Slimed

SlimeSeveral years ago I was teaching a five day seminar on purity for men. The location was a seaside resort town, the venue was a hotel, the meeting room overlooked the beach, and I think you see the problem.

Worse yet, the way the room was arranged, the speaker’s platform was directly in front of an enormous floor to ceiling window, affording a wide view of the sunbathers right behind me. Oh, and it was Spring Break, so every beautiful co-ed within a ten mile radius was there, providing a bikini-clad backdrop to my ten part presentation on holiness and
sober living.

I might as well have been teaching diet techniques in the middle of a doughnut shop! These poor guys, who’d come to get help overcoming lust, had to try focusing on me as I spoke, while not being distracted by the Victoria’s Secret escapees behind me. It was frustrating and hilarious all at once, and after stupidly trying to teach a couple sessions under those circumstances, I gave up and rearranged the room.

That’s what I call getting slimed. It happens when you’re going about your business, doing no wrong, when something or someone provocative flashes into your range of vision. You could be driving, look up, and a sexy billboard slimes you. You can stroll through a mall when an immodestly dressed woman crosses your path. You can stand in a checkout line where a less-than-helpful magazine cover nabs you. It’s not your fault, but now it’s your problem. What to do?

Stimulation: Opportunity Knocks

Temptation begins with stimulation. That happens when a trigger (something or someone in the environment) appeals to you. It basically presents itself as an option, or an invitation.

Think of stimulation as the proverbially pushy door to door salesman. He knocks. You look through your peephole and see him standing there with his briefcase, and you make a decision:

“I will or I will NOT answer this door.”

There’s your goal–don’t answer when stimulation knocks. It’s not that hard to do this, if you do it during the first part of the stimulation phase. Because when you don’t decide to resist the opportunity, you do decide to entertain it.

Entertainment: A Slippery Slope

Once you let the Stimulation inside, that’s Entertainment. When you decide not to resist the stimulation by continuing to look it over, your ability to detach from it gets worn down. That’s because stimulation, once it gives way to lust, quickly becomes obsession.

That’s what seems to have happened to King David when he spotted a beautiful woman bathing. It’s easy to visualize how his attraction to Bathsheba evolved.

•First look: “Wow, she’s beautiful. Should I look again?”

•Second look: “She’s incredible. Hmmm — I’m alone; her husband’s probably in the battle; she’s available. Should I go for it?”

•Third look: “I have to have her. Nothing else matters.”

Something scary happened to this good man’s judgment between the First and Second Look–a consideration. The first look simply identified the woman as attractive. He decided then and there whether or not he’d indulge in a second look.

The second look, I’ll bet, involved a consideration–“Should I or shouldn’t I go
for it?”

No doubt his heart pumped, he got aroused, and his imagination raced. After that, it was full speed ahead: “Nothing else matters.”

That’s the obsessive nature of the Entertainment phase. Once your lust is inflamed, judgment falters, then fades. Indulgence–acting out the lust that’s been inflamed–is a short step away.

James said as much when he described lust, action and consequences:

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived (second look) it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” -James 1: 14-15

Management Goal: Stop at Stimulation

You can’t prevent Stimulation. You can, though, decide NOT to entertain it. That’s your management goal, and it’s reachable. Remember:

1.     It’s no sin to be sexual. You were created that way.
2.     It’s no sin to be sexually tempted. How you respond to the temptation determines whether or not you’ve sinned.
3.     When temptation begins (stimulation) your goal is to decide not to entertain the stimulation.

Can you? Without question. Remember two hopeful and astute observations Paul made about sin, and its relation to you:

“For sin shall not have dominion over you.” -Romans 6: 14

It will be present, in other words, but not all-powerful. It will be with you–enticing and distracting–but you aren’t doomed to indulge in it.

Why? Because, as he confidently points out one book later:

“God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13

Slime’s everywhere, and Sliming happens. That’s life in this fallen world, where so little goes as God intended, and so much goes against the grain of holiness. But wherever there’s Slime, there’s also a way of escape. And that’s a thought – a promise, really – we can hang onto today when the slime hits, the flesh begs for a little indulgence, and the Spirit says, “You know what to do.”

So let’s do it.

 

Comments

  1. I really needed to “hear” this today. God uses so much of what you write to bring conviction/correction to my life. Still running the race, and with God guiding me, I will be victorious. Thank you, Joe.

  2. Thomas Soyars says:

    The same thing happened at a women’s retreat our church sponsored about five years ago only instead of girls in bikini’s this was guys in the buff. Yep, a bunch of college guys on spring break decided to go skinny dipping in the hotel pool.

    Nothing to do but close the blinds and ask the manager to “cover” the situation.

    • Joe Dallas says:

      Good grief Thomas! Sometimes you just gotta laugh at this stuff, it’s so bizarre and funny all at once.

  3. Very helpful as usual Joe, thanks. One time I was driving down the Fwy worshipping the Lord Jesus and a bakery truck pulled in front of me with a mostly unclothed person. Talk about being slimed! Nowadays when I see someone out of the corner of my eye I ask myself, “Why are you going to look?”. If it’s not for a good reason I don’t, or I’ll get sucked in.

%d bloggers like this: