Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Seasons - Genesis 1:14-19

In today's Bible study, we fight pornography by asking the Creator of time to guide us through all the seasons of life.

Picture credit: NASA
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים יְהִ֤י מְאֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהַבְדִּ֕יל בֵּ֥ין הַיּ֖וֹם וּבֵ֣ין הַלָּ֑יְלָה וְהָי֤וּ לְאֹתֹת֙ וּלְמ֣וֹעֲדִ֔ים וּלְיָמִ֖ים וְשָׁנִֽים׃ וְהָי֤וּ לִמְאוֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־שְׁנֵ֥י הַמְּאֹרֹ֖ת הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים אֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַגָּדֹל֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַיּ֔וֹם וְאֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַקָּטֹן֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַלַּ֔יְלָה וְאֵ֖ת הַכּוֹכָבִֽים׃ וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ וְלִמְשֹׁל֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם וּבַלַּ֔יְלָה וּֽלֲהַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֣ין הַחֹ֑שֶׁךְ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם רְבִיעִֽי׃ פ

Our entire understanding of life is bound within the concept of time, and our entire understanding of time is given to us by the constant, cyclical rhythms of the celestial bodies in the heavens. The motions of the earth and the moon define our days, our months, our seasons, and our years. Even the ebb and flow of the tides are a gift from the moon above.

All these rhythms were set in motion by the Creator, at the founding of our solar system. As such, He gave us a physical framework to help us conceptually understand the seasons of our lives. Our past, our present, and our future only make sense to us because they are organized inside these measurements of time.

It is nearly impossible to talk about any part of life without including a reference to time. For example:
  • She learned piano as a child.
  • He hopes to win the tournament next week.
  • I struggled with identity as a teenager.
  • They got married young.
  • We hope to finish our house payments in five years.
  • He retired late in life.
  • Every summer we visit my grandmother.
Our memories of the past and our hopes for the future are all linked to specific times and seasons. God gave us these rhythms to help us understand who we are, where we've been, and where we are headed.

However, looking back, our past has not always been what we hoped it would be. Especially in my youth, I did not know how to value and take advantage of the time I had.

Recently, as I looked in old journals, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that my fight with pornography had been going on for 12 years. 12 years is a large percentage of my life. I got angry at myself for days, because I was unable to attain my goal of completely eradicating porn use in such a large period of time. If I would have known that pornography would sink its venomous claws into my soul and would be such a source of grief, hurt and pain for me and my family for over a decade, I would never have started to begin with. I look at that season with sorrow, so sad that I wasted so much time.

Another notable aspect of the sun, moon, and stars is their importance in navigation. For thousands of years people navigated only by looking up to the sky. Cloudy weather presented great difficulty for sailors, who couldn't fix their course without the sun, moon and stars. Basic astronomical knowledge was  common, and most people were familiar with constellations in the stars, especially since they were not hidden by the glare of electric lights.

God gave these signs in the sky as guides to help people navigate through the earth He made. He wants to help us to know how to get where we are going.

Nowadays, we have GPS in our phones, so we don't need to navigate by the sky any more. We look down at electronic devices to find guidance, rather than looking up to the heavens. My screen tells me the month and year, so what need do I have to know solar and lunar positions. This little device in my hand makes me all-knowing and independent, and I'm in control. At least until my battery dies.

Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not anti-technology. But a spiritual metaphor is hidden here. Who created the times and seasons to help us meaningfully measure the value of our life? God. Who created a means of navigation to help us find our way? God.

But do we look up to Him for guidance through the seasons of our life? No, we look down to our phones.

My pornography use began in a season of intense pressure and difficulty. I was discouraged. I was confused. I was abandoned by the people I had looked to for guidance. I didn't know what to do or which way to turn. And in that moment, I fell into the trap of pornography.

For me, pornography offered an illusion of control. In that place, I'm in charge. In that place, the world exists to fulfill my wants and desires. In that place, there are no pressures and no expectations. But it is all only an illusion. Once that pattern of escape was etched into my brain, I lost control, and became enslaved. The thing that offered me the illusion of control took control of me. And now I have been fighting it for years.

The truth is, if we properly evaluate our lives, we must realize that our perspective is frightfully inadequate. We don't know how to best use the time we are given. We don't understand the meaning of the events of our past. We don't have any control of the future. We don't know what to do today.

My response to these feelings was to try to bury them in pornography. But there is One who knows our times and seasons, and knows how to guide us through our life. As the Creator of time, God's perspective is eternal. Right now, He sees me in this moment as well as in all moments of my life. He is therefore the only trustworthy source of guidance through this often incomprehensible life.

God wants us to recognize our smallness, and the inadequacy of our tiny perspective, and turn to Him for guidance in all the seasons of life. This is why David prays:
Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4
In another place, David writes:
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16
There is no possible way that I could ever have a wide enough perspective to truly understand my life on my own. As soon as I barely begin to understand how to live one season, the season changes. I need an outside source of perspective. Someone with a long-range view. Someone to show me the meaning of the events of my life. Only God can offer that.

Porn, on the other hand, doesn't offer any of it. Instead, it poisons my relational skills and wastes my time, rather than giving me a chance at a meaningful season of life. So, will I learn to turn to God for guidance in this season? Will I bring my existential pressure to Him rather than try to escape it? Will I recognize my smallness and turn to the Creator for perspective?

The God who set the rhythms of the heavens can surely guide us through all the seasons of our life.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Sustenance - Genesis 1:11-13, 29-30

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. Genesis 1:11-13

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. Genesis 1:29-30

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים תַּֽדְשֵׁ֤א הָאָ֨רֶץ֙ דֶּ֔שֶׁא עֵ֚שֶׂב מַזְרִ֣יעַ זֶ֔רַע עֵ֣ץ פְּרִ֞י עֹ֤שֶׂה פְּרִי֙ לְמִינ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ וַתּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ דֶּ֠שֶׁא עֵ֣שֶׂב מַזְרִ֤יעַ זֶ֨רַע֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וְעֵ֧ץ עֹֽשֶׂה־פְּרִ֛י אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם שְׁלִישִֽׁי׃ פ

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים הִנֵּה֩ נָתַ֨תִּי לָכֶ֜ם אֶת־כָּל־עֵ֣שֶׂב ׀ זֹרֵ֣עַ זֶ֗רַע אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י כָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעֵ֛ץ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ פְרִי־עֵ֖ץ זֹרֵ֣עַ זָ֑רַע לָכֶ֥ם יִֽהְיֶ֖ה לְאָכְלָֽה׃ וּֽלְכָל־חַיַּ֣ת הָ֠אָרֶץ וּלְכָל־ע֨וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וּלְכֹ֣ל ׀ רוֹמֵ֣שׂ עַל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ֙ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֔ה אֶת־כָּל־יֶ֥רֶק עֵ֖שֶׂב לְאָכְלָ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ 

On the second half of the third day of creation, God made the plants, trees, and other vegetation. Then, on the sixth day, He gave them to people and animals as food.

When God created the cycle of nourishment on the earth, He did so with a purpose in mind. Theoretically, God could have made a static system, in which His creatures are born with all they need inside of themselves, and they recycle the nutrients within their own bodies, never needing more.

However, God chose to build in us a constant need for more nutrients. Every day of our lives from birth till death, we are all dependent on outside sustenance. But, this physical hunger is actually a gift from God, on several different levels.

FIRST, food is enjoyable. I love good food. My wife is a great cook, and I always look forward to our family dinner, whether it's lasagna, burritos, home-made pizza, hamburgers, roast chicken and potatoes... the list could go on and on. And don't get me started on dessert!

God has given us food as a part of the regular enjoyment of life that we are meant to partake of each day. While the act of eating can become part of unhealthy behaviors, God's desire is for us to daily enjoy the sustenance that He has provided for us in this world. True enjoyment of food results in thankfulness to God, as Psalm 107:8-9 says:
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
 for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.
SECOND, our constant need for food is meant to be a metaphor, a picture of our constant need for God. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the Israelites how God provided them with food in the desert:
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deut 8:3
Our physical hunger shows our physical dependency, and humbles us; it proves our constant need for sustenance from outside of ourselves. In the same way, we are completely spiritually dependent on God for spiritual sustenance. It is not just a trite comment people say in church - we daily need spiritual sustenance from God's Word.

Imagine two armies getting ready for battle: one is well-fed with plenty of provisions, and the other hasn't eaten in a week. Which one will win?

My fight against pornography is a spiritual battle. Jesus taught us by example that in our fight against temptation, we cannot succeed without the sustenance of God's Word:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matt 4:1-4
In this passage, Jesus successfully defends Himself from the devil's temptation by quoting the same Scripture we saw in Deuteronomy above.

In my life, the hardest disciplines to maintain have always been the spiritual disciplines of daily prayer and reading God's Word. But, how can I possibly resist in a moment of temptation if I don't have constant spiritual sustenance? I won't stand a chance. My struggle against pornography is a spiritual fight, and I need spiritual sustenance to have strength for the fight.

THIRD, the right food brings health to the body. As a teenager and young man, I would eat almost anything. As I've grown older, I've learned that many food companies don't actually have my health in mind, they are more interested in their financial success. So, I'm learning more and more about which foods help my body to stay healthy, and which foods help me to feel the best and be most productive.

Pornography is like eating the worst junk food you can buy. It has shiny packaging, but is full of poisonous and cancer-causing ingredients that ruin our spiritual, mental, and social health. Porn rots our souls from the inside out.

The old adage is certainly true: "whatever you feed grows." Consuming pornography twists our thoughts and desires, and the more we snack on it, the more twisted and unhealthy we become.

In comparison, the healthy spiritual sustenance of God's Word can untangle the mess in our minds and hearts, and bring health, peace and lasting satisfaction to our souls. But it may take some time - just reading the Bible for one week does not undo the power of pornography in a person's life. However, daily reading allows God's Word to slowly and steadily renew my mind, refocus my thoughts, and re-align my desires.

TO SUM UP: our daily physical hunger is a picture of our continuous need for spiritual sustenance from God. We need to feed on His Word for spiritual strength in our fight against pornography, as well as for renewal and health in our souls. Will I allow myself to be humbled, and recognize my own dependence, my deep spiritual hunger for God? And will I build daily routines into my life to receive that spiritual sustenance?

[Lately, some of my favorite ways to consistently take in God's Word include using a daily reading plan, and listening to Bible teaching podcasts, such as those by Tim Keller or Brian Brodersen.]

God gave us the gift of physical hunger to remind us of our daily spiritual hunger, our constant need for spiritual sustenance from Him.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Beauty - Genesis 1:6-10

Photo: marionfaria on flickr
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day. And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:6-10 NIV84

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים יְהִ֥י רָקִ֖יעַ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַמָּ֑יִם וִיהִ֣י מַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין מַ֖יִם לָמָֽיִם׃ וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִים֮ אֶת־הָרָקִיעַ֒ וַיַּבְדֵּ֗ל בֵּ֤ין הַמַּ֨יִם֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ מִתַּ֣חַת לָרָקִ֔יעַ וּבֵ֣ין הַמַּ֔יִם אֲשֶׁ֖ר מֵעַ֣ל לָרָקִ֑יעַ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ וַיִּקְרָ֧א אֱלֹהִ֛ים לָֽרָקִ֖יעַ שָׁמָ֑יִם וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם שֵׁנִֽי׃ פ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים יִקָּו֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֨יִם֙ אֶל־מָק֣וֹם אֶחָ֔ד וְתֵרָאֶ֖ה הַיַּבָּשָׁ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ לַיַּבָּשָׁה֙ אֶ֔רֶץ וּלְמִקְוֵ֥ה הַמַּ֖יִם קָרָ֣א יַמִּ֑ים וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ 

On the second day of creation, God created the sky, and in the first half of the third day He formed the land and seas.

Who is not amazed by the beauty of a fiery sunset on the beach where the ocean, land and sky all meet? Who is not awed and inspired by stunning views of snow-capped peaks, sun-kissed valleys, and even sand-blown desert landscapes?

The majestic beauty of creation captures our attention, awakens our emotions, and sparks the centers of enjoyment in our brain. Our eyes love to take it all in, and our hearts long for more. This inner drive is why a hotel room with a view is more expensive than one without a view - people value beauty.

Beauty is not an end in itself, however. Beauty always reflects its creator. Beautiful art, whether it be music, painting, sculpture, or other art form, always causes us to appreciate the skill of the artist. The same is meant to happen in nature: the beauty of nature is meant to trigger in us a deep sense of appreciation for its Artist - for God. Even more so, if we look objectively at our innate ability to appreciate and enjoy beauty, the recognition of this capacity itself should awaken in us a gratitude and admiration for the One who built it into our design.

Simply put, beauty awakens a sense of worship within us, and the fitting recipient of that worship is God.

Sadly, many people do not give God appreciation and gratitude for the beauty of His creation. Even worse, there are those who twist and misuse our God-given desire for beauty. Pornography is an abuse of our God-given capacity to enjoy beauty.

In the normal routine of our daily lives, many of us are starved for beauty. We don’t watch enough sunsets. We don’t see enough mountains. We don’t take time to lay on our backs and look at the clouds in the sky. Often, the most “beautiful” things we see on any given day, come to us through the glowing pixels of our screens. And even then, it’s a millisecond glimpse of a sunset someone else saw, just another image in the mindless endless scroll. This will never satisfy our innate desire for beauty.

Pornography appeals to our unmet needs for beauty, and offers us a cheap and easy “quick fix.” God designed the naked human form to be an incredible source of visual pleasure. However, God designed this enjoyment to take place within a two-way, loving relationship between one man and one woman. This two-way relationship is completely lacking in pornography, and what is meant to be a mutual enjoyment is twisted into a cheap, selfish imitation.

Pornography shapes our minds’ understanding of beauty in several unhealthy ways:
  • First, porn subversively twists our concept of beauty into something that cannot be attained in real life, replacing God’s ideal of beauty with a false image that can only be found in pornography. Then, we become trapped, because the only way to see more of that false image is by viewing more pornography.
  • Second, porn subtly convinces us that we should be allowed to visually enjoy all bodies, not just the body of our marriage partner. Our perception of all those around us becomes degraded, and we view people as objects meant to serve our needs. But, real people around us do not agree to this objectification, and so the only way our toxic entitlement can be fulfilled is by consuming more pornography.
  • Third, porn degrades the inner purpose of our desire for beauty. Beauty should increase our appreciation for the Artist who made it, and should result in worship of God. Instead, porn teaches us to place our own selfish needs above all else, and we begin to worship our desires themselves, rather than the One who created those desires.
In these ways and more, pornography does violence to our God-given appreciation of beauty.

Most visual beauty on earth is intended for all people to enjoy, from sunsets to mountain peaks. But some beauty is only meant to be enjoyed within certain contexts, and is only a true source of joy within those contexts. Part of  healthy marriage intimacy is the mutual visual enjoyment of each other’s bodies, shared exclusively with each other, and enjoyed by no one else.

God has created us with a deep inner capacity for enjoyment of visual beauty. This appreciation of beauty is meant to lead us to Him. Am I willing to accept His purposes for beauty, and accept the boundaries He has set for my visual enjoyment? Am I willing to denounce the lies of pornography, and only fulfill my need for beauty in healthy ways?
God loves beautiful things, and He created us with a high capacity for the appreciation and enjoyment of beauty. Our God-given need for beauty is best satisfied within His guidelines.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Light - Genesis 1:2-5

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. Genesis 1:2-5 NIV

וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃ וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י א֑וֹר וַֽיְהִי־אֽוֹר׃ וַיַּ֧רְא אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶת־הָא֖וֹר כִּי־ט֑וֹב וַיַּבְדֵּ֣ל אֱלֹהִ֔ים בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֥ין הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ׃ וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ לָאוֹר֙ י֔וֹם וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ קָ֣רָא לָ֑יְלָה וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם אֶחָֽד׃ פ

The first thing God created was light. He created the phenomenon of physical light before He created any light source, including the sun and stars. So, on the first day, how could there have been evening and morning? What was the source of that light? There is only one possible solution - God Himself was the first source of light.

Clearly, God is the ultimate source of spiritual light, as 1 John 1:5 says: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” And so, significantly, God was the first source of physical light in our universe as well. His light shone into the cold, lifeless chaos, and by His Word, He created order, warmth, and life.

In human experience, darkness is the absence of light. When a light is turned on, the darkness of the room is vanquished, and all that was previously hidden is exposed. Immediately, we can discern the dimensions of the room, its layout, and its contents.

Pornography is born in darkness, in hiding. Porn producers hide their abuse of their actors. Porn actors hide their true identities from the world, as well as their true emotions during filming. Porn users hide their actions and addictions. Porn websites hide their motives, as well as their ways of tracking us. And behind the entire enterprise of pornography lurks the hidden slow destruction of humankind’s ability to enjoy healthy, loving, committed human relationships.

Why are all these things hidden? Because no matter which way we approach pornography, from a user or producer, our inner compass knows that we should be ashamed of these things. However, the more a person ignores and silences their inner compass, the more they become “hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2 NIV). So, there are those whose conscience has been seared and who flaunt their connection to porn. But still, most people know intuitively that porn is shameful, damaging, and immoral behavior, and they instinctively hide it.

In my life, porn has been like a hidden toxin, which others may not know is there, but they certainly feel its effects. It secretly poisons my attitudes, my words, and my heart; and I treat others around me with a coldness they do not deserve and did not earn.

God’s light is able to expose these fatal hidden poisons in my life, if I will allow it. But, shining a light directly onto my own sin and failure is extremely uncomfortable. It lays bare my shame, my lack of self-control, my evil desires, my selfishness, and my indifference. This is a painful process.

Thankfully, light does not only expose hidden things - it also brings life. A physical example is our sun, as NASA says:
“Nothing is more important to us on Earth than the Sun. Without the Sun's heat and light, the Earth would be a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock. The Sun warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food and oxygen for life on Earth.”
Spiritually, this same principle is true. Do I want spiritual warmth and spiritual life? Then I need spiritual light. God is the source of spiritual light. He has shown this light most perfectly in the words and actions of His Son, Jesus.

Do I have the courage to come to God’s light, and ask Him to expose the hidden evils in my life? Do I have the bravery to suffer this shame, for the sake of the new life that His light can bring?
As the source of spiritual light, God can bring light into our darkness, and give us warmth and life in place of our cold and hardened hearts.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Origins - Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Genesis 1:1
בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ

One of the most important questions of humanity is: "What is my purpose?" Of all the living organisms that roam this beautiful planet, only human beings spend their energies in seeking the meaning of their existence.

Our search for purpose is intricately tied to understanding our origins. The answer to the question "Where did I come from?" deeply affects our decisions today. We walk along a constantly moving seam between the past and the future. At the very same moment, we are trying to understand the past, as well as making decisions for the future, whether immediate or long-term. My understanding of my past is inextricably intertwined with my understanding of my purpose and meaning today.

But, at some point, I must recognize the obvious fact that I have neither the capacity nor the vantage point to correctly comprehend the past. In addition, my view of the future is sadly plagued with inaccuracy. So, I have no choice but to be dependent on someone outside of myself to provide perspective and guidance.

In any type of large industry, the people who design the products are not usually the ones who actually make those products. I have often heard God referred to as the "Intelligent Designer." However, God is not only the Designer, but also the Maker of this world. He not only wrote the plans; He also put them into action.

If God is the Designer and the Maker, then He has the blueprints that I need in order to understand my place here. Only He can clarify for me the answers to my most basic questions: who am I?, what is my purpose?, and where am I going?

But, what does all this have to do with pornography?? Everything.

Pornography is a completely broken mechanism for human relationships. Healthy, fulfilling relationships involve self-sacrifice, partnership and commitment. Unhealthy, broken relationships are built on selfishness, exploitation, and indifference. Pornography is an obvious symptom of unhealthiness.

As my Designer, God has all the vital information, the original design found in His blueprints, to know how to fix my brokenness. As my Maker, He also has the strength and skill to help me change. And most importantly, He also has the desire to help, because of His vested love for His creation.

The question is: do I have the humility to come to Him with my need? Or will I continue to foolishly force my way forward without Him, pretending that I am a god, despite the obvious and constant proof to the contrary?

As Designer and Maker, God is the only One who has the design knowledge and necessary skill to fix our brokenness.