Not long ago, I was reading the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus said, "But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28, NLT) and without thinking about it, I said to myself, "I guess we can't watch prime time TV." I mean, prime time television, as well as a lot of streaming programs, are designed to make men lust after women and women after men. The system is designed to have people commit adultery in their hearts.But then I had the random thought, What does that mean about the fidelity of men who view pornography? How many times do they commit adultery per webpage? But photographs of women are not the only kind of pornography and men are not the only ones who use it. Erotic stories and novels like some recent bestsellers are also a form of pornography. After all, is there really much difference between lusting after the form of someone on your screen or monitor and lusting after the form of someone described in words on a page?
Proverbs 5:18-19 advises us, "Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love" (NLT) and I think we can safely reverse that as well, warning women to be satisfied with the forms of their husbands. But can we ever rejoice in the love of our lives, can we really be captivated by the love of our spouse (or our future spouse) when our heads and hearts are filled with unrealistic, air-brushed, or word-brushed pictures of other people? Do our spouses ever have a chance when we are enthralled with these make-believe fantasies, designed by people whose goal is to hook us and keep us coming back for more, to lead us into committing adultery in our hearts over and over again just so they can make a buck? How are our spouses ever to be satisfied with us if we are responding to them as if they don't measure up to unrealistic fantasies?
Maintaining purity is about more than avoiding certain physical acts or just staying away from particular kinds of photographs, videos, or books. Purity and fidelity are about maintaining a heart that seeks God and yearns only for your spouse (or future spouse). Anything we feed our minds and hearts that draws us toward someone or something else undermines that.