Tom Lance, Senior Pastor of the Grove Community Church in Inland Southern California, recently received a copy of GQ magazine in the mail. He was taken aback because he certainly had not subscribed to the men’s magazine.
Then he remembered buying a few subscriptions from his grandson – who was participating in a school fund-raising drive – and that he left it to the lad to choose the magazines his grandfather would receive.
So that’s how Pastor Lance received GQ’s 10TH ANNUAL LOVE, SEX & MADNESS ISSUE. It features a nude Kim Kardashian on the cover holding a strategically-placed leather jacket. The cover also teases a salacious article inside: Jesus That’s Hot! A Very Christian Sex Scandal.
Now, the initial thought of this Christ follower was that the pastor found himself under spiritual attack.
That the devil knew the pastor’s wife would be on a women’s retreat when the magazine showed up unexpectedly in his mailbox. That the evil one sought to tempt the respected pastor to give in to sexual sin as King David did when he adulterously lay with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite.
But Pastor Lance saw things differently, he told the members of his megachurch.
He didn’t think the devil was leading him into temptation, he said, but that God was testing him. Much as He tested such Biblical figures as Abraham, whom the Almighty asked to sacrifice his son Isaac to see if there was anything Abraham would withhold from his Maker.
Well, Pastor Lance was equal to the test the Lord set before him. He left the magazine in its shrink-wrap and threw it in the garbage where it properly belonged.
That raises a question for all of us men (including yours truly) who consider ourselves faithful Christ followers: if we unexpectedly received some magazine in the mail with an unclothed (or scantily-clad) woman on the cover, would we throw it away or see what’s inside the shrink wrap?
The suspicion here is that many, if not most, would peek inside.
That’s based on a disquieting 2014 survey commissioned by Proven Men Ministries and conducted by the Barna Group. It found that more than half of men who profess to be “born-again” Christians admit to viewing pornography at least once a month. And nearly one in five confessed to a porn addiction.
It stands to reason that, if a Christian man either views pornography once a month (or more regularly) or, worse, has an uncontrollable porn problem, he wouldn’t hesitate to flip through the pages of GQ’s so-called LOVE, SEX & MADNESS ISSUE.
As to the half of us who do not view pornography once a month, who do not have a porn addiction, let us not think ourselves exemplars of sexual integrity. For many, if not most, of us commit sexual sin in other ways.
Indeed, most Christian men would agree that the following are unacceptable in the eyes of the Lord: Extramarital affairs. Consorting with prostitutes or “escorts.” Frequenting strip clubs. Watching porn.
Yet many of us think the following perfectly acceptable: Viewing “pictorials” of scantily-clad or partially-nude women in GQ’s annual LOVE, SEX & MADNESS ISSUE or Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue. Patronizing such so-called “breastaurants” as Hooters or Tilted Kilt. Ogling professional sports sirens like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders or the UFC Octagon Girls. Following barely-clothed selfie queens on Instagram or Vine. Or simply checking out skimpily-attired temptresses at the local gym or public beach.
Jesus made it clear what He considers sexual sin. The man who but “looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
He is no different in the eyes of the Lord than the man who has sex outside of marriage. The unmarried man who pays a woman for sex. The man who buys a lap dance from a stripper. Or the man addicted to pornography.
All men, including those of us who are Christ followers, are susceptible to the “lust the eyes, and the lust of the flesh.”
So let those of us who routinely look lustfully upon women confess and repent our sin before God, ask His forgiveness and pray that we will be led not into temptation but delivered from ungodly sexual desire.