Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 23, The Great Smog

the great smogFrom February 5-9, 1952, London had a problem. A prolonged period of windless conditions caused the cities to be covered in a thick suffocating smog. The source was not mysterious, the many coal-burning factories in the area along with personal coal use to heat houses was the source. But for those several days, the wind didn’t take it away.

The problems it caused were numerous. Public transport ground to a halt as driving became quite dangerous except in the subway system. Ambulances stopped running. Film screenings and shows were canceled because even the indoor air quality was so poor that people couldn’t see the stage. In some places, visibility dropped to as low as three feet.

That would mean that I couldn’t see my toes.

The people of London were frustrated by this, but not alarmed. Smogs had happened before and they dealt with it. Smog masks were used by those who could afford them and small charges were placed on railway lines to warn everyone that a train was coming when it hit the charge and they would explode. This was the price of progress and London was willing to pay it.

What London had no prepared for was the days following the smog. The death rate in London skyrocketed. Modern estimates are that about 12,000 people were killed by the smog (4,000 is the low estimate, 25,000 is the high one). That got people’s attention. Much of today’s environmental movement get its spark from those few days in London.

We live in a similar situation today. Pornography is so endemic that it is considered normal. Possibly a little shameful, but it is a private matter. Many people have spoken against it, but the vast majority don’t feel it is a big enough problem to address.

That is until we see the growing consequences of the smog. Today more American children will be born outside of marriage than within it. Japan is facing a demographic crisis because porn is easier to acquire than sex, so there are many young people giving up sex and certainly giving up on the idea of children. American men are increasingly averse to taking responsibility for their family.

We are in the midst of a great smog today and the negative effects of this smog are about to take center stage. It will be our responsibility as Christian men to stand up and call it what it is. The world will not know that children are delightful unless we show them. Young men will not know it is good to serve our wives unless we show them. Young women will settle for marrying losers unless we show them that they should expect more from men. God will not be shown as deeply satisfying unless we stand as a breath of fresh air in a dying, congested world.

-Chip

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Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 20, What if He Won’t Change?

Man using a laptopA recent commenter to the article My Husband is Looking at Porn, What Should I Do asked a very important question. She had tried bringing the problem to her church and it hadn’t helped. She asked, “How on earth does someone (have hope)?” 

I pondered on this for some time. This usually means that I didn’t have a simple answer for her. It also meant that if she asked, there were a hundred women who had the same question. The topic needed to be addressed.

Everything I mention below assumes that you have confronted him about his sin in a gentle and firm way, that you have prayed for him, that you have brought it to your church, and he continues to look at porn. Those are the first steps. But what if those don’t work? It is certainly a complex question so forgive me if my answers don’t apply to your situation. The details matter. I hope to offer some help.

A Brief Theology of Marriage

Biblical marriage is a life-long covenant between a man, a woman, and God. It comes with obligations and benefits. It is meant to somehow present a picture of Jesus and the Church. The connection is so clouded that Paul says “this mystery is profound.” Within that picture, the husband stands in the position of Jesus and is commanded to love and serve his wife in a deeply sacrificial way (see the book of Hosea for even more on that). The wife, in the position of the Church, is to respect her husband and submit to his authority.

The Bible repeatedly refers to a married couple as “one flesh” and Jesus is insistent that God has made it this way. “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” Within that, Jesus does teach that if there is sexual unfaithfulness, divorce is permitted but not required.

One final clarification, despite Jesus’ discussion of lust being adultery (Matt 5:27-28), lust by itself is not a Biblical ground for divorce. The sin in the heart is profoundly evil, but the act of infidelity is the grounds Jesus allowed divorce.

Now, what can a wife do if her husband will NOT stop looking at porn.

Keep Praying

The fact is that God alone can change his heart.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life–to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. (1Jn 5:16 ESV)

There can be some debate about what a “sin that leads to death” is, but it would be a small category of sins (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, unbelief, etc…). Pornography on its face would not be such a sin.

So we are left with the instruction to pray for our spouse’s sin. Don’t give up. Sometimes God pushes us to the end of ourselves precisely because he can then be given the glory for what he is about to do. You have a Father who loves you and wants to grant your prayers, keep asking him to bring your husband to repentance.

Be Gentle and Firm

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2Ti 2:24-26 ESV)

To correct a husband who is looking at porn and won’t stop, the wife should not be quarrelsome but should be challenging her husband with patient and gentleness. Take note that God is the one responsible to “perhaps” grant them repentance. I love how Paul describes that they “may come to their senses.”

Know that There is Justice for You

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:18-21 ESV)

I have more often heard Christians say, “Don’t get bitter” but then fail to explain why you should not be bitter.

If your husband is not a believer when he dies. He will awaken facing the God of the Universe. He will be accused of every sin he ever committed. The evidence will be certain, overwhelming, and damning. He will look and no one will come to his defense. As he raises his eyes to see the Judge, he sees a deep rage: a profound indignation for every single time he failed to love you. The almighty God of all things will loudly declare to all living things that he is condemned.

He will then be dragged, screaming to a lake of fire. As he stands on the brink of that lake, he will know without a doubt, that he will never escape it. As he falls toward the flaming waters, he feels the dread of his last moments of comfort. The pain of contact will sear him to his bones and as he screams, unable to bear this for even a second, he despairs knowing that it will never, ever end.

I think that is sufficient justice for what he has done to you. God will make sure that every sin is avenged.

If your husband is a believer when he dies, then all of that suffering mentioned above was pour onto Jesus. Jesus was so afraid of this that he begged God for another way. Yet, he loves you and your husband so much, he willingly went to the cross. He endured an eternity of Hell in a few hours. For the only time ever, he was rejected by God. He loves your husband that much.

Your husband was the one who stayed up late looking at porn, Jesus was the one who was declared guilty. Is it fair? Of course not. It speaks to the profound character of God that he would choose to suffer for sinners like us.

If Jesus has taken your husband’s sin away, who are we to say that justice has not been done. It is that same mercy that holds you and I out of Hell as well.

So rest in the fact that justice will be done. At some point, you will look at the depths of Hell or into the eyes of Jesus and say, “that punishment is enough for what he did to me.” Trust God that he is not a wimp but a warrior who will see all of this made right. In that trust, don’t be bitter. Surely God’s justice is so severe that we would have compassion on those who will suffer so much at his hands. God does the justice so that we are free to love.

Have Hope

Back to the original question, how should we have hope? The answer is that our hope can never be in a husband, child, church, or friend. Those are good things, but if we hope in them, we will be stunningly disappointed. No, we hope in a sweet and kind Father who loves us so much. He will never, ever fail us. Your hope is in your true husband, Jesus, who knows what you are going through and has “been tempted in every way.” He loves you. He will set this right.

Some trust in chariots (or husbands) and some in horses (or friends),
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright. (Ps 20:7,8 ESV)

I know this is hard. God never promised that it wouldn’t be. He just promised that it would be worth it.

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 18, No Other Gods

altar“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
(Exo 20:3-5 ESV)

When reading the Ten Commandments, it is easy to overlook the first two. Not once in my life have I looked at a rock or block of wood and considered worshiping it. Even ones shaped like animals. No overwhelming urge to bow to them.

So obviously I should be more concerned with the other commandments, right?

Wrong!

People are worshipers. All of us. We have gods and we bow to them every day, every moment. My god is whatever I bow down to: whatever I will sacrifice everything else to keep. The man who gives up his family, his money, his church, his integrity, and his religion for porn. It is obvious what that man worships.

He, of course, would not give up everything if he didn’t have to. But if all of those things are put on the altar to porn and that man will light the match and sacrifice them. He has chosen his god and no one will get between him and the true love of his life.

We know we love them more because we sacrifice things to them. If our wive’s heart is broken, that is a sacrifice we are willing to make. Will our children be crippled in life from a very distracted dad? That’s OK, we are serving our true master. Could this be a primary cause of  a future divorce? Maybe, but that is a risk we are willing to take to serve our god.

So, obviously we should just stop bowing down to porn. Stop serving that god. That is when we discover the we must worship. Our souls will find something to pay homage to. The only thing that can topple one god is another god.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
(Rom 6:16-18 ESV)

The key to defeating the god of porn (or any false god) is to bow to the true God. Stop being slaves to sin and become slaves to righteousness. The fact is, Jesus is a good God. A kind God who loves me and wants to bring joy into my life. He is the only God that loves me enough to die for me. He commands me to abandon all other gods because he knows that they will kill me. He is the a God worth serving.

So brothers, don’t bow down to a naked god who will rob you of joy. Bow down to Jesus. He is the only one who can satisfy. With Jesus as your supreme joy, every other joy (sex, food, rest, work) can be a wonderful servant, not a terrible master.

-Chip

Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 2 The Slow Spiral

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The Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 16th Year

My Dearest Mudpot,

What a year this has been? Your success with the patient has been so thorough that even I am getting the attention of the High Lords. The Great Lord himself asked me about your progress and looked pleased at my report. If you were here, I’m sure they would speak with you as well, but I am willing to carry this burden for you in your absence. Someone has to go to parties around here.

No reason to beat around the vermin, let’s dig into your review.

The Better than Average

You have a real knack for arranging sexual deviance. How you have him looking at pornography daily and still his parents don’t suspect. it is simply a work of art. Vermin are so stupid. They are no smarter than the dirt they were made from. I must say I am envious of you being there to see him longing for those images every moment he doesn’t have them and then racing to every opportunity to look at them. You are doing a masterful job of slowly allowing sexual pleasure to prevent enjoyment of all other pleasures.

It is wise of you to avoid real sexual encounters for this patient yet. He can live under the illusion of “purity” because he has not exchanged human slime with a female. If you play your cards right, he could even have a sense of self-righteousness about his sexual restraint! In addition, this allows you to continue define sex by what he is looking at in those pictures. The more he separates sexuality from any real living vermin, the better.

One of the purposes of the sexuality of the vermin is to bond them to their “spouse.” We have a big advantage if we can use that process to bond them to images, then to fantasies, and finally get them hopelessly bonded to things that don’t exist. Let your imagination run wild for a moment, Mudpot. One day, if you do this right, your patient will long day and night for some sexual fantasy that can never be fulfilled. That is the sort of times a demon can really enjoy.

You have done quite well with his church attendance. As I did more research on his church I became concerned that the preaching might lead him to the Enemy’s Son. You can imagine my pleasure at reading how tuned out he is during the sermons. It really is amazing how those filthy creatures are able to hear words that would rescue them from us and they entirely ignore them. Despite your success, be vigilant. This is a area of concern.

I’m glad you were able to direct the patient to his father’s pornography supply in the home. This is an invaluable asset. Now, should his father discover what the patient is doing, he will have no credibility to correct it. It is also so helpful that the father hides it from the mother. That way we can be sure that he will be very uncomfortable talking about it with her as well. This is real teamwork between you and their demons.

Finally, the way you have fostered a sense of superiority in him is simply stunning. Our goal is always to bury them in shame and guilt or to make the feel superior to others, above the rules. Our preference is always to have them above the rules as this discourages them from ever seeking forgiveness (which the Enemy claims to offer).

Some Areas for Improvement

You are too cavalier about his association with that neighbor vermin. We have been working on the neighbor for years and have made only minimal inroads. That man is not to be underestimated. Keep you patient away from him. We have begun efforts to have that man hit by a car, but with no results. Be careful!

Your report indicates that you wish to be more eclectic in your temptations. I know it can be boring to keep hammering away at his sexuality at the expense of other delightful ways to play with him. Remember, the goal is always to keep the vermin away from the Enemy’s son! As much as it might feel like you are on offense, we must always work with the weaknesses the human presents to us. Consider it this way, after years of diminishing enjoyment of sexual pleasure, your patient can be brought to desperation. Then a whole buffet of delight is open to you. Think of the depression, anxiety, decimated relationships, and poverty. These, my dear Mudpot, can be yours. But only if you continue to capitalize on the weaknesses your patient actually has.

I know the temptation to wish you had a patient with certain weaknesses. I too miss a good flogging and a burning at the stake. The brutality of past days is sorely missing from these Western humans. Really, the only reliable place to find it in high concentrations today is in their abortion clinics. I promise you that if you press this weakness to it’s fullest potential, it will be worth your waiting. So for your patient, keep working with his weaknesses toward self-righteousness and sexual sins.

I am growing tired of your whining about the vigilance of the patient’s mother. If she is the worst difficulty you have, then you have been blessed by the Great Lord. Stop thinking in terms of how closely she watches and work this to your advantage. Work on your patient’s ego so that he does not see this as loving, but controlling. Try to have him make up some evil motive for this behavior. You are complaining to me and missing this opportunity.

One thing you need to start preparing for is this vermin’s college plans. I have compiled a list of the most favorable colleges. For your patient we will need to be careful that the college is respectable to pacify his parents but to also make sure that there is teaching that will make believing in the Enemy to look simplistic and stupid. Finally, there needs to be enough of a “party scene” to pull your patient in, but not so much that his parents might hear that reputation. If possible, try to get your vermin into one of the top four listed, they are the best for our purposes. The top listed college is ideal because it has Christian in the name and will serve our purposes and will leave your patient buried in debt by the time he finishes. A win in every respect!

Overall, this was a better than satisfactory year. Your patient is beginning a slow spiral that could end very well for us.

Your Affectionate Supervisor,

Count Vicegrim

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 13, Teenagers, Church, and Statistics

How bad is the porn problem? Maybe this blog is really just a place for the few of us that struggle with pornography. That would be a great relief to everyone else. They can let us go quietly off by ourselves and try not to think about us.

If only it were that simple.

Unfortunately, pornography is uncomfortable AND prevalent. Today I will explore just how common it really is. All of the statistics I have used today were gathered from a very helpful document that Covenant Eyes has assembled called Pornography Statistics 2013. It is available as a free download from Covenant Eyes after you fill out the request form.  All of the quotes below are directly from that document.

Teenagers and College Students

In 2008, more than 560 college student responded to an online survey:

  • 93% of boys and 62% of girls were exposed to pornography before 18.
  • 14% of boys and 9% of girls were exposed to pornography before 13.
  • 69% of boys and 23% of girls have spent at least 30 consecutive minutes viewing Internet pornography on at least one occasion. 63% of boys have done so more than once, and 35% of boys have done so on more than 10 occasions.
  • 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online.
  • 69% of boys and 55% of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online.
  • 39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online.
  • 32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen bestiality online.
  • 18% of boys and 10% of girls have seen rape or sexual violence online.
  • 15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography.

Take a look at that top statistic: 9 out of 10 boys and 2/3 of girls admitted to being exposed to pornography before age 18. 14% of boys and 9% of girls were first introduced before they were 13. Take into account that the error in this sample would most likely be under reporting of porn exposure. Why would you lie and say you had seen it when you hadn’t? So most likely these statistics are the floor of the real numbers.

In 2009, Michael Leahy released results of a survey of 29,000 individuals at North American universities.

  • 51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed pornography before their teenage years (12 and younger).
  • 35% of all students’ first exposure was Internet or computer-based (compared to 32% from magazines, 13% from VHS or DVD, and 18% from Cable or pay-per-view).
  • 64% of college men and 18% of college women spend time online for Internet sex every week.
  • 42% of male students and 20% of women said they regularly read romance novels, sexually explicit magazines, or regularly visited sexually explicit websites or chat rooms.

This study is even more frightening with 51% of men reporting their first exposure before they were 13. Also, notice that 2/3 of  studied men and 1/5 of studied women (who are current college students) report looking at porn at least weekly.

But, of course this is only a problem of young people. When they grow up and go to church, they will stop looking at porn, right?

Churchgoers

According to data taken from Internet users who took part in the General Social Survey for the year 2000, regular church attenders are 26% less likely to look at porn than non-attenders, but those self-identified as “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.

In 2003, 34% of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn.

In August 2006, a survey reported 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year.

Now I have nothing against a good fundamentalist, but if you are marching against homosexuality and looking at porn, I think you more strongly resemble a Pharisee than a disciple. We need to be first interested in out own sin, not other peoples. Hypocrisy Alert: I am certainly guilty of focusing on other people’s sin while ignoring my own. 

The other very notable number was that 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women surveyed could be described as “addicted to porn.” Now please don’t think to yourself, “Well, yes, but this is all of those other evil churches. Not mine.” Even if your church is better than average, that is still very large numbers of men and women in your church. Take this threat seriously, your denial only ignores a very real problem.

But at least the pastors are safe, right?

Pastors

In 2002, of 1,351 pastors surveyed, 54% said they had viewed Internet pornography within the last year, and 30% of these had visited within the last 30 days.

Porn is ravaging our pastors as well. If you think about it, pastors would actually be a vulnerable group. They are under tremendous pressure to perform and to keep up appearances but are sinners just like us. They generally are too “good” to go out an have an affair, but they might slip and give into porn.

Take a breath for a moment and think about the fact the 30% of pastors admitted looking at porn in the last 30 days. Remember that this is a 2002 survey, do you think it has gotten better in the last 11 years. I think not. So consider that at least one in three pastors have looked at porn recently.

I don’t say this to denigrate pastors. In fact, I am confident that there are pastors who will read these words and, I hope, pursue getting their own pornography problem addressed. I say this because I believe the church is eager to ignore this serious and widespread problem. I want the church to wake up. Stop hiding and smiling our way past each other on Sunday morning. This issue needs to be addressed publicly and directly.

So What Do We Do?

It is time that we stopped pretending that pornography use is an isolated problem. It is very common and very destructive. The Church needs to remove the stigma that prevents sexual sins from being addressed from the pulpit. Dads and moms need to address this issue directly with their kids. Like drugs and strangers, there is a threat out there that is too common to ignore anymore.

The question really isn’t what are we going to do. It is what are you going to do?

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 12, The Beginning of Hope

Hope is pretty illusive. Many times looking at my heart with its dark dry cracks, I saw no reason to believe there was life under there. The creeping guilt constantly gnawed at me to give up and enjoy the filth I loved. A quiet inner voice saying, Just look at the porn. Why fight it? I knew I would never be free of it. Wouldn’t it be better to at least enjoy the beautiful naked women without all of this nagging guilt?

Alas, my heart was hard and cracked, but God had placed life there that simply must break through. The green leaves of it pushed through again and again despite my ongoing temptation and failure. It was God who would not let me go. He had given me that life and he would see it through.

That is the nature of hope. I do not hope that Chip Gruver is such a good chap that he would never walk away from God. I hope in a God who loves me and won’t let me go. In that vein, I want to share with you reasons for you to hope. Don’t trust in yourself, that is hopeless. Trust in Jesus who loves you, there is hope beyond imagining in Him.

Have Hope Knowing God is Patient with You

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” Matthew 12:20-21

We gentiles need a special promise to have access to a God who specifically chose the Jews for himself. God was very kind to us to send Jesus and give us hope. Are you bruised and and bending under the weight of your sin? Good, Jesus will not break you. In fact, in the name of a Jew (Jesus) we will have hope.

Have Hope Because All Sins Will be Forgiven

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:28-30

Usually these verses are a source of fear. We ask, “have I committed the unpardonable sin.” That is a topic for another day, but look at that small phrase at the beginning. “All sins will be forgiven the children of man.” Your sin is gross. That vile feeling in your gut is justified. But Jesus knew that there would be a sinner like you and he didn’t flinch to say that those sins can be forgiven. And not just some of them, all of them! 

Have Hope When Your Heart is Heavy

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Many times we feel these unbearable burdens because they are, in fact, unbearable. Sometimes we struggle to carry things that only God can carry. I often try to carry my own sin. It crushes me because I was never strong enough to hold it up. Jesus, on the other hand, is very strong. He is gentle and kind. He will walk with you. There is real rest with him.

Have Hope Because a Weak Person Like You is God’s Kind of Guy

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

God is not impressed by those who have it all together. He is here to get glory from losers like you and me. He is going to show the world that weak and foolish men like us can be used to show how magnificent he is. Are you weak, foolish, low, and despised? Great! God is looking for you.

Hope in Jesus Alone

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13

There are two options, Jesus and hopelessness. If you are trying to get better without Jesus, you will die in despair. So what if you beat porn and rot in hell? No, hope only in the grace of Jesus. If you are trying to win God over with good behavior sexually, I promise he isn’t impressed. Don’t try to win him over, stand next to Jesus who has already won him over. Right next to Jesus is the most hope filled place in the universe.

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part and Commandment 10, Thou Shalt Not Covet

My Neighbor’s Ox (Which I am not Coveting)

When I start to read the Ten Commandments, I usually get bogged down with guilt before I get to number ten. No murders or anything, Just the first two are big ones. So when I read, Thou Shalt No Covet, my first thought is, “Great, I’m good there. Ummmm…what is covet?”

Because it made the big ten, I suppose I should know what it means. Dictionary.com is says that covet means:

1.to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others

2. to wish for, especially eagerly

3. to have an inordinate or wrongful desire.

Well, it is possible, maybe just once or twice, that I could have had an inordinate desire for something some time. Fortunately, I don’t need a website to clarify this. The commandment has specific things I am not supposed to covet.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house;

Well, I’m good there. No problems coveting houses.

 you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,

That one could be a problem. More on that later.

or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey,

I have committed a lot of sins in my life, but coveting my neighbor’s ox is not one of them.

or anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20:17

Crap. That make this command much more difficult. I can’t ‘inordinately desire’ anything that belongs to my neighbor. In that case, I have coveted a lot.

The key focus for this blog would, of course, be the part of coveting your neighbor’s wife. At a minimum, this would cover a large number of women who are stripping themselves online. Many of them are married and God specifically said you should not desire to have them. For that matter, it would cover those ladies that you think would have been a better pick than your wife. Do not covet them.

The thrust of the commandment is the flip side of Paul’s instruction:

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-7

We are not called to simply not covet, we are called to be content with what we have.

So back to wives. This means that if your wife is short, you are into short women. Is she skinny? Then you like skinny. Maybe she’s more plump. Then plump is really what works for you. Is she 20? Then you are into 20. Is she 90? Nothing better than 90! Whatever your wife is, that is your preference. You are responsible to love her as she is and to not pursue anyone else. YOU ARE TO BE CONTENT WITH HER!

I can hear the objections now. “But Chip, you don’t know my wife. She’s a witch on wheels and looks like a toad.” If a toad is how she looks then you need to pray the grace of God that you start to like toads. It wasn’t my idea to tell you to be content. You could argue it out with Paul, but he’s dead. So maybe you should explain to God why you are exempt from being content with the wife you have. There is not an exception for you, but there is grace for you to live out this command.

I know this isn’t easy. All of us struggle with contentment. But consider the joy of being content. Imagine how it would feel to be happy with your wife’s looks and the things you have.

I mean it, imagine for a moment.

Doesn’t that sound great? You can be free of the gnawing desire for more and better! That’s why Paul calls contentment and godliness GREAT GAIN! You would be the wealthiest man alive if you were both godly and content.

So the battle for contentment is a key part of the battle for joy. This command is not a burden. It is God commanding that we be happy! What an ogre up in Heaven? Telling us to be happy. The nerve of him. Why if he really loved me he would give me what I want, not make me happy with what I have.

Such bickering is common in us men and it needs to end. Take a moment and be happy for the grace of God to you that is you wife. She is God’s gift to you. Be content with her and with what you have.

-Chip