Have you ever paid attention to what that song with the sickest beat is actually saying about women and sex? It's probably worse than you thought. But it’s just a song, what harm could it really do? In this message, we look at the effects of those songs on the world around us and how we can fight the lies and replace them with truth.
Welcome, friends in the room and friends in Fort Worth and in Houston, El Paso, Tulsa, College up in the Loft, all of the different people who are joining us right now from wherever you are. Hey, anyone a big fan of pineapples? Wow. Man, we have to get you guys out more. Here's a little fun fact about pineapples. This probably costs about $2, maybe $3 today, but there was a time in the history of the pineapple where a pineapple would have cost you about $8,000.
There was a time where Columbus discovered the pineapple in the new world, and he brought this fruit back. It was such a luxury item. They'd never seen anything like it before. When Christopher Columbus discovered it, they brought it back to England, and this thing became… Only the elite of the elite had access to a pineapple. It became such a status symbol that people wouldn't even eat the pineapple.
True story. In today's money it would have been the equivalent of $8,000. Think about that. What I'm holding right now, if you back up to the 1600s and 1700s, this thing would be worth more than my car. This thing would be worth in such a way you'd be like, "Oh my gosh. I can't believe that guy has a pineapple." Everyone would gather down front and want to take pictures with the pineapple.
True story. This is not crazy. In fact, there's even a famous picture by King Charles II of England, where in the 1670s he commissioned someone to do a painting of him receiving a pineapple. It's hard to see, but that's what that guy is bent down holding up. "Here's a pineapple for you, sir." This was such a status symbol in the ancient world that people who couldn't afford a pineapple…
There was somebody who was out there who was a hustler who was like, "Hey, we're going to work around that. You may not be able to afford a pineapple, but we will rent you a pineapple that you can take around to parties with you and carry it." No one ate them. They were literally just a status symbol. You'd walk into the house and be like, "Oh my gosh. There's a pineapple on the wall. This is incredible. These guys really have arrived in life. Mama made it. Pineapple."
It's crazy, because today we look at it and we're like, "What?" It's like $2 to $3. No one would keep a pineapple. No one thinks it's that big of a deal. It's almost mind-boggling. Now what does that have to do with what I'm talking about tonight? Well, here's what's interesting. The pineapple hasn't changed. Same fruit, same kind of prickly outside, same top on it. The pineapple hasn't changed; our perspective on it has.
Thanks to the invention of modern agriculture and modern industry, we've been able to mass-produce not just pineapple but all kinds of foods. Because of that, the value of this thing that was once seen as so incredibly valuable has plummeted. The pineapple hasn't changed, just our perspective on it has. I think that's such a great parallel and illustration for what we're going to talk about tonight, which is the topic of sex.
Sex was this thing that was to be this exclusive experience between one man and one woman for life; this thing you would enter into with a spouse, with a husband or a wife, that you would never have to wonder if they were comparing you to someone else, because you were the only someone they'd ever been with; this thing that you never had to worry, "Am I going to get an STD with this person?" and this thing that was of such incredible value that God created and gave to be experienced exclusively, something incredibly valuable.
We live in a culture that has so devalued this thing. Sex hasn't changed; our perspective on it has. We're in a series called Lyrics and Lies, and tonight we're going to cover a topic that is wreaking havoc on our country, on many of us in the room, on all of our lives at some point in some way. We've all been impacted by the devaluing of sex that has taken place in culture all around us. Particularly, tonight we're going to talk about some of the lies we've been sold about sex in the songs we sing, in the songs we hear, in the songs that really shaped us as we grew up.
We're in this series called Lyrics and Lies: Anthems. It's essentially looking back the last 10 to 15 years, where we explore some of the songs that shaped so much of our growing up. Maybe it was your high school. Maybe these songs came out when you were in junior high. Just kind of anthems that our generation has rallied around, big hits. We all know the songs. Some of them were our ringtones at some point in time.
They were that song that brings back junior year or that someone. Looking at different lies that were contained in some of them. Tonight, we're going to talk about… I could pick any song like this, and it's going to hit something with a sexual lie inside of it. It just seems to be what all of them are about. Here's one that is probably as famous as any song, and I may go on record to say maybe the best beat in the twenty-first century.
Great beats. The 2000s took first place for sharing the beats, but they introduced something that has been toxic around the topic of sex. I could literally pick any song. Think about so many of the songs that were famous: "Thong Song" by Sisqo, "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child, "Shake Your Tail Feather" by Murphy Lee, "My Chick Bad" by Ludacris, "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne, "Hot in Herre" by Nelly, "Candy Shop," "Disco Inferno," "Blurred Lines," "Get Low," "Milkshake."
Something happened. We went in the 90s from, "I want it that way" to "To the window, to the wall!" and I'm going to stop there. It's like, "Dude, wow. That escalated quickly." All of a sudden, culture became so sexualized. Truly. It just exploded, whatever the song, and it only gets worse. Our team was talking today about some of the songs out today, and it's like, man, we have become so desensitized as a culture.
Songs that our parents or our grandparents would have heard and been like, "Oh my gosh," are just kind of like, "It's awesome. It's a great beat." It's almost disturbing how desensitized we've all (myself included) become to some of the message. It's audio porn, especially some of the songs that are coming out today, when you look at "FEFE" or everything Nicki Minaj has ever put out or Post Malone stuff. It's sad.
Is it any wonder at a time in our world…? We live in such weird times, because on the one hand, everything is so sexualized. I can't even read some of the lyrics, because it's like, "Oh my gosh, I'm uncomfortable. I'm your pastor. I can't read this to you." At the same time, it's clear that there's such dysfunctional sexual behavior that has plagued and is still plaguing so many of the lives in our country.
We live in a time where between Lil Jon and Lil Wayne putting out "Get Low," and then you have Harvey Weinstein and everything going on with the #MeToo movement. We live in a time where rape levels today… According to Meg Meeker in her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, 11.9 percent of females will experience forced intercourse in their lives. We live in a time where STDs among the Millennial generation are spiking back up. There had been a tremendous decline, and for the first time in the past couple of decades they're back on the rise.
Where divorce and marriages have been eroded or destroyed because of sexual unfaithfulness of a partner, where a million children will be aborted in 2018 because of sex outside of the context of marriage and an unwanted pregnancy. That's 3,000 children a day in our country, just our country. In a time where sex outside of marriage is so responsible for not just abortion but also for single-parent homes, for the very first time, a majority, 54 percent, of children will be raised in a single-parent household.
Sex has clearly had all kinds of catastrophic impact on our lives, and we sing it and celebrate it, and these musicians promote it, and inside of the music are such deep, destructive, and toxic lies. We're going to talk about a couple of them tonight. Specifically, what's interesting and challenging about this subject is there are a lot of lies contained in some of these songs, but there's a message consistently projected to the men and consistently projected to the women, and they're slightly different.
It's important to distinguish them, because I think they impact each of us in different ways among the lines of men and women. I'm going to talk first about the lies that are being told to men, and then I want to look at some of the lies that are being told to women, and then I want to look at some of the remedies from God's Word that we're told in response to these lies that we can live by.
So, first, let's talk about the lies that are coming to men. That's, as clearly or as simply as I could put it, that women are sex objects. This is every song, whether it's "Shake Your Tail Feather," "In Da Club," or Akon's "Smack That," that "Women are here for sex. You should sleep with them. You should have sex with whoever, whenever, as often as you can, however. Women essentially are there to provide for men. You should see them as sex objects."
What do I mean by that? Look at Ludacris in Usher's well-known song "Yeah!" I'm just going to read some of his lyrics. When you stop and read them you're like, "Oh wow! Man, I can't believe you said that." So I'll read them and kind of unpack.
…my outfit's ridiculous
In the club lookin' so conspicuous.
He's proud of his outfit.
And rowl! these women all on the prowl
If you hold the head steady I'm-a milk the cow.
I'm not even going to go into that, because that's a sexual innuendo I'm uncomfortable even reading.
Forget about the game, I'm-a spit the truth,
I won't stop till I get 'em in their birthday suits.
I don't think he means suits with balloons on the outside. I think he means naked.
So gimme the rhythm and it'll be off with their clothes,
Then bend over to the front and touch your toes,
I left the Jag and I took the Rolls,
If they ain't cutting, then I put 'em on foot patrol.
Basically, "I'm not going to stop until they get their clothes off, and if they won't comply, they can walk and not have a ride in the car."
How you like me now,
When my pinky's valued over three hundred thousand.
He has a big ring.
Let's drink you the one to please
Ludacris fills cups like double D's.
I have no idea other than he's clearly talking about boobs.
Me and Ush once more and we leave 'em dead,
We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed.
Then you look at songs like "Blurred Lines" and T.I.'s part of that song.
So I'm just watching and waitin'
For you to salute the true big pimpin'
Not many women can refuse this pimpin'
I'm a nice guy, but don't get confused, this is pimpin'.
"I don't want there to be any confusion here. I am here to use you for sex," T.I. says. Or "Right Thurr." We played it earlier.
I like the way you look in them pants, see ya fine,
Your momma a quarter piece, she far from a dime.
I'm not sure why he even goes there.
The type of girl that'll getcha up and go make you grind,
I'm thinkin' about snatchin' her up, dirty, makin' her mine,
Look at her hips (what?) look at her legs, ain't she stacked?
I sure wouldn't mind hittin' that from the back.
There is a clear message in each one of these songs that women are sex objects to be lusted over or to sleep with if you can. It is so toxic. It seems like these are extreme things, but when you think about the ways that men, myself included… You are being bombarded every day with this lie that women are sex objects. It feels like, "Oh, that's a little extreme. Am I really being bombarded?" Just think about the way sex has been so commercialized in our culture.
The pornography epidemic, which only feeds into this, which is a bigger business industry than ABC, NBC, and CBS combined, bigger than the NFL, bigger than the NBA. One-third of Internet traffic is pornography. All of it's feeding into this. Even, candidly, the hyper-sexualization that you can't escape, men, and neither can I. What do I mean by that? Imagine if you lived in a time, in a world where the very first time you ever saw a woman in her underwear or in a bikini was on your wedding night.
You can't live in that world. Society around us has taken that option. I can't drive down the highway without seeing a woman in a bikini. You can't turn on TV. You can't watch a commercial without seeing cleavage thrust in front of you. So I have deep sympathy, but I want us to all be on the same page and know that there is a war, and you are under an attack by an Enemy who wants to take you out and wants to take that sex drive and let it drive your life to pornography, to abuse, to introducing sex into a relationship, to one-night stands.
I don't even think we realize how immersed we are in the sexualization that has taken place all around us. It is so far from the biblical values we're to have, and it's a tragedy that we're so far. What do I mean by biblical values? Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:2, "This is what I want the young men to do: I want younger men to treat older women as mothers and young women as sisters, with absolute purity."
In our culture around us that chastises men who clearly abuse, clearly follow the lies the culture is feeding us… That's what Harvey Weinstein is doing. It's disgusting. Let's be clear. But he's logically following the message that the men inside of this room are being fed every single day. I'm going to talk about what we do in response to that, but it's clearly what's happening. Essentially, what we're being told, what the music we listen to tells us, what so many of the messages you hear is, "Hey, women are something you use, and then when you're done with it, you trade it in or get rid of it." Essentially, "Hey, treat women like a rental car."
A rental car is something you use, you keep it for a time, but then when you're done with it you get rid of it. You don't really pour time and energy into it. No one in the room has ever gone and gotten an oil change on their rental car. Can we agree there? No one is like, "You know, I was going to take this back to Hertz, but I'm going to get the car washed, clean this thing up a little." No. Everyone is like, "I don't care. I left trash all over it. I get the insurance, and I drive it any way I want." That is what culture is saying men are to do as it relates to women.
Is there any wonder how messed up our society is around this issue? The lie that's being told to women is just as toxic. What do I mean by that? The second idea I want to talk about tonight is the lie that's being told to women, which is you, ladies, should use your body to get what you want, whether that's in the way you dress, in the way you dance, in the way you look, in sex. Use your body.
Men are being told to use women; women are being told, "Use your body to get what you want." You read songs. There are so many different examples, but one we just heard from, from The Black Eyed Peas, "My Humps."
My love, my love, my love, my love,
You love my lady lumps,
My hump, my hump, my hump,
My humps they got you.
She's got me spending.
Oh, spending all your money on me
And spending time on me.
She's got me spending.
Oh, spending all your money on me
Uh, on me, on me.
Whatcha gonna do with all that junk
All that junk inside that trunk?
I'm-a get, get, get, get you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
"I'm going to use it to lure you in. I'm going to use it as bait and intoxicate you." Or Kelis, "Milkshake."
My milkshake [my body and the way it moves] brings all the boys to the yard…
I'm not sure which yard she's talking about.
And they're like,
It's better than yours,
Right, it's better than yours
I can teach you
But I have to charge.
I know you want it,
The thing that makes me
What the guys go crazy for.
They lose their minds
The way I wind,
I think it's time.
The message, essentially, to women is similar. It's essentially, "Hey, the guys out there, they are crazy about women and their curves and their bodies. You should use that to your advantage, use it to get the things you want," whether the things you want are like "I just want free drinks tonight" or attention from that guy over there. "He's kind of cute. I'm going to pose in a certain way."
It may not even be in terms of a relationship. It may be like use it to get out of a ticket. I'm flirting. Wink, wink, and here we go. Use it to get a job. You should use your body to get what you want. It may just be you had a hard day and you want some attention or affirmation, and that's okay. It is a lie, and it's furthering the divide and making the problem worse. On both sides it's broken. On both sides it's a lie.
The reason "Use your body as bait to get a guy" is so dangerous (I'm going to try to be clear) is it will work. If you use your body as bait to get a guy, it's going to work. I don't think you're going to like the guy you're going to get, but if you use your body as bait, it's going to work. There's a guy out there who would love to take that bait.
I don't know if we have many fishers in the room. I'm not a huge fisherman. I have family that loves to fish. One thing I do know, having spent time with fishermen, is that the bait you choose to use will determine the fish you catch. I'm glad everyone came. In case you don't feel like you're getting your money's worth, how about that? The bait you use, in terms of whether it's a worm or a piece of meat or hot dog or whatever it is, will determine the fish you catch.
All of the fishermen are like, "Did he say 'hot dog' right now? He has no idea what he's talking about." But he is accurate in that the bait you use determines the fish you catch. The bait you use will determine the type of guy you're going to catch. As your brother in Christ, as someone who is deeply concerned and cares about you sisters, I do not think you're going to like the guy you catch. If your body is your bait, you're going to catch a guy who wants you for your body, which means he will trade you in for another body as soon as possible.
Let me say it a little bit more clearly. If you catch a guy because of your boobs, you will lose him because of your boobs to some other girl. You are going to attract a type of guy you do not want. If you play the game of "I'm going to dress a certain way; I'm going to take pictures in a certain way to show off and accentuate," you're going to get attention, for sure. I just don't think you're going to get attention from the type of guys you're going to want long term, from the type of guys who are following Jesus wholeheartedly.
I think the biggest temptation in the room from my friends who are ladies here is that there's something almost vindicating… The temptation is like, "I'm going to use my body to get back some of the control, because I sit here, and there are a bunch of guys, and they don't ask out. They just kind of sit on their hands. They're all passive, so I'm going to take action, and I'm going to get out there."
Not just that. There's also like, "Guys can be total jerks. They don't call me back. They tell me they're going to do something, and they don't. So I can come out here, and it feels empowering to dress a certain way, get attention in a certain way." It's a response because of being hurt. There's a temptation, essentially, to be like, "I'm going to put myself in the driver's seat in how I dress, how I look, and how I behave."
Tragically, the answer is not to try to put yourself in the driver's seat by the way you dress or with your sexuality. The answer is to change the people you're driving in the car with. There are godly men out there who are not looking for you to dress in a certain way, wear a certain level of clothes. If those are the guys you're hanging out with, you're hanging out with the wrong guys. You may be thinking, "Duh, that's all guys out there." You are hanging out in the wrong spots.
To be clear, there are a lot of guys inside of this room who are like that. They're looking for bait, and they want to zoom in, and they're running toward whatever fits the curves or the humps they're looking for. That's in this room, but there are a lot of godly men in this room. There are a lot of godly men out there who are not looking for curves; they're looking for a woman who has character. If you date someone and the reason they're attracted to you is simply your curves, you are dating someone who is with you because of a depreciating asset. He's dating you because of something that is not going to last.
If you date a guy just because of the way he looks, you're dating someone for a depreciating asset, something that's not going to last. Gravity wins on all of us. It just does. Can I get an amen from somebody over 28? Thank you. It's like, "Dang! My back is hurting, and all I did was dry off out of the shower. I'm so old." At the same time, I am so sorry for the guys who have mistreated the girls in this room. They may not even have been here, but you didn't deserve that. Sadly, it's all too common an experience.
At the same time, the answer is not to take back control and get in the driver's seat by seeking to use your body to get what you want. The answer is to surround yourself with people following Jesus, and you follow Jesus. That problem is likely to fix itself. Will there be wolves? Is there someone who could appear on the outside like they're following Jesus? Yes. But you will tremendously increase your chances of dating the wrong guy or the wrong girl if you date outside of God's people and don't date in community with other believers inside of your life speaking into that.
Candidly, I have a daughter who's 12 weeks old now, and my heart breaks for her and for so many girls in this room. It is disgusting the sexualization of women. My heart, candidly, is fearful over the temptation she's going to feel, that she needs to behave a certain way, have some sort of sexual experience, all of the temptations that are going to rush in because of all of the messages that are being fed to you every day about how you need to look, how sexual you need to be. "Be a virgin, but also be a lady in the street and a freak in the bed." All of the different things that are so messed up.
I want you to know that the answer is not living according to what the world says. Anytime we bring sex outside of what God's Word says and bring it in line with what the world says, we always bring scars into our lives. What do I mean by that? I was reading a book this past week, and inside of the book it was drawing a parallel between how sharks, when they mate or have sex, have scars that happen on their body…
Basically, the book was saying how you can identify a female great white shark or shark in general, and you can tell if she's of mating age because she'll have scars on the side of her body. The male shark has to hold on somehow, so he'll bite onto the female shark, and it leaves scars behind. Interestingly enough, the female shark's skin is twice as thick as the male shark's because of that. So you can see on sharks (you can look it up later…or now…or not) these scars that basically communicate sex. Sex brings scars.
The reason that's so profound is it's not just with sharks that sex brings scars; it's with all of us. Not just physically on the outside. Usually not. Maybe that's possible, but emotionally, spiritually, mentally. What do I mean by scars? Think about it. When I think about scars, I think about the family friend whose entire family disintegrated after their dad's sexual sin was exposed. That's a scar sex brought.
I think about the friend who was molested by a family member at a young age. Scar. Some of the deepest wounds inside of this room, I know, are from sex, and they're scars. Anytime sex is introduced outside of the context of marriage, scars. I think about the friend who was raped by a stranger in her own home. Scar. I think about the friend whose wife struggles with sexual intimacy because of the shame of her past and the memories it brings up. That's a scar.
I think about the friend who got pregnant after casually hooking up with a guy and had an abortion, and every year on the anniversary of that decision she weeps, thinking about the age the child would have been. Scar. Sex always brings scars outside of marriage. I think about the pastor who was exposed to pornography in junior high in a hotel with other boys on their way to church camp and battled pornography for nine years and the shame and guilt and all of the ways it made him not honor women. That's my scar, or that's one of them.
Anytime we introduce sex outside of the context of marriage, it always brings scars. The God who's there is not anti-sex. He invented sex. That's absurd. Every time people are like, "Man, the Devil, sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll…" At least sex is not on his side. All of them, really, would be on God's side, but at least, for sure, that one. No one is accusing Steve Jobs of being like, "You're anti-iPhone, dude. That's what you are." That would not make any sense.
God is the inventor of sex. There are commands in the Bible that say… Proverbs, chapter 5. It's a command. "Husbands, let the breasts of your wife satisfy you continually. Always be intoxicated in her love." That is a command from God. Think about that. He's not anti-sex. That's absurd. He's pro-sex and he's pro-you, and he knows that sex outside of marriage always brings scars.
Finally, the third idea I want to talk about briefly is…What's the remedy for these lies? The remedy for the lies is the remedy anytime there's a lie, which is the truth. The remedy is replacing the lies with the truth. What truths am I talking about? I want to talk to the girls for just a second, and, guys, you're in the room, so I'm talking to everybody.
Your value has nothing to do with how sexual you are, your sex appeal, the way you look, your body. Your value is esteemed and given to you because of one reason: you are made in the image of God. Let me be clear. Genesis 1:26-27 says, "In the beginning God created the male and female. In the image of God he created them." What does that mean? Maybe you came into the room and you're like, "Guys are made in the image of God, and females are kind of like, 'We're here to help.'" That is a lie.
Men and women have been made equally in the image of God. In other words, if you got rid of all of the women, you would lose part of the image of God that's reflected in mankind. Your value has nothing to do with the way you look. Your value has nothing to do with the way you look. Your value has nothing to do with the way you look. The value you have has nothing to do with what a guy says about you, with how good you are in bed. Your value has nothing to do with the past you have.
Your value has been given by God. You cannot lose it even if you wanted to. Your value has nothing to do with the way you look. This is important, because here's what I know: the guys in your life are going to adopt and embrace the way you see yourself. You think you're damaged goods? You think you're not worth anything? The men in your life who are going to surround you are going to be men who think you're damaged goods, not worth anything, and they will take advantage of that.
Your value has nothing to do with your past, has nothing to do with your present, has nothing to do with the way you look. It has been given by God. You couldn't lose it if you wanted to. You have been made in the image of God. This is why pornography is so dangerous for all of us: it communicates that a woman is just there for sex; she's a sex object, a two-dimensional idea on a screen. Your value has nothing to do with the way you look.
The second idea I want to talk about is around the topic of modesty, everyone's favorite topic. First Timothy 2:9-10 says, "I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.""Paul, what are you saying? You can't wear 7 jeans or pearls?" No. He's saying, "I want you to be considerate of the way you dress. I want you to dress modestly."
Now stay with me, because inside of the room a couple of responses are going on. One is that the vibe can kind of be like, "Christians are always like, 'Modest is hottest.'" Not really. I want to address that. We live in a world where men are being forced these images all the time, and there is something carnal in every single guy inside of this room, every girl inside of this room. It's being fed, and there are messages that "What's really hot is women should look a certain way."
Is there part of every guy that likes the way Beyoncé inappropriately dresses at the halftime show? Yes, but it doesn't make it right. You can either be a part of perpetuating the problem or helping in providing a solution by dressing modestly for your brothers in the room. You may be like, "That's their problem. If they lust over me… I could be in an astronaut suit, and he'd be like, 'What's up, girl? Astronaut. Yeah.'" Yes, that is true, but it doesn't mean you have license to dress however you want. Is it our problem? Yes, it's our problem.
The Bible commands you are to dress modestly. Not frumpily and not in a burlap sack. Be stylish. Go all in, whatever that means, but help your brothers in the room by dressing modestly. That means including on your social media. This is where I'm going to just lean in a little bit more. That's what we do. Welcome to The Porch. That means being cognizant of what you post or being aware, mindful, of what you post on social media.
It means, candidly, you may not want to put the bikini pic as your profile picture. Awkward. I'm not trying to stymie… Maybe I am trying to stymie. Paul is trying to stymie. Let's blame it on Paul. That's what Paul is trying to do here. Help your brothers in the room. You will get attention for the way you dress. It may not be the right type of attention, and it may not honor God.
Men, the lies around "Women are sex objects" is something you are going to face and I face every single day, and the best action step or truth you have to embrace is you have to pursue healing, maybe for the rest of your life. You have to kill pornography. You have to be mindful of what you're feeding yourself. Maybe you're watching Netflix. There's so much junk on Netflix. It's just as bad as pornography. Be mindful of the songs or the things you're listening to.
The reason pornography, as I said earlier, is so dangerous is it feeds the lie that women are objects. Further, every time you watch it, you're going to school and getting taught that one woman is not enough and a real woman is not enough. You are hurting, if not ruining your marriage long before you even get married. It will not go away. You have to kill it. You have to live in community and confess and live honestly with other guys.
If you are in the room and you would say, "I struggle…" I got an email today, an email yesterday. Constantly we get it from guys as it relates to struggling with pornography. The same thing happens every time. They come down front or they'll talk or they'll want to meet. Struggling with pornography, want to experience freedom from it. "Tell me what struggling looks like. Where's your phone?" They'll pull out their phone, and they have an iPhone, an iPhone X. They are walking around with the thing that gives them access to pornography.
It would be like someone who's an alcoholic walking around with a flask. You may have to do what Jesus says in Matthew, chapter 5: go to extreme lengths. He uses an analogy, saying, "Cut off your hand, even, if you have to." Where you have to go back to getting a Razr phone for a season. You're like, "I can't get a Razr." How badly do you want to be healed? You need to get Covenant Eyes. I cannot talk enough about Covenant Eyes, which is a software you can put onto your computer that will help monitor the websites you're going to.
This is speaking from someone who faces the same temptation every single day. The truth you have to embrace is you have to move toward healing, and that involves community and living authentically with other guys inside of your life. This changed my life my junior year of college, becoming honest with other dudes and opening up about pornography and getting Covenant Eyes. It changed my life. Freedom is possible, and you can experience it.
Finally, to the guys, and then I have one more thing to everyone. You have to reject what the world tells you to look for in a woman. It is not curves you're looking for or "I'm a butt guy or a boob guy." You are looking for character. I cannot highly communicate and encourage that enough. I've been on staff here for almost 10 years. I can't tell you the number of stories of people who married, "Wow! She was a knockout," and their marriage went to ashes. It was like, "Man, she's incredible; the sex is amazing."
They weren't believers; they were cultural Christians, essentially, sleeping together before they got married. They ended up getting married. She was a knockout, and they were miserable together. When I compare that to the men and women who married one another not because of their bust size but because of their commitment to Jesus, it's undeniable the difference. It's not even close in terms of those who are happily married. You have to reject what the world says around us. Ladies, you have to reject what the world says. To the men, you are looking for a godly woman of character.
Finally, the last lie you have to replace with the truth is that your past does not define you. Your past does not define you. Your past does not define you. If you trust in Jesus and walk with him, regardless of your sexual sin in your past, regardless of the sexual baggage you may carry, regardless of the abuse that wasn't your fault… It wasn't your fault. Regardless of what you carry around, God is not done with you. Your past does not define you.
If you will take those things to Jesus, there's no limit to which he can't rewrite the story in your life. This is personal to me. I have a very close member of my family who says things like, "A godly guy would never want a girl like me." That is a lie. If you're in the room, I want you to listen. If you've ever wondered that, if you've ever thought like, "Man, that works for the preacher boy up there and all of these perfect people who have it all together, but that wouldn't work for me; a godly guy would never like a girl like me," you have bought a lie.
A godly guy, just like a godly woman, will see you like Jesus would see you and does see you. What do I mean by that? Jesus, the perfect one of God… A godly guy will see people like Jesus sees people. How did Jesus see sexually broken people, which was everyone? How did he see the extreme sexually broken person, the person who can't even talk about what they've done? We're actually told multiple times.
We're told of an occasion with a woman in one story in particular in John, chapter 8, this woman who has been caught in adultery. She's caught having sex with a man who's not her husband, caught in a sexual sin that the law said she deserved to die for. She's dragged in front of Jesus, caught red-handed. "Jesus, we caught her. The law says we should kill her. What do you say?" Jesus bends over, this crowd of men standing around, and a woman in the middle.
We're told he begins writing with his finger in the dirt. We don't even know what. Then he stands up and says, "Let him without sin cast the first stone." The Bible says that one by one, from the oldest to the youngest, the men walked away, and left was just Jesus and the woman. Jesus bent back down and wrote again. Then Jesus looked up, and here's what he said. John 8:10: "'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one, sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'"
He says, "I don't condemn you. I don't condone your sin, but I do not condemn you." How would a godly guy or a godly girl see someone who has a sexually broken past? If they are a godly person like Jesus, they will see them like Jesus sees them: as a person who is just like them, a candidate for God's grace, who God can use, who God can restore, who can be a part of experiencing the healing that only Jesus offers and brings.
I mentioned that idea of sex brings scars. Sexual sin in my life has brought scars. Jesus can heal and is healing them. Sexual sin in your life has brought scars, but the scars in your life and in my life represented by our sexual sin are not the only scars that were brought about. There were other scars that were brought and introduced. Unlike the scars in your life that don't communicate how valuable you are… Your sexual past, when you think back, "Oh man, that hurts" or what was done to you… It doesn't communicate how valuable you are. That's not what your scars communicate. These scars do.
The scars brought about by your sexual sin… Every decision you made to sleep with that person, to give your body away, every abortion collectively represented in the room and everyone listening online, every decision that was made to look at pornography, every decision made to go to the strip club, every decision sexually that was sinful brought about these scars, and they're the scars that are now currently on the hands and legs of the Savior Jesus, who said, "I will go to such great lengths that I will bring about scars on my own body that do not communicate regret and baggage and pain; they communicate how valuable you are to God."
What do I mean by that? Listen really closely. Economics 101. Do you remember it? Anyone take economics? The value of a thing is determined by what it will bring. The value of something is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it. That's what determines its value. I can say my car is worth a million dollars, but at the end of the day, it's only worth what someone will pay for it.
What is your value? What is the value you have? Some of you in the room think you are not worth anything. Some of you think you're worth what you did today. Let me tell you very clearly: the value of a thing is determined by what it will bring. What did your life bring? The Son of God, who would lay down his life, whose scars communicate how valuable you are to God, despite your past, despite your present. That's how loved you are.
Maybe you've searched and looked at all kinds of places to feel wanted. That's the number-one reason guys look at pornography. That's the number-one reason girls give themselves away. All along, the truth of the matter is you have been wanted all along, so desperately wanted. How much more valuable could you be? You couldn't. You are more valuable to God than anything else, that he would give his own life for you.
Your value is not determined by what you wear, the way you look, by what you've done. It was determined on a hill named Calvary and a cross that rested there. There's no story in the room that God is done with. The years the locusts have eaten he could restore, and he will restore, if you will return to him, if you will walk with him.
Many of you need to hear me loud and clear. It wasn't your fault. Healing is offered. Perfectly? I don't know. I know permanently in eternity, but it's the best shot we have. It's the only shot our world has, candidly, a world that's so sexually messed up. We have the solution. It's not in a hashtag; it's in Jesus, and it's offered to you, it's offered to me. Let me pray.
God, unlike the pineapple that's value has gone up and down and changed, the value of my friends in the room has not. It was determined. It was set. It was paid for. It was done. The life of even your Son. God, I pray for anyone in this room who has never trusted in Jesus as the payment for their sin.
They carry the shame and guilt and regret from decisions they made that may have something to do with sexual sin, just all across the board, that right now you would speak to them, minister to them, press on their heart, that they tonight would receive forgiveness, take a step in the direction of healing. I pray that you would destroy the shackles of pornography in this room, that men would confess and women would confess and we'd begin to experience healing.
I pray for anyone who's sitting here believing a lie from the Enemy that they're damaged goods, that you would break through in a way that my words couldn't, the song we're about to sing couldn't, and you would renew their mind around who they are, which is who you say they are: yours, forgiven, chosen, pure. There is no story too messed up for you to heal, for a plot twist to come in and something to take place beyond even anything we could imagine.
So, God, would you unleash that now? We confess we are sexually broken and we have walked in sexual sin, Lord, and we receive your forgiveness by grace by trusting in what Jesus did for us, dying in our place and rising from the dead. We are who you say we are, God. We worship you now in song, amen.