it. Lust is when you tell yourself that the store can afford to lose some items and that they are expecting some loss, or telling yourself that you could pocket it now and pay for it later and you accept that this is adequate justification to steal. Sin is when you walk out with the candy bar without paying for it. Licentiousness is when you think it is fun to take things off the shelf even though you have adequate money to pay for it. And from there it is a short step to spiritual death.

You have thoughts of sex. From those, you are tempted to think about inappropriate, sinful sex. The thoughts are not sinful until you start excusing what you are thinking about and thinking that sex outside of marriage is acceptable in some circumstances.