How to NOT Persevere - by King Solomon, the Sex Addict
The 1969 Chicago Cubs began the season at a sizzling pace, winning 11 of their first 12 games. To the delight of their playoff-starved fans, the Cubs had built a 9 ½-game lead over the upstart New York Mets by mid-August. It seemed as though the Cubs would coast into the playoffs yet, inexplicably, that’s when the freefall began. In a matter of two weeks, their once unassailable lead had dwindled to two games. Rather than regroup at that point and fight back, the Cubs continued to plummet. By the end of the season, the choking team from the Windy City finished 8 games behind the surging Mets, the eventual world champions. It was arguably the worst collapse a Major League Baseball team has ever experienced.
The baseball season, extended over a grueling 162-game schedule, allows for the inevitable surges and slumps that come with the game and provides ample time for the quality teams to rise to the top. A strong charge at the beginning of the season certainly helps establish a winning attitude and good habits in the clubhouse. However, dashing out ahead of the pack can also bring with it the danger of complacency.
And so it is with the Christian life. So many times we have witnessed an enthusiastic new believer rush out—Bible in hand—sharing his spiritual discoveries with anyone who will listen to him, only to find him completely backslidden a year later. The fact is that the Christian life is not a 50-yard dash; it is a long marathon.
Despite Solomon’s vast wisdom, he never seemed to grasp this essential truth, making his life certainly one of the most tragic failures found in Scripture. Though raised in what must have been one of the godliest homes ever, Solomon was ill-prepared to face the one source of temptation that nearly destroyed his father: SEX! The Israelite king made the classic mistake of using his position to multiply sex partners for himself—reminiscent of today’s Christian man who does the same through pornography. Solomon’s life illustrates four important spiritual principles that are worth noting.
1. Lust is never satisfied—ever
At the height of Solomon’s fame, he had 300 wives and 700 concubines, yet in Ecclesiastes he wrote, “Better is the sight of the eye than the wandering of the desire. This also is grasping for the wind.” In a modern sense, no matter how many sexual images a man views, he will never find fulfillment through illicit sex. In my book, At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry, I wrote the following:
“Lustful living is hellish living. Again, lust is demanding and never satisfied. The more one feeds the beast, the more ravenous it becomes. Perhaps the allergic reaction to poison ivy would illustrate the intense craving for immorality some are consumed by. The body becomes covered with a rash which incites intense itching. If the person scratches the infected area, he risks the possibility of making it worse and spreading it to other parts of his body. If he does not scratch it, he feels as though he might go insane! Yet, even if he grated it with a metal file, a few minutes later it would itch all the more.”
2. Habitual immorality always leads the person into the Kingdom of Darkness
We are told that “when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord…” (1 Kings 11:4)
So it is with the Christian porn addict. He thinks he is safely dabbling on the edges of Satan’s kingdom. Though he tells himself that he is in control and can stop his behavior whenever necessary, it is all part of the deception of sin. Just like undercurrents pulling an empty bottle out to sea, so too the porn addict does not realize that he is being dragged inexorably into the Kingdom of Darkness.
3. Sin always demands total allegiance from its abuser
Solomon likely made a regular pretense of worshipping at the newly constructed Temple of Jehovah, but the high places to demonic gods erected on the Mt. of Olives—directly across the Kidron Valley—revealed the truth about his heart: he had become an idolater, forsaking the Living God.
It is much the same for the modern man who sings hymns to God on Sunday while viewing the filthy images of pornography during the week. In utter delusion, he convinces himself that he loves the Lord but just has a “struggle” with porn. This exaggeration of one’s spiritual life coupled with minimization of sin is another typical aspect of sin’s deceitful nature. If he were healed of his spiritual blindness, he would realize the awful truth—that he has given his heart to the enemy. He might persuade himself into believing that he is truly following Christ while also living in debauchery and deception, but Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters.” The notion that we can live simultaneously in God’s and Satan’s kingdoms is absurd. It is a spiritual impossibility.
4. Without true repentance, apostasy is the inevitable outcome
This is the last, but most sobering, principle. The very fact that the high places remained perched atop the Hill of Transgression for years to come indicates that Solomon died an apostate. What a tragedy! His ship was entering the harbor. The port was in sight. But in spite of the warning beacons all around, his faith suffered shipwreck in the final years of his life.
Thankfully, it is never too late for a backslider to repent. But, the worst mistake one can make, in any season of life, is to put this repentance off until a more convenient time. The truth is that the longer one remains in sin, the more calloused and unreachable becomes the heart.
Yes, there is a reason God made this life a marathon—a 162-game season. Our life in this world is a trial—a test to prove whether or not we truly love Him. Perseverance and endurance (which the ’69 Chicago Cubs failed to maintain) are essential components of the Christian experience. With the playoffs in sight and the pennant race on the line, the Cubs folded up, leaving their devoted fans feeling disappointed and disillusioned.
We too have a race before us and fans cheering us on. Perhaps this is what the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus...” (12:1-2) The race is only for this short life. The stakes: life-and-death. The prize at the end: eternal life with Jesus.
Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.
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