Why We Should Be Sad
Playboy is dying. To be specific, the magazine, the instrument that revolutionized the scandalous industry of sex, is dying. This article is behind a pay wall, but the headline is enough for you to understand what is happening.
You may be sitting there thinking that it’s odd I’m sad that they’re dying. I’m not actually sad it is dying. It can die. Good riddance. Burn. Burn quickly.
But the thing that makes me sad is why it is dying. It’s not because the appetite for pornography isn’t great enough these days. It’s because it is too great. They’re dying because Playboy… Playboy, the ones who were the raciest and edgiest. Well, they’re no longer so racy and no longer so edgy. Images are boring and circulation is dwindling.
Meanwhile over at Pornhub:
To start off, the company welcomed 23 billion sessions in the past twelve months, which registered nearly 92 billion video views. This is equal to 64 million visitors a day, watching 4.6 billion hours of porn in just a year. The United States is still the biggest visitor of the adult website, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Japan, and France, among many others. (Source)
Those are 2016 stats.
Oh, and that Virtual Reality thing? So cool, right? I dread what that technology will do to young men and women trying to wrestle with their sexuality. Because porn is almost always the first industry to really figure out new technology mediums well. Just look at this:
VR porn videos are being accessed by Pornhub users around the world about 500,000 times per day.
It also found that those users are watching, on average, a higher quantity of videos per visit: VR visitors typically watch 2 more videos each time they visit Pornhub (11 pages per visit compared to the average 9), while their actual time on-site remains about the same, at just under 10 minutes. (Source)
Those are stats from middle of 2017. I don’t dare hope they’re growing smaller.
This is why I’m sad they’re dying. We’ve hit a point where the raciest, edgiest brand in our culture is kind of boring. What have we done to ourselves? I mourn at the thought that Playboy has worked themselves out of a job.
Mourn, Christian, for a lost world that has gone so far that they’re desensitized. Mourn for the brothers, fathers, sisters, and mothers who are trapped in this. Even many Christians who are struggling with this right now have been seduced by culture. Sexuality is under attack in America. Make no mistake about it. God’s good design is being questioned. And its leading people astray just like Balaam counseled the Midianite women to try to seduce the Lord’s people away from their flourishing and inheritance (Numbers 31:15-16).
Don’t Get Sad. Get Mad.
Don’t leave it at sadness though. Christian, rebel against the depravity encroaching at your doorstep!
What does the Lord teach us in Proverbs 8:13:
To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance; evil behavior and perverse speech.
Evil behavior certainly includes sexual immorality. Just take a gander at Ephesians 5:3-7
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: no immoral, impure, or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Not even a hint of sexual immorality. And if someone is a sexually immoral person — that is someone unrepentant about their sexual immorality — then they have no inheritance in Christ and God. That’s weighty stuff.
How are you doing with your sexuality? How is your church and the believers around you doing? Do you even know? You ought to care about their health in this category. It’s pretty serious to keep an eye on our life and our doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16). It’s hard to do that if we’re not even talking about it. Sin loves the darkness, and darkness loves silence.
So start looking around. Start asking yourself and others these questions. Are you closer to the imperative in Ephesians 5? Or closer to the world around you who sees VR machines and thinks immediately about how to use them for pleasure?
If you’re closer to what the world looks like, might it be that you don’t really hate evil yet? Might it be that you just haven’t really become utterly convinced that it’s the very thing standing in your way between you and a life of walking fully in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16)? Might it be that you actually love sexual sin?
It feels good, doesn’t it? I’ve been there. I, sadly, know how great an orgasm feels. It’s alluring the first time. Maybe even dozens of times. Until all the sudden you’re looking up not at some beautiful experience, but a grueling taskmaster who demands more and more of you, even when you’d rather not.
If you’re a young Christian or someone early into your sin and not sure what the big deal is, I urge you to trust me and not wait for that sin to turn its ugly head around on you and morph from a lovely counterpart into a hideous master with a whip. And I promise you, it will become that. Satan lures us in with sweet whisperings until we’ve gone too far and then beats us down with a cane when we’ve ventured further than we meant to go.
And right now, Playboy dying just shows how laissez faire this has all become. So become angry that our society has stood for this. That it’s endorsed the misery of countless men, women, and it is even reaching earlier into childhoods than ever before.
Get mad about that. Not for your own sake, but because when porn is viewed it’s not primarily a break of trust between a boyfriend and girlfriend, a husband and wife, or insert the relationship status. It’s a breach of trust between you and a holy, just God. Get mad that it exists and that this commoditized version of sex has cheapened and warped a good and holy thing.
Yes, sex is good and holy if you use it properly. Save it for marriage where it can find fulfillment and Christ can be pictured through it.
Get mad, Christian. Let your anger be aroused towards a casual indifference towards sexual sin. I often think of the Corinthian church who knew a man had his father’s wife sexually. What was their response? 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 tells us:
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
They’re arrogant. They’re proud! They’re boasting! My goodness. Society leaks into our churches when we’re not careful. Let’s take the illuminating and purging light of Scripture up to this problem and expunge evil from our churches. It will delight the Lord and maybe, just maybe, if our churches become beacons of light in society for what a proper sexual lifestyle really looks like — and proper goes far, far beyond sex being reserved for between a man and woman — they’ll come desperately looking for the freedom we have in Christ.
So get mad, Christian. Hate evil. Mourn that sexuality is running rampant. Mourn that Playboy Magazine is dying. Because it’s a signal to us about what is happening in the world, and we ought to pay attention to it.
How To Get Started
I want to end by leaving a few practical verses for people who are wondering how to go about getting this process started. The answer is to humble yourselves. Hate this sin enough to bring it into the light. Confess it.
James 5:16 tells us this:
Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Proverbs 28:13 tell us this:
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
See the pattern? Approach your Elders or a faithful brother or sister in Christ. I’d suggest that you try to find someone of a similar gender for your first conversation, although it’s not a struggle reserved for one gender so don’t feel confined to only ever talk about it with one gender.
But this journey will always start with you confessing a sin to them. Ask for help. Ask them if they can disciple you, or if they know people who have had your struggle before who will help disciple you. You’ll grow as you engage in a process of thinking critically and meaningfully about this.
Let me be clear that this is not a substitution for the kind of confession found in 1 John 1:9. You should still confess sins to God. He’s the only one who can make you pure through the mediation of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). But if you’re looking to grow in your faith, then realize that the church is 1 of 2 things the Lord left behind for us to partake in to do so — the other being the Holy Spirit who operates in glorifying and revealing to us Jesus Christ primarily through the reading and studying of Scripture. Both kinds of confession are important for different reasons, but they work together towards the same goal. To be holy, as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16).
In time, I’d expect you to have a story similar to mine where as you come out of your sin you’ll have the opportunity to lead some ministry work and disciple others who have similar struggles. This will lead you even deeper into your faith in Christ as you have to root yourself even more deeply in order to be a true help to other besieged believers. Trust me, it’s not easy. I still slip and fall. I lust in my mind, and still am not perfect even in deed.
But we can get angry. We can get sick and tired of going the way of culture. We can repent of any movement we’ve made away from God and towards depravity. We can put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6) and stand firm. We can take the blows of the enemy and, when it is all over, be left standing. We can stand up maybe with a bit of dust on our brow, sweat on our foreheads, and maybe even a little blood in our mouth from enduring. But we will have endured and we’ll be able to look our enemy in the eye and offer up something like what David said to Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:45-47:
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.
Let’s smite our enemies in the name of the Lord and the whole Earth will tremble as these seemingly sexual giants topple against an even greater force, the church, which is the host and army of the living God.
He will triumph. Christian, do you remember that? Will you stand your ground? Will you withstand the flaming arrows of the enemy? Will you be willing to stop going the way of culture and get mad over the indignity that what we are doing as a society is an indignation in the Lord’s eyes?
I’d urge you to consider it. I’m not asking you to go spit on the people who are in sin. They’re deceived people, led astray by the enemy. You should desire to rescue them. Your heart should break for anyone not found in Christ and you should seek to proclaim the Gospel to them (Ephesians 6:19-20). But the sin and the wave of society itself is detestable, so don’t accept the Midianite women in the camp. Take a page from Phinehas and put a spear through the sin to preserve the name of the Lord (Numbers 25:6-11).
Playboy magazine is boring. New toys are in town. I think they’re gross. I hope they burn. In fact, some day they will burn in Hell. Don’t follow them or you may find yourself in a fiery place as well. Get sad about where our culture is. Then get mad enough to become the spiritual warrior Christ has already empowered you to be.