Think back to your days as a teen. Were you compliant or rebellious? Did you desire to grow up quickly and demand to be treated as a man or were you content to regard your adolescent years as the transitional period that they are in our culture?
A common argument among teenagers and their parents inevitably involves the statement, “I’m not a little kid anymore!” For students, the idea of growing up involves ultimate freedom with no boundaries and no one telling you what to do. To them, the grass on the other side of 18 or 21 is very green and lush. It’s often only in adulthood that the relationship between responsibility and freedom is learned and sometimes not even then.
What many young people fail to realize is that boundaries don’t limit our freedom. They protect it. After all, who is more free? The dog inside of a fence or the one lost or hit by a car out on his own? Who is more free? The 17-year-old high school senior or the 17-year-old father?
When it comes to sexuality, the world tells us that anything goes. When it comes to sex, the world bases manhood and maturity on conquest. Both are a result of the fall. Both are distortions of what God and His Word teach. Read Ephesians 5:3-4.
3 But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. 4 Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.
Some translations of verse 3 read that there should not even be a “hint” of sexual immorality among you.
Affairs don’t just happen. Jon Acuff calls them slow burning candles with “wicks a mile long full of little steps and compromises” that lead to immorality.
Affairs don’t start in the hotel room. They start at the water cooler. They build over texts and phone calls. They burn closer over coffee, then dinner. It’s hard to imagine a man who just wakes up one morning and decides, “I’d like to cheat on my wife today. I wonder if I know a gal who might be interested in joining me.” You might venture to say that most extramarital affairs end with a husband claiming that he doesn’t know how it happened or that he never meant for it to go that far.
Read James 1:14-15.
14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
There is no more powerful picture of how sin happens in our lives than this image in James. The evil desires are in us because we are natural born sinners. But being drawn away and enticed is an option. Proper safeguards and boundaries in your life can help you say no to being drawn away.
Ask God to protect you from sin and to give you the wisdom and willpower to protect yourself.
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DR. ERIC MASON is the founder and pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, PA. He and his wife, Yvette, have four children. After more than two decades of gospel ministry, Dr. Mason has become known for his passion to see the glory of Jesus Christ robustly and relevantly engaged in broken cities with the comprehensive gospel. He helps coach and train families to plant churches locally, nationally, and internationally. He is the founder and president of Thriving, an urban resource organization committed to developing leaders for ministry in the urban context, and is the author of three books, Manhood Restored, Beat God to the Punch, and Unleashed. He is the recipient of multiple earned degrees, including a BS in Psychology from Bowie State University, a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctoral degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.