Every one of us, every day, are bombarded with advertisements – TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Billboards, Internet ads, etc. We can not help but ‘see’ and/or ‘hear’ them. They are a ‘normal’ (sad but true) part of our environment. What we DO with these messages, however, is OUR choice.
Let me share somethings with you from personal experience. First, my precious husband, shortly after we were married, started bringing me the newspaper and the mail BEFORE he would look at it – why? To pull out the advertisements or flyers or whatever catalogs that might contain pictures of women in their undergarments and/or swimsuits. At first I must admit that I was a wee bit taken aback at his request, but then he sat down and opened up his heart to me. (I have his full permission to share this, by the way – if it helps someone in their faith walk – that is ALL that matters.)
He told me that being single for so very many years (almost 30), he had began to actually view those advertisements like some people would view porn. They are simply ads to help women select which stores to shop at, which styles they might like to try; but to him, it was so much more. It showed skin. It affected him as a male. I have the greatest respect for him for sharing this with me, and I complied.
Second, from my own life – years ago, I struggled with physical desires a lot – I would read books that were quite graphic (although most would think them fairly ‘harmless’) to me they stirred up emotions that I should not have entertained. I was listening to soap operas, movies that showed a lot of physical contact (not X rated, but close enough to drag my thoughts the wrong direction). I learned that “garbage in / garbage out” was a truth that I needed to grasp on to in order to get my life completely on the right track with Christ. I stopped reading EVERYTHING that was not Christ centered / faith based. I stopped listening to anything except Christian and Classical music. I stopped watching soap operas (that was hard – they are SO addicting). It did not happen overnight, but there was a change in my life, emotions, thought patterns, etc. as I developed different feeding habits for my soul. I then learned how to start taking captive the thoughts that came at me, trying to entice me back to my old behaviors. With God’s help, that battle was won! Hallelujah!
Thirdly, again from my own life – and this one is still a struggle – food. I have been heavy my whole life, I used food to medicate myself for so many years. I no longer do that and am working towards a much healthier lifestyle. It is the same method that I used with the above mentioned example. We MUST learn to change our thought patterns. We MUST bring ourselves in line with God’s Word, and His plan for our lives. Holy Spirit lives within us and does help us – but – we MUST be willing to ask and even more willing to be obedient to His instructions. I know that ‘food’ will be something I no longer will have a daily struggle with – praise God!
Video games . . . most people do enjoy a game or two once in a while – I am not saying that is bad at all. My husband play chess with people all around the world – he’s on a christian league, and it is a great witness tool he has to help share his faith with the nonbelievers his league is sometimes matched up with. I myself love word games. But, there are games out there that are so graphic – provocative and also full of very detailed blood and guts that it can only stir up lust and hatred within those who are addicted to them.
Friends – people we associate with – they, too, can lead us down a different path than that which the Lord intends for us. We need to use wisdom. We need to ask Holy Spirit for guidance. Basically, for me, if their lives do not reflect the same values and Godly principles as those I hold – I will have contact with them, but I will NOT compromise my own beliefs. I could not always do that. I used to be so wrapped up in wanting people to like me. To be accepted by a certain “popular” crowd. Dear ones, that is NOT what we need to focus on. What does God want? He wants ONLY the best for us. It is His heart that we should be concerned about – will we please Him? Will we bring Him glory through our lives, including our relationships?
I am not saying that we won’t ever be tempted in the areas of our weaknesses, we most certainly will, but I am saying that there IS a way to rise above and grow up into the men and women of God that He intends us to be.
1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” NIV
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