You've been told not to touch the stove top.
But something about the urge to rebel is compelling.
"What's the big deal?" is how your brain rationalizes it. You start sounding like a Hollywood-style mental patient as you reason to yourself, somehow convincingly, that rebelling is a good thing. That engaging in the forbidden is alluring and adventurous.
This is where I find myself as I read Proverbs 7. In the continuation of a father advising his son motif, this chapter is a drawn out into a method to madness type situation: Avoiding the wayward wife/woman and the reasons why.
Now, a large majority of us (I hope) don't go prowling in the red light districts of our respective cities of residence conspicuously. The author goes into how Wisdom has seen wandering young men conveniently making their way around to the corner where this adulteress resides. This woman invites the young man seductively, making promises of fulfillment and desire in the cover of darkness. To the young man, what the adulteress has to offer is "delightful" and "risk free" in a sense. She grabs him, kisses him, and promises that all will be well and that her husband would not discover this seduction.
"With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, air as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life." v. 21-23There is destruction in this, no matter how much you "reason it" in your mind. A friend of mine said it best, "The reason why most men are attracted to married women is one thing: it's forbidden."
Now, I myself have not had an affair, by God's grace, but that certainly doesn't mean my mind is pure. Like many people (not just men) within the Church, I, too, struggle with lust and pornography. It's an addiction that I've had for many years and I'll always have that addiction. No, that does not mean I'm defined by it, but just like anyone that has that addiction (alcohol, drugs, etc.), there are triggers that can have us relapse.
I continue to fight this addiction by laying it at the foot of the cross. I know ultimately that it is defeated, but it will gnash at me with the help of the enemy. I must cling to Wisdom as these Scriptures say, and sow them in my heart. These things will not satisfy.
To those of you who struggle, I'm with you. Do not be ashamed. Jesus STILL LOVES YOU! He went through hell for you! You are not defined by this addiction! Shame and guilt will not hold you!
This sermon by my current pastor is an excellent place to start:
Sex! A sermon by Pastor Aaron Engler
Or this sermon by my associate pastor about shame:
Shame. A sermon by Pastor Brynn Harrington
and this one by my best bro on recognizing shame and guilt:
Emotional Health. A sermon by Randy McNeal
This is not a "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" or "will yourself to heal" moment. We can't on our own. We need help to heal our brokenness, and it starts with Jesus, as he meets us and embraces us for who we are, and will transform us into holiness. That is a hope, a desire, that I have. I hope it is yours as well.