Fighting Temptation God’s Way
About the Guest
Christian men are bombarded by sexual temptation--the Word of God can overcome it! Today on the broadcast, Bobby Scott and Paul Felix help listeners create a battle plan for themselves and their sons to fight that temptation the only way that works: God's way.
Christian men are bombarded by sexual temptation–the Word of God can overcome it!
Fighting Temptation God’s Way
Bob: There is a crisis today among men who are professing believers; a crisis related to morality and sexuality. Pastor Bobby Scott says the reason for the crisis is because we have taken our cues from the culture and not from the Scriptures.
Bobby: The reason why so many men are losing their so-called "secret sex wars," and we know there is no sin in a secret before God, is that we have believed the (inaudible); that I can look so long as I don't touch, and the Bible says looking with that intent is a sexual sin; you are involved and engaged in a sexual sin.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, October 1st. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Is there a solution to the dilemma we're facing around sexual sin? There is – and it's found in the Scriptures. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. You know, if you had to pick the areas in our culture where things seem like they're out of control, I think the subject we're going to be talking about today is one of those areas, don't you think?
Dennis: I do, Bob. In fact, I was talking to a counselor earlier today on the phone who was just talking about what happened to his counseling load when the Internet became popular and, of course, it could be argued that the Internet is the perfect place for pornography, because it really sets men up to be lured in in a private way and be enticed by sin.
And we have a couple of men with us on FamilyLife Today who I think are of kindred spirit around that analysis – Bobby Scott and Paul Felix join us. Paul, Bobby, welcome to our broadcast.
Paul: Thanks, it's great to be here Dennis.
Bobby: It's great to be here.
Dennis: You guys have teamed up to write something that really is aimed at the African-American community, specifically to men in that situation, and there is a reason for that. Bobby, you're a graduate of UCLA. We're going to mention that Paul is a graduate of USC.
Paul: Go Trojans.
Dennis: So there may be a war that occurs at any moment here in the studio.
Bobby: We're still friends.
Dennis: Still friends.
Paul: But he knows who is number 1 – UCLA.
Bob: Here we go.
Dennis: There it starts, the smackdown begins. Bobby is a graduate of the Master's Seminary, as is Paul, and is a pastor/teacher of Los Angeles Community Bible Church, and also teaches at the LA Bible Training School near Watts, and if I understand it correctly, Paul, you are the president of that school, and you are attempting to equip men and women with the Bible there in that school, is that correct?
Paul: Yes, the Los Angeles Bible Training School, I've been serving there since 2002 as the president. And currently we have a population of about 275 students, and our goal is to come alongside of them and to help them to serve in their local churches.
Dennis: And the book that you gentlemen have written has a provocative title, and our listeners probably ought to know – this is going to be an honest discussion here. The book's title is "Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity."
And I've been wanting to ask you guys because you guys have teamed up to address what is – well, a really prevalent issue in all communities, but you've targeted the African-American men around this subject of pornography. Is there a difference in terms of how it impacts the African-American community?
Paul: Not at all, Dennis. What we've seen in our lifetime with just deregulation, we've seen the Internet come into our homes and bring all sorts of vile images. So the enemy is not outside anymore. You just don't have to put on a hat and a costume and sneak into a peep show to avoid the shame of that type of slavery to sin. We just go a private door and close it and look at your Internet. That's affecting all of our homes, all of our communities, but what we found, unfortunately, is the tons of resources that are being directed at fighting this problem weren't getting to our communities and our bookstores and our churches, so we had a news Bible conference where the school is the co-sponsor where we share with the men how to live a life of purity. It opened up, they were blessed and encouraged, and we said, "We have to share this with the rest of our brothers around the nation."
Bob: And it's not just the issue of pornography that you are addressing in this book, you're talking about all kinds of sexual sin and, again, we're at epidemic levels in our culture in the white community, in the black community, all across the culture. This is a sexually saturated culture we live in.
Paul: Right. The community, all communities are affected by this problem, so the goal for every Christian should be sexual purity and, really, that's what we're attempting to do. One of the things that makes this book unique is the fact that all of the contributors are involved primarily in African-American communities. So we have a burden, and we have a heart to reach the African-American community.
But the reality of the matter is is that the problem is not limited to them, and I think any person can really read this book and be blessed by it, because all we're really doing is coming from Scripture. We have a high view of God, we have a high view of Scripture, and we're just telling people that the Bible has the answers, the solutions. We're not trying to come up with a bunch of gimmicks or plans that people can be successful in their striving for sexual purity. We believe that Genesis all the way to the Book of Revelation lays out the guidelines for how a person could live a life of purity.
Bob: You know, there was a time in our culture when there was shame associated with sex outside of marriage or with certain sexual behavior, and maybe guys would talk about it in the locker room, and maybe there would be some bragging or boasting going on, but you sure didn't want to be known that way in the community.
Back a few months ago, there was talk in the news about a rap star in Chicago going to trial for his well-known involvement with under-age girls on video, and it's like people are looking and going, "So what's the problem?" I mean, we are completely desensitized in the broad culture to the fact that some of these sexual behaviors are sinful.
Bobby: We live in a first-generation of Christians that have not had some type of standard to regulate our entertainment choices. We're like the frog in the frying pan – where the water slowly gets turned up in the temperature, and the frog's body acclimates, so the temperature – instead of jumping out, it literally will burn to death.
We, as Christians, have allowed the world to pull us, to assimilate, to participate, and there's limitless forms of sexual sin. Can I tell you a quick story? When I was in ministry at UCLA, a college ministry there, there was a freshman student there that we had just reached out to, he just became a Christian, and I went into his dorm room. And in his dorm room, Playmates were posted all over the wall, the Playboy Channel was on, and I went in and told him, "We have got to get you out of here."
He said, "It's okay, it doesn't bother me." We moved him out into another brother's apartment, and now he is a missionary, he's a Bible scholar, an Old Testament Bible scholar serving in Australia. I wonder what would have happened had we not reached out to him; had he just assimilated to just the ubiquitous, just the pervasive form of acceptance of all sorts of pornography and sexual sin in our culture.
Dennis: You mention in your book that the government now believes that 9 out of 10 children between the ages of 8 and 16 have been exposed to pornography. Now, if you think about that, I think it's easy to always think, "That's somebody else's children, that can't be our children, my little boy, it couldn't be him. He's only nine years old, he couldn't have been exposed to this."
But because of the Internet and because of how, as Bob was mentioning, it used to be it was a permissive culture. Today it's a promotional culture, and what you're addressing in your book is you're really calling men to a biblical standard, and this is a biblically based approach to a really deadly sin.
Paul: I've been around a few years. I don't think I'm quite as old as you, but I'm older than Bobby …
Bob: I so appreciate you sharing that.
Dennis: He told us earlier how old he was.
Bob: You've got a few more years around the track than he does, don't you?
Paul: My first exposure, major exposure, and what really shocked me was when I was attending seminary, I guess I was probably about 28 years old, and I was in the class, and I remember the class. We were studying James and 1Peter and 2 Peter and the Book of Jude, and our instructor was a graduate of a prominent seminary. He was the Alumnus of the Year at that seminary. Many thought he was going to be the next president at the school that I was attending.
One day I came to class, and he wasn't there. We had a new instructor. It was in the middle of the semester. And I eventually knew somebody at the school, and I asked what happened. And, unfortunately, he was caught with a college female student.
And that just scared me, I mean, it shook me, because here I am trying to learn the Bible, and I looked up to this individual, and I said, "If he's struggling in this area, and if he can fall in this area, then is there much hope for me?"
And I think when I look at a book like the one that we've written, all we're doing is trying to offer men hope, to let them know that God in His Word provides a plan where they can win the battle for sexual purity.
Bob: You grew up in a Christian home. Your dad was a pastor, right?
Bob: Did you find yourself confronted with sexual temptation when you were in junior high, high school, college years?
Paul: My sexual temptation came after my father died. I had a brother who was involved in things that he should not have been involved in, and that's where my exposure came to.
Dennis: How old were you?
Paul: I would say I was probably about 10 years old, and he had a little hidden spot, so to speak, and, lo and behold, I came across that, and …
Dennis: He had a stash of magazines?
Paul: Had a stash of magazines, and …
Dennis: What did you do with that as a 10-year-old?
Paul: Well, I would love to tell you that I ran like Joseph, but I didn't. So, you know, being a young boy at that age, you know, you're curious, and I looked, and so I think there are men like that today and young people today. But, unfortunately, for me it was something that I was exposed to by accident, and when you talk about the Internet, et cetera, there is just so much out there that our young people and our older people can be exposed to that it's just frightening.
Dennis: It's interesting, Paul, you described your experience at a time when your father was missing. Your father was gone, he had died, and that's when you became vulnerable.
Paul: Definitely. I think when my father went home to be with the Lord, that created some new issues in our family, and it impacted my older brother and another brother. So, yes, I did become vulnerable to that situation, and not knowing how to handle my sexuality as a 10-year-old. You wouldn't go to your mom and say, "Mom, I've just seen some things that I shouldn't see." I mean, we didn't have that kind of a relationship.
Bob: How much do you think the absence of godly men, godly fathers, in homes today, whether it's in white homes or African-American homes, Hispanic homes, wherever it's happening, how much is that helping to fuel this increase in sexual involvement behaviors?
Bobby: I think it's affecting us in a profound way. The Bible is entrusted to the men in the home to rear up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and there is just a unique stewardship that men have to do that, and if men aren't doing that, that creates a huge void, and our culture is stepping in. Our children are being exposed to MTV and BET videos and their video games and movies. They are being taught a sex education in our schools. They have now tried to take the place and role of parents, and now – in California, particularly – sex education can take place by nurses, and kids can go there and get birth control from ages 12 on up, an abortion, and the parents will never know.
Our culture, our schools, everyone is trying to step into this void that's created when there is not a godly man in the home or a mother instructing their kids like Solomon was taught by David in Proverbs to stay away from the strange woman, stay away from the seductress. So it's a very dangerous situation.
Bob: You know, we've got a lot of folks listening, a lot of moms who are raising the next generation without a dad there for whatever reason. What's your encouragement to them, knowing how dangerous it is not to have a dad in the home helping to raise the next generation? What does a single-parent mom do?
Paul: I would say trust in the Lord that "where sin abounds, God's grace much more abounds." God is not limited and blessing you because your husband is no longer there, I just think of the role of Timothy when he was raised in an unequally yoked home, and his grandmother and his mother, from childhood, start early. From childhood instructed him in the Scriptures, and look what a man of God he has become.
Dennis: And I want to add my voice to yours, Bobby, and encouraging the single-parent moms to not shrink away in the battle, because they've got to engage. It's back to you, Paul, and you said you didn't feel the freedom as a 10-year-old boy to go to your mom. But what if your mom would have come to you and maybe asked some key questions at that point – "How are you doing, son? Are you looking at anything you shouldn't be looking at?"
The power of parents here, whether it be a mom or a dad, to engage a son's life around something that will happen. It's not a matter in this culture of it being if, it's a matter of when. So we've got to engage there. Paul, do you want to comment?
Paul: Right. I think it's also important for fathers or even in homes where there is no father that the men of the church step in. I still don't know if I would have been really comfortable sharing those things with my mom. My mom is still alive, she's 89, but she's probably not going to like the things I just said.
She's probably hearing this for the first time. So she's 89, and I'm 55, but I think that's where men are critical, men are important. I think Christian men have to rise up and help our young men to live a life for the Lord.
Bob: Paul, your first exposure to pornography was when you were 10 years old. For a lot of young men, that first innocent exposure, not something they went out looking for, but something – somebody says, "Hey, look at this." It's like a hook gets set in their jaw like James talks about, and they're pulled away, they're enticed by it.
And if you had the opportunity to talk to a young man who the hook got set when he was 10 years old, and it's still there, it's still pulling at him late at night on his computer, he's still tempted, or surfing through the TV channels, he watches something he shouldn't. What steps would you point him to as a way to get free? Let me ask you that, Bobby – where would you point a young man?
Bobby: I would tell him to fight fire with fire, I really would – that we have within our heart just a desire, strong passion, for satisfaction – for happiness – and God has placed that within us, and if that is not fulfilled within the Lord, there is this vacuum where you are searching for something else, and whatever you seek after will not fulfill you. It becomes this false mirage, and you are searching after it, and you're trying to get it, and that's what sexual temptation does, and it pulls you further and further into a hole.
So I'd tell that young man, "Pursue the Lord. Be around other godly Christians. Read your Bible, pray, serve, and you will find a delight in God that will satisfy you and give you the strength to fight against those sexual temptations."
Paul: And I wholeheartedly agree with Bobby that the real issues are love for God but also there needs to be some practical guidelines that the Word of God gives, and we're not really interested in coming up with man-made guidelines, but I think we need the guidelines from the Word of God.
And that's one of the benefits of this book is that each of the men are tackling Scripture and then saying, based upon what God's Word is saying, "Here are some guidelines, here are some practices that you need to put into your life." A chapter that I wrote on, 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, verses 3 through 8 – one of the guidelines that Paul gives in that chapter is to abstain from sexual immorality. And many times people don't understand the significance of the word "abstain." They just see that as a command, but the word "abstain" means to "distance yourself," to keep yourself far away from sexual immorality whatever shape or form it might be.
When I was a young boy, our family used to go to a Christian camp, and I would go with my father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, and one particular time when we went – I guess that I was probably about six or seven years old, I went down to the swimming pool, and I never learned how to swim. And when I went down to the swimming pool I had no intentions of swimming. But I was a young boy, I was curious, and I started walking around the swimming pool and, being a young boy, evidently, I must have kind of leaned over and looked into the water, and the next thing I knew I was in the water. I hadn't planned on doing any swimming, and I just remember going down in that water and looking around with my eyes wide open underneath the water and seeing people. I thought they were large fish or a whale or whatever but, fortunately, someone saw me and dove in and saved my life.
But I bring that up – the problem was I got too close to the edge. I didn't follow the biblical guideline that Paul gave the Thessalonians to distance yourself, stay far away, and I think Christian men are getting too close to sexual sin. They are allowing themselves to be exposed to things on TV that they shouldn't be looking at, and it might not be R-rated, it might not even be PG-13, but it's stimulating them, and they know that it's causing them to be stimulated in a way that doesn't honor the Lord.
And what they need to do is just distance themselves. So you can't be a couch potato, so to speak, and do well in your desire to win the battle for sexual purity.
Bob: I know some people will think that we're weird when we do this at our house, but watching sporting events, when the commercials come on, we go to the Weather Channel, because the Weather Channel is pretty safe. But there's not a whole lot that's safe, and you do have to, as Paul is talking about, Dennis, you've got to distance yourself not just hope that this isn't going to affect you but turn away.
Dennis: Yeah, Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 23, a familiar Proverb – "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." And I think what both Paul and Bobby are exhorting young men – and I'm talking about young men who are under the age of 10 – teenage young men, college age, and then adult men – watch over your heart. Stay away from the edge of the pool, because if you don't get anywhere near the edge, you're not going to fall in.
And what we allow in our heart, really affects who we become as men, and it's amazing how, even in your innocence, Paul, as you talk about taking a look when you're 10 years old, how that creates like a magnet toward this subject of sex and sexual immorality that can mark a man for the rest of his life.
And so, as we're talking, Bob, to young men today on the radio, and we have a number of young men who listen to this broadcast who hear it, for whatever reason, going on their way to school, watch over your heart, protect it, and if you're a grown man, become the model so that you can mentor your sons and really raise up a generation who doesn't have their innocence destroyed by this subject.
Bob: And I know that you guys had the African-American community in mind when you held your conference back in 2005 on this subject, and when you then wrote the book, "Secret Sex Wars," but this is applicable to every man who has been listening to us today. As you said, Dennis, no matter what the age group is, wherever you are in life, this is a challenge that all of us face as men, and if a guy is ready to step up and deal with it, let me encourage them to get a copy of the book, "Secret Sex Wars." I think you do a fabulous job of pointing us back to the Scriptures and showing us what the Scriptures have to say about this subject.
We've got copies in our FamilyLife Resource Center. You can go to our website, FamilyLife.com, for more information on this book. When you get to the home page, on the right side of the screen, you'll see a box that says "Today's Broadcast." Click the button that says "Learn More," and that will take you to an area of the site where you can get more information about the book, "Secret Sex Wars." There is also information about other resources we have available designed to help you deal with this issue in your life.
Again, our website is FamilyLife.com. Click on the right side of the screen where it says "Today's Broadcast," for more information about ordering these resources or call us at 1-800-FLTODAY. 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. Someone on our team will be happy to answer any questions you have about the resources you need or make arrangements to have them sent to you.
I know one of the things, Dennis, you have recommended to men for years as it relates to this issue is the need to bring your wife into your struggle, to share with her the challenges you face in terms of temptation and allow her to be your ally in this battle. And if you're going to do that and make it work, then that presumes that the two of you have open communication with one another, and that your communication is healthy.
You and I sat down not long ago and had a conversation with Emerson Eggerichs, who is the author of the book, "Love and Respect," about the subject of communication. He's written a book called "Cracking the Communication Code," and we spent almost two hours with him on that subject. Those conversations are now available on two audio CDs that we're sending out this month to anyone who supports the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount and who requests those CDs.
If you're making your donation online at FamilyLife.com, and you'd like the CDs, type the word "code," c-o-d-e, in the keycode box that you find on the donation form, or simply call 1-800-FLTODAY. You can make a donation over the phone and mention that you would like the two CDs on communication. Again, we're happy to send them to you this month as our way of saying thanks for your support of this ministry. We appreciate your partnership with us.
Well, tomorrow we're going to continue to talk about this challenging area that all of us face as men – the battle for purity. Bobby Scott and Paul Felix will be back with us. I hope you can be back with us as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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