Today, I invite you into the healing connection between our wrestling with lust, and the face of Jesus; his visible face.
As a parent, especially a mom, you intimately knew your child when you were pregnant. You carried the child in your womb. Even dads know their kids while they are in the womb.
And then they were born. We saw their face for the first time, and everything changed. Everything deepened.
And of course, that only continues as they grow. As we see new aspects of their personality, their heart, and their mind.
There’s something about this understanding that matters for us in the realm of lust. How Jesus, the Word who is the invisible God, became the visible God for us. There’s something about this that offers us an antidote, a cure, a healing balm for our lust.
Do you wrestle with lust? How does it feel?
Can you relate to this? Does it resonate with you?
When our children are born, everything changes.
The problem with pornography is not that it shows too much, but too little.
What does God do in response to our lusts?
Love incarnate vs. lust incarnate.
“If you wrestle with lust, you find your eyes, looking at people and using what you see, for selfish gratification are tempted to do so. Failing to see a whole human person, but instead of seeing body parts, objects, obstacles, then would you sit with me a while kneel with me a while at the manger.”
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This Episode’s Transcription
Hey everybody, welcome back to the beginning whole podcast. I want to start today by asking you a simple question. Do you wrestle with lust? Do you wrestle with lust? Man, I’ve spent so many years of my life with a battle, in my eyes in my heart around lust. I remember a long, long season in my life, where that started in early adolescence where lust got ignited. And it seemed like whenever there was an occasion for lost an opportunity, quote, unquote, for lost, I couldn’t resist I just, it was like, not being able to resist sugar. I mean, I just felt like how can I not look and and just keep looking. And it felt irresistible to me it felt like this is there’s something in me that feels stronger than any will that I have inside of me not to look and even even after I became a follower of Jesus, and took seriously his his words that if you lost after a person, you’re committing adultery with them in your heart. And I knew that lust was not okay even after that when I tried to stop it still felt like there was some just magnetic incredible kind of vortex blackhole power like pulling me and I remember when I when I first started recovery in earnest even times have of choosing not to look with lost walking by someone or walking by an image or coming across an image on on TV and looking away. And feeling almost like something was ripping like it was That’s how strong it felt it felt like to not look with lust was was ripping something from me. Because I was so used to it it was such a magnetic such a powerful pole. Can you relate? A little bit? Can you relate a lot with that? Does it resonate with you? Does loss just feel like a natural part of you that that to say no to almost feels like you’re you’re, you’re, you’re you can feel the pain of it, you feel that it hurts to not last? Well, here’s where I want to go. If you’re listening to this, the week that it drops your list listening to this the week of Christmas, if you’re if you listen to it later, that’s great. But this week has got me thinking about, and I’m not sure we’re gonna go in this, actually.
But there’s something here there’s something meaningful here. So I wanted to invite you in to kind of muse on this with me, because there’s some connection, healing connection for us between are wrestling with lost, and Jesus’s face, his visible face. So if you’re listening to this, as a parent, maybe especially as a mom, you know that when you were pregnant with your child, you knew that you knew your child in some way you in an intimate way, the care of the child in your womb, and even dads, you kind of knew your kids, maybe while they were in the womb. I know for me, with our first child, we got a little bit of a sense of her personality while she was in the womb. We didn’t necessarily know it at the time. But But looking back, yeah, we kind of did. And then with our second child, we also got a sense of her while she was in the womb that we didn’t know at the time. But looking back, I mean, she was very, very active in the womb. And that that’s just the way that she is there’s something about her in the womb that we even knew while she was in the woman, and certainly more so for my wife. And then, when they were born, we saw their face for the first time. And everything changed, everything deepened, everything meant more. And we would not have been satisfied just to have an ongoing relationship with them. Where we didn’t get to see them. We didn’t get to hold them in our arms. They weren’t visible to us in that way. But when they were born, that’s what happened now that now they they were flashed, but now we’re seeing our children in our arms are beholding their face. And we know them better because now we can see them. And of course that only continues as they grow. And as we see new aspects of their personality, their heart, their mind, they learn to talk we get to know more about them. And there’s something about about that that matters for us in the realm of lust. And this thing about Jesus in the fact that he became visible God, the Word who is invisible God who has spirit invisible, became visible for us. There’s something about that that actually offers us an antidote a cure a healing balm for our lust. So let me just flesh this out a little bit for you and for me, if you wrestle with lust, you may have heard me say this before, but it’s absolutely true and absolutely imperative that we get this Right, because lust can feel to us like what we just want to see more and more and more, right? Proverbs say, Helen and bad and hell and Abaddon are never fool.
And so are the eyes of sinful man, there’s something about lust just we want to see more and more and more. It’s not enough just to see this angle want to see that angle is not enough to see this person with this much on want to see them in the lesson want to see more and more and more. That’s the way that lust feels. That’s the way the last portrays itself. But it’s actually not true. Lust is actually not seeing too much. It’s a failure to see it’s an it’s an inability of seeing, it’s a it’s a form of blindness. It’s why I just I love, love, love the and it was eye opening for me. Pun intended. It was the late Pope John Paul the second when he wrote the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much, but that it shows to middle too little not that shows too much, but shows too little. And obviously he was saying, yes, you’re looking at images of men and women not wearing anything showing you the most intimate parts of their of their body. But it’s actually showing you so very little of them, it doesn’t want you to see the real human person, it wants to see you it wants you to see only an object, only body parts, only a fraction of this person, a shadow of this person, because if you were to see the real whole person, their dreams, their hopes, their hurts their pains, if you were to see this person as as he or she was as a little child, and the difficulties they experienced through life that led them to the point of exposing themselves this way and pornography and treating themselves so poorly by exposing themselves to anybody in pornography, then you wouldn’t want to see them this way anymore. And their whole mythologies built in our culture around. No, no, no, the the adult industry it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, it makes money for people. It’s their own choices, their own freedom, some people just like this. There’s there’s ethically produced porn, blah, blah, blah, blah. I don’t I don’t care what you say about all that crap. The truth is that, that a human person, a human being nobody in their childhood, in their innocence, dreams of growing up to be a porn star, it just doesn’t happen. Things happen to a person along the way, that lead them down a dark path.
They themselves are in bondage, and those who watch them are in bondage. And I, that’s a topic for another podcast. But the point my point is that lust is a failure to see. And so what does God do in response to our lusts? Jesus told us if you’ve lost, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. But he didn’t come to condemn. And if you read the Sermon on the Mount, things like what he says in Matthew, and if you lust after a woman, you’ve already committed adultery with your heart and your heart. If you read that, through the eyes of condemnation, and then we’re all we’re all condemned. That’s it, we’re done. But Jesus did not condemn the world, but to say, he did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. And so why would the invisible God make himself visible? Why would he allow himself to be seen by the eyes of sinful man and sinful woman? He knows our proclivity to last He knows our proclivity or tendency, to not see people to be seen, but to see objects for our own selfish pleasure, or obstacles to our own selfish pleasure. That’s the way we tend to see and people saw him that way. They wanted him to reform for them. He wanted them him to do things for them. When he didn’t do things for them. They were upset with him when he said certain things when he wasn’t who they expected him to be. They didn’t like it. They did not want to see Jesus the person. They wanted to see an object for their own selfish gratification. Why would he allow himself to be seen by the eyes of sinful man? Because in beholding, the Savior of the world, our eyes meet their match. Our eyes see, love, incarnate love incarnate, as opposed to lust incarnate, which is what we’ve brought to the table. Jesus is love incarnate. He is the one whose eyes according to Revelation in his glorified state, his eyes are like a burning furnace. A fiery furnace, man,
can you imagine being looked upon by someone whose eyes are ablaze with a firing furnace talking about being seen through no failure to see here? Jesus sees every bit of you. And he’s described the way by the way, just before he he sends a word to each of the churches, the representative churches in that in that region at that time, calling out both the good things they’re doing and the bad things they’re doing. He sees it all. He knows the motors of their heart. He knows the ways they’ve compromised, and he’s calling them to account. He is the One who sees what is like a burning furnace. And he loves, He loves He loves He loves. And the proof of his love begins with the incarnation. It begins by the fact that he has taken on flesh, including taking on human eyes. Jesus, this baby, who can barely see when he’s first born, because babies can’t really see when they’re first born. And then, soon after that can only see us so far as to see Mary’s face as he’s breastfeeding. This is what he takes on and he grows to become a man who can see and he’s something about how he sees he sees differently than we do. So where does this leave us? Well, there’s a whole mystery here. And there’s so much more to be said. But I want us to just park today. If you wrestle with lust, you find your eyes, looking at people and using what you see, for selfish gratification are tempted to do so. Failing to see a whole human person, but instead of seeing body parts, objects, obstacles, then would you sit with me a while kneel with me a while at the manger. As the baby Jesus sleeps there, behold his face. Notice the contours, his nose, his mouth, his chin, his ears, his hair, his eyes, he has come in the flesh, to rescue our flesh, he has come bodily to rescue your body. And where it feels like just this vortex, magnetic pole that you can’t resist in regards to your eyes and how they want to look and last. Would you instead today, just today, look at Jesus in the manger. Look at his face, he has come for you, my brother, he has come for you, my sister, Jesus, it is so much more appealing sometimes to just want to pray, Lord, just take our lust away, just take it away. And we do ask that Lord, take our last away give us eyes to see. Lord, would You begin by giving us eyes today, the eyes of our imagination, our hearts, to hold you at the manger? To Marvel the fact that you did not come to condemn our eyes that last Tsereteli But Lord, You came with eyes to see that our eyes might learn to see again. There would you ignite our eyes to begin to see with love like you see. Lord, I pray for the one who’s carrying a special shame today because of the way that his or her eyes are just so almost it almost feels intractable the way they may last. Lord would You lift their shame by looking upon them with your eyes of love. Jesus come do what only you can do at us in our flesh because you became flesh for us. We pray these things now in your name. Amen.