But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. - Matthew 5:28
In the world of youth ministry, lust is a huge issue. Youth pastors are constantly hammering the boys to keep their eyes in their heads and not to think dirty thoughts about girls. They are also constantly hammering the girls about modest dress and making sure that they are not causing their Christian "brothers" to stumble by the clothing they wear. And this is not without a good reason. Like I said, lust is a huge issue. Porn addiction is extremely prevalent in young men...and young women.
There has been a great deal of controversy of late about a series of books that detail a very graphic sexual relationship. I have not read them and have no desire to. The controversy arises from the fact that many women in churches are reading these books and talking about how much they enjoy them. To me (and many others) this is the equivalent of a guy openly discussing how much he enjoys looking at Playboy or some other porn magazine.
The same thing has been done with a movie about the world of male strippers. Again, I have not seen the movie. But imagine the backlash that would arise if the boys in our youth groups were openly discussing a movie about female strippers or porn stars. We would have them and their parents at the altar confessing before the band could play the first chord.
I guess what set me off (and caused me to write this post) is my sadness over what I perceive to be a double-standard when it comes to lust. For some reason, it is horrendous when a young man talks about sex or posts a picture of a girl in a bikini on his Facebook, but many will give a pass to a young woman who posts pictures of half-naked men. I can't tell you how many Christian women I know who post inappropriate pictures and clips to their Facebook pages and Pinterest boards.
The book of Proverbs talks about adultery being like taking fire into your jacket. You aren't going to escape without getting burned. Our young men are bombarded with sexual images and many are falling into the trap. Our young women are having the same thing done to them, but no one seems to be making a big deal about it. It is a big deal!
Lust is lust, regardless of who is doing it. Men, we do need to be careful about what we are looking and watching. We need to be careful where we allow our thoughts to go and we need to capture every thought for the glory of God. But at the same time, women, it is important that you are doing the same. Just because a book doesn't have pictures doesn't mean it isn't causing you to lust. And the excuse of "Women aren't turned on by visual images" doesn't really hold water in this argument. If that was the case, the movie about the strippers and the pictures on Pinterest wouldn't be so popular. There is too much at stake to even allow the smallest amount of lust into our lives.
John Owen, a Puritan preacher, had this to say: "Be killing sin or it will be killing you."