February 10 began innocently enough. A quick glance at the sports headlines on CNNSI and then off to the office. I wasn’t quite prepared for the ambush. It was one of those, “I-don’t-know-what-just-hit-me” moments. You wake up with every intent to set your mind on Christ (Col 3:1), but instead your met with a seductive counter-image that takes hours for even the most aggressive captor of thoughts to subdue (2Cor 10:5).  Plastered prominently in a massive heading on the SI homepage was this year’s scantily clad SI Swimsuit Issue cover girl.

This is just one example of how our media-driven culture both victimizes and exploits our sexuality. What happened on the morning of Feb 10 is different than when one’s sexual appetite is aroused and the hunter or huntress is on the prowl to satisfy his or her hunger pangs. That kind of sexual indiscretion fits the mold of the huntress in Proverbs 7:10-21. When we are pursuing sexual gratification outside of God’s boundaries, we aren’t victims. We are perpetrators of blatant, defiant, rebellious sexual immorality.

But sometimes we simply fall prey to the temptation to sin. The kind of ambush I experienced happens all to frequently in American culture because we are a sexually saturated culture. It is becoming increasingly difficult to even visit reputable news homepages because even there we find advertisements for sexual fulfillment and fantasy in the form of dating services, pop culture news blurbs that are often highly sexually-charged, and random advertisements that seduce consumers with sexually suggestive models and poses that often have very little to do with the product itself.

However, the ambush of February 10 wasn’t entirely without purpose. What did I learn on February 10? I learned where the temptresses street corner is. In Proverbs 7:7-8 we learn that the young man who will forfeit his life by eating poisoned apple of sexual pleasure on his terms rather than God’s gives way to temptation, in part, because he is “lacking sense” as he frequents the road near the huntress’ house.

When I go to the beach or to the mall, I know where and what I need to avoid in order to fight for purity of heart (Matt 5:8). When I go to rent a movie, I know that I should read the description in the rating box and should be wary of movies with nudity or pervasive sexuality. When evaluating other forms of media I know to check out a trust resource such as PluggedIn that will give me a balanced review of what objectionable material might be in a film or television show I desire to see.

And now I know at least one other street corner named Desire where my purity might be compromised.

We need to remember that lust isn’t something that resides outside of us, but rather, it is something that is happening within us. This is precisely why you and I need the gospel. However, we must also recognize that there are many things within our culture that would seek to exploit the desires within our hearts, and as such, we should not make it easy for our hearts to give way to our passions.

What should you do when sabotaged by lust – meaning you stumble upon or into a situation where you may be tempted to lust sexually?What can you do in the future to show that you have “sense” and don’t fall prey to sexual impurity again?

  1. When you are innocently sabotaged or ambushed because of your naivity, flee (1Cor 6:18; Gen 39:12). This means close out the web browser immediately. Refuse to take the second glance at the attractive person in your line of sight. Remove yourself from the visual playground that stirs up inappropriate sexual desires in your heart.  The point is clear. Remove yourself from the situation exploiting the desire in your heart.
  2. Learn from the ambush. Refuse to visit websites with sexually-stimulating advertisements. Don’t go to the beach during peak months summer months.  Be aware of idleness.  You are probably already aware of areas of life are a buffet for the passions of your flesh. You probably know the everyday routines and patterns that expose the chinks in your armor in the fight for sexual purity. Starve them out (Rom 6:12cf)!
  3. Remember and apply the Gospel (Micah 7:8-9) when you do sin.